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Atmosphere, Volume 3, Issue 1 (March 2012), Pages 1-245

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Research

Jump to: Review

Open AccessArticle Radar-Based Analysis of Convective Storms over Northwestern Italy
Atmosphere 2012, 3(1), 33-58; doi:10.3390/atmos3010033
Received: 22 September 2011 / Revised: 19 November 2011 / Accepted: 14 December 2011 / Published: 27 December 2011
Cited by 15 | PDF Full-text (3036 KB)
Abstract
Thunderstorms may cause large damages to infrastructures and population, therefore the possible identification of the areas with the highest occurrence of these events is especially relevant. Nevertheless, few extensive studies of these phenomena with high spatial and temporal resolution have been carried [...] Read more.
Thunderstorms may cause large damages to infrastructures and population, therefore the possible identification of the areas with the highest occurrence of these events is especially relevant. Nevertheless, few extensive studies of these phenomena with high spatial and temporal resolution have been carried out in the Alps and none of them includes North-western Italy. To analyze thunderstorm events, the data of the meteorological radar network of the regional meteorological service of Piedmont region (ARPA Piemonte) have been used in this work. The database analyzed includes all thunderstorms occurred during the warm months (April to September) of a 6-year period (2005–2010). The tracks of each storm have been evaluated using a storm tracking algorithm. Several characteristics of the storms have been analyzed, such as the duration, the spatial and the temporaldistribution, the direction and the distance travelled. Obtained results revealed several important characteristics that may be useful for nowcasting purposes providing a first attempt of radar-based climatology in the considered region. Full article
Open AccessArticle An Investigation of Two Highest Ozone Episodes During the Last Decade in New England
Atmosphere 2012, 3(1), 59-86; doi:10.3390/atmos3010059
Received: 8 September 2011 / Revised: 8 December 2011 / Accepted: 15 December 2011 / Published: 27 December 2011
Cited by 4 | PDF Full-text (5236 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
This study examined the role of meteorological processes in two of the highest ozone (O3) episodes within the last decade at monitoring sites in southern New Hampshire (NH), USA. The highest O3 levels occurred on 14 August 2002 at [...] Read more.
This study examined the role of meteorological processes in two of the highest ozone (O3) episodes within the last decade at monitoring sites in southern New Hampshire (NH), USA. The highest O3 levels occurred on 14 August 2002 at Thompson Farm (TF) and 22 July 2004 at Castle Springs (CS). Ozone mixing ratios in the 2002 episode showed continual high values (>100 ppbv) at the beginning of the episode, and reached 151 ppbv on 14 August. The 2004 episode consisted of one day of high O3 (>100 ppbv) on 22 July at CS with the peak level of 111 ppbv. Our analysis suggested that the August 2002 high O3 event at TF occurred under stagnant synoptic high-pressure conditions that prevailed over the entire eastern USA for an unusually extended time period. The clear skies and stable meteorological conditions resulted in accumulation of pollutants in the boundary layer. At the same time, the mesoscale low-level-jet (LLJ) played an important role in transporting air masses from the polluted Mid-Atlantic areas to the Northeast. Local land-sea-breeze circulations also added to the impact of this event. Our examination showed that the unprecedented high levels of O3 on 22 July 2004 at CS was driven by two mechanisms, stratospheric intrusion and the Appalachian lee trough (APLT), which was not found during other O3 episodes at the site in the decade long data record. This study demonstrated that unusually high O3 levels at New England rural sites were driven by multi-scale processes, and the regional/local scale processes controlled the magnitude and timing of the local pollution episodes. Full article
Open AccessArticle An Evaluation of Modeled Plume Injection Height with Satellite-Derived Observed Plume Height
Atmosphere 2012, 3(1), 103-123; doi:10.3390/atmos3010103
Received: 14 October 2011 / Revised: 17 December 2011 / Accepted: 6 January 2012 / Published: 18 January 2012
Cited by 5 | PDF Full-text (1282 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
Plume injection height influences plume transport characteristics, such as range and potential for dilution. We evaluated plume injection height from a predictive wildland fire smoke transport model over the contiguous United States (U.S.) from 2006 to 2008 using satellite-derived information, including plume [...] Read more.
