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Wiley Online Library : Journal of Geophysical Research: Atmospheres
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CAUSES: On the Role of Surface Energy Budget Errors to the Warm Surface Air Temperature Error Over the Central United States

Thu, 03/15/2018 - 15:51

Many weather forecast and climate models simulate warm surface air temperature (T2m) biases over midlatitude continents during the summertime, especially over the Great Plains. We present here one of a series of papers from a multimodel intercomparison project (CAUSES: Cloud Above the United States and Errors at the Surface), which aims to evaluate the role of cloud, radiation, and precipitation biases in contributing to the T2m bias using a short-term hindcast approach during the spring and summer of 2011. Observations are mainly from the Atmospheric Radiation Measurement Southern Great Plains sites. The present study examines the contributions of surface energy budget errors. All participating models simulate too much net shortwave and longwave fluxes at the surface but with no consistent mean bias sign in turbulent fluxes over the Central United States and Southern Great Plains. Nevertheless, biases in the net shortwave and downward longwave fluxes as well as surface evaporative fraction (EF) are contributors to T2m bias. Radiation biases are largely affected by cloud simulations, while EF bias is largely affected by soil moisture modulated by seasonal accumulated precipitation and evaporation. An approximate equation based upon the surface energy budget is derived to further quantify the magnitudes of radiation and EF contributions to T2m bias. Our analysis ascribes that a large EF underestimate is the dominant source of error in all models with a large positive temperature bias, whereas an EF overestimate compensates for an excess of absorbed shortwave radiation in nearly all the models with the smallest temperature bias.

Climate Impact of a Regional Nuclear Weapons Exchange: An Improved Assessment Based On Detailed Source Calculations

Wed, 03/14/2018 - 15:56

We present a multiscale study examining the impact of a regional exchange of nuclear weapons on global climate. Our models investigate multiple phases of the effects of nuclear weapons usage, including growth and rise of the nuclear fireball, ignition and spread of the induced firestorm, and comprehensive Earth system modeling of the oceans, land, ice, and atmosphere. This study follows from the scenario originally envisioned by Robock, Oman, Stenchikov, et al. (2007, https://doi.org/10.5194/acp-7-2003-2007), based on the analysis of Toon et al. (2007, https://doi.org/10.5194/acp-7-1973-2007), which assumes a regional exchange between India and Pakistan of fifty 15 kt weapons detonated by each side. We expand this scenario by modeling the processes that lead to production of black carbon, in order to refine the black carbon forcing estimates of these previous studies. When the Earth system model is initiated with 5 × 109 kg of black carbon in the upper troposphere (approximately from 9 to 13 km), the impact on climate variables such as global temperature and precipitation in our simulations is similar to that predicted by previously published work. However, while our thorough simulations of the firestorm produce about 3.7 × 109 kg of black carbon, we find that the vast majority of the black carbon never reaches an altitude above weather systems (approximately 12 km). Therefore, our Earth system model simulations conducted with model-informed atmospheric distributions of black carbon produce significantly lower global climatic impacts than assessed in prior studies, as the carbon at lower altitudes is more quickly removed from the atmosphere. In addition, our model ensembles indicate that statistically significant effects on global surface temperatures are limited to the first 5 years and are much smaller in magnitude than those shown in earlier works. None of the simulations produced a nuclear winter effect. We find that the effects on global surface temperatures are not uniform and are concentrated primarily around the highest arctic latitudes, dramatically reducing the global impact on human health and agriculture compared with that reported by earlier studies. Our analysis demonstrates that the probability of significant global cooling from a limited exchange scenario as envisioned in previous studies is highly unlikely, a conclusion supported by examination of natural analogs, such as large forest fires and volcanic eruptions.

