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Schmidt, JM, Flatau PJ, Harasti PR, Yates RD, Littleton R, Pritchard MS, Fischer JM, Fischer EJ, Kohri WJ, Vetter JR, Richman S, Baranowski DB, Anderson MJ, Fletcher E, Lando DW.  2012.  Radar observations of individual rain drops in the free atmosphere. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America. 109:9293-9298.   10.1073/pnas.1117776109   AbstractWebsite

Atmospheric remote sensing has played a pivotal role in the increasingly sophisticated representation of clouds in the numerical models used to assess global and regional climate change. This has been accomplished because the underlying bulk cloud properties can be derived from a statistical analysis of the returned microwave signals scattered by a diverse ensemble comprised of numerous cloud hydrometeors. A new Doppler radar, previously used to track small debris particles shed from the NASA space shuttle during launch, is shown to also have the capacity to detect individual cloud hydrometeors in the free atmosphere. Similar to the traces left behind on film by subatomic particles, larger cloud particles were observed to leave a well-defined radar signature (or streak), which could be analyzed to infer the underlying particle properties. We examine the unique radar and environmental conditions leading to the formation of the radar streaks and develop a theoretical framework which reveals the regulating role of the background radar reflectivity on their observed characteristics. This main expectation from theory is examined through an analysis of the drop properties inferred from radar and in situ aircraft measurements obtained in two contrasting regions of an observed multicellular storm system. The observations are placed in context of the parent storm circulation through the use of the radar's unique high-resolution waveforms, which allow the bulk and individual hydrometeor properties to be inferred at the same time.

Witek, ML, Flatau PJ, Teixeira J, Markowicz KM.  2011.  Numerical Investigation of Sea Salt Aerosol Size Bin Partitioning in Global Transport Models: Implications for Mass Budget and Optical Depth. Aerosol Science and Technology. 45:401-414.   10.1080/02786826.2010.541957   AbstractWebsite

In this study the importance of sea salt aerosol (SSA) size representation in a global transport model is investigated. For this purpose the Navy Aerosol Analysis and Prediction System (NAAPS) model is employed in a number of SSA simulations. A new dry deposition velocity parameterization is implemented into NAAPS in order to more physically represent deposition processes in the model. SSA size distribution is divided into size bins using two different partition procedures: the previously used iso-log method and the iso-gradient method, which relies on size-dependence of deposition processes. The global SSA simulations are analyzed in terms of the total sea salt mass and the average SSA optical thickness. The results indicate that there is a large dependence of the total mass and average aerosol optical depth on the number of size bins used to represent the aerosol size distribution. The total SSA mass is underestimated by 20% if 2 instead of 15 (reference) size intervals are used. The average aerosol optical depth underestimation is even higher and reaches over 35%. Such large differences can have substantial implications on the accuracy of SSA radiative forcing simulations in climate models. A comparison of the two division procedures shows that the simulations with the iso-gradient intervals are more accurate than the iso-log ones if at least 6 size bins are used. This result indicates that the more physically based division scheme can offer better performance and reduce computational cost of global aerosol transport models.

Markowicz, KM, Flatau PJ, Kardas AE, Remiszewska J, Stelmaszczyk K, Woeste L.  2008.  Ceilometer retrieval of the boundary layer vertical aerosol extinction structure. Journal of Atmospheric and Oceanic Technology. 25:928-944.   10.1175/2007jtecha1016.1   AbstractWebsite

The CT25K ceilometer is a general-purpose cloud height sensor employing lidar technology for detection of clouds. In this paper it is shown that it can also be used to retrieve aerosol optical properties in the boundary layer. The authors present a comparison of the CT25K instrument with the aerosol lidar system and discuss its good overall agreement for both the range-corrected signals and the retrieved extinction coefficient profiles. The CT25K aerosol profiling is mostly limited to the boundary layer, but it is capable of detecting events in the lower atmosphere such as mineral dust events between 1 and 3 km. Assumptions needed for the estimation of the aerosol extinction profiles are discussed. It is shown that, when a significant part of the aerosol layer is in the boundary layer, knowledge of the aerosol optical depth from a sun photometer allows inversion of the lidar signal. In other cases, surface observations of the aerosol optical properties are used. It is demonstrated that additional information from a nephelometer and aethalometer allows definition of the lidar ratio. Extinction retrievals based on spherical and randomly oriented spheroid assumptions are performed. It is shown, by comparison with the field measurements during the United Arab Emirates Unified Aerosol Experiment, that an assumption about specific particle shape is important for the extinction profile inversions. The authors indicate that this limitation of detection is a result of the relatively small sensitivity of this instrument in comparison to more sophisticated aerosol lidars. However, in many cases this does not play a significant role because globally only about 20% of the aerosol optical depth is above the boundary layer.

