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Popova O.P.,Russian Academy of Sciences | Jenniskens P.,Search for Extraterrestrial Intelligence Institute | Jenniskens P.,NASA | Emel'yanenko V.,Russian Academy of Sciences | And 62 more authors.
Science | Year: 2013

The asteroid impact near the Russian city of Chelyabinsk on 15 February 2013 was the largest airburst on Earth since the 1908 Tunguska event, causing a natural disaster in an area with a population exceeding one million. Because it occurred in an era with modern consumer electronics, field sensors, and laboratory techniques, unprecedented measurements were made of the impact event and the meteoroid that caused it. Here, we document the account of what happened, as understood now, using comprehensive data obtained from astronomy, planetary science, geophysics, meteorology, meteoritics, and cosmochemistry and from social science surveys. A good understanding of the Chelyabinsk incident provides an opportunity to calibrate the event, with implications for the study of near-Earth objects and developing hazard mitigation strategies for planetary protection.

Nikulin G.,Swedish Meteorological and Hydrological Institute | Jones C.,Swedish Meteorological and Hydrological Institute | Giorgi F.,Abdus Salam International Center For Theoretical Physics | Asrar G.,World Climate Research Programme | And 10 more authors.
Journal of Climate | Year: 2012

An ensemble of regional climate simulations is analyzed to evaluate the ability of 10 regional climate models (RCMs) and their ensemble average to simulate precipitation over Africa. All RCMs use a similar domain and spatial resolution of~50 km and are driven by the ECMWF Interim Re-Analysis (ERA-Interim) (1989-2008). They constitute the first set of simulations in the Coordinated Regional Downscaling Experiment in Africa (CORDEX-Africa) project. Simulated precipitation is evaluated at a range of time scales, including seasonal means, and annual and diurnal cycles, against a number of detailed observational datasets. All RCMs simulate the seasonal mean and annual cycle quite accurately, although individual models can exhibit significant biases in some subregions and seasons. The multimodel average generally outperforms any individual simulation, showing biases of similar magnitude to differences across a number of observational datasets. Moreover, many of the RCMs significantly improve the precipitation climate compared to that from their boundary condition dataset, that is, ERA-Interim. A common problem in the majority of the RCMs is that precipitation is triggered too early during the diurnal cycle, although a small subset of models does have a reasonable representation of the phase of the diurnal cycle. The systematic bias in the diurnal cycle is not improved when the ensemble mean is considered. Based on this performance analysis, it is assessed that the present set of RCMs can be used to provide useful information on climate projections over Africa. © 2012 American Meteorological Society.

Schaller N.,University of Oxford | Kay A.L.,UK Center for Ecology and Hydrology | Lamb R.,JBA Trust | Lamb R.,Lancaster University | And 24 more authors.
Nature Climate Change | Year: 2016

A succession of storms reaching southern England in the winter of 2013/2014 caused severe floods and £451 million insured losses. In a large ensemble of climate model simulations, we find that, as well as increasing the amount of moisture the atmosphere can hold, anthropogenic warming caused a small but significant increase in the number of January days with westerly flow, both of which increased extreme precipitation. Hydrological modelling indicates this increased extreme 30-day-average Thames river flows, and slightly increased daily peak flows, consistent with the understanding of the catchment's sensitivity to longer-duration precipitation and changes in the role of snowmelt. Consequently, flood risk mapping shows a small increase in properties in the Thames catchment potentially at risk of riverine flooding, with a substantial range of uncertainty, demonstrating the importance of explicit modelling of impacts and relatively subtle changes in weather-related risks when quantifying present-day effects of human influence on climate. © 2016 Macmillan Publishers Limited.

Teixeira J.,Jet Propulsion Laboratory | Cardoso S.,University of Lisbon | Cardoso S.,U.S. National Center for Atmospheric Research | Bonazzola M.,Laboratoire Of Meteorologie Dynamique | And 35 more authors.
Journal of Climate | Year: 2011

