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  1. Satellite images often feature sun glints caused by the specular reflection of sunlight from water surfaces or from horizontally oriented ice crystals occurring in clouds. Such glints can prevent accurate retrievals of atmospheric and surface properties using existing algorithms, but the glints can also be used to infer more about the glint-causing objects—for example about the microphysical properties and radiative effects of ice clouds. This paper introduces the recently released operational glint product of the Earth Polychromatic Camera (EPIC) onboard the Deep Space Climate Observatory (DSCOVR) spacecraft. Most importantly, the paper describes the algorithm used for generating the key componentmore »of the new product: a glint mask indicating the presence of sun glint caused by the specular reflection of sunlight from ice clouds and smooth water surfaces. After describing the glint detection algorithm and glint product, the paper shows some examples of the detected glints and discusses some basic statistics of the glint population in a yearlong dataset of EPIC images. These statistics provide insights into the performance of glint detection and point toward possibilities for using the glint product to gain scientific insights about ice clouds and water surfaces.« less
    Free, publicly-accessible full text available November 18, 2022
  2. Abstract Sea spray aerosol (SSA) formation have a major role in the climate system, but measurements at a global-scale of this micro-scale process are highly challenging. We measured high-resolution temporal patterns of SSA number concentration over the Atlantic Ocean, Caribbean Sea, and the Pacific Ocean covering over 42,000 km. We discovered a ubiquitous 24-hour rhythm to the SSA number concentration, with concentrations increasing after sunrise, remaining higher during the day, and returning to predawn values after sunset. The presence of dominating continental aerosol transport can mask the SSA cycle. We did not find significant links between the diel cycle of SSAmore »number concentration and diel variations of surface winds, atmospheric physical properties, radiation, pollution, nor oceanic physical properties. However, the daily mean sea surface temperature positively correlated with the magnitude of the day-to-nighttime increase in SSA concentration. Parallel diel patterns in particle sizes were also detected in near-surface waters attributed to variations in the size of particles smaller than ~1 µm. These variations may point to microbial day-to-night modulation of bubble-bursting dynamics as a possible cause of the SSA cycle.« less
    Free, publicly-accessible full text available December 1, 2022
  3. We examine satellite-derived aerosol optical depth (AOD) data during the period 2000–2018 over the Middle East to evaluate the contribution of anthropogenic pollution. We focus on Iraq, where US troops were present for nearly nine years. We begin with a plausibility argument linking anthropogenic influence and AOD signature. We then calculate the percent change in AOD every two years. To pinpoint the causes for changes in AOD on a spatial basis, we distinguish between synoptically “calm” periods and those with vigorous synoptic activity. This was done on high-resolution 10 km AOD retrievals from the Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer (MODIS) sensormore »(Terra satellite). We found spatiotemporal variability in the intensity of the AOD and its standard deviation along the dust-storm corridor during three studied periods: before Operation Iraqi Freedom (OIF) (1 March 2000–19 March 2003), during OIF (20 March 2003–1 September 2010), and Operation New Dawn (OND; 1 September 2010–18 December 2011), and after the US troops’ withdrawal (19 December 2011–31 December 2018). Pixels of military camps and bases, major roads and areas of conflict, and their corresponding AOD values, were selected to study possible effects. We found that winter, with its higher frequency of days with synoptically “calm” conditions compared to spring and summer, was the best season to quantitatively estimate the impact of these ground-based sources. Surprisingly, an anthropogenic impact on the AOD signature was also visible during vigorous synoptic activity. Meteorological conditions that favor detection of these effects using space imagery are discussed, where the effects are more salient than in surrounding regions with similar meteorological conditions. This exceeds expectations when considering synoptic variations alone.« less
  4. The reason why ice nucleation is more efficient by contact nucleation than by immersion nucleation has been elusive for over half a century. Six proposed mechanisms are summarized in this study. Among them, the pressure perturbation hypothesis, which arose from recent experiments, can qualitatively explain nearly all existing results relevant to contact nucleation. To explore the plausibility of this hypothesis in a more quantitative fashion and to guide future investigations, this study assessed the magnitude of pressure perturbation needed to cause contact nucleation and the associated spatial scales. The pressure perturbations needed were estimated using measured contact nucleation efficiencies formore »illite and kaolinite, obtained from previous experiments, and immersion freezing temperatures, obtained from well-established parameterizations. Pressure perturbations were obtained by assuming a constant pressure perturbation or a Gaussian distribution of the pressure perturbation. The magnitudes of the pressure perturbations needed were found to be physically reasonable, being achievable through possible mechanisms, including bubble formation and breakup, Laplace pressure arising from the distorted contact line, and shear. The pressure perturbation hypothesis provides a physically based and experimentally constrainable foundation for parameterizing contact nucleation that may be useful in future cloud-resolving models.« less