• 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.
    • Analysis Of Model And Observation Data For The Development Of A Public Pm2.5 Air-Quality Advisories Tool (Aquat)

      Tran, Huy Nguyen Quang; Molders, Nicole; Bhatt, Uma; Cahill, Catherine F.; Grell, Georg A.; Kramm, Gerhard (2012)
      An air-quality advisory tool (AQuAT) that combines mobile measurements of particulate matter less than or equal to 2.5mum in diameter (PM2.5) with air-quality simulations performed with the Alaska adapted version of the Community Multiscale Air Quality (CMAQ) model was developed to interpolate PM2.5-measurements into unmonitored neighborhoods in Fairbanks, Alaska. AQuAT was developed as traditional interpolation methods of interpolating the mobile measurements were unsuccessful. Such a spatially differentiated air-quality advisory is highly desired in Fairbanks due to health concerns of PM2.5, and the need to improve the quality of life. The accuracy of AQuAT depends on the accuracy of the air-quality simulations used for its database. Evaluation of these simulations showed that they captured the observed relationships between PM2.5-concentrations and major meteorological fields (e.g., wind-speed, temperature, and surface-inversions) well. Skill scores for simulated PM2.5-concentrations fell in the range of modern models. The AQuAT database can include information on the nonlinear impacts of various emission sources on PM2.5-concentrations. This benefit was illustrated by investigating the impacts of emissions from point sources, uncertified wood-burning devices, and traffic on the distribution of PM 2.5-concentrations in the neighborhoods. Sensitivity studies on the effects of wood-burning device changeouts on the PM2.5-concentrations suggested that the emission inventory should be updated as soon as possible to capture recent changes in the emission situation in response to the changeout program. The performance of AQuAT was evaluated with PM2.5-measurements from mobile and stationary sites, and with simulated PM2.5-concentrations of winter 2010/2011 which were assumed to be "grand-truth" data. These evaluations showed that AQuAT captured the magnitudes and temporal evolutions of the PM 2.5-measurements and the "grand-truth" data well. The inclusion of wind-speed, wind-direction, and temperature in AQuAT did not improve its accuracy. This result may be explained by the fact that the relationships between meteorology and PM2.5-concentrations were already captured by the database. AQuAT allows quick spatial interpolation after the mobile measurements were made and provides error bars. It also allows for any route within the area for which a database of simulated concentrations exists. It was shown that AQuAT can be easily transferred for applications in other regions.
    • Assessing River Ice Breakup Date, Coastal Tundra Vegetation And Climate Divisions In The Context Of Alaska Climate Variability

      Bieniek, Peter A.; Bhatt, Uma (2012)
      In Alaska, there exists a substantial knowledge gap of key climate drivers and filling these gaps is vital since life and the economy are inexorably linked with climate in the state. This thesis identifies and investigates three topics that advance the understanding of Alaska climate variability: the role of large-scale climate in Interior river ice breakup, the link between climate and arctic tundra vegetation, and climate divisions based on objective methods. River ice breakup in the Yukon-Kuskoswim watershed is occurring earlier by 1.3 days decade-1 1948-2008 and displays large year-to-year variability. April-May Interior Alaska air temperatures are the best predictor of river ice breakup and were linked to El Nino Southern Oscillation (ENSO). During the warm phase of ENSO, fewer storms track into the Gulf of Alaska during Boreal Spring, resulting in reduced April-May cloudiness over Alaska, increased solar insolation at the land surface, warmer air temperatures and consequently earlier breakup. Northern Alaska tundra vegetation productivity has increased 1982-2011, based on the Normalized Difference Vegetation Index (NDVI), a satellite measure of vegetation correlated with above ground biomass. Vegetation productivity was linked to the Beaufort High circulation as well as snowfall, in addition to land surface temperatures and coastal sea ice extent. NDVI has decreased from 1982-2011 over the coastal tundra along the Bering Sea and was correlated with delayed springtime warming due to enhanced coastal sea ice and a delayed snowmelt. Cluster analysis was applied to 2-meter air temperature data 1977-2010 at meteorological stations to construct climate divisions for Alaska. Stations were grouped together objectively based on similar homogeneous seasonal and annual climate variability and were refined using local expert knowledge to ultimately identify 13 divisions. Correlation analysis using gridded downscaled temperature and precipitation data validated the final division lines and documented that each division has similar a similar annual cycle in temperature and precipitation. Overall, this work documented substantial links and identified mechanisms joining the large-scale climate to that of Alaska. A better understanding of the role of large-scale climate variability in river ice breakup or tundra greening holds promise for developing seasonal and longer-term forecasts.
    • Atmospheric Forcing Of Wave States In The Southeast Chukchi Sea