Plume injection height influences plume transport characteristics, such as range and potential for dilution. We evaluated plume injection height from a predictive wildland fire smoke transport model over the contiguous United States (U.S.) from 2006 to 2008 using satellite-derived information, including plume top heights from the Multi-angle Imaging SpectroRadiometer (MISR) Plume Height Climatology Project and aerosol vertical profiles from the Cloud-Aerosol Lidar with Orthogonal Polarization (CALIOP). While significant geographic variability was found in the comparison between modeled plumes and satellite-detected plumes, modeled plume heights were lower overall. In the eastern U.S., satellite-detected and modeled plume heights were similar (median height 671 and 660 m respectively). Both satellite-derived and modeled plume injection heights were higher in the western U.S. (2345 and 1172 m, respectively). Comparisons of modeled plume injection height to satellite-derived plume height at the fire location (R2 = 0.1) were generally worse than comparisons done downwind of the fire (R2 = 0.22). This suggests that the exact injection height is not as important as placement of the plume in the correct transport layer for transport modeling. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Biomass Emissions)
Open AccessCommunication Trends in Intense Typhoon Minimum Sea Level Pressure
Atmosphere 2012, 3(1), 124-131; doi:10.3390/atmos3010124
Received: 13 December 2011 / Revised: 5 January 2012 / Accepted: 11 January 2012 / Published: 31 January 2012
Cited by 1 | PDF Full-text (318 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
A number of recent publications have examined trends in the maximum wind speed of tropical cyclones in various basins. In this communication, the author focuses on typhoons in the western North Pacific. Rather than maximum wind speed, the intensity of the storms [...] Read more.
A number of recent publications have examined trends in the maximum wind speed of tropical cyclones in various basins. In this communication, the author focuses on typhoons in the western North Pacific. Rather than maximum wind speed, the intensity of the storms is measured by their lifetime minimum sea level pressure (MSLP). Quantile regression is used to test for trends in storms of extreme intensity. The results indicate that there is a trend of decreasing intensity in the most intense storms as measured by MSLP over the period 1951–2010. However, when the data are broken into intervals 1951–1987 and 1987–2010, neither interval has a significant trend, but the intensity quantiles for the two periods differ. Reasons for this are discussed, including the cessation of aircraft reconnaissance in 1987. The author also finds that the average typhoon intensity is greater in El Nino years, while the intensity of the strongest typhoons shows no significant relation to El Nino Southern Oscillation. Full article
Open AccessArticle The Impact of Uncertainties in African Biomass Burning Emission Estimates on Modeling Global Air Quality, Long Range Transport and Tropospheric Chemical Lifetimes
Atmosphere 2012, 3(1), 132-163; doi:10.3390/atmos3010132
Received: 25 December 2011 / Revised: 19 January 2012 / Accepted: 19 January 2012 / Published: 9 February 2012
Cited by 8 | PDF Full-text (3698 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
The chemical composition of the troposphere in the tropics and Southern Hemisphere (SH) is significantly influenced by gaseous emissions released from African biomass burning (BB). Here we investigate how various emission estimates given in bottom-up BB inventories (GFEDv2, GFEDv3, AMMABB) affect simulations [...] Read more.
