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  • 1
    Publication Date: 2018-03-02
    Description: © The Author(s), 2018. This article is distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License. The definitive version was published in Earth's Future 6 (2018): 80–102, doi:10.1002/2017EF000627.
    Description: Climate observations are needed to address a large range of important societal issues including sea level rise, droughts, floods, extreme heat events, food security, and freshwater availability in the coming decades. Past, targeted investments in specific climate questions have resulted in tremendous improvements in issues important to human health, security, and infrastructure. However, the current climate observing system was not planned in a comprehensive, focused manner required to adequately address the full range of climate needs. A potential approach to planning the observing system of the future is presented in this article. First, this article proposes that priority be given to the most critical needs as identified within the World Climate Research Program as Grand Challenges. These currently include seven important topics: melting ice and global consequences; clouds, circulation and climate sensitivity; carbon feedbacks in the climate system; understanding and predicting weather and climate extremes; water for the food baskets of the world; regional sea-level change and coastal impacts; and near-term climate prediction. For each Grand Challenge, observations are needed for long-term monitoring, process studies and forecasting capabilities. Second, objective evaluations of proposed observing systems, including satellites, ground-based and in situ observations as well as potentially new, unidentified observational approaches, can quantify the ability to address these climate priorities. And third, investments in effective climate observations will be economically important as they will offer a magnified return on investment that justifies a far greater development of observations to serve society's needs.
    Keywords: Climate observations ; Climate Observing System Simulation Experiments ; Value of information ; Economic value ; Grand challenges
    Repository Name: Woods Hole Open Access Server
    Type: Article
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  • 2
    Publication Date: 2019-02-08
    Description: Author Posting. © American Meteorological Society, 2018. This article is posted here by permission of American Meteorological Society for personal use, not for redistribution. The definitive version was published in Journal of Climate 31 (2018): 7565-7581, doi:10.1175/JCLI-D-18-0108.1.
    Description: There is mounting evidence that the width of the tropics has increased over the last few decades, but there are large differences in reported expansion rates. This is, likely, in part due to the wide variety of metrics that have been used to define the tropical width. Here we perform a systematic investigation into the relationship among nine metrics of the zonal-mean tropical width using preindustrial control and abrupt quadrupling of CO2 simulations from a suite of coupled climate models. It is shown that the latitudes of the edge of the Hadley cell, the midlatitude eddy-driven jet, the edge of the subtropical dry zones, and the Southern Hemisphere subtropical high covary interannually and exhibit similar long-term responses to a quadrupling of CO2. However, metrics based on the outgoing longwave radiation, the position of the subtropical jet, the break in the tropopause, and the Northern Hemisphere subtropical high have very weak covariations with the above metrics and/or respond differently to increases in CO2 and thus are not good indicators of the expansion of the Hadley cell or subtropical dry zone. The differing variability and responses to increases in CO2 among metrics highlights that care is needed when choosing metrics for studies of the width of the tropics and that it is important to make sure the metric used is appropriate for the specific phenomena and impacts being examined.
    Description: DW acknowledges support from NSF AGS-1403676.
    Description: 2019-02-08
    Keywords: Hadley circulation ; Hydrologic cycle ; Meridional overturning circulation
    Repository Name: Woods Hole Open Access Server
    Type: Article
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  • 3
    Publication Date: 2019-07-13
    Description: Ozone forms in the Earth's atmosphere from the photodissociation of molecular oxygen, primarily in the tropical stratosphere. It is then transported to the extratropics by the Brewer-Dobson circulation (BDC), forming a protective "ozone layer" around the globe. Human emissions of halogen-containing ozone-depleting substances (hODSs) led to a decline in stratospheric ozone until they were banned by the Montreal Protocol, and since 1998 ozone in the upper stratosphere is rising again, likely the recovery from halogen-induced losses. Total column measurements of ozone between the Earth's surface and the top of the atmosphere indicate that the ozone layer has stopped declining across the globe, but no clear increase has been observed at latitudes between 60degS and 60degN outside the polar regions (60-90deg). Here we report evidence from multiple satellite measurements that ozone in the lower stratosphere between 60degS and 60degN has indeed continued to decline since 1998. We find that, even though upper stratospheric ozone is recovering, the continuing downward trend in the lower stratosphere prevails, resulting in a downward trend in stratospheric column ozone between 60degS and 60degN. We find that total column ozone between 60degS and 60degN appears not to have decreased only because of increases in tropospheric column ozone that compensate for the stratospheric decreases. The reasons for the continued reduction of lower stratospheric ozone are not clear; models do not reproduce these trends, and thus the causes now urgently need to be established.
