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  • An evaluation of gravity waves and gravity wave sources in the Southern Hemisphere in a 7 km global climate simulation
    In this study, gravity waves (GWs) in the high-resolution GEOS-5 Nature Run are first evaluated with respect to satellite and other model results. Southern Hemisphere winter sources of non-orographic GWs in the model are then investigated by linking measures of tropospheric non-orographic gravity wave generation tied to precipitation and frontogenesis with absolute gravity wave momentum flux in the lower stratosphere. Finally, non-orographic GW momentum flux is compared to orographic gravity wave momentum flux and compared to previous estimates. The results show that the global patterns in GW amplitude, horizontal wavelength, and propagation direction are realistic compared to observations. However, as in other global models, the amplitudes are weaker and horizontal wavelengths longer than observed. The global patterns in absolute GW momentum flux also agree well with previous model and observational estimates. The evaluation of model non-orographic GW sources in the Southern Hemisphere winter shows that strong intermittent precipitation (greater than 10 mm h−1) is associated with GW momentum flux over the South Pacific, whereas frontogenesis and less intermittent, lower precipitation rates (less than 10 mm h−1) are associated with GW momentum flux near 60°S. In the model, orographic GWs contribute almost exclusively to a peak in zonal mean momentum flux between 70 and 75°S, while non-orographic waves dominate at 60°S, and non-orographic GWs contribute a third to a peak in zonal mean momentum flux between 25 and 30°S. more
  • Spatial and Temporal Variability in Winter Precipitation across the Western United States during the Satellite Era
    The western United States is known for its water shortages due to large seasonal and inter-annual variability of precipitation as well as increasing demand. Climate change will impact the availability of water in the western United States through the modification of precipitation characteristics. Satellite data presents the opportunity to study these changes at a fine, continuous spatial resolution—particularly in places where no traditional ground observations exist. Utilizing the Tropical Rainfall Measuring Mission (TRMM) 3B42 version 7 precipitation data, this study examines the spatio-temporal changes in precipitation characteristics over the western United States between 1998 and 2015, and their connections with the atmospheric total column water vapor and the El Niño Southern Oscillation during the winter season. The results show that precipitation frequency in the western United States has been decreasing in general, precipitation totals and mean daily intensity are increasing in northwestern United States, but decreasing in the southwest United States during the 18 years of the study time period. Additionally, results show a strong relationship between total column water vapor and the precipitation characteristics, specifically in the southwestern United States. more
  • Fusion of satellite-based imager and sounder data to construct supplementary high spatial resolution narrowband IR radiances
    Polar-orbiting weather satellite platforms generally include an imager and a sounder. With a data fusion method that uses these sensors, we demonstrate the ability to construct infrared (IR)absorption narrowband radiances at imager resolution. While a sensor such as MODIS has multiple IR absorption bands, the current visible infrared imaging radiometer suite (VIIRS)imager has only IR window bands. We show fusion results for IR radiances at 4.52 μm (CO2), 6.72 μm (H2O), and 13.94 μm (CO2) by comparing MODIS observed and constructed radiances for these bands. Both regional and global results are analyzed, with radiance differences tending to be fairly low and unbiased. Similar bands are constructed from VIIRS and CrIS data, with regional and global results shown.With this approach, it will be possible to improve continuity in derived cloud products over the generations of polar-orbiting weather satellite sensors and continue applications that require IR absorption bands. more
  • Equatorward dispersion of a high-latitude volcanic plume and its relation to the Asian summer monsoon: a case study of the Sarychev eruption in 2009
    Tropical volcanic eruptions have been widely studied for their significant contribution to stratospheric aerosol loading and global climate impacts, but the impact of high-latitude volcanic eruptions on the stratospheric aerosol layer is not clear and the pathway of transporting aerosol from high latitudes to the tropical stratosphere is not well understood. In this work, we focus on the high-latitude volcano Sarychev (48.1° N, 153.2° E), which erupted in June 2009, and the influence of the Asian summer monsoon (ASM) on the equatorward dispersion of the volcanic plume. First, the sulfur dioxide (SO2) emission time series and plume height of the Sarychev eruption are estimated with SO2 observations of the Atmospheric Infrared Sounder (AIRS) and a backward trajectory approach using the Lagrangian particle dispersion model Massive–Parallel Trajectory Calculations (MPTRAC). Then, the transport and dispersion of the plume are simulated using the derived SO2 emission time series. The transport simulations are compared with SO2 observations from AIRS and validated with aerosol observations from the Michelson Interferometer for Passive Atmospheric Sounding (MIPAS). The MPTRAC simulations show that about 4 % of the sulfur emissions were transported to the tropical stratosphere within 50 days after the beginning of the eruption, and the plume dispersed towards the tropical tropopause layer (TTL) through isentropic transport above the subtropical jet. The MPTRAC simulations and MIPAS aerosol data both show that between the potential temperature levels of 360 and 400 K, the equatorward transport was primarily driven by anticyclonic Rossby wave breaking enhanced by the ASM in boreal summer. The volcanic plume was entrained along the anticyclone flows and reached the TTL as it was transported southwestwards into the deep tropics downstream of the anticyclone. Further, the ASM anticyclone influenced the pathway of aerosols by isolating an "aerosol hole" inside of the ASM, which was surrounded by aerosol-rich air outside. This transport barrier was best indicated using the potential vorticity gradient approach. Long-term MIPAS aerosol detections show that after entering the TTL, aerosol from the Sarychev eruption remained in the tropical stratosphere for about 10 months and ascended slowly. The ascent speed agreed well with the ascent speed of the water vapor tape recorder. Furthermore, a hypothetical MPTRAC simulation for a wintertime eruption was carried out. It is shown that under winter atmospheric circulations, the equatorward transport of the plume would be suppressed by the strong subtropical jet and weak wave breaking events. In this hypothetical scenario, a high-latitude volcanic eruption would not be able to contribute to the tropical stratospheric aerosol layer. more