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K. E. Cady-Pereira, M. W. Shephard, D. D. Turner, E. J. Mlawer, S. A. Clough, and T. J. Wagner

Abstract

Accurate water vapor profiles from radiosondes are essential for long-term climate prediction, weather prediction, validation of remote sensing retrievals, and other applications. The Vaisala RS80, RS90, and RS92 radiosondes are among the more commonly deployed radiosondes in the world. However, numerous investigators have shown that the daytime water vapor profiles measured by these instruments present a significant dry bias due to the solar heating of the humidity sensor. This bias in the column-integrated precipitable water vapor (PWV), along with variability due to calibration, can be removed by scaling the humidity profile to agree with the PWV retrieved from a microwave radiometer (MWR), as has been demonstrated by several previous studies. Infrared radiative closure analyses have shown that the MWR PWV does not present daytime versus nighttime differences; thus, scaling by the MWR is a possible approach for removing the daytime dry bias. However, MWR measurements are not routinely available at all radiosonde launch sites. Starting from a long-term series of sonde and MWR PWV measurements from the Atmospheric Radiation Measurement (ARM) Southern Great Plains (SGP) site, the authors have developed a simple correction to the column-integrated sonde PWV, derived from an analysis of the ratio of the MWR and sonde measurements; this correction is a function of the atmospheric transmittance as determined by the solar zenith angle, and it effectively removes the daytime dry bias at all solar zenith angles. The correction was validated by successfully applying it to an independent dataset from the ARM tropical western Pacific (TWP) site.

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D. D. Turner, B. M. Lesht, S. A. Clough, J. C. Liljegren, H. E. Revercomb, and D. C. Tobin

Abstract

Thousands of comparisons between total precipitable water vapor (PWV) obtained from radiosonde (Vaisala RS80-H) profiles and PWV retrieved from a collocated microwave radiometer (MWR) were made at the Atmospheric Radiation Measurement (ARM) Program's Southern Great Plains Cloud and Radiation Testbed (SGP CART) site in northern Oklahoma from 1994 to 2000. These comparisons show that the RS80-H radiosonde has an approximate 5% dry bias compared to the MWR. This observation is consistent with interpretations of Vaisala RS80 radiosonde data obtained during the Tropical Ocean Global Atmosphere Coupled Ocean–Atmosphere Response Experiment (TOGA COARE). In addition to the dry bias, analysis of the PWV comparisons as well as of data obtained from dual-sonde soundings done at the SGP show that the calibration of the radiosonde humidity measurements varies considerably both when the radiosondes come from different calibration batches and when the radiosondes come from the same calibration batch. This variability can result in peak-to-peak differences between radiosondes of greater than 25% in PWV. Because accurate representation of the vertical profile of water vapor is critical for ARM's science objectives, an empirical method for correcting the radiosonde humidity profiles is developed based on a constant scaling factor. By using an independent set of observations and radiative transfer models to test the correction, it is shown that the constant humidity scaling method appears both to improve the accuracy and reduce the uncertainty of the radiosonde data. The ARM data are also used to examine a different, physically based, correction scheme that was developed recently by scientists from Vaisala and the National Center for Atmospheric Research (NCAR). This scheme, which addresses the dry bias problem as well as other calibration-related problems with the RS80-H sensor, results in excellent agreement between the PWV retrieved from the MWR and integrated from the corrected radiosonde. However, because the physically based correction scheme does not address the apparently random calibration variations observed, it does not reduce the variability either between radiosonde calibration batches or within individual calibration batches.

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D. D. Turner, A. M. Vogelmann, R. T. Austin, J. C. Barnard, K. Cady-Pereira, J. C. Chiu, S. A. Clough, C. Flynn, M. M. Khaiyer, J. Liljegren, K. Johnson, B. Lin, C. Long, A. Marshak, S. Y. Matrosov, S. A. McFarlane, M. Miller, Q. Min, P. Minimis, W. O'Hirok, Z. Wang, and W. Wiscombe