    Keywords: Geosciences (General)
    Type: GSFC-E-DAA-TN55553 , Atmospheric Chemistry and Physics (e-ISSN 1680-7324); 18; 2; 1379-1394
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  • 4
    Publication Date: 2019-07-12
    Description: We present the first direct measurements of the infrared and solar heating rates of a tropical subvisible cirrus (SVC) cloud sampled off the east coast of Nicaragua on 25 July 2007 by the NASA ER-2 aircraft during the Tropical Composition, Cloud and Climate Coupling Experiment (TC4). On this day a persistent thin cirrus layer, with mostly clear skies underneath, was detected in real time by the cloud lidar on the ER-2, and the aircraft was directed to profile down through the SVC. Measurements of the net broadband infrared irradiance and spectrally integrated solar irradiance above, below, and through the SVC are used to determine the infrared and solar heating rates of the cloud. The lidar measurements show that the variable SVC layer was located between approximately 13 and 15 km. Its midvisible optical depth varied from 0.01 to 0.10 with a mean of 0.034 +/- 0.033. Its depolarization ratio was approximately 0.4, indicative of ice clouds. From the divergence of the measured net irradiances the infrared heating rate of the SVC was determined to be approximately 2.50 - 3.24 K/d and the solar heating rate was found to be negligible. These values are consistent with previous indirect observations of other SVC and with model-generated heating rates of SVC with similar optical depths. This study illustrates the utility and potential of the profiling sampling strategy employed here. A more fully instrumented high-altitude aircraft that also included in situ cloud and aerosol probes would provide a comprehensive data set for characterizing both the radiative and microphysical properties of these ubiquitous tropical clouds
    Keywords: Meteorology and Climatology
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  • 5
    Publication Date: 2019-07-13
    Description: Reanalysis data sets are widely used to understand atmospheric processes and past variability, and are often used to stand in as observations for comparisons with climate model output. Because of the central role of water vapor (WV) and ozone (O3) in climate change, it is important to understand how accurately and consistently these species are represented in existing global reanalyses. In this paper, we present the results of WV and O3 intercomparisons that have been performed as part of the SPARC (Stratosphere-troposphere Processes and their Role in Climate) Reanalysis Intercomparison Project (SRIP). The comparisons cover a range of timescales and evaluate both inter-reanalysis and observation-reanalysis differences. We also provide a systematic documentation of the treatment of WV and O3 in current reanalyses to aid future research and guide the interpretation of differences amongst reanalysis fields.The assimilation of total column ozone (TCO) observations in newer reanalyses results in realistic representations of TCO in reanalyses except when data coverage is lacking, such as during polar night. The vertical distribution of ozone is also relatively well represented in the stratosphere in reanalyses, particularly given the relatively weak constraints on ozone vertical structure provided by most assimilated observations and the simplistic representations of ozone photochemical processes in most of the reanalysis forecast models. However, significant biases in the vertical distribution of ozone are found in the upper troposphere and lower stratosphere in all reanalyses.In contrast to O3, reanalysis estimates of stratospheric WV are not directly constrained by assimilated data. Observations of atmospheric humidity are typically used only in the troposphere, below a specified vertical level at or near the tropopause. The fidelity of reanalysis stratospheric WV products is therefore mainly dependent on the reanalyses representation of the physical drivers that influence stratospheric WV, such as temperatures in the tropical tropopause layer, methane oxidation, and the stratospheric overturning circulation. The lack of assimilated observations and known deficiencies in the representation of stratospheric transport in reanalyses result in much poorer agreement amongst observational and reanalysis estimates of stratospheric WV. Hence, stratospheric WV products from the current generation of reanalyses should generally not be used in scientific studies.
