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Steven C. Sherwood, Cathryn L. Meyer, Robert J. Allen, and Holly A. Titchner

Abstract

Results are presented from a new homogenization of data since 1959 from 527 radiosonde stations. This effort differs from previous ones by employing an approach specifically designed to minimize systematic errors in adjustment, by including wind shear as well as temperature, by seasonally resolving adjustments, and by using neither satellite information nor station metadata. Relatively few artifacts were detected in wind shear, and associated adjustments were indistinguishable from random adjustments. Temperature artifacts were detected most often in the late 1980s–early 1990s. Uncertainty was characterized from variations within an ensemble of homogenizations and used to test goodness of fit with satellite data using reduced chi squared.

The meridional variations of zonally aggregated temperature trend since 1979 moved significantly closer to those of the Microwave Sounding Unit (MSU) after data adjustment. Adjusted data from 5°S to 20°N continue to show relatively weak warming, but the error is quite large, and the trends are inconsistent with those at other latitudes. Overall, the adjusted trends are close to those of MSU for the temperature of the lower troposphere (TLT). For channel 2, they are consistent with two analyses (Remote Sensing Systems, p = 0.54, and the University of Maryland, p = 0.32) showing the strongest warming but not with the University of Alabama dataset (p = 0.0001). The troposphere warms at least as strongly as the surface, with local warming maxima at 300 hPa in the tropics and in the boundary layer of the extratropical Northern Hemisphere (ENH). Tropospheric warming since 1959 is almost hemispherically symmetric, but since 1979 it is significantly stronger in ENH and weaker in the extratropical Southern Hemisphere (ESH). ESH trends are relatively uncertain because of poor sampling. Stratospheric cooling also remains stronger than indicated by MSU and likely excessive.

While this effort appears not to have detected all artifacts, trends appear to be systematically improved. Stronger warming is shown in the Northern Hemisphere where sampling is best. Several suggestions are made for future attempts. These results support the hypothesis that trends in wind data are relatively uncorrupted by artifacts compared to temperature, and should be exploited in future homogenization efforts.

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Robert J. Meyer, Michael Horowitz, Daniel S. Wilks, and Kenneth A. Horowitz

Abstract

This paper explores the empirical features of a novel commodity option trading instrument described in the companion paper (Part I) that allows market participants to hedge against the risk that a coastal county or region in the eastern United States will experience a hurricane landfall. In this instrument investors can speculate on whether a landfall event will occur in any one of a number of coastal counties or regions, with option prices being determined by an adaptive control algorithm that reflects previous purchasing decisions of other market participants. In this paper, the authors report the results of an experiment designed to test the empirical robustness of this mechanism using data from traders buying landfall options over the course of a simulated hurricane season. In the experiment traders are given the opportunity to buy landfall options in the primary market as well as sell and buy options in a conventional bilateral secondary market. The data show that aggregate market prices quickly converge to rational (efficient) levels among market participants after limited amounts of trading experience. Some systematic anomalies are observed in the trading of options for individual outcomes, however, with the most notable being an initial tendency to overvalue landfall options that have the highest prior probabilities and for valuations of the “No Landfall” option to be inflated immediately after a storm threat passes without making landfall.

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Robert J. Meyer, Jay Baker, Kenneth Broad, Jeff Czajkowski, and Ben Orlove

Findings are reported from two field studies that measured the evolution of coastal residents' risk perceptions and preparation plans as two hurricanes—Isaac and Sandy—were approaching the U.S. coast during the 2012 hurricane season. The data suggest that residents threatened by such storms had a poor understanding of the threat posed by the storms; they overestimated the likelihood that their homes would be subject to hurricane-force wind conditions but underestimated the potential damage that such winds could cause, and they misconstrued the greatest threat as coming from wind rather than water. These misperceptions translated into preparation actions that were not well commensurate with the nature and scale of the threat that they faced, with residents being well prepared for a modest wind event of short duration but not for a significant wind-and-water catastrophe. Possible causes of the biases and policy implications for improving hurricane warning communication are discussed.

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Andrew K. Heidinger, Nicholas Bearson, Michael J. Foster, Yue Li, Steve Wanzong, Steven Ackerman, Robert E. Holz, Steven Platnick, and Kerry Meyer

Abstract

Modern polar-orbiting meteorological satellites provide both imaging and sounding observations simultaneously. Most imagers, however, do not have H2O and CO2 absorption bands and therefore struggle to accurately estimate the height of optically thin cirrus clouds. Sounders provide these needed observations, but at a spatial resolution that is too coarse to resolve many important cloud structures. This paper presents a technique to merge sounder and imager observations with the goal of maintaining the details offered by the imager’s high spatial resolution and the accuracy offered by the sounder’s spectral information. The technique involves deriving cloud temperatures from the sounder observations, interpolating the sounder temperatures to the imager pixels, and using the sounder temperatures as an additional constraint in the imager cloud height optimal estimation approach. This technique is demonstrated using collocated VIIRS and Cross-track Infrared Sounder (CrIS) observations with the impact of the sounder observations validated using coincident CALIPSO/CALIOP cloud heights These comparisons show significant improvement in the cloud heights for optically thin cirrus. The technique should be generally applicable to other imager/sounder pairs.