Many of the clouds important to the Earth's energy balance, from the Tropics to the Arctic, contain small amounts of liquid water. Longwave and shortwave radiative fluxes are very sensitive to small perturbations of the cloud liquid water path (LWP), when the LWP is small (i.e., < 100 g m−2; clouds with LWP less than this threshold will be referred to as “thin”). Thus, the radiative properties of these thin liquid water clouds must be well understood to capture them correctly in climate models. We review the importance of these thin clouds to the Earth's energy balance, and explain the difficulties in observing them. In particular, because these clouds are thin, potentially mixed phase, and often broken (i.e., have large 3D variability), it is challenging to retrieve their microphysical properties accurately. We describe a retrieval algorithm intercomparison that was conducted to evaluate the issues involved. The intercomparison used data collected at the Atmospheric Radiation Measurement (ARM) Southern Great Plains (SGP) site and included 18 different algorithms to evaluate their retrieved LWP, optical depth, and effective radii. Surprisingly, evaluation of the simplest case, a single-layer overcast stratocumulus, revealed that huge discrepancies exist among the various techniques, even among different algorithms that are in the same general classification. This suggests that, despite considerable advances that have occurred in the field, much more work must be done, and we discuss potential avenues for future research.)

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D. D. Turner, D. C. Tobin, S. A. Clough, P. D. Brown, R. G. Ellingson, E. J. Mlawer, R. O. Knuteson, H. E. Revercomb, T. R. Shippert, W. L. Smith, and M. W. Shephard

Abstract

Research funded by the U.S. Department of Energy's Atmospheric Radiation Measurement (ARM) program has led to significant improvements in longwave radiative transfer modeling over the last decade. These improvements, which have generally come in small incremental changes, were made primarily in the water vapor self- and foreign-broadened continuum and the water vapor absorption line parameters. These changes, when taken as a whole, result in up to a 6 W m−2 improvement in the modeled clear-sky downwelling longwave radiative flux at the surface and significantly better agreement with spectral observations. This paper provides an overview of the history of ARM with regard to clear-sky longwave radiative transfer, and analyzes remaining related uncertainties in the ARM state-of-the-art Line-by-Line Radiative Transfer Model (LBLRTM).

A quality measurement experiment (QME) for the downwelling infrared radiance at the ARM Southern Great Plains site has been ongoing since 1994. This experiment has three objectives: 1) to validate and improve the absorption models and spectral line parameters used in line-by-line radiative transfer models, 2) to assess the ability to define the atmospheric state, and 3) to assess the quality of the radiance observations that serve as ground truth for the model. Analysis of data from 1994 to 1997 made significant contributions to optimizing the QME, but is limited by small but significant uncertainties and deficiencies in the atmospheric state and radiance observations. This paper concentrates on the analysis of QME data from 1998 to 2001, wherein the data have been carefully selected to address the uncertainties in the 1994–97 dataset. Analysis of this newer dataset suggests that the representation of self-broadened water vapor continuum absorption is 3%–8% too strong in the 750–1000 cm−1 region. The dataset also provides information on the accuracy of the self- and foreign-broadened continuum absorption in the 1100–1300 cm−1 region. After accounting for these changes, remaining differences in modeled and observed downwelling clear-sky fluxes are less than 1.5 W m−2 over a wide range of atmospheric states.

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Yubao Liu, Thomas T. Warner, James F. Bowers, Laurie P. Carson, Fei Chen, Charles A. Clough, Christopher A. Davis, Craig H. Egeland, Scott F. Halvorson, Terrence W. Huck Jr., Leo Lachapelle, Robert E. Malone, Daran L. Rife, Rong-Shyang Sheu, Scott P. Swerdlin, and Dean S. Weingarten

Abstract

Given the rapid increase in the use of operational mesoscale models to satisfy different specialized needs, it is important for the community to share ideas and solutions for meeting the many associated challenges that encompass science, technology, education, and training. As a contribution toward this objective, this paper begins a series that reports on the characteristics and performance of an operational mesogamma-scale weather analysis and forecasting system that has been developed for use by the U.S. Army Test and Evaluation Command. During the more than five years that this four-dimensional weather system has been in use at seven U.S. Army test ranges, valuable experience has been gained about the production and effective use of high-resolution model products for satisfying a variety of needs. This paper serves as a foundation for the rest of the papers in the series by describing the operational requirements for the system, the data assimilation and forecasting system characteristics, and the forecaster training that is required for the finescale products to be used effectively.

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