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Temple R. Lee, Michael Buban, David D. Turner, Tilden P. Meyers, and C. Bruce Baker


The High-Resolution Rapid Refresh (HRRR) model became operational at the National Centers for Environmental Prediction (NCEP) in 2014 but the HRRR’s performance over certain regions of the coterminous United States has not been well studied. In the present study, we evaluated how well version 2 of the HRRR, which became operational at NCEP in August 2016, simulates the near-surface meteorological fields and the surface energy balance at two locations in northern Alabama. We evaluated the 1-, 3-, 6-, 12-, and 18-h HRRR forecasts, as well as the HRRR’s initial conditions (i.e., the 0-h initial fields) using meteorological and flux observations obtained from two 10-m micrometeorological towers installed near Belle Mina and Cullman, Alabama. During the 8-month model evaluation period, from 1 September 2016 to 30 April 2017, we found that the HRRR accurately simulated the observations of near-surface air and dewpoint temperature (R 2 > 0.95). When comparing the HRRR output with the observed sensible, latent, and ground heat flux at both sites, we found that the agreement was weaker (R 2 ≈ 0.7), and the root-mean-square errors were much larger than those found for the near-surface meteorological variables. These findings help motivate the need for additional work to improve the representation of surface fluxes and their coupling to the atmosphere in future versions of the HRRR to be more physically realistic.

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Nurit Agam, William P. Kustas, Martha C. Anderson, John M. Norman, Paul D. Colaizzi, Terry A. Howell, John H. Prueger, Tilden P. Meyers, and Tim B. Wilson


The Priestley–Taylor (PT) approximation for computing evapotranspiration was initially developed for conditions of a horizontally uniform saturated surface sufficiently extended to obviate any significant advection of energy. Nevertheless, the PT approach has been effectively implemented within the framework of a thermal-based two-source model (TSM) of the surface energy balance, yielding reasonable latent heat flux estimates over a range in vegetative cover and climate conditions. In the TSM, however, the PT approach is applied only to the canopy component of the latent heat flux, which may behave more conservatively than the bulk (soil + canopy) system. The objective of this research is to investigate the response of the canopy and bulk PT parameters to varying leaf area index (LAI) and vapor pressure deficit (VPD) in both natural and agricultural vegetated systems, to better understand the utility and limitations of this approximation within the context of the TSM. Micrometeorological flux measurements collected at multiple sites under a wide range of atmospheric conditions were used to implement an optimization scheme, assessing the value of the PT parameter for best performance of the TSM. Overall, the findings suggest that within the context of the TSM, the optimal canopy PT coefficient for agricultural crops appears to have a fairly conservative value of ∼1.2 except when under very high vapor pressure deficit (VPD) conditions, when its value increases. For natural vegetation (primarily grasslands), the optimal canopy PT coefficient assumed lower values on average (∼0.9) and dropped even further at high values of VPD. This analysis provides some insight as to why the PT approach, initially developed for regional estimates of potential evapotranspiration, can be used successfully in the TSM scheme to yield reliable heat flux estimates over a variety of land cover types.

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Roy Rasmussen, Bruce Baker, John Kochendorfer, Tilden Meyers, Scott Landolt, Alexandre P. Fischer, Jenny Black, Julie M. Thériault, Paul Kucera, David Gochis, Craig Smith, Rodica Nitu, Mark Hall, Kyoko Ikeda, and Ethan Gutmann

This paper presents recent efforts to understand the relative accuracies of different instrumentation and gauges with various windshield configurations to measure snowfall. Results from the National Center for Atmospheric Research (NCAR) Marshall Field Site will be highlighted. This site hosts a test bed to assess various solid precipitation measurement techniques and is a joint collaboration between the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), NCAR, the National Weather Service (NWS), and Federal Aviation Administration (FAA). The collaboration involves testing new gauges and other solid precipitation measurement techniques in comparison with World Meteorological Organization (WMO) reference snowfall measurements. This assessment is critical for any ongoing studies and applications, such as climate monitoring and aircraft deicing, that rely on accurate and consistent precipitation measurements.

