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V. Mattioli, E. R. Westwater, D. Cimini, J. C. Liljegren, B. M. Lesht, S. I. Gutman, and F. J. Schmidlin

Abstract

During 9 March–9 April 2004, the North Slope of Alaska Arctic Winter Radiometric Experiment was conducted at the Atmospheric Radiation Measurement Program’s (ARM) “Great White” field site near Barrow, Alaska. The major goals of the experiment were to compare microwave and millimeter wavelength radiometers and to develop forward models in radiative transfer, all with a focus on cold (temperature from 0° to −40°C) and dry [precipitable water vapor (PWV) < 0.5 cm] conditions. To supplement the remote sensors, several radiosonde packages were deployed: Vaisala RS90 launched at the ARM Duplex and at the Great White and Sippican VIZ-B2 operated by the NWS. In addition, eight dual-radiosonde launches were conducted at the Duplex with Vaisala RS90 and Sippican GPS Mark II, the latter one modified to include a chilled mirror humidity sensor. Temperature comparisons showed a nighttime bias between VIZ-B2 and RS90, which reached 3.5°C at 30 hPa. Relative humidity comparisons indicated better than 5% average agreement between the RS90 and the chilled mirror. A bias of about 20% for the upper troposphere was found in the VIZ-B2 and the Mark II measurements relative to both RS90 and the chilled mirror.

Comparisons in PWV were made between a microwave radiometer, a microwave profiler, a global positioning system receiver, and the radiosonde types. An RMS agreement of 0.033 cm was found between the radiometer and the profiler and better than 0.058 cm between the radiometers and GPS. RS90 showed a daytime dry bias on PWV of about 0.02 cm.

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Angelyn W. Moore, Ivory J. Small, Seth I. Gutman, Yehuda Bock, John L. Dumas, Peng Fang, Jennifer S. Haase, Mark E. Jackson, and Jayme L. Laber

Abstract

During the North American Monsoon, low-to-midlevel moisture is transported in surges from the Gulf of California and Eastern Pacific Ocean into Mexico and the American Southwest. As rising levels of precipitable water interact with the mountainous terrain, severe thunderstorms can develop, resulting in flash floods that threaten life and property. The rapid evolution of these storms, coupled with the relative lack of upper-air and surface weather observations in the region, make them difficult to predict and monitor, and guidance from numerical weather prediction models can vary greatly under these conditions. Precipitable water vapor (PW) estimates derived from continuously operating ground-based GPS receivers have been available for some time from NOAA’s GPS-Met program, but these observations have been of limited utility to operational forecasters in part due to poor spatial resolution. Under a NASA Advanced Information Systems Technology project, 37 real-time stations were added to NOAA’s GPS-Met analysis providing 30-min PW estimates, reducing station spacing from approximately 150 km to 30 km in Southern California. An 18–22 July 2013 North American Monsoon event provided an opportunity to evaluate the utility of the additional upper-air moisture observations to enhance National Weather Service (NWS) forecaster situational awareness during the rapidly developing event. NWS forecasters used these additional data to detect rapid moisture increases at intervals between the available 1–6-h model updates and approximately twice-daily radiosonde observations, and these contributed tangibly to the issuance of timely flood watches and warnings in advance of flash floods, debris flows, and related road closures.

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The Arm Program's Water Vapor Intensive Observation Periods

Overview, Initial Accomplishments, and Future Challenges

H. E. Revercomb, D. D. Turner, D. C. Tobin, R. O. Knuteson, W. F. Feltz, J. Barnard, J. Bösenberg, S. Clough, D. Cook, R. Ferrare, J. Goldsmith, S. Gutman, R. Halthore, B. Lesht, J. Liljegren, H. Linné, J. Michalsky, V. Morris, W. Porch, S. Richardson, B. Schmid, M. Splitt, T. Van Hove, E. Westwater, and D. Whiteman

A series of water vapor intensive observation periods (WVIOPs) were conducted at the Atmospheric Radiation Measurement (ARM) site in Oklahoma between 1996 and 2000. The goals of these WVIOPs are to characterize the accuracy of the operational water vapor observations and to develop techniques to improve the accuracy of these measurements.