A model evaluation approach is proposed in which weather and climate prediction models are analyzed along a Pacific Ocean cross section, from the stratocumulus regions off the coast of California, across the shallow convection dominated trade winds, to the deep convection regions of the ITCZ-the Global Energy and Water Cycle Experiment Cloud System Study/Working Group on Numerical Experimentation (GCSS/WGNE) Pacific Cross-Section Intercomparison (GPCI). The main goal of GPCI is to evaluate and help understand and improve the representation of tropical and subtropical cloud processes in weather and climate prediction models. In this paper, a detailed analysis of cloud regime transitions along the cross section from the subtropics to the tropics for the season June-July-August of 1998 is presented. This GPCI study confirms many of the typical weather and climate prediction model problems in the representation of clouds: underestimation of clouds in the stratocumulus regime by most models with the corresponding consequences in terms of shortwave radiation biases; overestimation of clouds by the 40-yrECMWFRe-Analysis (ERA-40) in the deep tropics (in particular) with the corresponding impact in the outgoing longwave radiation; large spread between the different models in terms of cloud cover, liquid water path and shortwave radiation; significant differences between the models in terms of vertical cross sections of cloud properties (in particular), vertical velocity, and relative humidity. An alternative analysis of cloud cover mean statistics is proposed where sharp gradients in cloud cover along the GPCI transect are taken into account. This analysis shows that the negative cloud bias of some models and ERA-40 in the stratocumulus regions [as compared to the first International Satellite Cloud Climatology Project (ISCCP)] is associated not only with lower values of cloud cover in these regimes, but also with a stratocumulus-to-cumulus transition that occurs too early along the trade wind Lagrangian trajectory. Histograms of cloud cover along the cross section differ significantly between models. Some models exhibit a quasi-bimodal structure with cloud cover being either very large (close to 100%) or very small, while other models show a more continuous transition. The ISCCP observations suggest that reality is in-between these two extreme examples. These different patterns reflect the diverse nature of the cloud, boundary layer, and convection parameterizations in the participating weather and climate prediction models. © 2011 American Meteorological Society.

Meehl G.A.,U.S. National Center for Atmospheric Research | Goddard L.,International Research Institute for Climate and Society | Boer G.,Canadian Center for Climate Modeling and Analysis | Burgman R.,Florida International University | And 25 more authors.
Bulletin of the American Meteorological Society | Year: 2014

The rapidly evolving field of decadal climate prediction, using initialized climate models to produce time-evolving predictions of regional climate, is producing new results for predictions, predictability, and prediction skill. © 2014 American Meteorological Society.

Stratmann G.,German Aerospace Center | Ziereis H.,German Aerospace Center | Stock P.,German Aerospace Center | Brenninkmeijer C.A.M.,Max Planck Institute for Chemistry | And 5 more authors.
Atmospheric Environment | Year: 2016

Nitrogen oxide (NO and NOy) measurements were performed onboard an in-service aircraft within the framework of CARIBIC (Civil Aircraft for the Regular Investigation of the atmosphere Based on an Instrument Container). A total of 330 flights were completed from May 2005 through April 2013 between Frankfurt/Germany and destination airports in Canada, the USA, Brazil, Venezuela, Chile, Argentina, Colombia, South Africa, China, South Korea, Japan, India, Thailand, and the Philippines. Different regions show differing NO and NOy mixing ratios. In the mid-latitudes, observed NOy and NO generally shows clear seasonal cycles in the upper troposphere with a maximum in summer and a minimum in winter. Mean NOy mixing ratios vary between 1.36 nmol/mol in summer and 0.27 nmol/mol in winter. Mean NO mixing ratios range between 0.05 nmol/mol and 0.22 nmol/mol. Regions south of 40°N show no consistent seasonal dependence. Based on CO observations, low, median and high CO air masses were defined. According to this classification, more data was obtained in high CO air masses in the regions south of 40°N compared to the midlatitudes. This indicates that boundary layer emissions are more important in these regions. In general, NOy mixing ratios are highest when measured in high CO air masses. This dataset is one of the most comprehensive NO and NOy dataset available today for the upper troposphere and is therefore highly suitable for the validation of atmosphere-chemistry-models. © 2016 Elsevier Ltd.

Ferrero E.,University of Piemonte Orientale | Mortarini L.,CNR Institute of atmospheric Sciences and Climate | Alessandrini S.,RSE Research on Energy Systems | Lacagnina C.,Koninklijk Nederlands Meteorologisch Instituut
Boundary-Layer Meteorology | Year: 2013

The joint concentration probability density function of two reactive chemical species is modelled using a bivariate Gamma distribution coupled with a three-dimensional fluctuating plume model able to simulate the diffusion and mixing of turbulent plumes. A wind-tunnel experiment (Brown and Bilger, J Fluid Mech 312:373-407, 1996), carried out in homogeneous unbounded turbulence, in which nitrogen oxide is released from a point source in an ozone doped background and the chemical reactions take place in non-equilibrium conditions, is considered as a test case. The model is based on a stochastic Langevin equation reproducing the barycentre position distribution through a proper low-pass filter for the turbulence length scales. While the meandering large-scale motion of the plume is directly simulated, the internal mixing relative to the centroid is reproduced using a bivariate Gamma density function. The effect of turbulence on the chemical reaction (segregation), which in this case has not yet attained equilibrium, is directly evaluated through the covariance of the tracer concentration fields. The computed mean concentrations and the O3-NO concentration covariance are also compared with those obtained by the Alessandrini and Ferrero Lagrangian single particle model (Alessandrini and Ferrero, Physica A 388:1375-1387, 2009) that entails an ad hoc parametrization for the segregation coefficient. © 2012 Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht.

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