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Howard J. Diamond, Thomas R. Karl, Michael A. Palecki, C. Bruce Baker, Jesse E. Bell, Ronald D. Leeper, David R. Easterling, Jay H. Lawrimore, Tilden P. Meyers, Michael R. Helfert, Grant Goodge, and Peter W. Thorne

The year 2012 marks a decade of observations undertaken by the U.S. Climate Reference Network (USCRN) under the auspices of NOAA's National Climatic Data Center and Atmospheric Turbulence and Diffusion Division. The network consists of 114 sites across the conterminous 48 states, with additional sites in Alaska and Hawaii. Stations are installed in open (where possible), rural sites very likely to have stable land-cover/use conditions for several decades to come. At each site a suite of meteorological parameters are monitored, including triple redundancy for the primary air temperature and precipitation variables and for soil moisture/temperature. Instrumentation is regularly calibrated to National Institute for Standards and Technology (NIST) standards and maintained by a staff of expert engineers. This attention to detail in USCRN is intended to ensure the creation of an unimpeachable record of changes in surface climate over the United States for decades to come. Data are made available without restriction for all public, private, and government use. This article describes the rationale for the USCRN, its implementation, and some of the highlights of the first decade of operations. One critical use of these observations is as an independent data source to verify the existing U.S. temperature record derived from networks corrected for nonhomogenous histories. Future directions for the network are also discussed, including the applicability of USCRN approaches for networks monitoring climate at scales from regional to global. Constructive feedback from end users will allow for continued improvement of USCRN in the future and ensure that it continues to meet stakeholder requirements for precise climate measurements.

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Jesse E. Bell, Michael A. Palecki, C. Bruce Baker, William G. Collins, Jay H. Lawrimore, Ronald D. Leeper, Mark E. Hall, John Kochendorfer, Tilden P. Meyers, Tim Wilson, and Howard J. Diamond


The U.S. Climate Reference Network (USCRN) is a network of climate-monitoring stations maintained and operated by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) to provide climate-science-quality measurements of air temperature and precipitation. The stations in the network were designed to be extensible to other missions, and the National Integrated Drought Information System program determined that the USCRN could be augmented to provide observations that are more drought relevant. To increase the network’s capability of monitoring soil processes and drought, soil observations were added to USCRN instrumentation. In 2011, the USCRN team completed at each USCRN station in the conterminous United States the installation of triplicate-configuration soil moisture and soil temperature probes at five standards depths (5, 10, 20, 50, and 100 cm) as prescribed by the World Meteorological Organization; in addition, the project included the installation of a relative humidity sensor at each of the stations. Work is also under way to eventually install soil sensors at the expanding USCRN stations in Alaska. USCRN data are stewarded by the NOAA National Climatic Data Center, and instrument engineering and performance studies, installation, and maintenance are performed by the NOAA Atmospheric Turbulence and Diffusion Division. This article provides a technical description of the USCRN soil observations in the context of U.S. soil-climate–measurement efforts and discusses the advantage of the triple-redundancy approach applied by the USCRN.

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The Coordinated Enhanced Observing Period (CEOP) is an international project that was first proposed by the Global Energy and Water Cycle Experiment (GEWEX) in 1997 and was formally launched in 2001. Since that time it has been adopted by the World Climate Research Programme (WCRP), which views it as an essential part of its strategy for developing global datasets to evaluate global climate models, and by the Integrated Global Observing Strategy Partnership (IGOS-P), which views it as the first element of its global water cycle theme. The United States has been an active partner in all phases of CEOP. In particular, the United States has taken the lead in contributing data from a number of reference sites, providing data processing, and archiving capabilities and related research activities through the GEWEX Americas Prediction Project (GAPP). Other U.S. programs and agencies are providing components including model and data assimilation output, satellite data, and other services. The U.S. science community has also been using the CEOP database in model evaluation and phenomenological studies. This article summarizes the U.S. contributions during the first phase of CEOP and outlines opportunities for readers to become involved in the data analysis phase of the project.

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Dennis Baldocchi, Eva Falge, Lianhong Gu, Richard Olson, David Hollinger, Steve Running, Peter Anthoni, Ch. Bernhofer, Kenneth Davis, Robert Evans, Jose Fuentes, Allen Goldstein, Gabriel Katul, Beverly Law, Xuhui Lee, Yadvinder Malhi, Tilden Meyers, William Munger, Walt Oechel, K. T. Paw U, Kim Pilegaard, H. P. Schmid, Riccardo Valentini, Shashi Verma, Timo Vesala, Kell Wilson, and Steve Wofsy

FLUXNET is a global network of micrometeorological flux measurement sites that measure the exchanges of carbon dioxide, water vapor, and energy between the biosphere and atmosphere. At present over 140 sites are operating on a long-term and continuous basis. Vegetation under study includes temperate conifer and broadleaved (deciduous and evergreen) forests, tropical and boreal forests, crops, grasslands, chaparral, wetlands, and tundra. Sites exist on five continents and their latitudinal distribution ranges from 70°N to 30°S.

