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T. D. SMITH

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T. M. Smith, A. G. Barnston, M. Ji, and M. Chelliah

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The value of assimilated subsurface oceanic data to statistical predictions of interannual variability of sea surface temperature (SST) at the National Centers for Environmental Prediction (NCEP) is shown. Subsurface temperature data for the tropical Pacific Ocean come from assimilated ocean analysis from July 1982 to June 1993 and from a numerical model forced by observed surface wind stress from 1961 to June 1982. The value of subsurface oceanic data on the operational NCEP canonical correlation analysis (CCA) forecasts of interannual SST variability is assessed. The CCA is first run using only sea level pressure and SST as predictors, and then the subsurface data are added. It is found that use of the subsurface data improves the forecast for lead times of six months or longer, with some seasonal dependence in the improvements. Forecasts of less than six months are not helped by the subsurface data. Greatest improvements occur for forecasts of boreal winter to spring conditions, with less improvements for the rest of the year.

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T. M. L. Wigley, S. J. Smith, and M. J. Prather

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Reactive gas emissions (CO, NOx, VOC) have indirect radiative forcing effects through their influences on tropospheric ozone and on the lifetimes of methane and hydrogenated halocarbons. These effects are quantified here for the full set of emissions scenarios developed in the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change Special Report on Emissions Scenarios. In most of these no-climate-policy scenarios, anthropogenic reactive gas emissions increase substantially over the twenty-first century. For the implied increases in tropospheric ozone, the maximum forcing exceeds 1 W m−2 by 2100 (range −0.14 to +1.03 W m−2). The changes are moderated somewhat through compensating influences from NOx versus CO and VOC. Reactive gas forcing influences through methane and halocarbons are much smaller; 2100 ranges are −0.20 to +0.23 W m−2 for methane and −0.04 to +0.07 W m−2 for the halocarbons. Future climate change might be reduced through policies limiting reactive gas emissions, but the potential for explicitly climate-motivated reductions depends critically on the extent of reductions that are likely to arise through air quality considerations and on the assumed baseline scenario.

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S. R. Diehl, D. T. Smith, and M. Sydor

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A numerical solution to the three-dimensional advection-diffusion equation is developed and applied to the dispersion of power plant stack contaminants throughout the boundary layer. The method employs Lagrangian marker particles undergoing variable random-walk displacements to simulate a gradient-transfer process. The size of the particle displacements is directly related to the magnitude of the vertical and horizontal diffusivities which can be any functions of space and time. Using recent atmospheric turbulence data, empirical expressions for the eddy diffusivities are derived for the entire boundary layer in terms of common meteorologic parameters. Reasonable agreement is found between the numerical predictions and actual fly-ash data collected in the vicinity of a 500 MW coal-fired power station.

The random-walk technique has a number of distinct advantages over both finite-difference and particle-in-a-cell methods. It is mathematically simple, computationally fast, and requires only modest amounts of computer memory. The accuracy of the method is evaluated by comparison with a series solution of the two-dimensional diffusion equation appropriate to the surface layer.

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Joseph M. Moran, David R. Smith, and John T. Snow

The Fourth International Conference on School and Popular Meteorological and Oceanographic Education was held 22–26 July 1996 in Edinburgh, Scotland. Conference attendees included 125 educators, meteorologists, oceanographers, and government officials representing 19 nations. The themes of the conference were the roles of meteorology and oceanography in science education and the benefits derived from improved environmental awareness and scientific literacy, particularly weather awareness, meteorological literacy, and understanding of the ocean. Formal presentations, workshops, poster sessions, and demonstrations provided information on programs for teacher enhancement, computer-aided instruction, and classroom access to real-time weather information through the World Wide Web.

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W. A. M. Nimmo Smith, J. Katz, and T. R. Osborn

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Six sets of particle image velocimetry (PIV) data from the bottom boundary layer of the coastal ocean are examined. The data represent periods when the mean currents are higher, of the same order, and much weaker than the wave-induced motions. The Reynolds numbers based on the Taylor microscale (Reλ) are 300–440 for the high, 68–83 for the moderate, and 14–37 for the weak mean currents. The moderate–weak turbulence levels are typical of the calm weather conditions at the LEO-15 site because of the low velocities and limited range of length scales. The energy spectra display substantial anisotropy at moderate to high wavenumbers and have large bumps at the transition from the inertial to the dissipation range. These bumps have been observed in previous laboratory and atmospheric studies and have been attributed to a bottleneck effect. Spatial bandpass-filtered vorticity distributions demonstrate that this anisotropy is associated with formation of small-scale, horizontal vortical layers. Methods for estimating the dissipation rates are compared, including direct estimates based on all of the gradients available from 2D data, estimates based on gradients of one velocity component, and those obtained from curve fitting to the energy spectrum. The estimates based on vertical gradients of horizontal velocity are higher and show better agreement with the direct results than do those based on horizontal gradients of vertical velocity. Because of the anisotropy and low turbulence levels, a −5/3 line-fit to the energy spectrum leads to mixed results and is especially inadequate at moderate to weak turbulence levels. The 2D velocity and vorticity distributions reveal that the flow in the boundary layer at moderate speeds consists of periods of “gusts” dominated by large vortical structures separated by periods of more quiescent flows. The frequency of these gusts increases with Reλ, and they disappear when the currents are weak. Conditional sampling of the data based on vorticity magnitude shows that the anisotropy at small scales persists regardless of vorticity and that most of the variability associated with the gusts occurs at the low-wave-number ends of the spectra. The dissipation rates, being associated with small-scale structures, do not vary substantially with vorticity magnitude. In stark contrast, almost all the contributions to the Reynolds shear stresses, estimated using structure functions, are made by the high- and intermediate-vorticity-magnitude events. During low vorticity periods the shear stresses are essentially zero. Thus, in times with weak mean flow but with wave orbital motion, the Reynolds stresses are very low. Conditional sampling based on phase in the wave orbital cycle does not show any significant trends.

