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B. H. Kahn, J. Teixeira, E. J. Fetzer, A. Gettelman, S. M. Hristova-Veleva, X. Huang, A. K. Kochanski, M. Köhler, S. K. Krueger, R. Wood, and M. Zhao

Abstract

Observations of the scale dependence of height-resolved temperature T and water vapor q variability are valuable for improved subgrid-scale climate model parameterizations and model evaluation. Variance spectral benchmarks for T and q obtained from the Atmospheric Infrared Sounder (AIRS) are compared to those generated by state-of-the-art numerical weather prediction “analyses” and “free-running” climate model simulations with spatial resolution comparable to AIRS. The T and q spectra from both types of models are generally too steep, with small-scale variance up to several factors smaller than AIRS. However, the two model analyses more closely resemble AIRS than the two free-running model simulations. Scaling exponents obtained for AIRS column water vapor (CWV) and height-resolved layers of q are also compared to the superparameterized Community Atmospheric Model (SP-CAM), highlighting large differences in the magnitude of CWV variance and the relative flatness of height-resolved q scaling in SP-CAM. Height-resolved q spectra obtained from aircraft observations during the Variability of the American Monsoon Systems Ocean–Cloud–Atmosphere–Land Study Regional Experiment (VOCALS-REx) demonstrate changes in scaling exponents that depend on the observations’ proximity to the base of the subsidence inversion with scale breaks that occur at approximately the dominant cloud scale (~10–30 km). This suggests that finer spatial resolution requirements must be considered for future satellite observations of T and q than those currently planned for infrared and microwave satellite sounders.

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D. E. Weissman, B. W. Stiles, S. M. Hristova-Veleva, D. G. Long, D. K. Smith, K. A. Hilburn, and W. L. Jones

Abstract

Measurements of global ocean surface winds made by orbiting satellite radars have provided valuable information to the oceanographic and meteorological communities since the launch of the Seasat in 1978, by the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA). When Quick Scatterometer (QuikSCAT) was launched in 1999, it ushered in a new era of dual-polarized, pencil-beam, higher-resolution scatterometers for measuring the global ocean surface winds from space. A constant limitation on the full utilization of scatterometer-derived winds is the presence of isolated rain events, which affect about 7% of the observations. The vector wind sensors, the Ku-band scatterometers [NASA’s SeaWinds on the QuikSCAT and Midori-II platforms and Indian Space Research Organisation’s (ISRO’s) Ocean Satellite (Oceansat)-2], and the current C-band scatterometer [Advanced Wind Scatterometer (ASCAT), on the European Organisation for the Exploitation of Meteorological Satellites (EUMETSAT)’s Meteorological Operation (MetOp) platform] all experience rain interference, but with different characteristics. Over this past decade, broad-based research studies have sought to better understand the physics of the rain interference problem, to search for methods to bypass the problem (using rain detection, flagging, and avoidance of affected areas), and to develop techniques to improve the quality of the derived wind vectors that are adversely affected by rain. This paper reviews the state of the art in rain flagging and rain correction and describes many of these approaches, methodologies, and summarizes the results.

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S. M. Hristova-Veleva, P. S. Callahan, R. S. Dunbar, B. W. Stiles, S. H. Yueh, J. N. Huddleston, S. V. Hsiao, G. Neumann, B. A. Vanhoff, R. W. Gaston, E. Rodriguez, and D. E. Weissman