FLUXNET has several primary functions. First, it provides infrastructure for compiling, archiving, and distributing carbon, water, and energy flux measurement, and meteorological, plant, and soil data to the science community. (Data and site information are available online at the FLUXNET Web site, Second, the project supports calibration and flux intercomparison activities. This activity ensures that data from the regional networks are intercomparable. And third, FLUXNET supports the synthesis, discussion, and communication of ideas and data by supporting project scientists, workshops, and visiting scientists. The overarching goal is to provide information for validating computations of net primary productivity, evaporation, and energy absorption that are being generated by sensors mounted on the NASA Terra satellite.

Data being compiled by FLUXNET are being used to quantify and compare magnitudes and dynamics of annual ecosystem carbon and water balances, to quantify the response of stand-scale carbon dioxide and water vapor flux densities to controlling biotic and abiotic factors, and to validate a hierarchy of soil–plant–atmosphere trace gas exchange models. Findings so far include 1) net CO2 exchange of temperate broadleaved forests increases by about 5.7 g C m−2 day−1 for each additional day that the growing season is extended; 2) the sensitivity of net ecosystem CO2 exchange to sunlight doubles if the sky is cloudy rather than clear; 3) the spectrum of CO2 flux density exhibits peaks at timescales of days, weeks, and years, and a spectral gap exists at the month timescale; 4) the optimal temperature of net CO2 exchange varies with mean summer temperature; and 5) stand age affects carbon dioxide and water vapor flux densities.

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Brian J. Butterworth, Ankur R. Desai, Stefan Metzger, Philip A. Townsend, Mark D. Schwartz, Grant W. Petty, Matthias Mauder, Hannes Vogelmann, Christian G. Andresen, Travis J. Augustine, Timothy H. Bertram, William O. J. Brown, Michael Buban, Patricia Cleary, David J. Durden, Christopher R. Florian, Trevor J. Iglinski, Eric L. Kruger, Kathleen Lantz, Temple R. Lee, Tilden P. Meyers, James K. Mineau, Erik R. Olson, Steven P. Oncley, Sreenath Paleri, Rosalyn A. Pertzborn, Claire Pettersen, David M. Plummer, Laura D. Riihimaki, Eliceo Ruiz Guzman, Joseph Sedlar, Elizabeth N. Smith, Johannes Speidel, Paul C. Stoy, Matthias Sühring, Jonathan E. Thom, David D. Turner, Michael P. Vermeuel, Timothy J. Wagner, Zhien Wang, Luise Wanner, Loren D. White, James M. Wilczak, Daniel B. Wright, and Ting Zheng


The Chequamegon Heterogeneous Ecosystem Energy-Balance Study Enabled by a High-Density Extensive Array of Detectors 2019 (CHEESEHEAD19) is an ongoing National Science Foundation project based on an intensive field campaign that occurred from June to October 2019. The purpose of the study is to examine how the atmospheric boundary layer (ABL) responds to spatial heterogeneity in surface energy fluxes. One of the main objectives is to test whether lack of energy balance closure measured by eddy covariance (EC) towers is related to mesoscale atmospheric processes. Finally, the project evaluates data-driven methods for scaling surface energy fluxes, with the aim to improve model–data comparison and integration. To address these questions, an extensive suite of ground, tower, profiling, and airborne instrumentation was deployed over a 10 km × 10 km domain of a heterogeneous forest ecosystem in the Chequamegon–Nicolet National Forest in northern Wisconsin, United States, centered on an existing 447-m tower that anchors an AmeriFlux/NOAA supersite (US-PFa/WLEF). The project deployed one of the world’s highest-density networks of above-canopy EC measurements of surface energy fluxes. This tower EC network was coupled with spatial measurements of EC fluxes from aircraft; maps of leaf and canopy properties derived from airborne spectroscopy, ground-based measurements of plant productivity, phenology, and physiology; and atmospheric profiles of wind, water vapor, and temperature using radar, sodar, lidar, microwave radiometers, infrared interferometers, and radiosondes. These observations are being used with large-eddy simulation and scaling experiments to better understand submesoscale processes and improve formulations of subgrid-scale processes in numerical weather and climate models.

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