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Revilla-Romero B.,European Commission - Joint Research Center Ispra | Revilla-Romero B.,University Utrecht | Hirpa F.A.,European Commission - Joint Research Center Ispra | Pozo J.T.,European Commission - Joint Research Center Ispra | And 5 more authors.
Remote Sensing | Year: 2015

Early flood warning and real-time monitoring systems play a key role in flood risk reduction and disaster response decisions. Global-scale flood forecasting and satellite-based flood detection systems are currently operating, however their reliability for decision-making applications needs to be assessed. In this study, we performed comparative evaluations of several operational global flood forecasting and flood detection systems, using 10 major flood events recorded over 2012-2014. Specifically, we evaluated the spatial extent and temporal characteristics of flood detections from the Global Flood Detection System (GFDS) and the Global Flood Awareness System (GloFAS). Furthermore, we compared the GFDS flood maps with those from NASA's two Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer (MODIS) sensors. Results reveal that: (1) general agreement was found between the GFDS and MODIS flood detection systems, (2) large differences exist in the spatio-temporal characteristics of the GFDS detections and GloFAS forecasts, and (3) the quantitative validation of global flood disasters in data-sparse regions is highly challenging. Overall, satellite remote sensing provides useful near real-time flood information that can be useful for risk management. We highlight the known limitations of global flood detection and forecasting systems, and propose ways forward to improve the reliability of large-scale flood monitoring tools. © 2015 by the authors.

Svensson G.,University of Stockholm | Holtslag A.A.M.,Wageningen University | Kumar V.,Johns Hopkins University | Mauritsen T.,Max Planck Institute for Meteorology | And 23 more authors.
Boundary-Layer Meteorology | Year: 2011

We present the main results from the second model intercomparison within the GEWEX (Global Energy and Water cycle EXperiment) Atmospheric Boundary Layer Study (GABLS). The target is to examine the diurnal cycle over land in today's numerical weather prediction and climate models for operational and research purposes. The set-up of the case is based on observations taken during the Cooperative Atmosphere-Surface Exchange Study-1999 (CASES-99), which was held in Kansas, USA in the early autumn with a strong diurnal cycle with no clouds present. The models are forced with a constant geostrophic wind, prescribed surface temperature and large-scale divergence. Results from 30 different model simulations and one large-eddy simulation (LES) are analyzed and compared with observations. Even though the surface temperature is prescribed, the models give variable near-surface air temperatures. This, in turn, gives rise to differences in low-level stability affecting the turbulence and the turbulent heat fluxes. The increase in modelled upward sensible heat flux during the morning transition is typically too weak and the growth of the convective boundary layer before noon is too slow. This is related to weak modelled near-surface winds during the morning hours. The agreement between the models, the LES and observations is the best during the late afternoon. From this intercomparison study, we find that modelling the diurnal cycle is still a big challenge. For the convective part of the diurnal cycle, some of the first-order schemes perform somewhat better while the turbulent kinetic energy (TKE) schemes tend to be slightly better during nighttime conditions. Finer vertical resolution tends to improve results to some extent, but is certainly not the solution to all the deficiencies identified. © 2011 Springer Science+Business Media B.V.

Storto A.,Centro Euro Mediterraneo sui Cambiamenti Climatici | Masina S.,Centro Euro Mediterraneo sui Cambiamenti Climatici | Balmaseda M.,European Center for Medium Range Weather Forecast | Guinehut S.,Collecte Localisation Satellites | And 36 more authors.
Climate Dynamics | Year: 2015

Quantifying the effect of the seawater density changes on sea level variability is of crucial importance for climate change studies, as the sea level cumulative rise can be regarded as both an important climate change indicator and a possible danger for human activities in coastal areas. In this work, as part of the Ocean Reanalysis Intercomparison Project, the global and regional steric sea level changes are estimated and compared from an ensemble of 16 ocean reanalyses and 4 objective analyses. These estimates are initially compared with a satellite-derived (altimetry minus gravimetry) dataset for a short period (2003–2010). The ensemble mean exhibits a significant high correlation at both global and regional scale, and the ensemble of ocean reanalyses outperforms that of objective analyses, in particular in the Southern Ocean. The reanalysis ensemble mean thus represents a valuable tool for further analyses, although large uncertainties remain for the inter-annual trends. Within the extended intercomparison period that spans the altimetry era (1993–2010), we find that the ensemble of reanalyses and objective analyses are in good agreement, and both detect a trend of the global steric sea level of 1.0 and 1.1 ± 0.05 mm/year, respectively. However, the spread among the products of the halosteric component trend exceeds the mean trend itself, questioning the reliability of its estimate. This is related to the scarcity of salinity observations before the Argo era. Furthermore, the impact of deep ocean layers is non-negligible on the steric sea level variability (22 and 12 % for the layers below 700 and 1500 m of depth, respectively), although the small deep ocean trends are not significant with respect to the products spread. © 2015 Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg

Lee T.,Jet Propulsion Laboratory | Awaji T.,Kyoto University | Balmaseda M.,European Center for Medium Range Weather Forecast | Ferry N.,Mercator Ocean | And 11 more authors.
Dynamics of Atmospheres and Oceans | Year: 2010

