• Particle dynamics in the plasma sheet

      Wagner, John S. (1978-08)
      Trajectories of charged particles in the tail region of the earth's magnetosphere are studied using a model magnetic field. The particles form a thin sheet-like structure in the magnetotail called the plasma sheet. It is shown that most trajectories are categorized by two dimensionless parameters. One of them is equal to the ratio of the cross-tail electric force to the magnetic force in the midplane and determines the maximum particle energization. The other parameter is the ratio of the plasma sheet thickness to the particle gyroradius in the midplane and determines the degree to which the particle motion is adiabatic. All previous attempts at studying trajectories in the magnetotail are shown to be applicable only over limited ranges of the two parameters. Hence those studies are combined into a common framework, and those trajectories which have not been studied previously are added for completeness.
    • Theoretical, experimental and numerical simulation study of a radially injected barium disk

      Sydora, Richard D. (1981-05)
      An Investigation of the dynamics and stability of a high-altitude radial barium plasma injection is performed using theoretical and numerical simulation methods. The barium plasma cloud, injection experiment was conducted on March 16, 1980 and produced several interesting phenomena: (1) Three distinct rings of barium containing irregularities exhibiting collective motion; (2) A region of plasma depletion at the location of injection; (3) A structure of approximately eighteen distinct barium ion rays emanating from the injection location. A collisionless, electrostatic particle simulation model is used to understand the behavior of the plasma, indicating that the initial plasma deformation develops due to an E x B azimuthal velocity shear instability. A theoretical model used for a stability analysis of the plasma is formulated based on the number density distributions of the electrons and ions obtained from the numerical simulation results. The linear stability analysis shows that the number of unstable azimuthal modes created by the velocity shear instability is dependent upon the amount of charge separation occurring in the expanding plasma.
    • Ion dynamics in auroral potential structures and formation of ion conic distribution

      Yang, Wei-hong (1981-12)
      This thesis is concerned with the problem of how the positive ions are energized by the two-dimensional potential structures along auroral field lines; these auroral potential structures are known to be responsible for accelerating electrons into the ionosphere to produce discrete auroras. A systematic numerical study of the test ion dynamics in auroral potential structures, either V-shaped or S-shaped, has been carried out. Transverse ion accelerations occur if the width of the auroral potential structure (Lx ≤ ρi). This result shows that the conic distribution of upstreaming ions observed on auroral field lines can be generated by the same potential structures which produce the thin auroral arcs (Lx ≤ ρi). This transverse acceleration mechanism operates more effectively on heavier ions, resulting in O+ ions more energetic than H+ ions as indicated by observations.
    • An improved method of ice nucleus measurement

      Shih, Chi-Fan G. (1982-09)
      Ice nuclei, which initiate the ice nucleation process at a higher temperature than the homogeneous nucleation temperature, are essential for the initiation of the ice phase in clouds. Unfortunately, no standard method has been established for the measurement of ice nucleus concentration. The filter technique is a promising candidate if the tendency for ice nucleus concentrations to decreases as the volume sampled increases can be explained. For this study, an improved ventilation method for the development of exposed filters was developed and tested. The results were compared with results obtained in a static diffusion chamber. The volume effect was observed to be less with the new dynamic system. Further work needs to be done to find the optimum flow rate in order to reduce the vapor depletion problem to a minimum. The ratio of total counts of dynamic and static system appears to be a promising evaluation index.
    • Single-column model simulations of Arctic cloudiness and surface radiative fluxes during the surface heat budget of Arctic (SHEBA) experiment

      Hannay, Cécile (2001-08)
      We evaluate the ability of a typical cloud parameterization from a global model (CCM3 from NCAR) to simulate the Arctic cloudiness and longwave radiative fluxes during wintertime. Simulations are conducted with a Single-Column model (SCM) forced with observations and reanalysis data from the Surface Heat Budget of the Arctic Ocean (SHEBA) experiment. Typically, the SCM overestimates the Arctic cloud fraction and the downwelling longwave flux. Moreover, the SCM does not capture accurately the temperature and moisture profiles, and the surface flux fields. Relaxing temperature and moisture profiles to observed values dramatically improves the simulations. This suggests that the cloud parameterization of CCM3 is suitable for Arctic clouds, as long as the temperature and moisture fields are captured correctly. Sensitivities studies show that the cloud fraction is not very sensitive to cloud type, ice effective radius, ice liquid ratio amount and uncertainty of the advective forcing.
    • Investigation of North Pacific sea ice anomalies in the context of atmospheric and oceanic variability

