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Creators/Authors contains: "Alexander, M. Joan"

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  1. Abstract

    Atmospheric gravity waves (GWs) span a broad range of length scales. As a result, the un‐resolved and under‐resolved GWs have to be represented using a sub‐grid scale (SGS) parameterization in general circulation models (GCMs). In recent years, machine learning (ML) techniques have emerged as novel methods for SGS modeling of climate processes. In the widely used approach of supervised (offline) learning, the true representation of the SGS terms have to be properly extracted from high‐fidelity data (e.g., GW‐resolving simulations). However, this is a non‐trivial task, and the quality of the ML‐based parameterization significantly hinges on the quality of these SGS terms. Here, we compare three methods to extract 3D GW fluxes and the resulting drag (Gravity Wave Drag [GWD]) from high‐resolution simulations: Helmholtz decomposition, and spatial filtering to compute the Reynolds stress and the full SGS stress. In addition to previous studies that focused only on vertical fluxes by GWs, we also quantify the SGS GWD due to lateral momentum fluxes. We build and utilize a library of tropical high‐resolution (Δx = 3 km) simulations using weather research and forecasting model. Results show that the SGS lateral momentum fluxes could have a significant contribution to the total GWD. Moreover, when estimating GWD due to lateral effects, interactions between the SGS and the resolved large‐scale flow need to be considered. The sensitivity of the results to different filter type and length scale (dependent on GCM resolution) is also explored to inform the scale‐awareness in the development of data‐driven parameterizations.

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  2. Abstract. A novel fiber-optic distributed temperature sensing instrument, the Fiber-optic Laser Operated Atmospheric Temperature Sensor (FLOATS), was developed for continuous in situ profiling of the atmosphere up to 2 km below constant-altitude scientific balloons. The temperature-sensingsystem uses a suspended fiber-optic cable and temperature-dependent scattering of pulsed laser light in the Raman regime to retrieve continuous3 m vertical-resolution profiles at a minimum sampling period of 20 s.FLOATS was designed for operation aboard drifting super-pressure balloons inthe tropical tropopause layer at altitudes around 18 km as part of theStratéole 2 campaign. A short test flight of the system was conductedfrom Laramie, Wyoming, in January 2021 to check the optical, electrical, andmechanical systems at altitude and to validate a four-reference temperaturecalibration procedure with a fiber-optic deployment length of 1170 m. During the 4 h flight aboard a vented balloon, FLOATS retrieved temperatureprofiles during ascent and while at a float altitude of about 19 km. TheFLOATS retrievals provided differences of less than 1.0 ∘Ccompared to a commercial radiosonde aboard the flight payload during ascent.At float altitude, a comparison of optical length and GPS position at thebottom of the fiber-optic revealed little to no curvature in the fiber-opticcable, suggesting that the position of any distributed temperaturemeasurement can be effectively modeled. Comparisons of the distributed temperature retrievals to the reference temperature sensors show strongagreement with root-mean-square-error values less than 0.4 ∘C. Theinstrument also demonstrated good agreement with nearby meteorologicalobservations and COSMIC-2 satellite profiles. Observations of temperatureand wind perturbations compared to the nearby radiosounding profiles provide evidence of inertial gravity wave activity during the test flight. Spectral analysis of the observed temperature perturbations shows that FLOATS is an effective and pioneering tool for the investigation of small-scale gravity waves in the upper troposphere and lower stratosphere. 
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  3. Abstract Based on 20-day control forecasts by the 9-km Integrated Forecasting System (IFS) at the European Centre for Medium-Range Weather Forecasts (ECMWF) for selected periods of summer and winter events, this study investigates global distributions of gravity wave momentum fluxes resolved by the highest-resolution-ever global operational numerical weather prediction model. Two supplementary datasets, including 18-km ECMWF IFS experiments and the 30-km ERA5, are included for comparison. In the stratosphere, there is a clear dominance of westward momentum fluxes over the winter extratropics with strong baroclinic instability, while eastward momentum fluxes are found in the summer tropics. However, meridional momentum fluxes, locally as important as the above zonal counterpart, show different behaviors of global distribution characteristics, with northward and southward momentum fluxes alternating with each other especially at lower altitudes. Both events illustrate conclusive evidence that stronger stratospheric fluxes are found in the ECMWF forecast with finer resolution, and that ERA5 datasets have the weakest signals in general, regardless of whether regridding is applied. In the troposphere, probability distributions of vertical motion perturbations are highly asymmetric with more strong positive signals especially over latitudes covering heavy rainfall, likely caused by convective forcing. With the aid of precipitation accumulation, a simple filtering method is proposed in an attempt to eliminate those tropospheric asymmetries by convective forcing, before calculating tropospheric wave-induced fluxes. Furthermore, this research demonstrates promising findings that the proposed filtering method could help in reducing the potential uncertainties with respect to estimating tropospheric wave-induced fluxes. Finally, absolute momentum flux distributions with proposed approaches are presented, for further assessment in the future. 
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  4. Abstract

    Atmospheric predictability from subseasonal to seasonal time scales and climate variability are both influenced critically by gravity waves (GW). The quality of regional and global numerical models relies on thorough understanding of GW dynamics and its interplay with chemistry, precipitation, clouds, and climate across many scales. For the foreseeable future, GWs and many other relevant processes will remain partly unresolved, and models will continue to rely on parameterizations. Recent model intercomparisons and studies show that present-day GW parameterizations do not accurately represent GW processes. These shortcomings introduce uncertainties, among others, in predicting the effects of climate change on important modes of variability. However, the last decade has produced new data and advances in theoretical and numerical developments that promise to improve the situation. This review gives a survey of these developments, discusses the present status of GW parameterizations, and formulates recommendations on how to proceed from there.

