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A. B. White, R. J. Lataitis, and R. S. Lawrence

Abstract

It is well known that the width of a clear-air Doppler radar spectrum can be used to estimate the small-scale variability of the wind. To do this accurately requires that all contributions to the spectral width be accounted for. Recently, an approximate formula for correcting Doppler spectral widths for spatial and temporal filtering effects was proposed. The formula assumes independent additive contributions to the spectral width from the inherent volume averaging of the radar-sampling volume and the finite measurement interval. In the present paper the approximate formula is compared to an exact triple-integral formulation in which the spatial and temporal effects are shown to be coupled in a nonlinear fashion. The required integrations are evaluated numerically and are carried out over the full range of scales in wavenumber space, in contrast to earlier work, where truncated forms of isotropic, inertial-subrange spectral forms were used to obtain a simple, closed-form expression. Comparisons show that the approximate formula provides a good approximation to the integral solution over small to moderate length scales, but that it diverges from the integral solution at larger scales. Asymptotic limits to the exact integral formulation for large and small scales are presented. Finally, a double-integral solution that can be rapidly evaluated by any one of a number of commercial mathematics packages has been developed and shown to agree within 2% of the exact solution over all scales.

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Ting-I. Wang, K. B. Earnshaw, and R. S. Lawrence

Abstract

Path-averaged terminal velocity distribution of raindrops is determined from the temporal covariance function of signals from two vertically spaced linear optical detectors that respond to raindrop-induced amplitude scintillations of a projected laser beam. The known monotonic relationship between drop size and terminal velocity permits the measured velocity distribution to be converted to path-averaged drop-size distribution and, in turn, to rain rate. The large capture area of the measurements over a 200 m path allows drop-size distribution to be measured in short time intervals. We present measurements of path-averaged rain rate and raindrop size distribution made at 42 s intervals. The terminal velocity distribution during a storm that contained a mixture of rain and hail clearly shows the two-component nature of the precipitation.

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Ting-I. Wang, R. Lataitis, R. S. Lawrence, and G. R. Ochs

Abstract

Prototype Laser Weather Identifier (LWI) systems designed to detect fog, rain and snow were tested for several months at Stapleton International Airport in Denver, and at the AFGL Weather Test Facility at Otis Air Force Base, Massachusetts. We present a detailed analysis of the performance of these systems, compared with human weather observations and tipping-bucket raingages, and suggest modifications for future operational instruments.

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Mu-King Tsay, Ting-I. Wang, R. S. Lawrence, G. R. Ochs, and R. B. Fritz

Abstract

In a cooperative field study of the planetary boundary layer, three optical wind sensors were placed around a 300 m meteorological tower in a 450 m equilateral triangle 3–4 m above the terrain. It was found that the convergence measured by the three-sensor system correlates well with in situ measurements of vertical wind by anemometers located on the tower at heights up to 300 m during the occurrence of thermal plumes. By analyzing the correlation between the optically measured convergence and the vertical wind measurements made on the tower, the inversion layer, if below the top of the tower, can usually be located in the early morning when thermal plumes are active. The space-averaged horizontal wind vectors measured by the optical system have good, though not perfect, agreement with the tower measurements at the lowest layer (10 m above the ground), and with the measurements of a nearby network of surface anemometers. A comparison of the optically measured convergence with the direction of the surface horizontal wind indicates some effect of irregular terrain.

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K. B. Earnshaw, Ting-I. Wang, R. S. Lawrence, and R. G. Greunke

Abstract

The possibility of identifying weather through the observation of forward scatter of a laser beam has been investigated. Preliminary observations with a prototype instrument suggest that it is possible to distinguish clear air, rain, snow, hail and fog using laser weather identification. After additional measurements are made in various weather conditions, it should be practical to design a simple automatic instrument to provide such information.

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S.-Y. Simon Wang, Lawrence E. Hipps, Oi-Yu Chung, Robert R. Gillies, and Randal Martin

Abstract

Because of the geography of a narrow valley and surrounding tall mountains, Cache Valley (located in northern Utah and southern Idaho) experiences frequent shallow temperature inversions that are both intense and persistent. Such temperature inversions have resulted in the worst air quality in the nation. In this paper, the historical properties of Cache Valley’s winter inversions are examined by using two meteorological stations with a difference in elevation of approximately 100 m and a horizontal distance apart of ~4.5 km. Differences in daily maximum air temperature between two stations were used to define the frequency and intensity of inversions. Despite the lack of a long-term trend in inversion intensity from 1956 to present, the inversion frequency increased in the early 1980s and extending into the early 1990s but thereafter decreased by about 30% through 2013. Daily mean air temperatures and inversion intensity were categorized further using a mosaic plot. Of relevance was the discovery that after 1990 there was an increase in the probability of inversions during cold days and that under conditions in which the daily mean air temperature was below −15°C an inversion became a certainty. A regression model was developed to estimate the concentration of past particulate matter of aerodynamic diameter ≤ 2.5 μm (PM2.5). The model indicated past episodes of increased PM2.5 concentrations that went into decline after 1990; this was especially so in the coldest of climate conditions.

