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Lau K.-M.,NASA | WU H.-T.,Science Systems And Applications Inc.
Journal of Climate | Year: 2010

This study investigates the evolution of cloud and rainfall structures associated with Madden-Julian oscillation (MJO) using Tropical Rainfall Measuring Mission (TRMM) data. Two complementary indices are used to define MJO phases. Joint probability distribution functions (PDFs) of cloud-top temperature and radar echo-top height are constructed for each of the eight MJO phases. The genesis stage of MJO convection over the western Pacific (phases 1 and 2) features a bottom-heavy PDF, characterized by abundant warm rain, low clouds, suppressed deep convection, and higher sea surface temperature (SST). As MJO convection develops (phases 3 and 4), a transition from the bottom-heavy to top-heavy PDF occurs. The latter is associated with the development of mixed-phase rain and middle-to-high clouds, coupled with rapid SST cooling. At the MJO convection peak (phase 5), a top-heavy PDF contributed by deep convection with mixed-phase and ice-phase rain and high echo-top heights (>5 km) dominates. The decaying stage (phases 6 and 7) is characterized by suppressed SST, reduced total rain, increased contribution from stratiform rain, and increased nonraining high clouds. Phase 7, in particular, signals the beginning of a return to higher SST and increased warm rain. Phase 8 completes the MJO cycle, returning to a bottom-heavy PDF and SST conditions similar to phase 1. The structural changes in rain and clouds at different phases of MJO are consistent with corresponding changes in derived latent heating profiles, suggesting the importance of a diverse mix of warm, mixed-phase, and ice-phase rain associated with low-level, congestus, and high clouds in constituting the life cycle and the time scales of MJO.

An analysis of simulated cloud regime transitions along a transect from the subtropical California coast to the tropics for the northern summer season (June-August) is presented in this study. The Community Atmosphere Model, version 5 (CAM5), superparameterized CAM (SPCAM), and an upgraded SPCAM with intermediately prognostic higher-order closure (SPCAM-IPHOC) are used to perform global simulations by imposing climatological sea surface temperature and sea ice distributions. The seasonal-mean properties are compared with recent observations of clouds, radiation, and precipitation and with multimodel intercomparison results. There are qualitative agreements in the characteristics of cloud regimes along the transect among the three models. CAM5 simulates precipitation and shortwave radiative fluxes well but the stratocumulus-to-cumulus transition occurs too close to the coast of California. SPCAM-IPHOC simulates longwave radiative fluxes and precipitable water well, but with systematic biases in shortwave radiative fluxes. The broad, stronger ascending band in SPCAM is related to the large biases in the convective region but the characteristics of the stratocumulus region are still more realistic and the transition occurs slightly farther away from the coast than in CAM5. Even though SPCAM-IPHOC produces the most realistic seasonal-mean transition, it underestimates the mean gradient in low-cloud cover (LCC) across the mean transition location because of an overestimate of LCC in the transition and convective regions that shifts the transition locations farther from the coast. Analysis of two decoupling measures shows consistency in the mean location and the histogram of decoupling locations with those of LCC transition. CAM5, however, lacks such a consistency, suggesting a need for further refinement of its boundary layer cloud parameterization. © 2013 American Meteorological Society.

Xu Dr. K.-M.,NASA | Cheng A.,Science Systems And Applications Inc.
Journal of Climate | Year: 2013