      Tivy, Adrienne (2001-08)
      This study investigates the main mode of variability in North Pacific sea ice and examines the relationship between sea ice concentration and northern hemispheric climate variability for the period 1968-1997. Through empirical orthogonal function (EOF) analysis, correlations, and composite analysis, it was found that the seesaw pattern (first EOF of wintertime sea ice concentrations) between ice concentrations in the Bering Sea and the Sea of Okhotsk, generally used to characterize North Pacific sea ice, does not adequately address variability in the Sea of Okhotsk. Relationships between the sea ice dipole and the large-scale circulation were investigated and were found to change with the 1977 and 1989 regime shifts in the North Pacific climate. Before 1977 the sea ice dipole is strongly related to tropical variability while after 1977 the dipole is more strongly related to mid-latitude variability.
    • Midlatitude Cirrus Cloud Structural Properties Analyzed From The Extended Facility For Atmospheric Remote Sensing Dataset

      Wang, Likun; Sassen, Kenneth; Cahill, Cathy; Mölders, Nicole; Shaw, Glen; Starr, David O'C (2004)
      The knowledge on cirrus inhomogeneous structural properties is important not only in radiation calculations, but also in deeply understanding the dynamics mechanism including the formation, development, and dissipation of cirrus clouds. The midlatitude cirrus inhomogeneous structural properties have been evaluated by analyzing the 10-year high cloud datasets obtained at the University of Utah, Facility for Atmospheric Remote Sensing in Salt Lake City, UT. Three goals have been reached in this research. First, the means to analyze lidar data using wavelet analysis, an advanced approach to obtain information on the structure of cirrus clouds, has been successfully developed. And then, typical cirrus structures including Kelvin-Helmholtz instabilities, cirrus mammata, and the uncinus cells have been analyzed by case studies and statistical survey. Their dynamical mechanisms, environmental characteristics, and vertical and horizontal length scale have been studied. Thirdly, using the method based on the wavelet transform and other methods, a climatology of midlatitude cirrus horizontal inhomogeneous properties is developed from the FARS lidar backscattered power data, the proxies of real cirrus clouds.
    • Analysis of uncertainty in simulated exchange of heat and moisture at the land-atmosphere interface

      Jankov, Mihailo (2005-08)
      Land surface models (LSMs) serve to describe the atmosphere-land surface exchange in numerical weather prediction models (NWPMs) and global circulation models (GCMs). The use of empirical soil and vegetation parameters in LSMs introduces uncertainty that propagates and affects predictions of the lower boundary conditions. To statistically assess that uncertainty in predicted evapotranspiration (water transport by direct evaporation from bare ground and canopy and transpiration by the canopy) and ground heat flux for natural ranges of atmospheric soil and vegetation conditions, the Gaussian Error Propagation method is utilized. The assessed uncertainties in direct and canopy water evaporation, transpiration and ground heat flux display prominent diurnal cycles. Prediction of evapotranspiration in desert areas is limited by the uncertainty in the evaporation of water collected on the canopy and transpiration. To improve predictions of evapotranspiration the maximal canopy storage and shielding factor should be determined with higher accuracy. It is found that uncertainty in ground heat flux is particularly great in dry and warm areas covered with sandy clay loam. A better prediction of ground heat flux requires a better parameterization of thermal conductivity and a higher degree of accuracy of the pore size distribution index.
    • Evaluation of the hydro-thermodynamic soil-vegetation scheme on the basis of observations and a Galerkin type finite element numerical scheme