The chemical composition of the troposphere in the tropics and Southern Hemisphere (SH) is significantly influenced by gaseous emissions released from African biomass burning (BB). Here we investigate how various emission estimates given in bottom-up BB inventories (GFEDv2, GFEDv3, AMMABB) affect simulations of global tropospheric composition using the TM4 chemistry transport model. The application of various model parameterizations for introducing such emissions is also investigated. There are perturbations in near-surface ozone (O3) and carbon monoxide (CO) of ~60–90% in the tropics and ~5–10% in the SH between different inventories. Increasing the update frequency of the temporal distribution to eight days generally results in decreases of between ~5 and 10% in near-surface mixing ratios throughout the tropics, which is larger than the influence of increasing the injection heights at which BB emissions are introduced. There are also associated differences in the long range transport of pollutants throughout the SH, where the composition of the free troposphere in the SH is sensitive to the chosen BB inventory. Analysis of the chemical budget terms reveals that the influence of increasing the tropospheric CO burden due to BB on oxidative capacity of the troposphere is mitigated by the associated increase in NOx emissions (and thus O3) with the variations in the CO/N ratio between inventories being low. For all inventories there is a decrease in the tropospheric chemical lifetime of methane of between 0.4 and 0.8% regardless of the CO emitted from African BB. This has implications for assessing the effect of inter-annual variability in BB on the annual growth rate of methane. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Biomass Emissions)
Open AccessArticle Pre-Harvest Sugarcane Burning: Determination of Emission Factors through Laboratory Measurements
Atmosphere 2012, 3(1), 164-180; doi:10.3390/atmos3010164
Received: 2 January 2012 / Revised: 20 January 2012 / Accepted: 31 January 2012 / Published: 15 February 2012
Cited by 15 | PDF Full-text (1426 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
Sugarcane is an important crop for the Brazilian economy and roughly 50% of its production is used to produce ethanol. However, the common practice of pre-harvest burning of sugarcane straw emits particulate material, greenhouse gases, and tropospheric ozone precursors to the atmosphere. [...] Read more.
Sugarcane is an important crop for the Brazilian economy and roughly 50% of its production is used to produce ethanol. However, the common practice of pre-harvest burning of sugarcane straw emits particulate material, greenhouse gases, and tropospheric ozone precursors to the atmosphere. Even with policies to eliminate the practice of pre-harvest sugarcane burning in the near future, there is still significant environmental damage. Thus, the generation of reliable inventories of emissions due to this activity is crucial in order to assess their environmental impact. Nevertheless, the official Brazilian emissions inventory does not presently include the contribution from pre-harvest sugarcane burning. In this context, this work aims to determine sugarcane straw burning emission factors for some trace gases and particulate material smaller than 2.5 μm in the laboratory. Excess mixing ratios for CO2, CO, NOX, UHC (unburned hydrocarbons), and PM2.5 were measured, allowing the estimation of their respective emission factors. Average estimated values for emission factors (g kg−1 of burned dry biomass) were 1,303 ± 218 for CO2, 65 ± 14 for CO, 1.5 ± 0.4 for NOX, 16 ± 6 for UHC, and 2.6 ± 1.6 for PM2.5. These emission factors can be used to generate more realistic emission inventories and therefore improve the results of air quality models. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Biomass Emissions)
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Open AccessArticle Assessing the Transferability of the Regional Climate Model REMO to Different COordinated Regional Climate Downscaling EXperiment (CORDEX) Regions
Atmosphere 2012, 3(1), 181-199; doi:10.3390/atmos3010181
Received: 5 December 2011 / Revised: 1 February 2012 / Accepted: 10 February 2012 / Published: 21 February 2012
Cited by 36 | PDF Full-text (805 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
The transferability of the regional climate model REMO with a standard setup over different regions of the world has been evaluated. The study is based on the idea that the modeling parameters and parameterizations in a regional climate model should be robust [...] Read more.