The eastern Pacific is a climatologically important region. Conventional coupled atmosphere-ocean general circulation models produce positive sea surface temperature biases of 2-5 K in this region because of insufficient stratocumulus clouds. In this study, a global multiscale modeling framework (MMF), which replaces traditional cloud parameterizations with a 2D cloud-resolving model (CRM) in each atmospheric column, is used to examine the seasonal variations of this Pacific region. The CRM component contains an advanced third-order turbulence closure, helping it to better simulate boundary layer turbulence and lowlevel clouds. Compared to available satellite observations of cloud amount, liquid water path, cloud radiative effects, and precipitation, this MMF produces realistic seasonal variations of the eastern Pacific region, although there are some disagreements in the exact location of maximum cloudiness centers in the Peruvian region and the intensity of ITCZ precipitation. Analyses of profile- and subcloud-based decoupling measures reveal very small amplitudes of seasonal variations in the decoupling strength in the subtropics except for those regions off the subtropical coasts where the decoupling measures suggest that the boundary layers should be well coupled in all four seasons. In the Peruvian and Californian regions, the seasonal variations of low clouds are related to those in the boundary layer height and the strength of inversion. Factors that influence the boundary layer and the inversion, such as solar incident radiation, subcloud-layer turbulent mixing, and large-scale subsidence, can collectively explain the seasonal variations of low clouds rather than the deepening-warming mechanism of Bretherton and Wyant cited in earlier studies. © 2013 American Meteorological Society.

This purposes of this paper are to: 1) demonstrate an objective overshooting top (OT) detection method using Meteosat Second Generation (MSG) Spinning Enhanced Visible and Infrared Imager (SEVIRI) infrared data, 2) produce an OT database for all operational SEVIRI data over Europe and north Africa for the six Northern Hemisphere warm seasons observed by SEVIRI to date, and 3) determine the frequency of OT detections in the vicinity of confirmed severe weather reports recorded within the European Severe Weather Database (ESWD). Algorithm performance is demonstrated for a case where numerous severe storms were present. Qualitative comparisons indicate that most OT detections correspond with the characteristic OT signature in SEVIRI 1. km resolution visible channel imagery, but some OTs were left undetected due in part to relatively coarse SEVIRI spatial resolution over the European domain. The SEVIRI OT database shows a strong relationship between OT maxima and regions with high terrain. OTs are found to occur more frequently during the day over land and during the night over water. Inter- and intra-seasonal variability in OT frequency and location are also shown. An OT was found near 47% of the confirmed ESWD events. The OT-severe weather relationship is strong for large hail (53%) and severe wind (52%) events but relatively weak for tornado events (14%). The weak OT-tornado relationship may be related two factors: 1) low-level wind shear is found to be of greater importance than large CAPE and strong updrafts (i.e. OTs) in tornadic storm environments across Europe and 2) a weakening of the storm updraft and collapse of the OT region has been documented prior to tornado formation. The relatively strong overall OT-severe weather relationship suggests that OT detections can be used to increase forecaster confidence that a given storm is severe, especially in regions where frequent, ground based Doppler weather radar data is unavailable. © 2010 Elsevier B.V.

Pinzon J.E.,Science Systems And Applications Inc. | Tucker C.J.,NASA
Remote Sensing | Year: 2014

The NDVI3g time series is an improved 8-km normalized difference vegetation index (NDVI) data set produced from Advanced Very High Resolution Radiometer (AVHRR) instruments that extends from 1981 to the present. The AVHRR instruments have flown or are flying on fourteen polar-orbiting meteorological satellites operated by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) and are currently flying on two European Organization for the Exploitation of Meteorological Satellites (EUMETSAT) polar-orbiting meteorological satellites, MetOp-A and MetOp-B. This long AVHRR record is comprised of data from two different sensors: the AVHRR/2 instrument that spans July 1981 to November 2000 and the AVHRR/3 instrument that continues these measurements from November 2000 to the present. The main difficulty in processing AVHRR NDVI data is to properly deal with limitations of the AVHRR instruments. Complicating among-instrument AVHRR inter-calibration of channels one and two is the dual gain introduced in late 2000 on the AVHRR/3 instruments for both these channels. We have processed NDVI data derived from the Sea-Viewing Wide Field-of-view Sensor (SeaWiFS) from 1997 to 2010 to overcome among-instrument AVHRR calibration difficulties. We use Bayesian methods with high quality well-calibrated SeaWiFS NDVI data for deriving AVHRR NDVI calibration parameters. Evaluation of the uncertainties of our resulting NDVI values gives an error of ± 0.005 NDVI units for our 1981 to present data set that is independent of time within our AVHRR NDVI continuum and has resulted in a non-stationary climate data set. © 2014 by the authors.