Vogelmann, AM, Flatau PJ, Szczodrak M, Markowicz KM, Minnett PJ.  2003.  Observations of large aerosol infrared forcing at the surface. Geophysical Research Letters. 30   10.1029/2002gl016829   AbstractWebsite

Studies of aerosol effects on the Earth's energy budget usually consider only the cooling effects at short (solar) wavelengths, but we demonstrate that they also have important warming effects at thermal infrared (IR) wavelengths that have rarely been observed and are commonly ignored in climate models. We use high-resolution spectra to obtain the IR radiative forcing at the surface for aerosols encountered in the outflow from northeastern Asia. The spectra were measured by the Marine-Atmospheric Emitted Radiance Interferometer (M-AERI) from the NOAA Ship Ronald H. Brown during the Aerosol Characterization Experiment-Asia (ACE-Asia). We show that the daytime surface IR forcing are often a few Wm(-2) and can reach almost 10 Wm(-2) for large aerosol loadings. Thus, even the smaller aerosol IR forcing observed here are comparable to or greater than the 1 to 2 Wm(-2) IR surface enhancement from increases in greenhouse gases. These results highlight the importance of aerosol IR forcing which should be included in climate model simulations.

Conant, WC, Seinfeld JH, Wang J, Carmichael GR, Tang YH, Uno I, Flatau PJ, Markowicz KM, Quinn PK.  2003.  A model for the radiative forcing during ACE-Asia derived from CIRPAS Twin Otter and R/V Ronald H. Brown data and comparison with observations. Journal of Geophysical Research-Atmospheres. 108   10.1029/2002jd003260   AbstractWebsite

Vertical profiles of aerosol size, composition, and hygroscopic behavior from Center for Interdisciplinary Remotely Piloted Aircraft Studies (CIRPAS) Twin Otter and National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration R/V Ronald H. Brown observations are used to construct a generic optical model of the Asian Pacific Regional Aerosol Characterization Experiment (ACE-Asia) aerosol. The model accounts for sulfate, black carbon, organic carbon, sea salt, and mineral dust. The effects of relative humidity and mixing assumptions (internal versus external, coating of dust by pollutants) are explicitly accounted for. The aerosol model is integrated with a Monte Carlo radiative transfer model to compute direct radiative forcing in the solar spectrum. The predicted regional average surface aerosol forcing efficiency (change in clear-sky radiative flux per unit aerosol optical depth at 500 nm) during the ACE-Asia intensive period is -65 Wm(-2) for pure dust and -60 Wm(-2) for pure pollution aerosol (clear skies). A three-dimensional atmospheric chemical transport model (Chemical Weather Forecast System (CFORS)) is used with the radiative transfer model to derive regional radiative forcing during ACE-Asia in clear and cloudy skies. Net regional solar direct radiative forcing during the 5-15 April 2001 dust storm period is -3 Wm(-2) at the top of the atmosphere and -17 Wm(-2) at the surface for the region from 20degreesN to 50degreesN and 100degreesE to 150degreesE when the effects of clouds on the direct forcing are included. The model fluxes and forcing efficiencies are found to be in good agreement with surface radiometric observations made aboard the R. H. Brown. Mean cloud conditions are found to moderate the top of atmosphere (TOA) radiative forcing by a factor of similar to3 compared to clear-sky calculations, but atmospheric absorption by aerosol is not strongly affected by clouds in this study. The regional aerosol effect at the TOA ("climate forcing") of -3 Wm(-2) is comparable in magnitude, but of opposite sign, to present-day anthropogenic greenhouse gas forcing. The forcing observed during ACE-Asia is similar in character to that seen during other major field experiments downwind of industrial and biomass black carbon sources (e.g., the Indian Ocean Experiment (INDOEX)), insofar as the primary effect of aerosol is to redistribute solar heating from the surface to the atmosphere.