Trends of Cyclone Characteristics in the Arctic and Their Patterns From Different Reanalysis Data

Wed, 03/14/2018 - 15:55

Cyclones in the Arctic are detected and tracked in four different reanalysis data sets from 1981 to 2010. In great detail the spatial and seasonal patterns of changes are scrutinized with regards to their frequencies, depths, and sizes. We find common spatial patterns for their occurrences, with centers of main activity over the seas in winter, and more activity over land and over the North Pole in summer. The deep cyclones are more frequent in winter, and the number of weak cyclones peaks in summer. Overall, we find a good agreement of our tracking results across the different reanalyses. Regarding the frequency changes, we find strong decreases in the Barents Sea and along the Russian coast toward the North Pole and increases over most of the central Arctic Ocean and toward the Pacific in winter. Areas of increasing and decreasing frequencies are of similar size in winter. In summer there is a longish region of increase from the Laptev Sea toward Greenland, over the Canadian archipelago, and over some smaller regions west of Novaya Zemlya and over the Russia. The larger part of the Arctic experiences a frequency decrease. All the summer changes are found statistically unrelated to the winter patterns. In addition, the frequency changes are found unrelated to changes in cyclone depth and size. There is generally good agreement across the different reanalyses in the spatial patterns of the trend sign. However, the magnitudes of changes in a particular region may strongly differ across the data.

Multimodel Surface Temperature Responses to Removal of U.S. Sulfur Dioxide Emissions

Wed, 03/14/2018 - 15:52

Three Earth System models are used to derive surface temperature responses to removal of U.S. anthropogenic SO2 emissions. Using multicentury perturbation runs with and without U.S. anthropogenic SO2 emissions, the local and remote surface temperature changes are estimated. In spite of a temperature drift in the control and large internal variability, 200 year simulations yield statistically significant regional surface temperature responses to the removal of U.S. SO2 emissions. Both local and remote surface temperature changes occur in all models, and the patterns of changes are similar between models for northern hemisphere land regions. We find a global average temperature sensitivity to U.S. SO2 emissions of 0.0055 K per Tg(SO2) per year with a range of (0.0036, 0.0078). We examine global and regional responses in SO4 burdens, aerosol optical depths (AODs), and effective radiative forcing (ERF). While changes in AOD and ERF are concentrated near the source region (United States), the temperature response is spread over the northern hemisphere with amplification of the temperature increase toward the Arctic. In all models, we find a significant response of dust concentrations, which affects the AOD but has no obvious effect on surface temperature. Temperature sensitivity to the ERF of U.S. SO2 emissions is found to differ from the models' sensitivity to radiative forcing of doubled CO2.

Near-Surface Refractory Black Carbon Observations in the Atmosphere and Snow in the McMurdo Dry Valleys, Antarctica, and Potential Impacts of Foehn Winds

Wed, 03/14/2018 - 14:12

Measurements of light-absorbing particles in the boundary layer of the high southern latitudes are scarce, particularly in the McMurdo Dry Valleys (MDV), Antarctica. During the 2013–2014 austral summer near-surface boundary layer refractory black carbon (rBC) aerosols were measured in air by a single-particle soot photometer (SP2) at multiple locations in the MDV. Near-continuous rBC atmospheric measurements were collected at Lake Hoare Camp (LH) over 2 months and for several hours at more remote locations away from established field camps. We investigated periods dominated by both upvalley and downvalley winds to explore the causes of differences in rBC concentrations and size distributions. Snow samples were also collected in a 1 m pit on a glacier near the camp. The range of concentrations rBC in snow was 0.3–1.2 ± 0.3 μg-rBC/L-H2O, and total organic carbon was 0.3–1.4 ± 0.3 mg/L. The rBC concentrations measured in this snow pit are not sufficient to reduce surface albedo; however, there is potential for accumulation of rBC on snow and ice surfaces at low elevation throughout the MDV, which were not measured as part of this study. At LH, the average background rBC mass aerosol concentrations were 1.3 ng/m3. rBC aerosol mass concentrations were slightly lower, 0.09–1.3 ng/m3, at the most remote sites in the MDV. Concentration spikes as high as 200 ng/m3 were observed at LH, associated with local activities. During a foehn wind event, the average rBC mass concentration increased to 30–50 ng/m3. Here we show that the rBC increase could be due to resuspension of locally produced BC from generators, rocket toilets, and helicopters, which may remain on the soil surface until redistributed during high wind events. Quantification of local production and long-range atmospheric transport of rBC to the MDV is necessary for understanding the impacts of this species on regional climate.