The transferability of the regional climate model REMO with a standard setup over different regions of the world has been evaluated. The study is based on the idea that the modeling parameters and parameterizations in a regional climate model should be robust to adequately simulate the major climatic characteristic of different regions around the globe. If a model is not able to do that, there might be a chance of an “overtuning” to the “home-region”, which means that the model physics are tuned in a way that it might cover some more fundamental errors, e.g., in the dynamics. All simulations carried out in this study contribute to the joint effort by the international regional downscaling community called COordinated Regional climate Downscaling EXperiment (CORDEX). REMO has been integrated over six CORDEX domains forced with the so-called perfect boundary conditions obtained from the global reanalysis dataset ERA-Interim for the period 1989 to 2008. These six domains include Africa, Europe, North America, South America, West Asia and the Mediterranean region. Each of the six simulations was conducted with the identical model setup which allows investigating the transferability of a single model to regions with substantially different climate characteristics. For the consistent evaluation over the different domains, a new evaluation framework is presented by combining the Köppen-Trewartha climate classification with temperature-precipitation relationship plots and a probability density function (PDF) skill score method. The evaluation of the spatial and temporal characteristics of simulated precipitation and temperature, in comparison to observational datasets, shows that REMO is able to simulate the mean annual climatic features over all the domains quite reasonably, but still some biases remain. The regions over the Amazon and near the coast of major upwelling regions have a significant warm bias. Wet and dry biases appear over the mountainous regions and East Africa, respectively. The temperature over South America and precipitation over the tundra and highland climate of West Asia are misrepresented. The probable causes leading to these biases are discussed and ideas for improvements are suggested. The annual cycle of precipitation and temperature of major catchments in each domain are also well represented by REMO. The model has performed well in simulating the inter- and intra-seasonal characteristics of different climate types in different regions. Moreover, the model has a high ability in representing the general characteristics of different climate types as measured by the probability density function (PDF) skill score method. Although REMO seems to perform best over its home domain in Europe (domain of development and testing), the model has simulated quite well the climate characteristics of other regions with the same set of parameterization options. Therefore, these results lead us to the conclusion that REMO is well suited for long-term climate change simulations to examine projected future changes in all these regions. Full article
Open AccessArticle Numerical Simulation of the Global Neutral Wind System of the Earth’s Middle Atmosphere for Different Seasons
Atmosphere 2012, 3(1), 213-228; doi:10.3390/atmos3010213
Received: 28 November 2011 / Revised: 29 January 2012 / Accepted: 24 February 2012 / Published: 5 March 2012
Cited by 6 | PDF Full-text (1897 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
A non-hydrostatic model of the global neutral wind system of the Earth’s atmosphere, developed earlier, is utilized to simulate the large-scale global circulation of the middle atmosphere for conditions of different seasons. In the model calculations, not only the horizontal components, but [...] Read more.
A non-hydrostatic model of the global neutral wind system of the Earth’s atmosphere, developed earlier, is utilized to simulate the large-scale global circulation of the middle atmosphere for conditions of different seasons. In the model calculations, not only the horizontal components, but also the vertical component of the neutral wind velocity, are obtained by means of a numerical solution of a generalized Navier-Stokes equation for compressible gas, so the hydrostatic equation is not applied. Moreover, the global temperature field is assumed to be a given distribution, (i.e., the input parameter of the model) and obtained from one of the existing empirical models. The results of simulation indicate that the horizontal non-uniformity of the neutral gas temperature, which is distinct in different seasons, ought to considerably influence the formation of the global neutral wind system in the middle atmosphere, in particular, the large-scale circumpolar vortices of the northern and southern hemispheres. Full article
Open AccessArticle Unveiling Assigned Amount Unit (AAU) Trades: Current Market Impacts and Prospects for the Future
Atmosphere 2012, 3(1), 229-245; doi:10.3390/atmos3010229
Received: 13 December 2011 / Revised: 30 January 2012 / Accepted: 27 February 2012 / Published: 7 March 2012
Cited by 5 | PDF Full-text (265 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
The sale of assigned amount units (AAUs) from countries whose emissions have declined since their baseline year under the Kyoto Protocol has led critics to be skeptical of carbon markets due to the lack of actual emission reductions that occur as a [...] Read more.
The sale of assigned amount units (AAUs) from countries whose emissions have declined since their baseline year under the Kyoto Protocol has led critics to be skeptical of carbon markets due to the lack of actual emission reductions that occur as a result of these trades. This policy review describes the historical context of AAU trading, current market price and volumes, and environmental and economic impacts of the current AAU trading rules. Options for how to handle current, and prevent the creation of future, surplus AAUs are discussed. Full article

Review

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Open AccessReview A Review of Tropospheric Atmospheric Chemistry and Gas-Phase Chemical Mechanisms for Air Quality Modeling
Atmosphere 2012, 3(1), 1-32; doi:10.3390/atmos3010001
Received: 25 October 2011 / Revised: 24 November 2011 / Accepted: 12 December 2011 / Published: 21 December 2011
Cited by 12 | PDF Full-text (1590 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
Gas-phase chemical mechanisms are vital components of prognostic air quality models. The mechanisms are incorporated into modules that are used to calculate the chemical sources and sinks of ozone and the precursors of particulates. Fifty years ago essential atmospheric chemical processes, such [...] Read more.