Abstract

Scatterometer ocean surface winds have been providing very valuable information to researchers and operational weather forecasters for over 10 years. However, the scatterometer wind retrievals are compromised when rain is present. Merely flagging all rain-affected areas removes the most dynamic and interesting areas from the wind analysis. Fortunately, the Advanced Earth Observing Satellite II (ADEOS-II) mission carried a radiometer [the Advanced Microwave Scanning Radiometer (AMSR)] and a scatterometer, allowing for independent, collocated retrievals of rain. The authors developed an algorithm that uses AMSR observations to estimate the rain inside the scatterometer beam. This is the first in a series of papers that describe their approach to providing rain estimation and correction to scatterometer observations. This paper describes the retrieval algorithm and evaluates it using simulated data. Part II will present its validation when applied to AMSR observations. This passive microwave rain retrieval algorithm addresses the issues of nonuniform beam filling and hydrometeor uncertainty in a novel way by 1) using a large number of soundings to develop the retrieval database, thus accounting for the geographically varying atmospheric parameters; 2) addressing the spatial inhomogeneity of rain by developing multiple retrieval databases with different built-in inhomogeneity and rain intensity, along with a “rain indicator” to select the most appropriate database for each observed scene; 3) developing a new cloud-versus-rain partitioning that allows the use of a variety of drop size distribution assumptions to account for some of the natural variability diagnosed from the soundings; and 4) retrieving atmospheric and surface parameters just outside the rainy areas, thus providing information about the environment to help decrease the uncertainty of the rain estimates.

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Svetla M. Hristova-Veleva, P. Peggy Li, Brian Knosp, Quoc Vu, F. Joseph Turk, William L. Poulsen, Ziad Haddad, Bjorn Lambrigtsen, Bryan W. Stiles, Tsae-Pyng Shen, Noppasin Niamsuwan, Simone Tanelli, Ousmane Sy, Eun-Kyoung Seo, Hui Su, Deborah G. Vane, Yi Chao, Philip S. Callahan, R. Scott Dunbar, Michael Montgomery, Mark Boothe, Vijay Tallapragada, Samuel Trahan, Anthony J. Wimmers, Robert Holz, Jeffrey S. Reid, Frank Marks, Tomislava Vukicevic, Saiprasanth Bhalachandran, Hua Leighton, Sundararaman Gopalakrishnan, Andres Navarro, and Francisco J. Tapiador

Abstract

Tropical cyclones (TCs) are among the most destructive natural phenomena with huge societal and economic impact. They form and evolve as the result of complex multiscale processes and nonlinear interactions. Even today the understanding and modeling of these processes is still lacking. A major goal of NASA is to bring the wealth of satellite and airborne observations to bear on addressing the unresolved scientific questions and improving our forecast models. Despite their significant amount, these observations are still underutilized in hurricane research and operations due to the complexity associated with finding and bringing together semicoincident and semicontemporaneous multiparameter data that are needed to describe the multiscale TC processes. Such data are traditionally archived in different formats, with different spatiotemporal resolution, across multiple databases, and hosted by various agencies. To address this shortcoming, NASA supported the development of the Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL) Tropical Cyclone Information System (TCIS)—a data analytic framework that integrates model forecasts with multiparameter satellite and airborne observations, providing interactive visualization and online analysis tools. TCIS supports interrogation of a large number of atmospheric and ocean variables, allowing for quick investigation of the structure of the tropical storms and their environments. This paper provides an overview of the TCIS’s components and features. It also summarizes recent pilot studies, providing examples of how the TCIS has inspired new research, helping to increase our understanding of TCs. The goal is to encourage more users to take full advantage of the novel capabilities. TCIS allows atmospheric scientists to focus on new ideas and concepts rather than painstakingly gathering data scattered over several agencies.

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Svetla M. Hristova-Veleva, P. Peggy Li, Brian Knosp, Quoc Vu, F. Joseph Turk, William L. Poulsen, Ziad Haddad, Bjorn Lambrigtsen, Bryan W. Stiles, Tsae-Pyng Shen, Noppasin Niamsuwan, Simone Tanelli, Ousmane Sy, Eun-Kyoung Seo, Hui Su, Deborah G. Vane, Yi Chao, Philip S. Callahan, R. Scott Dunbar, Michael Montgomery, Mark Boothe, Vijay Tallapragada, Samuel Trahan, Anthony J. Wimmers, Robert Holz, Jeffrey S. Reid, Frank Marks, Tomislava Vukicevic, Saiprasanth Bhalachandran, Hua Leighton, Sundararaman Gopalakrishnan, Andres Navarro, and Francisco J. Tapiador
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