Stable isotopes of precipitation during tropical Sumatra Squalls in Singapore

Wed, 03/14/2018 - 14:09

Sumatra Squalls, organized bands of thunderstorms, are the dominant mesoscale convective systems during the inter-monsoon and Southwest Monsoon seasons in Singapore. To understand how they affect precipitation isotopes, we monitored the δ-value of precipitation daily and continuously (every second and integrated over 30 seconds) during all squalls in 2015. We found that precipitation δ18O values mainly exhibit a “V” shape pattern and less commonly a “W” shape pattern. Variation in δ18O values during a single event is about 1 to 6‰ with the lowest values mostly observed in the stratiform zone, which agrees with previous observations and modeling simulations. Re-evaporation can significantly affect δ-values, especially in the last stage of the stratiform zone. Daily precipitation is characterized by periodic negative shifts in δ-value, largely associated with squalls rather than moisture source change. The shifts can be more than 10‰, larger than intra-event variation. Initial δ18O values of events are highly variable, and those with the lowest values also have the lowest initial values. Therefore, past convective activities in the upwind area can significantly affect the δ18O, and convection at the sampling site has limited contribution to isotopic variability. A significant correlation between precipitation δ18O value and regional Outgoing Longwave Radiation and rainfall in the Asian monsoon region and western Pacific suggests that regional organized convection probably drives stable isotopic compositions of precipitation. A drop in the frequency of the squalls in 2015 is related to weak organized convection in the region caused by El Niño.

Effects of cryospheric change on alpine hydrology: Combining a model with observations in the upper reaches of the Hei River, China

Wed, 03/14/2018 - 14:07

Cryospheric changes have great effects on alpine hydrology, but these effects are still unclear owing to rare observations and suitable models in the western cold regions of China (WCRC). Based on long-term field observations in the WCRC, a cryospheric basin hydrological model (CBHM) was proposed to evaluate the cryospheric effects on streamflow in the upper Hei river basin (UHR), and the relationship between the cryosphere and streamflow was further discussed with measured data. The Norwegian Earth System Model (NorESM1-ME) outputs were chosen to project future streamflow under scenarios RCP2.6, RCP4.5, and RCP8.5. The CBHM results were well validated by the measured precipitation, streamflow, evapotranspiration, soil temperature, glacier and snow cover area, and the water balance of land cover in the UHR. The moraine-talus region contributed most of the runoff (60%), even though it made up only about 20% of the area. On average, glacier and snow cover respectively contributed 3.5% and 25.4% of the fresh water to the streamflow in the UHR between 1960 and 2013. Because of the increased air temperature (2.9°C/54a) and precipitation (69.2 mm/54a) over the past 54 years, glacial and snowmelt runoff increased by 9.8% and 12.1%, respectively. The increase in air temperature brought forward the snowmelt flood peak and increased the winter flow due to permafrost degradation. Glaciers may disappear in the near future because of their small size, but snowmelt would increase due to increases in snowfall in the higher mountainous areas, and the basin runoff would increase slightly in the future.

Recent increases in wildfires in the Himalayas and surrounding regions detected in central Tibetan ice core records

Wed, 03/14/2018 - 14:00

Changes in fire activity across regions around the Tibetan Plateau (TP) are poorly understood, especially under the recent warming and drying trends. In this work, we report records of the specific fire tracer levoglucosan in a central Tibetan ice core, indicating a rapid increase in wildfires across the Himalayas and surroundings at the beginning of the 21st century. The climate system, especially precipitation changes, modulates the annual variability of wildfires in regions around the TP. Decreasing pre-monsoon precipitation has prolonged the dry seasons across Himalayan regions affected by the Indian summer monsoon; meanwhile, increasing precipitation over the arid and semiarid Indus River Plain promotes plant growth and thereby increases biofuel availability. These trends have therefore induced increased frequencies of strong wildfires in the Himalayas and surroundings. Increasing strong wildfire events can potentially enhance black carbon deposits on Himalayan glaciers, which would impact glacial melting during the pre-monsoon wildfire seasons in the near future.

