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Paquin-Ricard D.,University of Quebec at Montreal | Jones C.,Swedish Meteorological and Hydrological Institute | Vaillancourt P.A.,Meteorological Research Division
Monthly Weather Review

The total downwelling shortwave (SWD) and longwave (LWD) radiation and its components are assessed for the limited-area version of the Global Environmental Multiscale Model (GEM-LAM) against Atmospheric Radiation Measurements (ARM) at two sites: the southern Great Plains (SGP) and the North Slope of Alaska (NSA) for the 1998-2005 period. The model and observed SWD and LWD are evaluated as a function of the cloud fraction (CF), that is, for overcast and clear-sky conditions separately, to isolate and analyze different interactions between radiation and 1) atmospheric aerosols and water vapor and 2) cloud liquid water. Through analysis of the mean diurnal cycle and normalized frequency distributions of surface radiation fluxes, the primary radiation error in GEM-LAM is seen to be an excess in SWD in the middle of the day. The SWD bias results from a combination of underestimated CF and clouds, when present, possessing a too-high solar transmissivity, which is particularly the case for optically thin clouds. Concurrent with the SWD bias, a near-surface warm bias develops in GEM-LAM, particularly at the SGP site in the summer. The ultimate cause of this warm bias is difficult to uniquely determine because of the range of complex interactions between the surface, atmospheric, and radiation processes that are involved. Possible feedback loops influencing this warm bias are discussed. The near-surface warm bias is the primary cause of an excess clear-sky LWD. This excess is partially balanced with respect to the all-sky LWD by an underestimated CF, which causes a negative bias in simulated all-sky emissivity. It is shown that there is a strong interaction between all the components influencing the simulated surface radiation fluxes with frequent error compensation, emphasizing the need to evaluate the individual radiation components at high time frequency. © 2010 American Meteorological Society. Source

Zhang X.,Nanjing University | Zhang X.,Shanghai Typhoon Institute | Lin H.,Meteorological Research Division | Jiang J.,Nanjing University
Advances in Atmospheric Sciences

Global teleconnections associated with tropical convective activities were investigated, based on monthly data of 29 Northern Hemisphere winters: December, January, February, and March (DJFM). First, EOF analyses were performed on the outgoing long-wave radiation (OLR) data to characterize the convective activity variability in the tropical Indian Ocean and the western Pacific. The first EOF mode of the convective activity was highly correlated with the ENSO. The second EOF mode had an east-west dipole structure, and the third EOF mode had three convective activity centers. Two distinct teleconnection patterns were identified that were associated, respectively, with the second and third EOF modes. A global primitive equation model was used to investigate the physical mechanism that causes the global circulation anomalies. The model responses to anomalous tropical thermal forcings that mimic the EOF patterns matched the general features of the observed circulation anomalies well, and they were mainly controlled by linear processes. The importance of convective activities in the tropical Indian Ocean and western Pacific to the extended and long-range forecasting capability in the extratropics is discussed. © 2012 Chinese National Committee for International Association of Meteorology and Atmospheric Sciences, Institute of Atmospheric Physics, Science Press and Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg. Source

Kochtubajda B.,Environment Canada | Burrows W.R.,Environment Canada | Burrows W.R.,Meteorological Research Division
Atmosphere - Ocean

We summarize the temporal and spatial characteristics of polarity, multiplicity and first-stroke peak current of approximately 23.5 million cloud-to-ground (CG) lightning flashes detected by the Canadian Lightning Detection Network for the period 1999-2008. Regional differences in these parameters reflect the complex nature and structure of thunderstorms across the country.The annual mean percentage of positive CG flashes was found to be lowest in eastern Canada (11%) and highest in northern Canada (17%). The data do not show any trends over the years in any region. The monthly distribution of positive CG flashes reflects a strong seasonality in all regions, with higher values in winter than in summer. Areas of more than 25% positive flashes are observed along the west coast of British Columbia, in Yukon extending southeast into central British Columbia, in southern Manitoba, northern Quebec, Newfoundland and off the coast of Nova Scotia. The percentages of single-stroke positive and negative flashes for northern (western, eastern) Canada are 93% and 63%, (89% and 48%, 90% and 50%), respectively. The monthly distribution of multiplicity for negative CG flashes peaks between 2 and 2.4 strokes per flash in the summer and early fall in all regions. The multiplicity of positive flashes (slightly higher than 1 stroke per flash) shows little variation throughout the year in all regions. The annual variation of median negative and positive first-stroke peak currents reflects a latitudinal dependence over the past decade. The lowest values for each polarity are observed in southern Canada and the highest values occur in the North. The data do not show any trends in peak currents over the years in the eastern or western regions of Canada. The monthly median first-stroke peak currents for both polarities are strongest in winter and reach a minimum during summer in all regions. Large current flashes ≥100 kA are usually detected in summer and comprise less than 1% of the average annual CG flashes detected in Canada. Large current flashes with stroke multiplicity ≥10 are usually associated with negative polarity. These CG flashes are mostly detected in western Canada. Source