      Francis, Oceana P.; Bhatt, Uma (2012)
      The objective of this study was to assess the impact that the ocean state, particularly ocean waves, have on coastal communities and operations in the Western Alaska region. In situ measurements and one-dimensional spectra models, were used to link observed wave activity -- wind-sea and swells -- to their synoptic drivers. Bottom-mounted Recording Doppler Current Profilers (RDCPs) were placed at offshore and nearshore locations in the southeast Chukchi Sea, Alaska, during 2007 and 2009-2010. The highest significant wave height (SWH) "events" were defined as wave heights above 2m and 3m for a duration of 6h or more. Results show that SWH events appeared to be driven by three types of systems, 1) cyclonic systems that moved into the eastern Bering Sea and then stalled there, 2) cyclonic systems that moved into the eastern Chukchi Sea and then loitered there, and 3) a cyclonic system over the Brooks Range, a less common occurrence. Results also show the offshore region having highest SWHs with an east wind and wave direction, and classified as a wind-sea state. For the nearshore region, highest SWHs with south and west wind and wave directions, generally showed a swell state. Agreement between one-dimensional spectral models and in situ measurements was greatest for the higher wind-sea state in the offshore region, while discrepancies arose for the lower swell state in the nearshore region. Cross-validation of in situ measurements with satellite altimeter radar measurements were also conducted. Good correlation was found for the offshore regions but not for the nearshore regions. Satellite observations were also used to assess wave conditions in the Arctic during the years 1993-2011. A 0.020m/year increase of SWH for the SE Chukchi Sea and a 0.025m/year increase for the Pacific-Arctic, was found which correlates well with diminishing sea ice and the heighted wind speed, also shown in this study.
    • 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.
    • 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.
    • Investigation On Cirrus Clouds By The Cloud-Aerosol Lidar And Infrared Pathfinder Satellite Observation Data

      Zhu, Jiang; Sassen, Kenneth (2011)
      Understanding and describing the role of clouds in the climate system need intensive and extensive research on cloud properties. The albedo and greenhouse effects of clouds and their relations with the physical properties of clouds are analyzed. Cloud-top height and ice water content are key factors in impacting the longwave and shortwave radiation, respectively. Lidar and infrared radiometer measurement technologies are introduced. Cloud-Aerosol Lidar and Infrared Pathfinder Satellite Observation (CALIPSO) level 1 Lidar profile, level 2 cloud layer, and level 2 Lidar/IIR track products are briefly reviewed. The algorithms for identification of cirrus clouds, Linear Depolarization Ratio (LDR), and effective diameter are presented. An average LDR profile is calculated by using the sum of total attenuated backscattering profiles and the sum of perpendicular attenuated backscattering profiles. A weight-average method is applied to calculate the average LDR. A split-window method is applied to estimate the effective diameters of clouds. A set of bulk ice crystal models and a radiative transfer model are applied to produce a look-up table that includes the radiative transfer simulation results. The macro-physical properties of cirrus clouds are analyzed. The frequency of occurrence of cirrus clouds varies with latitude, and strongly relates to the atmospheric circulation. Cirrus clouds are few in high-pressure zones and abundant where seasonal monsoonal circulation occurs. Cloud-top height decreases with increasing latitude. Cloud-top temperature is lower in the tropical regions than in the midlatutude and the polar regions. The measured cloud thickness shows a great diurnal variation.
    • 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.
    • 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.