The optical properties of limonene secondary organic aerosols: the role of NO3, OH and O3 in the oxidation processes

Wed, 03/14/2018 - 13:46

Limonene, a typical proxy of monoterpenes emitted from biogenic sources, plays an important role in secondary organic aerosol (SOA) formation. However, the optical properties of SOA generated from limonene under various oxidation pathways remain poorly understood. In this study, we investigate the refractive index (RI) of limonene SOA produced from four oxidation conditions with cavity ring-down spectrometer (CRDS) and photoacoustic extinctiometer (PAX) operated at 532 and 375 nm. Our results show that there is a significant difference in RI values of SOA produced from NO3 oxidation compared to other oxidation pathways. The mean values of refractive index of SOA produced from NO3 oxidation, NOx oxidation, OH oxidation with NOx free, and O3 oxidation experiments are 1.578, 1.469, 1.495, and 1.494 at 532 nm; and 1.591, 1.527, 1.513, and 1.537 at 375 nm, respectively, while no detectable absorption is found in all oxidation conditions. We attribute the high RI values of SOA by NO3 oxidation to two factors: a large proportion of organic nitrates and high-molecular-weight dimers/oligomers in the SOA. Our study results indicate that the nighttime chemistry may significantly influence the optical properties of limonene oxidation products. The refractive index values of limonene SOA generated under various oxidation conditions at different wavelengths retrieved in our laboratory experiments could help improve the model predictions for evaluating the effect of biogenic SOA on the global radiative forcing as well as climate change.

Investigation of lightning flash locations in isolated convection using LMA observations

Wed, 03/14/2018 - 06:00

Using lightning mapping arrays (LMAs), lightning flash locations in three dimensions have been investigated using multiple methods. Approximately 500,000 flashes were analyzed to reveal the variability of lightning channel locations within convective storms. These flashes were produced by over 4000 isolated convective storms during one warm season across diverse weather regimes in northern Alabama, Washington, D.C., central Oklahoma and northeastern Colorado. Lightning locations are analyzed within the context of radar reflectivities and examined for vertical variability. Results show that storms in Colorado preferentially produced flashes at lower altitudes and in regions of higher reflectivity compared to the other regions. The regional differences in flash altitudes are largely attributed to the prevalence of anomalous polarity storms (mid- or low-level dominant positive charge) in Colorado, as anomalous storms produced a majority of flashes at lower altitudes compared to storms with normal polarity charge structures (mid-level negative charge). Conversely, anomalous storms are exceedingly rare in the other regions of study. The differences in flash altitudes are coincident with discrepancies between annual average densities estimated by satellite observations and LMA. Specifically, large differences in annual average flash density estimates exist in northeastern Colorado, that are not present in the other regions, suggesting the lower altitude flashes in Colorado may be more difficult to detect by satellites.

Intra-lake heterogeneity of thermal responses to climate change: A study of large Northern Hemisphere lakes

Wed, 03/14/2018 - 05:45

Lake surface water temperature (LSWT) measurements from various sources illustrate that lakes are warming in response to climate change. Most previous studies of geographical distributions of lake warming have tended to utilize data with limited spatial resolution of LSWTs, including single-point time series. Spatially resolved LSWT time-series are now available from satellite observations and some studies have investigated previously the intra-lake warming patterns in specific lakes (e.g., North American Great Lakes). However, across-lake comparisons of intra-lake warming differences have not yet been investigated at a large, across-continental scale, thus limiting our understanding of how intra-lake warming patterns differ more broadly. In this study, we analyze up to 20 years of satellite data from 19 lakes situated across the Northern Hemisphere, to investigate how LSWT changes vary across different lake surfaces. We find considerable intra-lake variability in warming trends across many lakes. The deepest areas of large lakes are characterized by a later onset of thermal stratification, a shorter stratified warming season and exhibit longer correlation timescales of LSWT anomalies. We show that deep areas of large lakes across the Northern Hemisphere as a result tend to display higher rates of warming of summer LSWT, arising from a greater temporal persistence in deep areas of the temperature anomalies associated with an earlier onset of thermal stratification. Utilization of single-point LSWT trends to represent changes in large lakes therefore suppresses important aspects of lake responses to climate change, whereas spatially resolved LSWT measurements can be exploited to provide more comprehensive understanding.