Markowicz, KM, Flatau PJ, Ramana MV, Crutzen PJ, Ramanathan V.  2002.  Absorbing mediterranean aerosols lead to a large reduction in the solar radiation at the surface. Geophysical Research Letters. 29   10.1029/2002gl015767   AbstractWebsite

[1] We present direct radiometric observations of aerosol radiative forcing taken during the MINOS experiment (2001) at Finokalia Sampling Station located on North-Eastern shores of Crete, Greece. The mean value of aerosol optical thickness was 0.21 at 500 nm. Aerosols, mostly of anthropogenic origin, lead to a diurnal average reduction of 17.9 W m(-2) in the surface solar radiation, an increase of 11.3 W m(-2) in the atmospheric solar absorption, and an increase of 6.6 W m(-2) in the reflected solar radiation at the top-of-the atmosphere. Thus, the present data gives observational proof for the large role of absorbing aerosols in the Mediterranean. The negative surface forcing and large positive atmospheric forcing values observed for the Mediterranean aerosols is nearly identical to the highly absorbing south Asian haze observed over the Arabian Sea.

Lelieveld, J, Berresheim H, Borrmann S, Crutzen PJ, Dentener FJ, Fischer H, Feichter J, Flatau PJ, Heland J, Holzinger R, Korrmann R, Lawrence MG, Levin Z, Markowicz KM, Mihalopoulos N, Minikin A, Ramanathan V, de Reus M, Roelofs GJ, Scheeren HA, Sciare J, Schlager H, Schultz M, Siegmund P, Steil B, Stephanou EG, Stier P, Traub M, Warneke C, Williams J, Ziereis H.  2002.  Global air pollution crossroads over the Mediterranean. Science. 298:794-799.   10.1126/science.1075457   AbstractWebsite

The Mediterranean Intensive Oxidant Study, performed in the summer of 2001, uncovered air pollution layers from the surface to an altitude of 15 kilometers. In the boundary layer, air pollution standards are exceeded throughout the region, caused by West and East European pollution from the north. Aerosol particles also reduce solar radiation penetration to the surface, which can suppress precipitation. In the middle troposphere, Asian and to a lesser extent North American pollution is transported from the west. Additional Asian pollution from the east, transported from the monsoon in the upper troposphere, crosses the Mediterranean tropopause, which pollutes the lower stratosphere at middle latitudes.

Valero, FPJ, Collins WD, Pilewskie P, Bucholtz A, Flatau PJ.  1997.  Direct radiometric observations of the water vapor greenhouse effect over the equatorial Pacific ocean. Science. 275:1773-1776.   10.1126/science.275.5307.1773   AbstractWebsite

Airborne radiometric measurements were used to determine tropospheric profiles of the clear sky greenhouse effect. At sea surface temperatures (SSTs) larger than 300 kelvin, the clear sky water vapor greenhouse effect was found to increase with SST at a rate of 13 to 15 watts per square meter per kelvin. Satellite measurements of infrared radiances and SSTs indicate that almost 52 percent of the tropical oceans between 20 degrees N and 20 degrees S are affected during all seasons. Current general circulation models suggest that the increase in the clear sky water vapor greenhouse effect with SST may have climatic effects an a planetary scale.

Collins, WD, Valero FPJ, Flatau PJ, Lubin D, Grassl H, Pilewskie P.  1996.  Radiative effects of convection in the tropical Pacific. Journal of Geophysical Research-Atmospheres. 101:14999-15012.   10.1029/95jd02534   AbstractWebsite

The radiative effects of tropical clouds at the tropopause and the ocean surface have been estimated by using in situ measurements from the Central Equatorial Pacific Experiment (CEPEX). The effect of clouds is distinguished from the radiative effects of the surrounding atmosphere by calculating the shortwave and longwave cloud forcing. These terms give the reduction in insolation and the increase in absorption of terrestrial thermal emission associated with clouds. At the tropopause the shortwave and longwave cloud forcing are nearly equal and opposite, even on daily timescales. Therefore the net effect of an ensemble of convective clouds is small compared to other radiative terms in the surface-tropospheric heat budget. This confirms the statistical cancellation of cloud forcing observed in Earth radiation budget measurements from satellites. At the surface the net effect of clouds is to reduce the radiant energy absorbed by the ocean. Under deep convective clouds the diurnally averaged reduction exceeds 150 W m(-2). The divergence of flux in the cloudy atmosphere can be estimated from the difference in cloud forcing at the surface and tropopause. The CEPEX observations show that the atmospheric cloud forcing is nearly equal and opposite to the surface forcing. Based upon the frequency of convection, the atmospheric forcing approaches 100 W m(-2) when the surface temperature is 303 K. The cloud forcing is closely related to the frequency of convective cloud systems. This relation is used in conjunction with cloud population statistics derived from satellite to calculate the change in surface cloud forcing with sea surface temperature. The net radiative cooling of the surface by clouds increases at a rate of 20 W m(-2)K(-1)during the CEPEX observing period.