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E. A. Smith, X. Xiang, A. Mugnai, R. E. Hood, and R. W. Spencer

Abstract

A microwave-based, profile-type precipitation retrieval algorithm has been used to analyze high-resolution passive microwave measurements over an ocean background, obtained by the Advanced Microwave Precipitation Radiometer(AMPR) flown on ANASA ER-2 aircraft. The analysis is designed to first determine the improvements that can be gained by adding brightness temperature information from the AMPR low-frequency channel (10.7 GHz) to a multispectral retrieval algorithm nominally run with satellite information at 19, 37, and 85 GHZ. The impact of spatial resolution degradation of the high-resolution brightness temperature information on the retrieved rain/cloud liquid water contents and ice water contents is then quantified in order to assess the possible biases inherent to satellite-bawd retrieval. The tests are conducted on a dataset obtained during a preliminary flight experiment that took place on 18 October 1990 over a Gulf of Mexico squall line that developed south of the Florida Panhandle. Careful inspection of the high-resolution aircraft dataset reveals five distinctive brightness temperature features associated with cloud structure and scattering effects that are not generally detectable in current passive microwave satellite measurements. Recovery of such high-resolution information by satellites would generally be expected to improve precipitation retrieval, but these improvements have never been quantified and thus are addressed in this study. Results suggest that the inclusion of 10.7-GHz information overcomes two basic problems associated with three-channel retrieval. First, unresolved rainfall gradients in the lower cloud layers due to 19-GHz blackbody saturation effects are recovered when the 10.7-GHz channel data are included. Second, unrealistic oscillations in the retrieved rain liquid water contents that arise from the highly variable scattering signatures at 19, 37, and 85 GHz are eliminated by virtue of the 10.7-GHz Rayleigh frequency probing into the lower cloud containing the bulk of the liquid water. Intercomparisons of retrievals carried out at high-resolution and then averaged to a characteristic satellite spatial scale to the corresponding retrievals in which the brightness temperatures are first convolved down to the satellite scale suggest that with the addition of the 10.7-GHz channel, the rain liquid water contents will not be negatively impacted by special resolution degradation. That is not the case with the ice water contents as they appear to be quite sensitive to the imposed scale, the implication being that as spatial resolution is reduced, ice water contents will become increasingly underestimated. The overall implications of this study in the context of the upcoming United States–Japan Tropical Rainfall Measuring Mission are that the inclusion of a 10.7-GHz frequency on the passive microwave radiometer and the relatively higher spatial resolution of the low and intermediate frequencies at 10.7, 19, and 35 GHz resulting from the relatively low orbit (− 350 km) will lead to significantly improved microwave-based rainfall measurements over what are currently available today.

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K. P. Gallo, A. L. McNab, T. R. Karl, J. F. Brown, J. J. Hood, and J. D. Tarpley

Abstract

A vegetation index and a radiative surface temperature were derived from satellite data acquired at approximately 1330 LST for each of 37 cities and for their respective nearby rural regions from 28 June through 8 August 1991. Urban–rural differences for the vegetation index and the surface temperatures were computed and then compared to observed urban–rural differences in minimum air temperatures. The purpose of these comparisons was to evaluate the use of satellite data to assess the influence of the urban environment on observed minimum air temperatures (the urban heat island effect). The temporal consistency of the data, from daily data to weekly, biweekly, and monthly intervals, was also evaluated. The satellite-derived normalized difference (ND) vegetation-index data, sampled over urban and rural regions composed of a variety of land surface environments, were linearly related to the difference in observed urban and rural minimum temperatures. The relationship between the ND index and observed differences in minimum temperature was improved when analyses were restricted by elevation differences between the sample locations and when biweekly or monthly intervals were utilized. The difference in the ND index between urban and rural regions appears to be an indicator of the difference in surface properties (evaporation and heat storage capacity) between the two environments that are responsible for differences in urban and rural minimum temperatures. The urban and rural differences in the ND index explain a greater amount of the variation observed in minimum temperature differences than past analyses that utilized urban population data. The use of satellite data may contribute to a globally consistent method for analysis of urban heat island bias.