Scattering Matrix for Typical Urban Anthropogenic Origin Cement Dust and Discrimination of Representative Atmospheric Particulates

Wed, 03/14/2018 - 05:10

The complete scattering matrix for cement dust was measured as a function of scattering angle from 5° to 160° at a wavelength of 532 nm, as a representative of mineral dust of anthropogenic origin in urban areas. Other related characteristics of cement dust, such as particle size distribution, chemical composition, refractive index and micro morphology were also analyzed. For this objective, a newly improved apparatus was built and calibrated using water droplets. Measurements of water droplets were in good agreement with Lorenz-Mie calculations. To facilitate the direct applicability of measurements for cement dust in radiative transfer calculation, the synthetic scattering matrix was computed and defined over the full scattering angle range from 0° to 180°. The scattering matrices for cement dust and typical natural mineral dusts were found to be similar in trends and angular behaviors. Angular distributions of all matrix elements were confined to rather limited domains. To promote the application of light scattering matrix in atmospheric observation and remote sensing, discrimination methods for various atmospheric particulates (cement dust, soot, smolder smoke, and water droplets) based on the angular distributions of their scattering matrix elements are discussed. The ratio -F12/F11 proved to be the most effective discrimination method when a single matrix element is employed, aerosol identification can be achieved based on -F12/F11 values at 90° and 160°. Meanwhile, the combinations of -F12/F11 with F22/F11 (or (F11-F22)/(F11+F22)) or -F12/F11 with F44/F11 at 160° can be used when multiple matrix elements at the same scattering angle are selected.

Investigating the Origin of Continual Radio Frequency Impulses during Explosive Volcanic Eruptions

Tue, 03/13/2018 - 22:02

Volcanic lightning studies have revealed that there is a relatively long lasting source of very high frequency (VHF) radiation associated with the onset of explosive volcanic eruptions that is distinct from radiation produced by lightning. This VHF signal is referred to as "continual (or continuous) radio frequency (CRF)" due to its long-lasting nature. The discharge mechanism producing this signal was previously hypothesized to be caused by numerous, small (10-100 m) leader-forming discharges near the vent of the volcano. To test this hypothesis, a multiparametric data set of electrical and volcanic activity occurring during explosive eruptions of Sakurajima volcano in Japan was collected from May-June 2015. Our observations show that a single CRF impulse has a duration on the order of 160 ns (giving an upper limit on discharge length of 10 m) and is distinct from near-vent lightning discharges that were on the order of 30 meters in length. CRF impulses did not produce discernible electric field changes and occurred in the absence of a net static electric field. Lightning mapping data and infrared video observations of the eruption column showed that CRF impulses originated from the gas-thrust region of the column. These observations indicate that CRF impulses are not produced by small, leader-forming discharges, but rather are more similar to a streamer discharge, likely on the order of a few meters in length.

The role of roughness and stability on the momentum flux in the Marine Atmospheric Surface Layer: a study on the Southwestern Atlantic Ocean

Tue, 03/13/2018 - 21:45

For the first time, in-situ turbulence measurements collected in the vicinity of the Brazil-Malvinas Confluence are used to determine the influence of the ocean waves and atmospheric stability on the Marine Atmospheric Surface Layer. From the analysis of 187 high-frequency sampled segments of temperature and wind velocity, carefully selected from three ship campaigns of the Air-Sea Interaction at Brazil-Malvinas Confluence (INTERCONF) project, we found a particular behavior of the drag coefficient, with a negative trend for a calm wind speed up to 10 m s−1 when the significant wave height was lower than 2.5 m, and a continuous decrease of the drag coefficient with increasing wind speed for significant wave height higher than 2.5 m. The results suggest that waves act as roughness elements during high wave conditions, inducing a zero-plane displacement in the order of 0.1 to 1 m as an indication for a wave-induced roughness layer. In addition, the analysis of the Turbulent Kinetic Energy (TKE) budget indicates the occurrence of upward TKE transport mainly during stable conditions, while the general patterns of transport and dissipation of TKE are similar to observations taken over land surfaces.