Monthly averaged total volume transport of the Indonesian throughflow (ITF) estimated by 14 global ocean data assimilation (ODA) products that are decade to multi-decade long are compared among themselves and with observations from the INSTANT Program (2004-2006). The main goals of the comparisons are to examine the consistency and evaluate the skill of different ODA products in simulating ITF transport. The ensemble averaged, time-mean value of ODA estimates is 13.6Sv (1Sv=106m3/s) for the common 1993-2001 period and 13.9Sv for the 2004-2006 INSTANT Program period. These values are close to the 15-Sv estimate derived from INSTANT observations. All but one ODA time-mean estimate fall within the range of uncertainty of the INSTANT estimate. In terms of temporal variability, the scatter among different ODA estimates averaged over time is 1.7Sv, which is substantially smaller than the magnitude of the temporal variability simulated by the ODA systems. Therefore, the overall " signal-to-noise" ratio for the ensemble estimates is larger than one. The best consistency among the products occurs on seasonal-to-interannual time scales, with generally stronger (weaker) ITF during boreal summer (winter) and during La Nina (El Nino) events. The scatter among different products for seasonal-to-interannual time scales is approximately 1Sv. Despite the good consistency, systematic difference is found between most ODA products and the INSTANT observations. All but the highest-resolution (18km) ODA product show a dominant annual cycle while the INSTANT estimate and the 18-km product exhibit a strong semi-annual signal. The coarse resolution is an important factor that limits the level of agreement between ODA and INSTANT estimates. Decadal signals with periods of 10-15 years are seen. The most conspicuous and consistent decadal change is a relatively sharp increase in ITF transport during 1993-2000 associated with the strengthening tropical Pacific trade wind. Most products do not show a weakening ITF after the mid-1970s' associated with the weakened Pacific trade wind. The scatter of ODA estimates is smaller after than before 1980, reflecting the impact of the enhanced observations after the 1980s. To assess the representativeness of using the average over a three-year period (e.g., the span of the INSTANT Program) to describe longer-term mean, we investigate the temporal variations of the three-year low-pass ODA estimates. The average variation is about 3.6Sv, which is largely due to the increase of ITF transport from 1993 to 2000. However, the three-year average during the 2004-2006 INSTANT Program period is within 0.5Sv of the long-term mean for the past few decades. © 2010 Elsevier B.V.

Bellouin N.,UK Met Office | Bellouin N.,University of Reading | Quaas J.,University of Leipzig | Morcrette J.-J.,European Center for Medium range Weather Forecast | Boucher O.,University Pierre and Marie Curie
Atmospheric Chemistry and Physics | Year: 2013

The European Centre for Medium-range Weather Forecast (ECMWF) provides an aerosol re-analysis starting from year 2003 for the Monitoring Atmospheric Composition and Climate (MACC) project. The re-analysis assimilates total aerosol optical depth retrieved by the Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer (MODIS) to correct for model departures from observed aerosols. The re-analysis therefore combines satellite retrievals with the full spatial coverage of a numerical model. Re-analysed products are used here to estimate the shortwave direct and first indirect radiative forcing of anthropogenic aerosols over the period 2003-2010, using methods previously applied to satellite retrievals of aerosols and clouds. The best estimate of globally-averaged, all-sky direct radiative forcing is-0.7 ± 0.3 Wm−2. The standard deviation is obtained by a Monte-Carlo analysis of uncertainties, which accounts for uncertainties in the aerosol anthropogenic fraction, aerosol absorption, and cloudy-sky effects. Further accounting for differences between the present-day natural and pre-industrial aerosols provides a direct radiative forcing estimate of-0.4 ± 0.3 Wm−2. The best estimate of globally-averaged, all-sky first indirect radiative forcing is-0.6 ± 0.4 Wm−2. Its standard deviation accounts for uncertainties in the aerosol anthropogenic fraction, and in cloud albedo and cloud droplet number concentration susceptibilities to aerosol changes. The distribution of first indirect radiative forcing is asymmetric and is bounded by-0.1 and-2.0 Wm-2. In order to decrease uncertainty ranges, better observational constraints on aerosol absorption and sensitivity of cloud droplet number concentrations to aerosol changes are required. © 2013 Author(s).

Yamazaki D.,University of Tokyo | Yamazaki D.,University of Bristol | Lee H.,University of Houston | Alsdorf D.E.,Ohio State University | And 5 more authors.
Water Resources Research | Year: 2012

Water level dynamics in continental-scale rivers is an important factor for surface water studies and flood hazard management. However, most continental-scale river models have not focused on the reproduction of water level because the storage and movement of surface waters are regulated by smaller-scale topography than their grid resolutions. Here we analyzed the water level dynamics simulated by a state-of-the-art global river model, CaMa-Flood, with subgrid representation of floodplain topography. As a case study, hydrodynamics simulation in the Amazon River was accomplished, and the simulated water surface elevations along the main stem were compared against Envisat altimetry. The seasonal cycles of the simulated water surface elevations are in agreement with the altimetry (correlation coefficient >0.69, annual amplitude error <1.6 m). The accuracy of absolute water surface elevations was also good (averaged RMSE of 1.83 m), and the associated errors were within the range of the model uncertainty due to channel cross-section parameters. Then the ocean tide variation at river mouth was incorporated for simulating the tidal effect in the inland Amazon basin, which requires realistic representation of absolute water surface elevations. By applying power spectra analysis to the simulated water level variations, the 15 day cycle due to spring and neap tides was detected at Obidos, located 800 km upstream from the river mouth. The reproduction of the ocean tide propagation to the inland region suggests that CaMa-Flood includes the main physical processes needed to accurately simulate the water level dynamics in continental-scale rivers. © 2012 American Geophysical Union. All Rights Reserved.

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