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Steven M. Martinaitis, Benjamin Albright, Jonathan J. Gourley, Sarah Perfater, Tiffany Meyer, Zachary L. Flamig, Robert A. Clark, Humberto Vergara, and Mark Klein

Abstract

The flash flood event of 23 June 2016 devastated portions of West Virginia and west-central Virginia, resulting in 23 fatalities and 5 new record river crests. The flash flooding was part of a multiday event that was classified as a billion-dollar disaster. The 23 June 2016 event occurred during real-time operations by two Hydrometeorology Testbed (HMT) experiments. The Flash Flood and Intense Rainfall (FFaIR) experiment focused on the 6–24-h forecast through the utilization of experimental high-resolution deterministic and ensemble numerical weather prediction and hydrologic model guidance. The HMT Multi-Radar Multi-Sensor Hydro (HMT-Hydro) experiment concentrated on the 0–6-h time frame for the prediction and warning of flash floods primarily through the experimental Flooded Locations and Simulated Hydrographs product suite. This study describes the various model guidance, applications, and evaluations from both testbed experiments during the 23 June 2016 flash flood event. Various model outputs provided a significant precipitation signal that increased the confidence of FFaIR experiment participants to issue a high risk for flash flooding for the region between 1800 UTC 23 June and 0000 UTC 24 June. Experimental flash flood warnings issued during the HMT-Hydro experiment for this event improved the probability of detection and resulted in a 63.8% increase in lead time to 84.2 min. Isolated flash floods in Kentucky demonstrated the potential to reduce the warned area. Participants characterized how different model guidance and analysis products influenced the decision-making process and how the experimental products can help shape future national and local flash flood operations.

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Dennis Baldocchi, Eva Falge, Lianhong Gu, Richard Olson, David Hollinger, Steve Running, Peter Anthoni, Ch. Bernhofer, Kenneth Davis, Robert Evans, Jose Fuentes, Allen Goldstein, Gabriel Katul, Beverly Law, Xuhui Lee, Yadvinder Malhi, Tilden Meyers, William Munger, Walt Oechel, K. T. Paw U, Kim Pilegaard, H. P. Schmid, Riccardo Valentini, Shashi Verma, Timo Vesala, Kell Wilson, and Steve Wofsy

FLUXNET is a global network of micrometeorological flux measurement sites that measure the exchanges of carbon dioxide, water vapor, and energy between the biosphere and atmosphere. At present over 140 sites are operating on a long-term and continuous basis. Vegetation under study includes temperate conifer and broadleaved (deciduous and evergreen) forests, tropical and boreal forests, crops, grasslands, chaparral, wetlands, and tundra. Sites exist on five continents and their latitudinal distribution ranges from 70°N to 30°S.

FLUXNET has several primary functions. First, it provides infrastructure for compiling, archiving, and distributing carbon, water, and energy flux measurement, and meteorological, plant, and soil data to the science community. (Data and site information are available online at the FLUXNET Web site, http://www-eosdis.ornl.gov/FLUXNET/.) Second, the project supports calibration and flux intercomparison activities. This activity ensures that data from the regional networks are intercomparable. And third, FLUXNET supports the synthesis, discussion, and communication of ideas and data by supporting project scientists, workshops, and visiting scientists. The overarching goal is to provide information for validating computations of net primary productivity, evaporation, and energy absorption that are being generated by sensors mounted on the NASA Terra satellite.

Data being compiled by FLUXNET are being used to quantify and compare magnitudes and dynamics of annual ecosystem carbon and water balances, to quantify the response of stand-scale carbon dioxide and water vapor flux densities to controlling biotic and abiotic factors, and to validate a hierarchy of soil–plant–atmosphere trace gas exchange models. Findings so far include 1) net CO2 exchange of temperate broadleaved forests increases by about 5.7 g C m−2 day−1 for each additional day that the growing season is extended; 2) the sensitivity of net ecosystem CO2 exchange to sunlight doubles if the sky is cloudy rather than clear; 3) the spectrum of CO2 flux density exhibits peaks at timescales of days, weeks, and years, and a spectral gap exists at the month timescale; 4) the optimal temperature of net CO2 exchange varies with mean summer temperature; and 5) stand age affects carbon dioxide and water vapor flux densities.

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