      Narapusetty, Balachandrudu (2005-08)
      The Hydro-Thermodynamic Soil- vegetation Scheme (HTSYS), coupled in a two-way mode with the PennState/National Center for Atmospheric Research (NCAR) Mesoscale Meteorological Model generation 5 (MM5), has been evaluated for a 5 day typical snow-melt period using the Baltic Sea experiment meteorological data center's soil temperature, snow depth, and precipitation datasets. The HTSVS-MM5 evaluation investigates the coupled system's sensitivity to two cloud models and two radiation models, with their cross effects presented along with skill scores for snow depth changes. The coupled model satisfactorily predicts the soil temperature diurnal course cycles, changes in the snow depths, and accumulated precipitation. HTSVS's soil model has been further tested and evaluated in an offline mode for the advanced numerical treatment for the Partial Differential Equations (PDEs) using soil temperature datasets from three sites at Council, Alaska. A Galerkin Weak Finite Element (GWFE) method was tested and evaluated for the numerical treatment of PDEs and the predictions were compared against the existing Crank-Nicholson finite differences scheme (CNFD). GWFE solutions exhibit a remarkable soil temperature predictability, better capture the temperature peaks, and yield non-diffuse and non-oscillatory solutions for relatively high convection dominated regimes, while CNFD performs comparably well in diffusion dominated regimes with a lower computational burden.
    • Autonomous Full-Time Lidar Measurements Of Polar Stratospheric Clouds At The South Pole

      Campbell, James R.; Sassen, Kenneth (2006)
      Polar stratospheric clouds (PSC) are an artifact of extremely low temperatures in the lower-stratosphere caused by a lack of sunlight during winter. Their presence induces increased concentrations of chlorine and bromine radicals that drive catalytic ozone destruction upon the return of sunlight in spring. An eye-safe micropulse lidar (MPL; 0.23 mum) was installed at the Scott-Amundsen South Pole Station, Antarctica in December 1999 to collect continuous long-term measurements of polar clouds. A four-year data subset for analyzing PSC is derived from measurements for austral winters 2000 and 2003--2005. A statistical algorithm based on MPL signal uncertainties is designed to retrieve PSC boundary heights, attenuated scattering ratios and demonstrate instrument performance for low signal-to-noise measurements. The MPL measurements consist mostly of Type II PSC (i.e., ice). The likelihood for Type I measurements are described for specific conditions. Seasonal PSC macrophysical properties are examined relative to thermodynamic and chemical characteristics. The potential for dehumidification and denitrification of the lower Antarctic stratosphere is examined by comparing PSC observations to theoretical predictions for cloud based on common scenarios for water vapor and nitric acid concentrations. Conceptual models for seasonal PSC occurrence, denitrification and dehumidification and ozone loss are described. A linear relationship is established between total integrated PSC scattering and ozone loss, with high correlation. Polar vortex dynamics are investigated in relation to PSC occurrence, including synoptic-scale geopotential height anomalies, isentropic airmass trajectories and local-scale gravity waves. Moisture overrunning, from quasi-adiabatic cooling and transport along isentropic boundaries, is considered a primary mechanism for PSC occurrence. Middle and late-season PSC are found to be the result of mixing of moist air from the outer edges of the vortex that coots upon reaching South Pole. Gravity waves are considered to be only a secondary influence on PSC nucleation and growth.
    • Multi-decadal variability of Atlantic water heat transports as seen in the community climate systems model version 3.0

      Sterling, Kara (2006-05)
      Changes in oceanic heat transports from the North Atlantic to the Arctic, via Atlantic Water (AW), can have widespread impacts upon Arctic climate. Using a multi-century control simulation from the National Center for Atmospheric Research (NCAR) Community Climate Systems Model version 3.0 (CCSM3), the natural multi-decadal variability (MDV) of AW is characterized. Calculations of AW volume fluxes and heat transports into the Arctic are analyzed for the Svinøy transect, Fram Strait, and Barents Sea Opening (BSO), and compared with observations. Warm and cold phases of AW are examined through composite analysis, and quantified with respect to their effects on Arctic climate. The model captures several key features of AW, such as the overall circulation and depth of the AW core, but over-estimates AW temperatures by about 1 ⁰C. AW heat anomalies can be tracked from the Svinøy transect to the Arctic interior with a timescale of 13 years, which is comparable to observations. Composites reveal a deepening (shoaling) of the AW core during warm (cold) periods. Warm (cold) periods are also characterized by greater AW transports through the BSO (Fram Strait), implying the existence of an internal ocean feedback mechanism that helps to regulate oscillations of AW between warm/cold periods.
    • A model composite assessment of the enhancement of Arctic warming by sea ice retreat