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Gail M. Skofronick-Jackson, James R. Wang, Gerald M. Heymsfield, Robbie Hood, Will Manning, Robert Meneghini, and James A. Weinman

Abstract

Information about the vertical microphysical cloud structure is useful in many modeling and predictive practices. Radiometers and radars are used to observe hydrometeor properties. This paper describes an iterative retrieval algorithm that combines the use of airborne active and wideband (10–340 GHz) passive observations to estimate the vertical content and particle size distributions of liquid and frozen hydrometeors. Airborne radar and radiometer observations from the third Convection and Moisture Experiment (CAMEX-3) were used in the retrieval algorithm as constraints. Nadir profiles were estimated for 1 min each of flight time (approximately 12.5 km along track) for anvil, convective, and quasi-stratiform clouds associated with Hurricane Bonnie (August 1998). The physically based retrieval algorithm relies on high frequencies (≥150 GHz) to provide details on the frozen hydrometeors. Neglecting the high frequencies yielded acceptable estimates of the liquid profiles, but the ice profiles were poorly retrieved. The wideband observations were found to more than double the estimated frozen hydrometeor content as compared with retrievals using only 90 GHz and below. The convective and quasi-stratiform iterative retrievals quickly reached convergence. The complex structure of the frozen hydrometeors required the most iterations for convergence for the anvil cloud type. Nonunique profiles, within physical and theoretical bounds, were retrieved for thin anvil ice clouds. A qualitative validation using coincident in situ CAMEX-3 observations shows that the retrieved particle size distributions are well corroborated with independent measurements.

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Nasa's Tropical Cloud Systems and Processes Experiment

Investigating Tropical Cyclogenesis and Hurricane Intensity Change

J. Halverson, M. Black, S. Braun, D. Cecil, M. Goodman, A. Heymsfield, G . Heymsfield, R. Hood, T. Krishnamurti, G. McFarquhar, M. J. Mahoney, J. Molinari, R. Rogers, J. Turk, C. Velden, D.-L. Zhang, E. Zipser, and R. Kakar

In July 2005, the National Aeronautics and Space Administration investigated tropical cyclogenesis, hurricane structure, and intensity change in the eastern North Pacific and western Atlantic using its ER-2 high-altitude research aircraft. The campaign, called the Tropical Cloud Systems and Processes (TCSP) experiment, was conducted in conjunction with the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration/Hurricane Research Division's Intensity Forecasting Experiment. A number of in situ and remote sensor datasets were collected inside and above four tropical cyclones representing a broad spectrum of tropical cyclone intensity and development in diverse environments. While the TCSP datasets directly address several key hypotheses governing tropical cyclone formation, including the role of vertical wind shear, dynamics of convective bursts, and upscale growth of the initial vortex, two of the storms sampled were also unusually strong, early season storms. Highlights from the genesis missions are described in this article, along with some of the unexpected results from the campaign. Interesting observations include an extremely intense, highly electrified convective tower in the eyewall of Hurricane Emily and a broad region of mesoscale subsidence detected in the lower stratosphere over landfalling Tropical Storm Gert.

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Earle R. Williams, David J. Smalley, Michael F. Donovan, Robert G. Hallowell, Kenta T. Hood, Betty J. Bennett, Raquel Evaristo, Adam Stepanek, Teresa Bals-Elsholz, Jacob Cobb, Jaclyn Ritzman, Alexei Korolev, and Mengistu Wolde

Abstract

The organized behavior of differential radar reflectivity (ZDR) is documented in the cold regions of a wide variety of stratiform precipitation types occurring in both winter and summer. The radar targets and attendant cloud microphysical conditions are interpreted within the context of measurements of ice crystal types in laboratory diffusion chambers in which humidity and temperature are both stringently controlled. The overriding operational interest here is in the identification of regions prone to icing hazards with long horizontal paths. Two predominant regimes are identified: category A, which is typified by moderate reflectivity (from 10 to 30 dBZ) and modest +ZDR values (from 0 to +3 dB) in which both supercooled water and dendritic ice crystals (and oriented aggregates of ice crystals) are present at a mean temperature of −13°C, and category B, which is typified by small reflectivity (from −10 to +10 dBZ) and the largest +ZDR values (from +3 to +7 dB), in which supercooled water is dilute or absent and both flat-plate and dendritic crystals are likely. The predominant positive values for ZDR in many case studies suggest that the role of an electric field on ice particle orientation is small in comparison with gravity. The absence of robust +ZDR signatures in the trailing stratiform regions of vigorous summer squall lines may be due both to the infusion of noncrystalline ice particles (i.e., graupel and rimed aggregates) from the leading deep convection and to the effects of the stronger electric fields expected in these situations. These polarimetric measurements and their interpretations underscore the need for the accurate calibration of ZDR.

