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Toulouse, France

Solmon F.,Abdus Salam International Center For Theoretical Physics | Elguindi N.,Abdus Salam International Center For Theoretical Physics | Mallet M.,CNRS Laboratory for Aerology
Climate Research | Year: 2012

We used the Regional Circulation Model (RegCM) to investigate the direct effect of dust aerosol on climate over West Africa, with a specific focus on the Sahel region. First, we characterized the mechanisms linking dust radiative forcing and convective activity over Sahel and the net impact of dust on precipitation: The mean effect of dust over 11 summer seasons is to reduce precipitation over most of the Sahel region as a result of strong surface cooling and elevated diabatic warming inhibiting convection. However, on the very northern Sahel and in the vicinity of dust sources, a relative increase of precipitation is obtained as a result of enhanced diabatic warming in the lower atmosphere associated with high dust concentrations at low altitude. In the second part of the paper, we investigated the robustness of this signal with regards to different modeling conditions that are thought to be sensitive, namely the extension of the domain, the effect of dust on sea surface temperature, the land surface scheme, the convective scheme and the dust single scattering albedo. The simulated dust induced precipitation anomaly over West Africa is consistent and robust in these tests, but significant variations over the northern Sahel region are nevertheless pointed out. Among different factors, single scattering and surface albedo, as well as the nature of the convective scheme, have the greatest influence on the simulated response of West African climate to dust forcing. © 2012 Inter-Research.

Hess P.G.,Cornell University | Zbinden R.,CNRS Laboratory for Aerology
Atmospheric Chemistry and Physics | Year: 2013

The influence of stratospheric ozone on the interannual variability and trends in tropospheric ozone is evaluated between 30 and 90 N from 1990-2009 using ozone measurements and a global chemical transport model, the Community Atmospheric Model with chemistry (CAM-chem). Long-term measurements from ozonesondes, at 150 and 500 hPa, and the Measurements of OZone and water vapour by in-service Airbus aircraft programme (MOZAIC), at 500 hPa, are analyzed over Japan, Canada, the Eastern US and Northern and Central Europe. The measurements generally emphasize northern latitudes, although the simulation suggests that measurements over the Canadian, Northern and Central European regions are representative of the large-scale interannual ozone variability from 30 to 90 N at 500 hPa. CAM-chem is run with input meteorology from the National Center for Environmental Prediction; a tagging methodology is used to identify the stratospheric contribution to tropospheric ozone concentrations. A variant of the synthetic ozone tracer (synoz) is used to represent stratospheric ozone. Both the model and measurements indicate that on large spatial scales stratospheric interannual ozone variability drives significant tropospheric variability at 500 hPa and the surface. In particular, the simulation and the measurements suggest large stratospheric influence at the surface sites of Mace Head (Ireland) and Jungfraujoch (Switzerland) as well as many 500 hPa measurement locations. Both the measurements and simulation suggest the stratosphere has contributed to tropospheric ozone trends. In many locations between 30-90 N 500 hPa ozone significantly increased from 1990-2000, but has leveled off since (from 2000-2009). The simulated global ozone budget suggests global stratosphere-troposphere exchange increased in 1998-1999 in association with a global ozone anomaly. Discrepancies between the simulated and measured ozone budget include a large underestimation of measured ozone variability and discrepancies in long-term stratospheric ozone trends. This suggests the need for more sophisticated simulations including better representations of stratospheric chemistry and circulation. © 2013 Author(s).

Pantillon F.,CNRS Laboratory for Aerology | Chaboureau J.-P.,CNRS Laboratory for Aerology | Lac C.,Meteo - France | Mascart P.,CNRS Laboratory for Aerology
Quarterly Journal of the Royal Meteorological Society | Year: 2013