Xu Dr. K.-M.,NASA | Cheng A.,Science Systems And Applications Inc.
Journal of Climate | Year: 2013

The multiscale modeling framework, which replaces traditional cloud parameterizations with a 2D cloudresolving model (CRM) in each atmospheric column, is a promising approach to climate modeling. TheCRM component contains an advanced third-order turbulence closure, helping it to better simulate low-level clouds. In this study, two simulations are performed with 1.98 3 2.58 grid spacing but they differ in the vertical resolution. The number of model layers below 700 hPa increases from 6 in one simulation (IP-6L) to 12 in another (IP-12L) to better resolve the boundary layer. The low-cloud horizontal distribution and vertical structures in IP-12L are more realistic and its global mean is higher than in IP-6L and closer to that of CloudSat/Cloud-Aerosol Lidar and Infrared Pathfinder Satellite Observations (CALIPSO) observations. The spatial patterns of tropical precipitation are significantly improved; for example, a single intertropical convergence zone (ITCZ) in the Pacific, instead of double ITCZs in an earlier study that used coarser horizontal resolution and a different dynamical core in its host general circulation model (GCM), and the intensity of the South Pacific convergence zone (SPCZ), and the ITCZ in the Atlantic is more realistic. Many aspects of the global seasonal climatology agree well with observations except for excessive precipitation in the tropics. In terms of spatial correlations and patterns in the tropical/subtropical regions, most surface/vertically integrated properties show greater improvement over the earlier simulation than that with lower vertical resolution. The relationships between low-cloud amount and several large-scale properties are consistent with those observed in five low-cloud regions. There is an imbalance in the surface energy budget, which is an aspect of the model that needs to be improved in the future. © 2013 American Meteorological Society.

Thomason L.W.,NASA | Vernier J.-P.,Science Systems And Applications Inc.
Atmospheric Chemistry and Physics | Year: 2013

We describe the challenges associated with the interpretation of extinction coefficient measurements by the Stratospheric Aerosol and Gas Experiment (SAGE II) in the presence of clouds. In particular, we have found that tropo-spheric aerosol analyses are highly dependent on a robust method for identifying when clouds affect the measured extinction coefficient. Herein, we describe an improved cloud identification method that appears to capture cloud/aerosol events more effectively than early methods. In addition, we summarize additional challenges to observing the Asian Tropopause Aerosol Layer (ATAL) using SAGE II observations. Using this new approach, we perform analyses of the upper troposphere, focusing on periods in which the UTLS (upper troposphere/lower stratosphere) is relatively free of volcanic material (1989-1990 and after 1996). Of particular interest is the Asian monsoon anticyclone where CALIPSO (Cloud-Aerosol Lidar Pathfinder Satellite Observations) has observed an aerosol enhancement. This enhancement, called the ATAL, has a similar morphology to observed enhancements in long-lived trace gas species like CO. Since the CALIPSO record begins in 2006, the question of how long this aerosol feature has been present requires a new look at the long-lived SAGE II data sets despite significant hurdles to its use in the subtropical upper troposphere. We find that there is no evidence of ATAL in the SAGE II data prior to 1998. After 1998, it is clear that aerosol in the upper troposphere in the ATAL region is substantially enhanced relative to the period before that time. In addition, the data generally supports the presence of the ATAL beginning in 1999 and continuing through the end of the mission, though some years (e.g., 2003) are complicated by the presence of episodic enhancements most likely of volcanic origin. © Author(s) 2013.