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L. M. Beal, J. Vialard, M. K. Roxy, J. Li, M. Andres, H. Annamalai, M. Feng, W. Han, R. Hood, T. Lee, M. Lengaigne, R. Lumpkin, Y. Masumoto, M. J. McPhaden, M. Ravichandran, T. Shinoda, B. M. Sloyan, P. G. Strutton, A. C. Subramanian, T. Tozuka, C. C. Ummenhofer, A. S. Unnikrishnan, J. Wiggert, L. Yu, L. Cheng, D. G. Desbruyères, and V. Parvathi

Abstract

The Indian Ocean Observing System (IndOOS), established in 2006, is a multinational network of sustained oceanic measurements that underpin understanding and forecasting of weather and climate for the Indian Ocean region and beyond. Almost one-third of humanity lives around the Indian Ocean, many in countries dependent on fisheries and rain-fed agriculture that are vulnerable to climate variability and extremes. The Indian Ocean alone has absorbed a quarter of the global oceanic heat uptake over the last two decades and the fate of this heat and its impact on future change is unknown. Climate models project accelerating sea level rise, more frequent extremes in monsoon rainfall, and decreasing oceanic productivity. In view of these new scientific challenges, a 3-yr international review of the IndOOS by more than 60 scientific experts now highlights the need for an enhanced observing network that can better meet societal challenges, and provide more reliable forecasts. Here we present core findings from this review, including the need for 1) chemical, biological, and ecosystem measurements alongside physical parameters; 2) expansion into the western tropics to improve understanding of the monsoon circulation; 3) better-resolved upper ocean processes to improve understanding of air–sea coupling and yield better subseasonal to seasonal predictions; and 4) expansion into key coastal regions and the deep ocean to better constrain the basinwide energy budget. These goals will require new agreements and partnerships with and among Indian Ocean rim countries, creating opportunities for them to enhance their monitoring and forecasting capacity as part of IndOOS-2.

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Gary A. Wick, Jason P. Dunion, Peter G. Black, John R. Walker, Ryan D. Torn, Andrew C. Kren, Altug Aksoy, Hui Christophersen, Lidia Cucurull, Brittany Dahl, Jason M. English, Kate Friedman, Tanya R. Peevey, Kathryn Sellwood, Jason A. Sippel, Vijay Tallapragada, James Taylor, Hongli Wang, Robbie E. Hood, and Philip Hall
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Gary A. Wick, Jason P. Dunion, Peter G. Black, John R. Walker, Ryan D. Torn, Andrew C. Kren, Altug Aksoy, Hui Christophersen, Lidia Cucurull, Brittany Dahl, Jason M. English, Kate Friedman, Tanya R. Peevey, Kathryn Sellwood, Jason A. Sippel, Vijay Tallapragada, James Taylor, Hongli Wang, Robbie E. Hood, and Philip Hall

Abstract

The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s (NOAA) Sensing Hazards with Operational Unmanned Technology (SHOUT) project evaluated the ability of observations from high-altitude unmanned aircraft to improve forecasts of high-impact weather events like tropical cyclones or mitigate potential degradation of forecasts in the event of a future gap in satellite coverage. During three field campaigns conducted in 2015 and 2016, the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) Global Hawk, instrumented with GPS dropwindsondes and remote sensors, flew 15 missions sampling 6 tropical cyclones and 3 winter storms. Missions were designed using novel techniques to target sampling regions where high model forecast uncertainty and a high sensitivity to additional observations existed. Data from the flights were examined in real time by operational forecasters, assimilated in operational weather forecast models, and applied postmission to a broad suite of data impact studies. Results from the analyses spanning different models and assimilation schemes, though limited in number, consistently demonstrate the potential for a positive forecast impact from the observations, both with and without a gap in satellite coverage. The analyses with the then-operational modeling system demonstrated large forecast improvements near 15% for tropical cyclone track at a 72-h lead time when the observations were added to the otherwise complete observing system. While future decisions regarding use of the Global Hawk platform will include budgetary considerations, and more observations are required to enhance statistical significance, the scientific results support the potential merit of the observations. This article provides an overview of the missions flown, observational approach, and highlights from the completed and ongoing data impact studies.

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