Three successive interactions of hurricane Helene (2006) with a Rossby wave train during the extratropical transition of Helene over the North Atlantic were investigated. Numerical experiments were performed with different horizontal resolutions and configurations, over a domain that stretches from the eastern Pacific to the Western Mediterranean to encompass Helene and the whole Rossby wave train. In particular, a cloud-resolving run offered an explicit representation of strong diabatic effects involved in the three successive interactions. While the circulation and moisture anomaly of Helene were essential to its own reintensification, it is shown that the Rossby wave train played an important role in the track and intensity of Helene and in explosive cyclogenesis downstream. First, the Rossby wave train steered Helene in such a way that a small difference in phasing resulted in large errors in the track of Helene. Only a run at kilometre scale was able to correctly forecast the 5-day track of Helene. Second, through the formation of three filaments, the Rossby wave train created a quasi-diurnal cycle in the intensity of Helene. Helene responded with strong diabatic activity that prevented the superposition of an upstream trough and enhanced a downstream ridge. Finally, model errors in the outflow of Helene propagated downstream with the group speed of the Rossby wave train, leading to the loss of predictability of a tropical-like cyclone over the Mediterranean. This study suggests that, in addition to the horizontal resolution, uncertainty from the model microphysics and from initial conditions need to be characterized to improve mid-range forecast downstream from an extratropical transition. © 2012 Royal Meteorological Society.

Chong M.,CNRS Laboratory for Aerology
Quarterly Journal of the Royal Meteorological Society | Year: 2010

On the evening of 9 August 2006, a mesoscale convective system (MCS) having a north-south oriented squall-line organization formed over the border between Chad and Nigeria. It propagated westward, intensified over Nigeria on 10 August, and reached Niamey (Niger) at 0320 UTC on 11 August. Its passage over Niamey was accompanied by dust lifting and was well tracked by the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) Doppler radar. The three-dimensional structure of the airflow and precipitation pattern is investigated from regular radar volume scans performed every ten minutes between 0200 and 0321 UTC. The 3D wind components are deduced from the multiple-Doppler synthesis and continuity adjustment technique (MUSCAT) applied to a set of three volume scans obtained over a time period of one hour, which are equivalent to a three-radar observation of the squall line when considering a reference frame moving with the system and the hypothesis of a stationary field. Results of the wind synthesis reveal several features commonly observed in tropical squall lines, such as the deep convective cells in front of the system, fed by the monsoon air and extending up to 15 km altitude, and the well-marked stratiform rain region at the rear, associated with mesoscale vertical motions. Forward and trailing anvils are clearly identified as resulting from the outflow of air reaching the tropopause and transported to this level by the sloping convective updraughts occurring in a sheared environment. In the northern part, a deeper and stronger front-to-rear flow at mid-levels is found to contribute to the rearward deflection of the leading line and to promote a broader (over 300 km) stratiform cloud region. Eddy vertical transports of the cross-line momentum mainly accounts for the mid-level flow acceleration due to a momentum redistribution from low to higher levels. The height distribution of hydrometeors and their associated production terms derived from a one-dimensional microphysical retrieval model indicate the distinct roles of the convective and stratiform regions in the formation of graupel and rain, and the respective contributions of cold (riming) and warm (coalescence, melting) processes. Cooling from melting, and heating/cooling from condensation/evaporation processes yield a net decrease and increase of the potential temperature at low and mid-to-upper levels, respectively, with respect to an environmental thermodynamic profile taken three hours ahead of the analysis. Finally, the upper-level rearward flow could convey the non-negligible proportion of ice particles farther from the leading deep convection to the trailing stratiform region, thereby favouring the extent of this region. © 2009 Royal Meteorological Society.

Arnault J.,CNRS Laboratory for Aerology | Roux F.,CNRS Laboratory for Aerology
Atmospheric Research | Year: 2011

The most common synoptic-scale disturbances related to cyclogenesis over the tropical north Atlantic Ocean are African easterly waves (AEWs) that originated from the northern African continent. However, most of these waves do not evolve in tropical depressions, storms, or hurricanes. The reasons why only few AEWs develop and the necessary conditions for cyclogenetic evolution are still the subject of intense debate.Tropical cyclogenesis occurring near the Cape Verde Islands in the eastern tropical Atlantic is investigated here with five seasons (July-August-September of 2004-2008) of European Centre for Medium-Range Weather Forecasts analyses, Meteosat-9 images, and National Hurricane Center (National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, National Centers for Environmental Prediction) "best track" archives. The nine named storms that first reached tropical depression intensity east of 30°W, and two among six which developed between 30 and 40°W, during these five years evolved from intense AEW troughs, associated with low-level cyclonic circulation, weak mid-level anticyclonic Saharan flow to the east, and deep convection near the center of cyclonic vorticity. The cyclogenetic evolution of three AEW troughs, which verified these conditions but failed to develop into named storms, was probably inhibited by unusually dry environment and strong vertical wind shear. The fate of other AEW troughs, which did not satisfy the necessary conditions, is also discussed. © 2011 Elsevier B.V.

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