Lean J.L.,U.S. Navy | DeLand M.T.,Science Systems And Applications Inc.
Journal of Climate | Year: 2012

Recent observations made by the Spectral Irradiance Monitor (SIM) on the Solar Radiation and Climate Experiment (SORCE) spacecraft suggest that the Sun's visible and infrared spectral irradiance increased from 2004 to 2008, even as the total solar irradiance measured simultaneously by SORCE's Total Irradiance Monitor (TIM) decreased. At the same time, solar ultraviolet (UV) irradiance decreased 3-10 times more than expected from prior observations and model calculations of the known effects of sunspot and facular solar features. Analysis of the SIM spectral irradiance observations during the solar minimum epoch of 2008, when solar activity was essentially invariant, exposes trends in the SIM observations relative to both total solar irradiance and solar activity that are unlikely to be solar in origin. The authors suggest that the SIM's radically different solar variability characterization is a consequence of undetected instrument sensitivity drifts, not true solar spectrum changes. It is thus doubtful that simulations of climate and atmospheric change using SIM measurements are indicative of real terrestrial behavior. © 2012 American Meteorological Society.

Irons J.R.,NASA | Dwyer J.L.,U.S. Geological Survey | Barsi J.A.,Science Systems And Applications Inc.
Remote Sensing of Environment | Year: 2012

The National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) and the Department of Interior United States Geological Survey (USGS) are developing the successor mission to Landsat 7 that is currently known as the Landsat Data Continuity Mission (LDCM). NASA is responsible for building and launching the LDCM satellite observatory. USGS is building the ground system and will assume responsibility for satellite operations and for collecting, archiving, and distributing data following launch. The observatory will consist of a spacecraft in low-Earth orbit with a two-sensor payload. One sensor, the Operational Land Imager (OLI), will collect image data for nine shortwave spectral bands over a 185. km swath with a 30. m spatial resolution for all bands except a 15. m panchromatic band. The other instrument, the Thermal Infrared Sensor (TIRS), will collect image data for two thermal bands with a 100. m resolution over a 185. km swath. Both sensors offer technical advancements over earlier Landsat instruments. OLI and TIRS will coincidently collect data and the observatory will transmit the data to the ground system where it will be archived, processed to Level 1 data products containing well calibrated and co-registered OLI and TIRS data, and made available for free distribution to the general public. The LDCM development is on schedule for a December 2012 launch. The USGS intends to rename the satellite "Landsat 8" following launch. By either name a successful mission will fulfill a mandate for Landsat data continuity. The mission will extend the almost 40-year Landsat data archive with images sufficiently consistent with data from the earlier missions to allow long-term studies of regional and global land cover change. © 2012.

McPeters R.D.,NASA | Labow G.J.,Science Systems And Applications Inc.
Journal of Geophysical Research: Atmospheres | Year: 2012

The ozone climatology used as the a priori for the version 8 Solar Backscatter Ultraviolet (SBUV) retrieval algorithms has been updated. The climatology was formed by combining data from Aura MLS (2004-2010) with data from balloon sondes (1988-2010). The Microwave Limb Sounder (MLS) instrument on Aura has excellent latitude coverage and measures ozone daily from the upper troposphere to the lower mesosphere. The new climatology consists of monthly average ozone profiles for ten degree latitude zones covering pressure altitudes from 0 to 65km. Ozone below 8km (below 12km at high latitudes) is based on balloons sondes, while ozone above 16km (21km at high latitudes) is based on MLS measurements. Sonde and MLS data are blended in the transition region. Ozone accuracy in the upper troposphere is greatly improved because of the near uniform coverage by Aura MLS, while the addition of a large number of balloon sonde measurements improves the accuracy in the lower troposphere, in the tropics and southern hemisphere in particular. The addition of MLS data also improves the accuracy of the climatology in the upper stratosphere and lower mesosphere. The revised climatology has been used for the latest reprocessing of SBUV and TOMS satellite ozone data. © Copyright 2012 by the American Geophysical Union.

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