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Philip Marsh and John R. Gyakum
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Fabrizio Sassi, R. R. Garcia, D. Marsh, and K. W. Hoppel

Abstract

This paper compares present-day simulations made with two state-of-the-art climate models: a conventional model specifically designed to represent the tropospheric climate, which has a poorly resolved middle atmosphere, and a configuration that is built on the same physics and numerical algorithms but represents realistically the middle atmosphere and lower thermosphere. The atmospheric behavior is found to be different between the two model configurations, and it is shown that the differences in the two simulations can be attributed to differences in the behavior of the zonal mean state of the stratosphere, where reflection of quasi-stationary resolved planetary waves from the lid of the low-top model is prominent; the more realistic physics in the high-top model is not relevant. It is also shown that downward propagation of zonal wind anomalies during weak stratospheric vortex events is substantially different in the two model configurations. These findings extend earlier results that a poorly resolved stratosphere can influence simulations throughout the troposphere.

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Philip Marsh, Wayne R. Rouse, and Ming-ko Woo

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Recent studies have demonstrated empirical relationships between surface soil moisture and the α′ parameter in Priestley and Taylor's version of the combination model. An evaporation study conducted at a high arctic site shows that for gravel and loamy surfaces underlain by permafrost, α′ can be expressed as the following function of soil moisture (S m):

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Comparison with α′ and soil moisture relationships obtained in more temperate latitudes suggests that under drying conditions the evaporation rate will be a response to the particular site characteristics, so that there is no unique relationship between surface soil moisture and evaporation rates.

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Curt Covey, Aiguo Dai, Richard S. Lindzen, and Daniel R. Marsh

Abstract

For atmospheric tides driven by solar heating, the database of climate model output used in the most recent assessment report of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) confirms and extends the authors’ earlier results based on the previous generation of models. Both the present study and the earlier one examine the surface pressure signature of the tides, but the new database removes a shortcoming of the earlier study in which model simulations were not strictly comparable to observations. The present study confirms an approximate consistency among observations and all model simulations, despite variation of model tops from 31 to 144 km. On its face, this result is surprising because the dominant (semidiurnal) component of the tides is forced mostly by ozone heating around 30–70-km altitude. Classical linear tide calculations and occasional numerical experimentation have long suggested that models with low tops achieve some consistency with observations by means of compensating errors, with wave reflection from the model top making up for reduced ozone forcing. Future work with the new database may confirm this hypothesis by additional classical calculations and analyses of the ozone heating profiles and wave reflection in Coupled Model Intercomparison Project (CMIP) models. The new generation of models also extends CMIP's purview to free-atmosphere fields including the middle atmosphere and above.

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N. Calvo, R. R. Garcia, W. J. Randel, and D. R. Marsh

Abstract

The Brewer–Dobson circulation strengthens in the lowermost tropical stratosphere during warm El Niño–Southern Oscillation (ENSO) events. Dynamical analyses using the most recent version of the Whole Atmosphere Community Climate Model show that this is due mainly to anomalous forcing by orographic gravity waves, which maximizes in the Northern Hemisphere subtropics between 18 and 22 km, especially during the strongest warm ENSO episodes. Anomalies in the meridional gradient of temperature in the upper troposphere and lower stratosphere (UTLS) are produced during warm ENSO events, accompanied by anomalies in the location and intensity of the subtropical jets. This anomalous wind pattern alters the propagation and dissipation of the parameterized gravity waves, which ultimately force increases in tropical upwelling in the lowermost stratosphere. During cold ENSO events a similar signal, but of opposite sign, is present in the model simulations. The signals in ozone and water vapor produced by ENSO events in the UTLS are also investigated.

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A. L. New, R. Bleck, Y. Jia, R. Marsh, M. Huddleston, and S. Barnard

Abstract

This paper describes a 30-yr spinup experiment of the North Atlantic Ocean with the Miami isopycnic-coordinate ocean model, which, when compared with previous experiments, possesses improved horizontal resolution, surface forcing functions, and bathymetry, and is extended to higher latitudes. Overall, there is a conversion of lighter to heavier water masses, and waters of densities 1027.95 and 1028.05 kg m−3 are produced in the Greenland-lceland Norwegian basin, and of density 1027.75 kg m−3 in the Labrador and Irminger basins. These water masses flow primarily southward. The main purpose of this present study, however, is to investigate the ventilation of the subtropical gyre. The role of Ekman pumping and lateral induction in driving the subduction process is examined and the relative importance of the latter is confirmed. The paper also illustrates how the mixed layer waters are drawn southward and westward into the ocean interior in a continuous spectrum of mode waters with densities ranging between 1026.40 and 1027.30 kg m−3. These are organized into a regular fashion by the model from a relatively disorganized initial state. The evolution of the model gyre during spinup is governed by mixed layer cooling in the central North Atlantic, which causes the ventilation patterns to move southwestward, the layers to rise, and surprisingly, to become warmer. This warming is explained by thermodynamic considerations. Finally, it is shown that the rate of change of potential vorticity following a fluid pathway in the subtropical gyre is governed by the diffusion of layer thickness, which represents subgrid-scale mixing processes in the model. This leads to increasing potential vorticity along pathways that ventilate from the thickest outcrop regions as fluid is diffused laterally and to decreasing potential vorticity along neighboring trajectories.