    Keywords: Geophysics
    Type: GSFC-E-DAA-TN46784 , Atmospheric Chemistry and Physics (ISSN 1680-7316) (e-ISSN 1680-7324); 17; 20; 12,743-12,778
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  • 6
    Publication Date: 2019-07-19
    Description: Convective systems are an important mechanism in the transport of boundary layer air into the upper troposphere. The Cirrus Regional Study of Tropical Anvils and Cirrus Layers-Florida Area Cirrus Experiment (CRYSTAL-FACE) campaign, in July 2002, was developed as a comprehensive atmospheric mission to improve knowledge of subtropical cirrus systems and their roles in regional and global climate. In situ measurements of carbon monoxide (CO), water vapor (H20v), and total water (H20t) aboard NASA's . WB-57F aircraft and CO aboard the U.S. Navy's Twin Otter aircraft were obtained to study the role of convective transport. Three flights sampled convective outflow on 11, 16 and 29 July found varying degrees of CO enhancement relative to the fiee troposphere. A cloud-resolving model used the in situ observations and meteorological fields to study these three systems. Several methods of filtering the observations were devised here using ice water content, relative humidity with respect to ice, and particle number concentration as a means to statistically sample the model results to represent the flight tracks. A weighted histogram based on ice water content observations was then used to sample the simulations for the three flights. In addition, because the observations occurred in the convective outflow cirrus and not in the storm cores, the model was used to estimate the maximum CO within the convective systems. In general, anvil-level air parcels contained an estimated 20-40% boundary layer air in the analyzed storms.
    Keywords: Meteorology and Climatology
    Type: Journal of Geophysical Research - Atmospheres (ISSN 0148-0227); 111
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  • 7
    Publication Date: 2019-08-08
    Description: Author Posting. © American Meteorological Society, 2019. This article is posted here by permission of American Meteorological Society for personal use, not for redistribution. The definitive version was published in Journal of Climate 32(5) (2019): 1551-1571. doi:10.1175/JCLI-D-18-0444.1.
    Description: Previous studies have documented a poleward shift in the subsiding branches of Earth’s Hadley circulation since 1979 but have disagreed on the causes of these observed changes and the ability of global climate models to capture them. This synthesis paper reexamines a number of contradictory claims in the past literature and finds that the tropical expansion indicated by modern reanalyses is within the bounds of models’ historical simulations for the period 1979–2005. Earlier conclusions that models were underestimating the observed trends relied on defining the Hadley circulation using the mass streamfunction from older reanalyses. The recent observed tropical expansion has similar magnitudes in the annual mean in the Northern Hemisphere (NH) and Southern Hemisphere (SH), but models suggest that the factors driving the expansion differ between the hemispheres. In the SH, increasing greenhouse gases (GHGs) and stratospheric ozone depletion contributed to tropical expansion over the late twentieth century, and if GHGs continue increasing, the SH tropical edge is projected to shift further poleward over the twenty-first century, even as stratospheric ozone concentrations recover. In the NH, the contribution of GHGs to tropical expansion is much smaller and will remain difficult to detect in a background of large natural variability, even by the end of the twenty-first century. To explain similar recent tropical expansion rates in the two hemispheres, natural variability must be taken into account. Recent coupled atmosphere–ocean variability, including the Pacific decadal oscillation, has contributed to tropical expansion. However, in models forced with observed sea surface temperatures, tropical expansion rates still vary widely because of internal atmospheric variability.
    Description: We thank Ori Adam, Nick Davis, Isaac Held, Tim Merlis, Lorenzo Polvani, and one anonymous reviewer for helpful comments and suggestions. We thank U.S. CLIVAR and the International Space Science Institute (ISSI) for funding working groups that stimulated this project. We thank all members of the working groups for helpful discussions, and the U.S. CLIVAR and ISSI offices and their sponsoring agencies (NASA,NOAA,NSF,DOE, ESA, Swiss Confederation, Swiss Academy of Sciences, and University of Bern) for supporting these groups and activities.We acknowledge WCRP’sWorking Group on CoupledModelling, which is responsible for CMIP, and we thank the climate modeling groups (Table 2) for producing and making available their model output. For CMIP, the U.S. DOE PCMDI provides coordinating support and led development of software infrastructure in partnership with the Global Organization for Earth System Science Portals.
    Description: 2019-08-06
    Keywords: Hadley circulation ; Climate models ; Reanalysis data ; Multidecadal variability ; Pacific decadal oscillation ; Trends
    Repository Name: Woods Hole Open Access Server
    Type: Article
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  • 8
    Publication Date: 2011-11-01
    Print ISSN: 0894-8755
    Electronic ISSN: 1520-0442
    Topics: Geography , Geosciences , Physics
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  • 9
    Publication Date: 2007-03-01
    Print ISSN: 0739-0572
    Electronic ISSN: 1520-0426
    Topics: Geography , Geosciences , Physics
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  • 10
    Publication Date: 2012-02-01
    Print ISSN: 0894-8755
    Electronic ISSN: 1520-0442
    Topics: Geography , Geosciences , Physics
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