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S. S. P. Shen, H. Yin, and T. M. Smith

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The sampling error variances of the 5° × 5° Global Historical Climatological Network (GHCN) monthly surface air temperature data are estimated from January 1851 to December 2001. For each GHCN grid box and for each month in the above time interval, an error variance is computed. The authors’ error estimation is determined by two parameters: the spatial variance and a correlation factor determined by using a regression. The error estimation procedures have the following steps. First, for a given month for each grid box with at least four station anomalies, the spatial variance of the grid box’s temperature anomaly, σ̂ 2 s, is calculated by using a 5-yr moving time window (MTW). Second, for each grid box with at least four stations, a regression is applied to find a correlation factor, αs, in the same 5-yr MTW. Third, spatial interpolation is used to fill the spatial variance and the correlation factor in grid boxes with less than four stations. Fourth, the sampling error variance is calculated by using the formula E 2 = αsσ̂ 2 s/N, where N is the total number of observations for the grid box in the given month. The two parameters of the authors’ error estimation are compared with those of the University of East Anglia’s Climatic Research Unit for the decadal data. The comparison shows a close agreement of the parameters’ values for decadal data. An advantage of this new method is the generation of monthly error estimates. The authors’ error product will be available at the U.S. National Climatic Data Center.

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Neil T. Sanger, Michael T. Montgomery, Roger K. Smith, and Michael M. Bell

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An observational study of tropical cyclone intensification is performed using dropsondes, in situ flight-level data, satellite imagery, and Electra Doppler Radar (ELDORA) during the spinup of Tropical Storm Jangmi (2008) in the western North Pacific. This event was observed with research aircraft during the Tropical Cyclone Structure 2008 (TCS08) field experiment over the course of 3 days as Jangmi intensified rapidly from a tropical storm to a supertyphoon. The dropsonde analysis indicates that the peak azimuthally averaged storm-relative tangential wind speed occurs persistently within the boundary layer throughout the spinup period and suggests that significant supergradient winds are present near and just within the radius of maximum tangential winds. An examination of the ELDORA data in Tropical Storm Jangmi reveals multiple rotating updrafts near the developing eye beneath cold cloud top temperatures ≤−65°C. In particular, there is a 12-km-wide, upright updraft with a peak velocity of 9 m s−1 with collocated strong low-level (z < 2 km) convergence of 2 × 10−3 s−1 and intense relative vorticity of 4 × 10−3 s−1. The analysis of the corresponding infrared satellite imagery suggests that vortical updrafts are common before and during rapid intensification. The findings of this study support a recent paradigm of tropical cyclone intensification in which rotating convective clouds are important elements in the spinup process. In a system-scale view of this process, the maximum tangential wind is found within the boundary layer, where the tangential wind becomes supergradient before the air ascends into the eyewall updraft.

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H.-M. Zhang, R. W. Reynolds, R. Lumpkin, R. Molinari, K. Arzayus, M. Johnson, and T. M. Smith

This paper describes the optimal design and its research-to-operation transition of an integrated global observing system of satellites and in situ observations. The integrated observing system is used for climate assessment using sea surface temperature (SST). Satellite observations provide superior samplings while in situ observations provide the ground truth. Observing System Simulation Experiments (OSSEs) were used to objectively design an efficient in situ system to reduce satellite biases to a required accuracy. The system design was peer reviewed and was then transitioned into operations as a U.S. contribution to the international Global Climate Observing System (GCOS). A system performance measure was also formulated and operationally tracked under the Government Performance Results Act (GPRA). Additional OSSEs assisted the planning, programming, budgeting, and execution system at the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) to maximize design efficiency. This process of research to operation and decision making enables NOAA to strategically target its observing system investments. The principles of this specific example may have potential applicability to the other components of GCOS.

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R. Pinkel, M. A. Goldin, J. A. Smith, O. M. Sun, A. A. Aja, M. N. Bui, and T. Hughen

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Ocean wave energy is used to drive a buoyant instrument platform down a wire suspended from a surface float. At the lower terminus of the profiling range, the cam that rectifies wave vertical motion is released and the package, termed the Wirewalker, free ascends. No electronic components are used in the profiler, and only a few moving parts are involved. The Wirewalker is tolerant of a broad range of payloads: the ballast is adjusted by adding discrete foam blocks. The Wirewalker profiles 1000–3000 km month−1, vertically, with typical missions lasting from days to months. A description of the profiler is presented along with a discussion of basic profiling dynamics.

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