The initial focus of these experiments was on the lower atmosphere, for which the goal is an absolute accuracy of better than 2% in total column water vapor, corresponding to ~1 W m−2 of infrared radiation at the surface. To complement the operational water vapor instruments during the WVIOPs, additional instrumentation including a scanning Raman lidar, microwave radiometers, chilled-mirror hygrometers, a differential absorption lidar, and ground-based solar radiometers were deployed at the ARM site. The unique datasets from the 1996, 1997, and 1999 experiments have led to many results, including the discovery and characterization of a large (> 25%) sonde-to-sonde variability in the water vapor profiles from Vaisala RS-80H radiosondes that acts like a height-independent calibration factor error. However, the microwave observations provide a stable reference that can be used to remove a large part of the sonde-to-sonde calibration variability. In situ capacitive water vapor sensors demonstrated agreement within 2% of chilled-mirror hygrometers at the surface and on an instrumented tower. Water vapor profiles retrieved from two Raman lidars, which have both been calibrated to the ARM microwave radiometer, showed agreement to within 5% for all altitudes below 8 km during two WVIOPs. The mean agreement of the total precipitable water vapor from different techniques has converged significantly from early analysis that originally showed differences up to 15%. Retrievals of total precipitable water vapor (PWV) from the ARM microwave radiometer are now found to be only 3% moister than PWV derived from new GPS results, and about 2% drier than the mean of radiosonde data after a recently defined sonde dry-bias correction is applied. Raman lidar profiles calibrated using tower-mounted chilled-mirror hygrometers confirm the expected sensitivity of microwave radiometer data to water vapor changes, but it is drier than the microwave radiometer (MWR) by 0.95 mm for all PWV amounts. However, observations from different collocated microwave radiometers have shown larger differences than expected and attempts to resolve the remaining inconsistencies (in both calibration and forward modeling) are continuing.

The paper concludes by outlining the objectives of the recent 2000 WVIOP and the ARM–First International Satellite Cloud Climatology Project (ISCCP) Regional Experiment (FIRE) Water Vapor Experiment (AFWEX), the latter of which switched the focus to characterizing upper-tropospheric humidity measurements.

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A. B. White, M. L. Anderson, M. D. Dettinger, F. M. Ralph, A. Hinojosa, D. R. Cayan, R. K. Hartman, D. W. Reynolds, L. E. Johnson, T. L. Schneider, R. Cifelli, Z. Toth, S. I. Gutman, C. W. King, F. Gehrke, P. E. Johnston, C. Walls, D. Mann, D. J. Gottas, and T. Coleman

Abstract

During Northern Hemisphere winters, the West Coast of North America is battered by extratropical storms. The impact of these storms is of paramount concern to California, where aging water supply and flood protection infrastructures are challenged by increased standards for urban flood protection, an unusually variable weather regime, and projections of climate change. Additionally, there are inherent conflicts between releasing water to provide flood protection and storing water to meet requirements for the water supply, water quality, hydropower generation, water temperature and flow for at-risk species, and recreation. To improve reservoir management and meet the increasing demands on water, improved forecasts of precipitation, especially during extreme events, are required. Here, the authors describe how California is addressing their most important and costliest environmental issue—water management—in part, by installing a state-of-the-art observing system to better track the area’s most severe wintertime storms.

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David K. Adams, Rui M. S. Fernandes, Kirk L. Holub, Seth I. Gutman, Henrique M. J. Barbosa, Luiz A. T. Machado, Alan J. P. Calheiros, Richard A. Bennett, E. Robert Kursinski, Luiz F. Sapucci, Charles DeMets, Glayson F. B. Chagas, Ave Arellano, Naziano Filizola, Alciélio A. Amorim Rocha, Rosimeire Araújo Silva, Lilia M. F. Assunção, Glauber G. Cirino, Theotonio Pauliquevis, Bruno T. T. Portela, André Sá, Jeanne M. de Sousa, and Ludmila M. S. Tanaka

Abstract

The complex interactions between water vapor fields and deep atmospheric convection remain one of the outstanding problems in tropical meteorology. The lack of high spatial–temporal resolution, all-weather observations in the tropics has hampered progress. Numerical models have difficulties, for example, in representing the shallow-to-deep convective transition and the diurnal cycle of precipitation. Global Navigation Satellite System (GNSS) meteorology, which provides all-weather, high-frequency (5 min), precipitable water vapor estimates, can help. The Amazon Dense GNSS Meteorological Network experiment, the first of its kind in the tropics, was created with the aim of examining water vapor and deep convection relationships at the mesoscale. This innovative, Brazilian-led international experiment consisted of two mesoscale (100 km × 100 km) networks: 1) a 1-yr (April 2011–April 2012) campaign (20 GNSS meteorological sites) in and around Manaus and 2) a 6-week (June 2011) intensive campaign (15 GNSS meteorological sites) in and around Belem, the latter in collaboration with the Cloud Processes of the Main Precipitation Systems in Brazil: A Contribution to Cloud-Resolving Modeling and to the Global Precipitation Measurement (CHUVA) Project in Brazil. Results presented here from both networks focus on the diurnal cycle of precipitable water vapor associated with sea-breeze convection in Belem and seasonal and topographic influences in and around Manaus. Ultimately, these unique observations may serve to initialize, constrain, or validate precipitable water vapor in high-resolution models. These experiments also demonstrate that GNSS meteorology can expand into logistically difficult regions such as the Amazon. Other GNSS meteorology networks presently being constructed in the tropics are summarized.

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