Emergent Behavior of Arctic Precipitation in Response to Enhanced Arctic Warming

Tue, 03/13/2018 - 15:40

Amplified warming of the high latitudes in response to human-induced emissions of greenhouse gases has already been observed in the historical record and is a robust feature evident across a hierarchy of model systems, including the models of the Coupled Model Intercomparison Project Phase 5 (CMIP5). The main aims of this analysis are to quantify intermodel differences in the Arctic amplification (AA) of the global warming signal in CMIP5 RCP8.5 (Representative Concentration Pathway 8.5) simulations and to diagnose these differences in the context of the energy and water cycles of the region. This diagnosis reveals an emergent behavior between the energetic and hydrometeorological responses of the Arctic to warming: in particular, enhanced AA and its associated reduction in dry static energy convergence is balanced to first order by latent heating via enhanced precipitation. This balance necessitates increasing Arctic precipitation with increasing AA while at the same time constraining the magnitude of that precipitation increase. The sensitivity of the increase, ~1.25 (W/m2)/K (~240 (km3/yr)/K), is evident across a broad range of historical and projected AA values. Accounting for the energetic constraint on Arctic precipitation, as a function of AA, in turn informs understanding of both the sign and magnitude of hydrologic cycle changes that the Arctic may experience.

Evaluating Mesoscale Simulations of the Coastal Flow Using Lidar Measurements

Tue, 03/13/2018 - 14:46

The atmospheric flow in the coastal zone is investigated using lidar and mast measurements and model simulations. Novel dual-Doppler scanning lidars were used to investigate the flow over a 7 km transect across the coast, and vertically profiling lidars were used to study the vertical wind profile at offshore and onshore positions. The Weather, Research and Forecasting model is set up in 12 different configurations using 2 planetary boundary layer schemes, 3 horizontal grid spacings and varied sources of land use, and initial and lower boundary conditions. All model simulations describe the observed mean wind profile well at different onshore and offshore locations from the surface up to 500 m. The simulated mean horizontal wind speed gradient across the shoreline is close to that observed, although all simulations show wind speeds that are slightly higher than those observed. Inland at the lowest observed height, the model has the largest deviations compared to the observations. Taylor diagrams show that using ERA-Interim data as boundary conditions improves the model skill scores. Simulations with 0.5 and 1 km horizontal grid spacing show poorer model performance compared to those with a 2 km spacing, partially because smaller resolved wave lengths degrade standard error metrics. Modeled and observed velocity spectra were compared and showed that simulations with the finest horizontal grid spacing resolved more high-frequency atmospheric motion.

The Wintertime Covariation of CO2 and Criteria Pollutants in an Urban Valley of the Western United States

Mon, 03/12/2018 - 20:25

Numerous mountain valleys experience wintertime particulate pollution events, when persistent cold air pools (PCAPs) develop and inhibit atmospheric mixing, leading to the accumulation of pollutants. Here we examine the relationships between trace gases and criteria pollutants during winter in Utah's Salt Lake Valley, in an effort to better understand the roles of transport versus chemical processes during differing meteorological conditions as well as insights into how targeted reductions in greenhouse gases will impact local air quality in varying meteorological conditions. CO2 is a chemically inert gas that is coemitted during fossil fuel combustion with pollutants. Many of these coemitted pollutants are precursors that react chemically to form secondary particulate matter. Thus, CO2 can serve as a stable tracer and potentially help distinguish transport versus chemical influences on pollutants. During the winter of 2015–2016, we isolated enhancements in CO2 over baseline levels due to urban emissions (“CO2ex”). CO2ex was paired with similar excesses in other pollutant concentrations. These relationships were examined during different wintertime conditions and stages of pollution episodes: (a) Non-PCAP, (b) beginning, and (c) latter stages of an episode. We found that CO2ex is a good indicator of the presence of gaseous criteria pollutants and a reasonable indicator of PM2.5. Additionally, the relationships between CO2ex and criteria pollutants differ during different phases of PCAP events which provide insight into meteorological and transport processes. Lastly, we found a slight overestimation of CO:CO2 emission ratios and a considerable overestimation of NOx:CO2 by existing inventories for the Salt Lake Valley.

