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  • Author or Editor: Steven R. Schroeder x
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Brian J. Soden and Steven R. Schroeder

Abstract

Multiple satellite records of tropical-mean water vapor are compared with a general circulation model (GCM) simulation to assess the ability to monitor and to predict low-frequency changes in total precipitable water. Particular attention is focused on the drying between 1979 and 1995 recorded by a TOVS statistical retrieval that is calibrated to radiosondes. Both a GCM integrated with observed SSTs and microwave and TOVS physical retrievals that overlap the drying period show no sustained drying. This discrepancy is consistent with the suggestion by Ross and Gaffen that the TOVS statistical algorithm is vulnerable to radiosonde instrumentation changes over this period that introduce an artificial drying trend into the retrieval.

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Marcel E. Tschudin and Steven R. Schroeder

Abstract

To correct time lag errors in radiosonde temperatures the sensor time constant has to be known. Time constants are not published for some widely used sensors and, in some cases, available time constants disagree. This study focuses on ML-405, ML-419, VIZ/Sippican Mark II Microsonde and B2, Russian MMT-1, and Chinese GZZ-7 rod thermistors. It measures still air time constants and heat capacities and derives theoretical still air and aerated time constants based on heat transfer involving nonuniform cylinders. With low aeration, such as in the stratosphere, heat conduction by lead wires from the thermistor noticeably shortens the time constant. Some discrepancies in published time constants are explained by researchers not considering the temperature dependence of all relevant variables. Empirical formulas are derived to estimate the aerated time constant of cylindrical temperature sensors based on dimensions. The aerated time constant in soundings is found to be about 6 times as long at 10 hPa as near sea level.

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Shizuo Liu, Qigang Wu, Xuejuan Ren, Yonghong Yao, Steven R. Schroeder, and Haibo Hu

Abstract

Observational studies link a persistent dipole of autumn and winter snow cover anomalies over the Tibetan Plateau (TP) and Mongolia with winter Pacific–North American (PNA)-like atmospheric variations. This study investigates atmospheric responses to such snow forcings using multiple ensemble transient integrations of the CAM4 and CLM4.0 models. Model boundary conditions are based on climatological sea ice extent and sea surface temperature, and satellite observations of snow cover extent (SCE) and snow water equivalent (SWE) over the TP and Mongolia from October to March in 1997/98 (heavy TP and light Mongolia snow) and 1984/85 (light TP and heavy Mongolia snow), with model-derived SCE and SWE elsewhere. In various forcing experiments, the ensemble-mean difference between simulations with these two extreme snow states identifies local, distant, concurrent, and delayed climatic responses. The main atmospheric responses to a dipole of high TP and low Mongolia SCE persisting from October to March (versus the opposite extreme) are strong TP surface cooling, warming in the surrounding China and Mongolia region, and a winter positive PNA-like response. The localized response is maintained by persistent diabatic cooling or heating, and the remote PNA response results mainly from the increased horizontal eastward propagation of stationary Rossby wave energy due to persistent TP snow forcing and also a winter transient eddy feedback mechanism. With a less persistent dipole anomaly in autumn or winter only, local responses are similar depending on the specific anomalies, but the winter PNA-like response is nearly absent or noticeably reduced.

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Shizuo Liu, Qigang Wu, Lin Wang, Steven R. Schroeder, Yang Zhang, Yonghong Yao, and Haibo Hu

Abstract

Northern Hemisphere (NH) snow cover extent (SCE) has diminished in spring and early summer since the 1960s. Historical simulations from phase 5 of the Coupled Model Intercomparison Project (CMIP5) estimated about half as much NH SCE reduction as observed, and thus underestimated the associated climate responses. This study investigates atmospheric responses to realistic decreasing snow anomalies using multiple ensemble transient integrations of climate models forced by observed light and heavy NH snow cover years, specifically satellite-based observations of NH SCE and snow water equivalent from March to August in 1990 (light snow) and 1985 (heavy snow), as a proxy for the trend. The primary atmospheric responses to March–August NH snow reduction are decreased soil moisture, increased surface air temperature, general tropospheric warming in the extratropics and the Arctic, increased geopotential heights, and weakening of the midlatitude jet stream and eddy kinetic energy. The localized response is maintained by persistent increased diabatic heating due to reduced snow anomalies and resulting soil moisture drying, and the remote atmospheric response results partly from horizontal propagation of stationary Rossby wave energy and also from a transient eddy feedback mechanism. In summer, atmospheric responses are significant in both the Arctic and the tropics and are mostly induced by contemporaneous snow forcing, but also by the summer soil moisture dry anomaly associated with early snow melting.

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Shizuo Liu, Qigang Wu, Steven R. Schroeder, Yonghong Yao, Yang Zhang, Tongwen Wu, Lei Wang, and Haibo Hu

Abstract

Previous studies show that there are substantial influences of winter–spring Tibetan Plateau (TP) snow anomalies on the Asian summer monsoon and that autumn–winter TP heavy snow can lead to persisting hemispheric Pacific–North America-like responses. This study further investigates global atmospheric responses to realistic extensive spring TP snow anomalies using observations and ensemble transient model integrations. Model ensemble simulations are forced by satellite-derived observed March–May TP snow cover extent and snow water equivalent in years with heavy or light TP snow. Heavy spring TP snow causes simultaneous significant local surface cooling and precipitation decreases over and near the TP snow anomaly. Distant responses include weaker surface cooling over most Asian areas surrounding the TP, a weaker drying band extending east and northeast into the North Pacific Ocean, and increased precipitation in a region surrounding this drying band. Also, there is tropospheric cooling from the TP into the North Pacific and over most of North America and the North Atlantic Ocean. The TP snow anomaly induces a negative North Pacific Oscillation/western Pacific–like teleconnection response throughout the troposphere and stratosphere. Atmospheric responses also include significantly increased Pacific trade winds, a strengthened intertropical convergence zone over the equatorial Pacific Ocean, and an enhanced local Hadley circulation. This result suggests a near-global impact of the TP snow anomaly in nearly all seasons.

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