Burrows W.R.,Meteorological Research Division | Burrows W.R.,Hydrometeorology and Arctic Laboratory | Kochtubajda B.,Hydrometeorology and Arctic Laboratory
Atmosphere - Ocean

Flash density and occurrence features for more than 23.5 million cloud-to-ground (CG) lightning flashes detected by the Canadian Lightning Detection Network (CLDN) from 1999 to 2008 are analyzed on 20 × 20 km equal area squares over Canada. This study was done to update an analysis performed in 2002 with just three years of data. Flashes were detected throughout the year, and distinct geographic differences in flash density and lightning occurrence were observed. The shape and locations of large scale patterns of lightning occurrence remained almost the same, although some details were different. Flash density maxima occurred at the same locations as found previously: the Swan Hills and Foothills of Alberta, southeastern Saskatchewan, southwestern Manitoba and southwestern Ontario. A region of greater lightning occurrence but relatively low flash density south of Nova Scotia occurred at the same location as reported previously. New areas of higher flash density occurred along the US border with northwestern Ontario and southern Quebec. These appear to be northward extensions of higher flash density seen in the previous study. The greatest average CG flash density was 2.8 flash km-2 y-1 in southwestern Ontario, where the greatest single-year flash density (10.3 flash km-2 y-1) also occurred. Prominent flash density minima occurred east of the Continental Divide in Alberta and over the Niagara Escarpment in southern Ontario.Lightning activity is seen to be highly influenced by the length of the season, proximity to cold water bodies and elevation. The diurnal heating and cooling cycle exerted the main control over lightning occurrence over most land areas; however, storm translation and transient dynamic features complicated the time pattern of lightning production. A large portion of the southern Prairie Provinces experienced more than 50% of flashes between 22:30 and 10:30 local solar time. The duration of lightning over a 20 × 20 km square at most locations in Canada is 5-10 h y-1, although the duration exceeded 15 h y-1 over extreme southwestern Ontario. Lightning occurred on 15-30 days each year, on average, over most of the interior of the country. The greatest number of days with lightning in a single year was 47 in the Alberta foothills and 50 in southwestern Ontario. Beginning and ending dates of the lightning season show that the season length decreases from north to south; however, there are considerable east-west differences between regions. The season is nearly year-round in the Pacific coastal region, southern Nova Scotia, southern Newfoundland and offshore. Source

Lespinas F.,Meteorological Research Division | Fortin V.,Meteorological Research Division | Roy G.,National Severe Weather Laboratory | Rasmussen P.,University of Manitoba | Stadnyk T.,University of Manitoba
Journal of Hydrometeorology

This paper presents an assessment of the operational system used by the Meteorological Service of Canada for producing near-real-time precipitation analyses over North America. The Canadian Precipitation Analysis (CaPA) system optimally combines available surface observations with numerical weather prediction (NWP) output in order to produce estimates of precipitation on a 15-km grid at each synoptic hour (0000, 0600, 1200, and 1800 UTC). The validation protocol used to assess the quality of the CaPA has demonstrated the usefulness of the system for producing reliable estimates of precipitation over Canada, even in areas with few or no weather stations. The CaPA is found to be better in autumn, spring, and winter than in summer. This is because of the difficulty in correctly producing convective precipitation in the NWP because of the low spatial resolution of the meteorological model. An investigation of the quality of the precipitation analyses in the 15 terrestrial ecozones of Canada indicates the need to have a sufficient number of observations (at least ~1.17 stations per 10 000 km2) in order to produce a precipitation analysis that is significantly better than the raw NWP product. Improvements of the CaPA system by including provincial networks as well as radar and satellite information are expected in the future. © 2015 American Meteorological Society. Source

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