Introduction to CAUSES: Description of Weather and Climate Models and Their Near-Surface Temperature Errors in 5 day Hindcasts Near the Southern Great Plains

Mon, 03/12/2018 - 20:21

We introduce the Clouds Above the United States and Errors at the Surface (CAUSES) project with its aim of better understanding the physical processes leading to warm screen temperature biases over the American Midwest in many numerical models. In this first of four companion papers, 11 different models, from nine institutes, perform a series of 5 day hindcasts, each initialized from reanalyses. After describing the common experimental protocol and detailing each model configuration, a gridded temperature data set is derived from observations and used to show that all the models have a warm bias over parts of the Midwest. Additionally, a strong diurnal cycle in the screen temperature bias is found in most models. In some models the bias is largest around midday, while in others it is largest during the night. At the Department of Energy Atmospheric Radiation Measurement Southern Great Plains (SGP) site, the model biases are shown to extend several kilometers into the atmosphere. Finally, to provide context for the companion papers, in which observations from the SGP site are used to evaluate the different processes contributing to errors there, it is shown that there are numerous locations across the Midwest where the diurnal cycle of the error is highly correlated with the diurnal cycle of the error at SGP. This suggests that conclusions drawn from detailed evaluation of models using instruments located at SGP will be representative of errors that are prevalent over a larger spatial scale.

LOFAR Lightning Imaging: Mapping Lightning With Nanosecond Precision

Mon, 03/12/2018 - 20:17

Lightning mapping technology has proven instrumental in understanding lightning. In this work we present a pipeline that can use lightning observed by the LOw-Frequency ARray (LOFAR) radio telescope to construct a 3-D map of the flash. We show that LOFAR has unparalleled precision, on the order of meters, even for lightning flashes that are over 20 km outside the area enclosed by LOFAR antennas (∼3,200 km2), and can potentially locate over 10,000 sources per lightning flash. We also show that LOFAR is the first lightning mapping system that is sensitive to the spatial structure of the electrical current during individual lightning leader steps.

Directional Absorption of Parameterized Mountain Waves and Its Influence on the Wave Momentum Transport in the Northern Hemisphere

Mon, 03/12/2018 - 20:16

The directional absorption of mountain waves in the Northern Hemisphere is assessed by examination of horizontal wind rotation using the 2.5° × 2.5° European Centre for Medium-Range Weather Forecasts ERA-Interim reanalysis between 2011 and 2016. In the deep layer of troposphere and stratosphere, the horizontal wind rotates by more than 120° all over the Northern Hemisphere primary mountainous areas, with the rotation mainly occurring in the troposphere (stratosphere) of lower (middle to high) latitudes. The rotation of tropospheric wind increases markedly in summer over the Tibetan Plateau and Iranian Plateau, due to the influence of Asian summer monsoonal circulation. The influence of directional absorption of mountain waves on the mountain wave momentum transport is also studied using a new parameterization scheme of orographic gravity wave drag (OGWD) which accounts for the effect of directional wind shear. Owing to the directional absorption, the wave momentum flux is attenuated by more than 50% in the troposphere of lower latitudes, producing considerable orographic gravity wave lift which is normal to the mean wind. Compared with the OGWD produced in traditional schemes assuming a unidirectional wind profile, the OGWD in the new scheme is suppressed in the lower stratosphere but enhanced in the upper stratosphere and lower mesosphere. This is because the directional absorption of mountain waves in the troposphere reduces the wave amplitude in the stratosphere. Consequently, mountain waves are prone to break at higher altitudes, which favors the production of stronger OGWD given the decrease of air density with height.

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