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  5. Abstract. Current climate models have difficulty representing realistic wave–mean flow interactions, partly because the contribution from waves with fine vertical scales is poorly known. There are few direct observations of these waves, and most models have difficulty resolving them. This observational challenge cannot be addressed by satellite or sparse ground-based methods. The Strateole-2 long-duration stratospheric superpressure balloons that float with the horizontal wind on constant-density surfaces provide a unique platform for wave observations across a broad range of spatial and temporal scales. For the first time, balloon-borne Global Navigation Satellite System (GNSS) radio occultation (RO) is used to provide high-vertical-resolution equatorial wave observations. By tracking navigation signal refractive delays from GPS satellites near the horizon, 40–50 temperature profiles were retrieved daily, from balloon flight altitude (∼20 km) down to 6–8 km altitude, forming an orthogonal pattern of observations over a broad area (±400–500 km) surrounding the flight track. The refractivity profiles show an excellent agreement of better than 0.2 % with co-located radiosonde, spaceborne COSMIC-2 RO, and reanalysis products. The 200–500 m vertical resolution and the spatial and temporal continuity of sampling make it possible to extract properties of Kelvin waves and gravity waves with vertical wavelengths as short as 2–3 km. The results illustrate the difference in the Kelvin wave period (20 vs. 16 d) in the Lagrangian versus ground-fixed reference and as much as a 20 % difference in amplitude compared to COSMIC-2, both of which impact estimates of momentum flux. A small dataset from the extra Galileo, GLONASS, and BeiDou constellations demonstrates the feasibility of nearly doubling the sampling density in planned follow-on campaigns when data with full equatorial coverage will contribute to a better estimate of wave forcing on the quasi-biennial oscillation (QBO) and improved QBO representation in models. 
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  7. Abstract

    The quasi‐biennial oscillation (QBO), a ubiquitous feature of the zonal mean zonal winds in the equatorial lower stratosphere, is forced by selective dissipation of atmospheric waves that range in periods from days to hours. However, QBO circulations in numerical models tend to be weak compared with observations, probably because of limited vertical resolution that cannot adequately resolve gravity waves and the height range over which they dissipate. Observations are required to help quantify wave effects. The passage of a superpressure balloon (SPB) near a radiosonde launch site in the equatorial Western Pacific during the transition from the eastward to westward phase of the QBO at 20 km permits a coordinated study of the intrinsic frequencies and vertical structures of two inertia‐gravity wave packets with periods near 1 day and 3 days, respectively. Both waves have large horizontal wavelengths of about 970 and 5,500 km. The complementary nature of the observations provided information on their momentum fluxes and the evolution of the waves in the vertical. The near 1 day westward propagating wave has a critical level near 20 km, while the eastward propagating 3‐day wave is able to propagate through to heights near 30 km before dissipation. Estimates of the forcing provided by the momentum flux convergence, taking into account the duration and scale of the forcing, suggests zonal force of about 0.3–0.4 m s−1 day−1for the 1‐day wave and about 0.4–0.6 m s−1 day−1for the 3‐day wave, which acts for several days.

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  8. Abstract

    Atmospheric waves in the tropical tropopause layer are recognized as a significant influence on processes that impact global climate. For example, waves drive the quasi‐biennial oscillation (QBO) in equatorial stratospheric winds and modulate occurrences of cirrus clouds. However, the QBO in the lower stratosphere and thin cirrus have continued to elude accurate simulation in state‐of‐the‐art climate models and seasonal forecast systems. We use first‐of‐their‐kind profile measurements deployed beneath a long‐duration balloon to provide new insights into impacts of fine‐scale waves on equatorial cirrus clouds and the QBO just above the tropopause. Analysis of these balloon‐borne measurements reveals previously uncharacterized fine‐vertical‐scale waves (<1 km) with large horizontal extent (>1000 km) and multiday periods. These waves affect cirrus clouds and QBO winds in ways that could explain current climate model shortcomings in representing these stratospheric influences on climate. Accurately simulating these fine‐vertical‐scale processes thus has the potential to improve sub‐seasonal to near‐term climate prediction.

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  9. Abstract

    We conducted simulations with a 4‐km resolution for Hurricane Joaquin in 2015 using the weather research and forecast (WRF) model. The model data are used to study stratospheric gravity waves (GWs) generated by the hurricane and how they correlate with hurricane intensity. The simulation results show spiral GWs propagating upward and anticlockwise away from the hurricane center. GWs with vertical wavelengths up to 14 km are generated. We find that GW activity is more frequent and intense during hurricane intensification than during weakening, particularly for the most intense GW activity. There are significant correlations between the change of stratospheric GW intensity and hurricane intensity. Therefore, the emergence of intensive stratospheric GW activity may be considered a useful proxy for identifying hurricane intensification.

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