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John Turner, Steven Leonard, Gareth J. Marshall, Michael Pook, Lance Cowled, Richard Jardine, Stephen Pendlebury, and Neil Adams

Abstract

The quality of the Antarctic operational analyses that were distributed over the Global Telecommunications System during the First Regional Observing Study of the Troposphere project special observing period of July 1994 is considered. Numerical analyses from the U.K. Meteorological Office, the European Centre for Medium-Range Weather Forecasts, the Australian Bureau of Meteorology, and the U.S. National Centers for Environmental Prediction are compared with high quality analyses prepared using all available late data and high-resolution satellite imagery. The subjective assessment of the analyses indicated that no large, synoptic-scale systems were missing, but major discrepancies were found in terms of the depth of the lows, location errors, and failures to resolve the complexities of systems. Generally, the central pressures of the lows were handled better than the locations of the centers. Only 4 lows out of a total of 161 in the Eastern Hemisphere during the period 22–28 July had to be relocated more than 500 km. High-quality satellite imagery was very important in correcting the locations of the lows and in resolving the structure of multicentered systems, which were often found to be much more complex than analyzed on the operational charts. The satellite imagery was of less value over the continent since some of the lows here, which were analyzed using automatic weather station data, had no cloud associated with them as a result of the atmosphere being very dry. Few changes were made to the positions of anticyclones and only minor modifications to ridges were required. The mean pressure at mean sea level fields for July 1994 as produced by the four models were all very similar, but the Australian model stood out as slightly different over the Amundsen Sea because of large differences in the handling on one large low during the early part of the month. The Phillpot technique for the analysis of the 500-hPa surface over the interior of the continent was of particular value in resolving structure in the circulation.

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John Turner, David Bromwich, Steven Colwell, Stephen Dixon, Tim Gibson, Terry Hart, Günther Heinemann, Hugh Hutchinson, Kieran Jacka, Steven Leonard, Michael Lieder, Lawrie Marsh, Stephen Pendlebury, Henry Phillpot, Mike Pook, and Ian Simmonds

An account is given of the Antarctic First Regional Observing Study of the Troposphere (FROST) project, which has been organized by the Physics and Chemistry of the Atmosphere Group of the Scientific Committee on Antarctic Research. The goals of FROST are to study the meteorology of the Antarctic, to determine the strengths and weaknesses of operational analyses and forecasts over the continent and in the surrounding ocean areas, and to assess the value of new forms of satellite data that are becoming available. FROST is based around three one-month Special Observing Periods (SOPs)—July 1994, 16 October–15 November 1994, and January 1995 for which comprehensive datasets have been established of model fields and in situ and satellite observations. High quality manual surface and upper-air analyses are being prepared for these periods to determine the extent to which non–Global Telecommunications System data can improve the interpretation of the synoptic situation. Over the ocean areas during SOP-1, incorporation of the late data resulted only in a limited improvement in the analyses, indicating that the models are correctly analyzing most of the major weather systems. Over the continent, the production of 500-hPa heights from the automatic weather station data greatly helped in the analysis process. The lack of data around west Antarctica was a major handicap in the analysis process. The rms errors in the forecasts of 500-hPa height for the Antarctic were about 20% greater than those for midlatitude areas. The forecasts from the European Centre for Medium-Range Weather Forecasts were the most accurate of those received.

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