      Murray, Colin Patrick (2006-05)
      Five global climate models used in the Arctic Climate Impact Assessment are utilized to estimate the local enhancement of Arctic warming attributable to sea ice retreat in 21st century B2-scenario greenhouse gas (GHG) simulations. The models show a wide range of ice retreat, resulting in a corresponding range in the enhancement of warming. The enhancement is highly seasonal, varying locally from essentially zero in the summer to several degrees CC) in the late autumn and early winter. The composite climate model response to GHG forcing manifests as a nonlinear amplification of seasonally modulated warming enhancement. The magnitude of the warming enhancement increases with the threshold decline in ice concentration used to define retreat because higher thresholds better isolate the warming enhancement signal over ice retreat areas. A threshold of 20% ensures that all models in this study have enough ice retreat area to sample the enhancement because all start with ice concentrations at least that high over substantial northern hemisphere areas. All estimates are lower bounds because they do not account for advective effects.
    • Micropulse lidar observations of aerosols over the atmospheric radiation measurement site at Barrow

      Tiruchirapalli, Ramaswamy A.S.R. (2006-12)
      Micropulse lidar (MPL) is a ground-based optical remote sensing system designed to determine the vertical structure of clouds and aerosols in the atmosphere. An MPL has operated at Barrow, Alaska since November 2002. From these data, we seek to determine the altitude of aerosol layers in the free troposphere from lidar backscatter profiles. Layer heights are then fed into the HYSPLIT (Hybrid Single-Particle Lagrangian Integrated Trajectory Model) model, a back-trajectory model developed by NOAA (National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration) to compute isentropic back-trajectories. The model is run interactively using the READY interface and can calculate trajectories from multiple heights within a layer. Case analyses are done correlating dates and trajectory coordinates, synoptic weather charts and events reported from satellites and other remote sensing instruments to determine aerosol sources (e.g. forest fire, volcano eruption or dust storm). All the aerosol events detected by the MPL were categorized into five common atmospheric flow patterns identified from the NCEP (National Centers for Environmental Prediction) / NCAR (National Center for Atmospheric Research) reanalysis charts. We conclude that most of the MPL-identified free-tropospheric aerosol layers could be attributed to Siberian/Alaskan forest fires and Asian dust storms.
    • Investigations On The Impacts Of Land-Cover Changes And/Or Increased Carbon Dioxide Concentrations On Four Regional Water Cycles And Their Interactions With The Global Water Cycle

      Li, Zhao; Molders, Nicole (2007)
      A suite of simulations that combine reference (355ppmv), doubled and tripled CO2 concentrations alternatively without and with land-cover changes in four similar-sized study regions, the Yukon, Ob, St. Lawrence and Colorado basin and adjacent land, are performed with the fully coupled Community Climate System Model to investigate the impact on global and regional water cycles and the interaction of these regional water cycles with the global water cycle. The relative changes in water-cycle quantities caused by increased CO 2 enhance with latitude and CO2 concentrations. Regional and global water cycles interactions are more pronounced in a warmer climate, but regional precipitation and evapotranspiration is affected differently in high-latitudes (Yukon, Ob) than mid-latitudes (Colorado, St. Lawrence). Land-cover changes can have comparable impacts on regional water cycles than increased CO2 concentrations do. Land-cover changes substantially alter the high-latitude water cycles through enhanced snow-albedo feedback and mid-latitude water cycles through vegetation activity in the warm season. The land-cover changes in different regions interact with each other through heat and moisture advections and secondary effects. This interaction enhances with increasing CO2 concentrations. Interactions between land-cover changes and increasing CO2 concentrations enhance with increasing CO2 due to the high sensitivity of regional water cycles to temperature changes.
    • Doppler sodar observations of the winds and structure in the lower atmosphere over Fairbanks, Alaska