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V. O. Ivchenko, B. Sinha, V. B. Zalesny, R. Marsh, and A. T. Blaker

Abstract

An integral constraint for eddy fluxes of potential vorticity (PV), corresponding to global momentum conservation, is applied to two-layer zonal quasigeostrophic channel flow. This constraint must be satisfied for any type of parameterization of eddy PV fluxes. Bottom topography strongly influences the integral constraint compared to a flat bottom channel. An analytical solution for the mean flow solution has been found by using asymptotic expansion in a small parameter, which is the ratio of the Rossby radius to the meridional extent of the channel. Applying the integral constraint to this solution, one can find restrictions for eddy PV transfer coefficients that relate the eddy fluxes of PV to the mean flow. These restrictions strongly deviate from restrictions for the channel with flat bottom topography.

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Anne K. Smith, Nicholas M. Pedatella, Daniel R. Marsh, and Tomoko Matsuo

Abstract

The NCAR Whole Atmosphere Community Climate Model (WACCM) is used to investigate the dynamical influence of the lower and middle atmosphere on the upper mesosphere and lower thermosphere. In simulations using a methodology adapted from the “specified dynamics” (nudged) version of the model, horizontal winds and temperature over part of the vertical range of the atmosphere are relaxed toward results from a previous simulation that serves as the true simulation, equivalent to meteorological analysis. In the upper mesosphere, the magnitude of the divergence of the constrained simulations from the true simulation depends on the vertical extent and frequency of the data used for nudging the model and grows with altitude. The simulations quantify the error growth of the model dynamical fields when data and forcing terms are known exactly and there are no model biases. The error growth rate and the ultimate discrepancy between the nudged and true fields depend strongly on the method used for representing gravity wave drag. The largest error growth occurs when the gravity wave parameterization uses interactive wave sources that depend on convective activity or fronts. Errors are reduced when the same parameterization is used with smoothly varying specified wave sources. The smallest errors are seen when the parameterized gravity wave drag is replaced by linear Rayleigh friction damping on the wind speed. These comparisons demonstrate the role of gravity waves in transporting the variability of the troposphere into the mesosphere and lower thermosphere.

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A. C. Kren, D. R. Marsh, A. K. Smith, and P. Pilewskie

Abstract

The response of the Northern Hemisphere winter stratosphere to the Pacific decadal oscillation (PDO) is examined using the Whole Atmosphere Community Climate Model. A 200-yr preindustrial control simulation that includes fully interactive chemistry, ocean and sea ice, constant solar forcing, and greenhouse gases fixed to 1850 levels is analyzed. Based on principal component analysis, the PDO spatial pattern, frequency, and amplitude agree well with the observed PDO over the period 1900–2014. Consistent with previous studies, the positive phase of the PDO is marked by a strengthened Aleutian low and a wave train of geopotential height anomalies reminiscent of the Pacific–North American pattern in the troposphere. In addition to a tropospheric signal, a zonal-mean warming of about 2 K in the northern polar stratosphere and a zonal-mean zonal wind decrease of about 4 m s−1 in the PDO positive phase are found. When compositing PDO positive or negative winters during neutral El Niño years, the magnitude is reduced and depicts an early winter forcing of the stratosphere compared to a late winter response from El Niño. Contamination between PDO and ENSO signals is also discussed. Stratospheric sudden warmings occur 63% of the time in the PDO positive phase compared to 40% in the negative phase. Although this sudden warming frequency is not statistically significant, it is quantitatively consistent with NCEP–NCAR reanalysis data and recent observational evidence linking the PDO positive phase to weak stratospheric vortex events.

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Bryan T. Smith, Richard L. Thompson, Andrew R. Dean, and Patrick T. Marsh

Abstract

Radar-identified convective modes, peak low-level rotational velocities, and near-storm environmental data were assigned to a sample of tornadoes reported in the contiguous United States during 2009–13. The tornado segment data were filtered by the maximum enhanced Fujita (EF)-scale tornado event per hour using a 40-km horizontal grid. Convective mode was assigned to each tornado event by examining full volumetric Weather Surveillance Radar-1988 Doppler data at the beginning time of each event, and 0.5° peak rotational velocity (V rot) data were identified manually during the life span of each tornado event. Environmental information accompanied each grid-hour event, consisting primarily of supercell-related convective parameters from the hourly objective mesoscale analyses calculated and archived at the Storm Prediction Center. Results from examining environmental and radar attributes, featuring the significant tornado parameter (STP) and 0.5° peak V rot data, suggest an increasing conditional probability for greater EF-scale damage as both STP and 0.5° peak V rot increase, especially with supercells. Possible applications of these findings include using the conditional probability of tornado intensity as a real-time situational awareness tool.

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