Gas-phase chemical mechanisms are vital components of prognostic air quality models. The mechanisms are incorporated into modules that are used to calculate the chemical sources and sinks of ozone and the precursors of particulates. Fifty years ago essential atmospheric chemical processes, such as the importance of the hydroxyl radical, were unknown and crude air quality models incorporated only a few parameterized reactions obtained by fitting observations. Over the years, chemical mechanisms for air quality modeling improved and became more detailed as more experimental data and more powerful computers became available. However it will not be possible to incorporate a detailed treatment of the chemistry for all known chemical constituents because there are thousands of organic compounds emitted into the atmosphere. Some simplified method of treating atmospheric organic chemistry is required to make air quality modeling computationally possible. The majority of the significant differences between air quality mechanisms are due to the differing methods of treating this organic chemistry. The purpose of this review is to present an overview of atmospheric chemistry that is incorporated into air quality mechanisms and to suggest areas in which more research is needed. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Air Pollution Modeling: Reviews of Science Process Algorithms)
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Open AccessReview Atmosphere: A Source of Pathogenic or Beneficial Microbes?
Atmosphere 2012, 3(1), 87-102; doi:10.3390/atmos3010087
Received: 28 November 2011 / Revised: 29 December 2011 / Accepted: 4 January 2012 / Published: 16 January 2012
Cited by 23 | PDF Full-text (295 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
The atmosphere has been described as one of the last frontiers of biological exploration on Earth. The composition of microbial communities in the atmosphere is still not well-defined, and taxonomic studies of bacterial diversity in the outdoor air have just started to [...] Read more.
The atmosphere has been described as one of the last frontiers of biological exploration on Earth. The composition of microbial communities in the atmosphere is still not well-defined, and taxonomic studies of bacterial diversity in the outdoor air have just started to emerge, whereas our knowledge about the functional potential of air microbiota is scant. When in the air, microorganisms can be attached to ambient particles and/or incorporated into water droplets of clouds, fog, and precipitation (i.e., rain, snow, hail). Further, they can be deposited back to earth’s surfaces via dry and wet deposition processes and they can possibly induce an effect on the diversity and function of aquatic and terrestrial ecosystems or impose impacts to human health through microbial pathogens dispersion. In addition to their impact on ecosystem and public health, there are strong indications that air microbes are metabolically active and well adapted to the harsh atmospheric conditions. Furthermore they can affect atmospheric chemistry and physics, with important implications in meteorology and global climate. This review summarizes current knowledge about the ubiquitous presence of microbes in the atmosphere and discusses their ability to survive in the atmospheric environment. The purpose is to evaluate the atmospheric environment as a source of pathogenic or beneficial microbes and to assess the biotechnological opportunities that may offer. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Health Effects of Air Pollution)
Open AccessReview Anthropogenic Climate Change and Allergic Diseases
Atmosphere 2012, 3(1), 200-212; doi:10.3390/atmos3010200
Received: 10 January 2012 / Revised: 10 January 2012 / Accepted: 15 February 2012 / Published: 28 February 2012
Cited by 9 | PDF Full-text (281 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
Climate change is expected to have an impact on various aspects of health, including mucosal areas involved in allergic inflammatory disorders that include asthma, allergic rhinitis, allergic conjunctivitis and anaphylaxis. The evidence that links climate change to the exacerbation and the development [...] Read more.
Climate change is expected to have an impact on various aspects of health, including mucosal areas involved in allergic inflammatory disorders that include asthma, allergic rhinitis, allergic conjunctivitis and anaphylaxis. The evidence that links climate change to the exacerbation and the development of allergic disease is increasing and appears to be linked to changes in pollen seasons (duration, onset and intensity) and changes in allergen content of plants and their pollen as it relates to increased sensitization, allergenicity and exacerbations of allergic airway disease. This has significant implications for air quality and for the global food supply. Full article

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