      Kankanala, Pavan Kumar Reddy (2007-12)
      Fairbanks, Alaska (64°49ʹ N, 147°52ʹ W) experiences strong temperature inversions which when combined with the low wind speeds prevailing during the winter cause serious air pollution problems. The SODAR (Sound Detection And Ranging) or acoustic sounder is a very useful instrument for studying the lower atmosphere as it can continuously and reliably measure the vertical profiles of wind speed and direction,vertical motions, turbulence and the thermal structure in the lower part of the troposphere. A Doppler sodar was operated from December 2005 to April 2006 at the National Weather Service site in Fairbanks. The wind observations from the sodar indicate that the majority of the winds during the winter months were from the North, Northeast or the East, which is in good agreement with the radiosonde measurements and the long term trends in the wind patterns over Fairbanks area. Case studies were carried out using the sodar data depicting drainage winds, low-level jets, formation and breakup of inversions and estimation of the mixing layer height.
    • Climate and predictability of Alaska wildfires

      Bieniek, Peter A. (2007-12)
      Wildfires burn an average of 3,760km² each year in Alaska, but varies greatly from year to year. These fires, started by human and natural causes, can endanger life and property when they approach populated areas. The relationship between seasonal area burned and monthly and seasonal average mean sea level pressure, surface air temperature, total column precipitable water, 500hPa and 700hPa geopotential height, 700hPa specific humidity and 1000-500hPa layer thickness is examined. The assessment was done by examining the spring and summer seasonal composites associated with extreme high and low seasons. This showed the predominant anomalies from the climatology for seasons of both extremes. Point correlations were also made between seasonal area burned and the aforementioned climate variables for the entire Northern Hemisphere. Points of particularly high correlation with area burned were used in multiple regressions for both spring and summer, and for the preseason only to predict seasonal area burned. Results show correlations of about 0.78 for the preseason regression and 0.91 for the total period. The seasonal area burned in Alaska is intimately linked with the ongoing synoptic situation on monthly and seasonal scales before and during the fire season.
    • A Concept To Assess The Performance Of A Permafrost Model Run Fully Coupled With A Climate Model

      Paimazumder, Debasish (2009)
      Soil-temperatures simulated by the fully coupled Community Climate System Model LCM version 3.0 (CCSM3) are evaluated using three gridded Russian soil-temperature climatologies (1951-1980, 1961-1990, and 1971-2000) to assess the performance of permafrost and/or soil simulations. CCSM3 captures the annual phase of the soil-temperature cycle well, but not the amplitude. It provides slightly too high (low) soil-temperatures in winter (summer) with a better performance in summer than winter. In winter, soil-temperature biases reach up to 6 K. Simulated near-surface air temperatures agree well with the near-surface air temperatures from reanalysis data. Discrepancies in CCSM3-simulated near-surface air temperatures significantly correlate with discrepancies in CCSM3-simulated soil-temperatures, i.e. contribute to discrepancy in soil-temperature simulation. Evaluation of cloud-fraction by means of the International Satellite Cloud Climatology project data reveals that errors in simulated cloud fraction explain some of the soil-temperature discrepancies in summer. Evaluation by means of the Global Precipitation Climatology Centre data identifies inaccurately-simulated precipitation as a contributor to underestimating summer soil-temperatures. Comparison to snow-depth observations shows that overestimating snow-depth leads to winter soil-temperature overestimation. Sensitivity studies reveal that uncertainty in mineral-soil composition notably contributes to discrepancies between CCSM3-simulated and observed soil-temperature climatology while differences between the assumed vegetation in CCSM3 and the actual vegetation in nature marginally contribute to the discrepancies in soil-temperature. Out of the 6 K bias in CCSM3 soil-temperature simulation, about 2.5 K of the bias may result from the incorrect simulation of the observed forcing and about 2 K of the bias may be explained by uncertainties due network density in winter. This means that about 1.5 K winter-bias may result from measurement errors and/or model deficiencies. Overall, the performance of a permafrost/soil model fully coupled with a climate model depends partly on the permafrost/soil model itself, the accuracy of the forcing data and design of observational network.
    • Characteristics And Variability Of Storm Tracks In The North Pacific, Bering Sea And Alaska