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Jin-Ho Yoon, Ben Kravitz, Philip J. Rasch, S.-Y. Simon Wang, Robert R. Gillies, and Lawrence Hipps
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James L. Franklin, Richard J. Pasch, Lixion A. Avila, John L. Beven II, Miles B. Lawrence, Stacy R. Stewart, and Eric S. Blake

Abstract

The 2004 Atlantic hurricane season is summarized, and the year’s tropical and subtropical cyclones are described. Fifteen named storms, including six “major” hurricanes, developed in 2004. Overall activity was nearly two and a half times the long-term mean. The season was one of the most devastating on record, resulting in over 3100 deaths basinwide and record property damage in the United States.

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I. A. Renfrew, G. W. K. Moore, J. E. Kristjánsson, H. Ólafsson, S. L. Gray, G. N. Petersen, K. Bovis, P. R. A. Brown, I. Føre, T. Haine, C. Hay, E. A. Irvine, A Lawrence, T. Ohigashi, S. Outten, R. S. Pickart, M. Shapiro, D. Sproson, R. Swinbank, A. Woolley, and S. Zhang

Greenland has a major influence on the atmospheric circulation of the North Atlantic-western European region, dictating the location and strength of mesoscale weather systems around the coastal seas of Greenland and directly influencing synoptic-scale weather systems both locally and downstream over Europe. High winds associated with the local weather systems can induce large air-sea fluxes of heat, moisture, and momentum in a region that is critical to the overturning of the thermohaline circulation, and thus play a key role in controlling the coupled atmosphere-ocean climate system.

The Greenland Flow Distortion Experiment (GFDex) is investigating the role of Greenland in defining the structure and predictability of both local and downstream weather systems through a program of aircraft-based observation and numerical modeling. The GFDex observational program is centered upon an aircraft-based field campaign in February and March 2007, at the dawn of the International Polar Year. Twelve missions were flown with the Facility for Airborne Atmospheric Measurements' BAe-146, based out of the Keflavik, Iceland. These included the first aircraft-based observations of a reverse tip jet event, the first aircraft-based observations of barrier winds off of southeast Greenland, two polar mesoscale cyclones, a dramatic case of lee cyclogenesis, and several targeted observation missions into areas where additional observations were predicted to improve forecasts.

In this overview of GFDex the background, aims and objectives, and facilities and logistics are described. A summary of the campaign is provided, along with some of the highlights of the experiment.

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Christopher R. Williams, V. N. Bringi, Lawrence D. Carey, V. Chandrasekar, Patrick N. Gatlin, Ziad S. Haddad, Robert Meneghini, S. Joseph Munchak, Stephen W. Nesbitt, Walter A. Petersen, Simone Tanelli, Ali Tokay, Anna Wilson, and David B. Wolff

Abstract

Rainfall retrieval algorithms often assume a gamma-shaped raindrop size distribution (DSD) with three mathematical parameters N w, D m, and μ. If only two independent measurements are available, as with the dual-frequency precipitation radar on the Global Precipitation Measurement (GPM) mission core satellite, then retrieval algorithms are underconstrained and require assumptions about DSD parameters. To reduce the number of free parameters, algorithms can assume that μ is either a constant or a function of D m. Previous studies have suggested μ–Λ constraints [where Λ = (4 + μ)/D m], but controversies exist over whether μ–Λ constraints result from physical processes or mathematical artifacts due to high correlations between gamma DSD parameters. This study avoids mathematical artifacts by developing joint probability distribution functions (joint PDFs) of statistically independent DSD attributes derived from the raindrop mass spectrum. These joint PDFs are then mapped into gamma-shaped DSD parameter joint PDFs that can be used in probabilistic rainfall retrieval algorithms as proposed for the GPM satellite program. Surface disdrometer data show a high correlation coefficient between the mass spectrum mean diameter D m and mass spectrum standard deviation σ m. To remove correlations between DSD attributes, a normalized mass spectrum standard deviation is constructed to be statistically independent of D m, with representing the most likely value and std representing its dispersion. Joint PDFs of D m and μ are created from D m and . A simple algorithm shows that rain-rate estimates had smaller biases when assuming the DSD breadth of than when assuming a constant μ.

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