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  • Impact of bias-corrected reanalysis-derived lateral boundary conditions on WRF simulations
    Lateral and lower boundary conditions derived from a suitable global reanalysis data set form the basis for deriving a dynamically consistent finer resolution downscaled product for climate and hydrological assessment studies. A problem with this, however, is that systematic biases have been noted to be present in the global reanalysis data sets that form these boundaries, biases which can be carried into the downscaled simulations thereby reducing their accuracy or efficacy. In this work, three Weather Research and Forecasting (WRF) model downscaling experiments are undertaken to investigate the impact of bias correcting European Centre for Medium range Weather Forecasting Reanalysis ERA-Interim (ERA-I) atmospheric temperature and relative humidity using Atmospheric Infrared Sounder (AIRS) satellite data. The downscaling is performed over a domain centered over southern Africa between the years 2003 and 2012. The sample mean and the mean as well as standard deviation at each grid cell for each variable are used for bias correction. The resultant WRF simulations of near-surface temperature and precipitation are evaluated seasonally and annually against global gridded observational data sets and compared with ERA-I reanalysis driving field. The study reveals inconsistencies between the impact of the bias correction prior to downscaling and the resultant model simulations after downscaling. Mean and standard deviation bias-corrected WRF simulations are, however, found to be marginally better than mean only bias-corrected WRF simulations and raw ERA-I reanalysis-driven WRF simulations. Performances, however, differ when assessing different attributes in the downscaled field. This raises questions about the efficacy of the correction procedures adopted. more
  • Influence of Droughts on Mid-Tropospheric CO2
    Using CO2 data from the Atmospheric Infrared Sounder (AIRS), it is found for the first time that the mid-tropospheric CO2 concentration is ~1 part per million by volume higher during dry years than wet years over the southwestern USA from June to September. The mid-tropospheric CO2 differences between dry and wet years are related to circulation and CO2 surface fluxes. During drought conditions, vertical pressure velocity from NCEP2 suggests that there is more rising air over most regions, which can help bring high surface concentrations of CO2 to the mid-troposphere. In addition to the circulation, there is more CO2 emitted from the biosphere to the atmosphere during droughts in some regions, which can contribute to higher concentrations of CO2 in the atmosphere. Results obtained from this study demonstrate the significant impact of droughts on atmospheric CO2 and therefore on a feedback cycle contributing to greenhouse gas warming. It can also help us better understand atmospheric CO2, which plays a critical role in our climate system. more
  • Ozone, water vapor, and temperature anomalies associated with atmospheric blocking events over Eastern Europe in spring - summer 2010
    Using data from the AIRS satellite instrument (V6, L3), ozone, water vapor (WV), and temperature anomalies associated with the relatively short spring atmospheric blocking event and anomalously prolonged summer block over European Russia (ER) in 2010 are analyzed. Within the domain of the blocking anticyclones, negative total column ozone (TCO) anomalies and positive total column water vapor (TCWV) anomalies reaching the values of −25 and −32 Dobson Units (DU) and 10 and 11 kg m−2 during the spring and summer blocks are observed, respectively. Conversely, within the regions adjacent to the anticyclones to the west and east, positive TCO anomalies (77 and 45 DU) and negative TCWV anomalies (−3 and −4 kg m−2) are found. These TCO and TCWV anomalies are conditioned by the regional atmospheric circulation associated with the strong omega-type blocking. The TCO deficit and TCWV surplus within the atmospheric blocking domain are explained primarily by the poleward advection of subtropical air with low TCO and high TCWV content and tropopause uplift. The TCO and TCWV anomalies are also associated with quasi-stationary Rossby wave trains that accompanied these blocking events. An analysis of the anomaly vertical structure shows that the marked TCO decrease is primarily due to the lower stratospheric ozone decrease, while the strong TCWV increase is mainly the result of an increase of lower tropospheric WV content. The possible role of photochemical ozone destruction in the lower stratosphere due to WV advection within the blocked regions is also discussed. Vertical profiles of the thermal anomalies during both atmospheric blocking events reveal dipole-like structures characterized by positive temperature anomalies in the troposphere and negative anomalies in the lower stratosphere. more
  • Seasonal and spatial changes in trace gases over megacities from Aura TES observations: two case studies
    The Aura Tropospheric Emission Spectrometer (TES) is collecting closely spaced observations over 19 megacities. The objective is to obtain measurements that will lead to better understanding of the processes affecting air quality in and around these cities, and to better estimates of the seasonal and interannual variability. We explore the TES measurements of ozone, ammonia, methanol and formic acid collected around the Mexico City metropolitan area (MCMA) and in the vicinity of Lagos (Nigeria). The TES data exhibit seasonal signals that are correlated with Atmospheric Infrared Sounder (AIRS) CO and Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer (MODIS) aerosol optical depth (AOD), with in situ measurements in the MCMA and with Goddard Earth Observing System (GEOS)-Chem model output in the Lagos area. TES was able to detect an extreme pollution event in the MCMA on 9 April 2013, which is also evident in the in situ data. TES data also show that biomass burning has a greater impact south of the city than in the caldera where Mexico City is located. TES measured enhanced values of the four species over the Gulf of Guinea south of Lagos. Since it observes many cities from the same platform with the same instrument and applies the same retrieval algorithms, TES data provide a very useful tool for easily comparing air quality measures of two or more cities. We compare the data from the MCMA and Lagos, and show that, while the MCMA has occasional extreme pollution events, Lagos consistently has higher levels of these trace gases. more