      Dos Santos Mesquita, Michel (2009)
      Storm activity in the North Pacific, Bering Sea and Alaska regions is investigated using various automated storm tracking and parameter extraction algorithms. Specific, novel details of storm activity throughout the year are presented. The influence of major climatic drivers is considered, including the Pacific/North American Index and sea ice variability. Details of synoptic-scale forcing on a specific, severe storm event are considered in the context of how different tracking algorithms are able to depict the event. New storm climatology results show that the inter-seasonal variability is not as large during spring and autumn as it is in winter. Most storm variables exhibited a maxima pattern that was oriented along a zonal axis. From season to season this axis underwent a north-south shift and, in some cases, a rotation to the northeast. Barotropic processes have an influence in shaping the downstream end of storm tracks and, together with the blocking influence of the coastal orography of northwest North America, result in high lysis concentrations, effectively making the Gulf of Alaska the "graveyard" of Pacific storms. Summer storms tended to be longest in duration. Temporal trends tended to be weak over the study area. Sea surface temperature did not emerge as a major cyclogenesis control in the Gulf of Alaska. Positive sea-ice anomalies in the Sea of Okhotsk were found to decrease secondary cyclogenesis, shift cyclolysis locations westward, and alter the North Pacific subtropical jet. In the Atlantic, a negative North-Atlantic-Oscillation-like pattern is observed; these results were confirmed by experiments on the ECHAM5 Atmospheric Global Circulation Model driven with sea-ice anomalies in the Sea of Okhotsk. The destructive west Alaska storm of autumn 1992, which flooded Nome, was investigated using two storm tracking algorithms: NOAA's (National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration) current operational algorithm and the Melbourne algorithm. Manual tracking was performed as a control. The main storm location features were captured by both algorithms, but differed in the genesis and lysis location. The NOAA algorithm broke the event into two. This storm was shown to have been affected by a blocking high that influenced how the tracking algorithms handled the event.
    • Role Of Waves On The Circulation Of The Arctic Middle Atmosphere: Rayleigh Lidar Measurements And Analysis

      Thurairajah, Brentha (2009)
      Rayleigh lidar measurements of the upper stratosphere and mesosphere are made on a routine basis over Poker Flat Research Range (PFRR), Chatanika, Alaska, (65�N, 147�W). Rayleigh lidar measurements have yielded high resolution temperature and density profiles in the 40-80 km altitude. These measurements are used to calculate gravity wave activity in the 40-50 km altitude. The thermal structure of the stratosphere and mesosphere is documented using an eight year data set, and the role of small scale gravity waves on the large scale meridional circulation is analyzed in terms of the synoptic structure of the Arctic stratospheric vortex, Aleutian anticyclone, and planetary wave activity. The monthly mean temperature indicates colder January temperatures that appear to be due to the increase in frequency of occurrence of stratospheric warming events from 1997-2004. The gravity wave potential energy density is analyzed during stratospheric warming events in two experimental time periods. From the first study consisting of three winters, 2002-2003, 2003-2004, and 2004-2005, the first direct measurement of suppression of gravity wave activity during the formation of an elevated stratopause following the 2003-2004 stratospheric warming event is presented. The gravity wave potential energy density at Chatanika is positively correlated with horizontal wind speeds in the stratosphere, and indicates that the wave activity in the 4050 km altitude is partially modulated by the background flow. In the second study with more recent winters of 2007-2008 and 2008-2009, no systematic difference in the magnitude of potential energy density between the vortex displacement warming event during the 2007-2008 winter and vortex split warming event during the 2008-2009 winter is found. However, the low correlation between gravity wave potential energy and horizontal wind speed after the first warming in January 2008, and a higher correlation after the January 2009 warming suggests that while the gravity wave activity after the 2009 warming is modulated by the background flow, other wave sources modulate the gravity wave activity after the 2008 warming.