AGW Observer

Observations of anthropogenic global warming

A day in climate science

Posted by Ari Jokimäki on September 23, 2010

I have set up quite a few climate related journals to my RSS feed reader. This morning there were about 40 papers waiting for me. And I did clear the reader yestarday evening. That’s not unpredently large amount, by the way. It is actually quite common to have few tens of new papers over night. So, what kind of papers they published while I was sleeping? Let us see what we have there in order to get a glimpse of a regular day in climate (and related) science:

Atmospheric molecular hydrogen (H2): Observations at the high-altitude site Jungfraujoch, Switzerland – Reimann (Tellus A)
Measurements of H2 from 2005 to 2009. Generally most H2 in May, lowest H2 in November. Seasonal amplitude lower than usually in similar stations, which probably is related to soil H2 sink.

An evaluation study of the DRP-4DVar approach with the Lorenz-96 model – Liu et al. (Tellus A)
I freely admit that I have no good idea what this is about (just read the abstract yourself), but apparently the DRP-4DVar works well. Good for it! 🙂

A comparison of nine monthly air-sea flux products – Smith et al. (International Journal of Climatology)
Studies the air-sea heat flux with several different observational techniques. There seems to be similar latent heat flux patterns in in different techniques but also large differences between them in variability and magnitudes. Regional analysis reveals some possible sources for differences. Important conclusion here is: “This analysis provides an example of how the choice of a flux product, and understanding the strengths and weaknesses of that product, can alter research findings.”

Temperature interpolation based on local information: the example of France – Joly et al. (International Journal of Climatology)
Adresses the problems of interpolation in a heterogenous area be developing local interpolation methods. The abstract is quite technical but I’ll just quote a few sentences at the end: “These results are compared with results from three global interpolation methods: (1) regression, (2) ordinary kriging, and (3) regression with kriging of residuals. We then develop the original results from local interpolation such as mapping of the coefficients of determination and of the parameter estimate related to altitude and to distance to the sea. These developments highlight the processes that dictate the spatial variation of climate.”

Attribution of the river flow growth in the Plata Basin – Doyle & Barros (International Journal of Climatology)
The flow in Plata Basin rivers has grown. This study tries to determine why. The flow in the most rivers had grown due to increased precipitation and/or decreased evaporation due to land use (deforestation for example). The more frequent and intense El Niño events were contributing strongly only in the Middle Paraguay Basin through increased precipitation.

Moisture and heat budgets associated with the South American monsoon system and the Atlantic ITCZ – Garcia & Kayano (International Journal of Climatology)
What the title says. “ITCZ” is “inter-tropical convergence zone”. “Analyses are based on the correlation maps between these terms and the expansion coefficient of the SAMS mode, previously identified.” And the result: “The results here provide observational support to the relationship between the SAMS and the Atlantic ITCZ.”

Biogeochemical weathering under ice: Size matters – Wadham et al. (Global Biogeochemical Cycles)
The basal regions of continental ice sheets are studied from biosphere point of view using chemical datasets. “We show that size of the ice mass is a critical control on the balance of chemical weathering processes and that microbial activity is ubiquitous in driving dissolution.” And: “Our model of chemical weathering dynamics provides important information on subglacial biodiversity and global biogeochemical cycles and may be used to design strategies for the first sampling of Antarctic Subglacial Lakes and other sub-ice sheet environments for the next decade.”

Correction to “Spatial distribution of soil organic carbon in northwest Greenland and underestimates of high Arctic carbon stores” – Burnham & Sletten (Global Biogeochemical Cycles)
Sometimes a research article contains a mistake (which can be big or small) and has to be corrected.

Introduction to special section on the Eruption of Soufrière Hills Volcano, Montserrat, the CALIPSO Project, and the SEA-CALIPSO Arc-Crust Imaging Experiment – Voight & Sparks (Geophysical Research Letters)
For this we only have the title.

Ion outflows and artificial ducts in the topside ionosphere at HAARP – Milikh et al. (Geophysical Research Letters)
Not necessarily very much climate related. Short abstract, though, let’s quote it in full: “New results of the DMSP satellite and HAARP digisonde observations during HF heating at the High-Frequency Active Auroral Program (HAARP) facility are described. For the first time, the DMSP satellites detected significant ion outflows associated with 10–30% density enhancements in the topside ionosphere above the heated region near the magnetic zenith. In addition, coincident high-cadence skymaps from the HAARP digisonde reveal field-aligned upward plasma flows inside the F-peak region. The SAMI2 2 model calculations are in fair agreement with the observations.”

Water ice clouds over the Martian tropics during northern summer – Heavens et al. (Geophysical Research Letters)
Other planets have climates too. Lead author has quite suitable name for this study. 🙂 The conclusion could very well be from Earth: “By underestimating the altitude at which water ice clouds form, models also may underestimate the intensity of the meridional circulation at higher altitudes in the tropics during northern summer.”

Simulations of underwater plumes of dissolved oil in the Gulf of Mexico – Adcroft et al. (Geophysical Research Letters)
Studies relating to the Deepwater Horizon start to emerge. “A simple model of the temperature-dependent biological decay of dissolved oil is embedded in an ocean-climate model and used to simulate underwater plumes of dissolved and suspended oil originating from a point source in the northern Gulf of Mexico, with an upper-bound supply rate estimated from the contemporary analysis of the Deepwater Horizon blowout.” One of their results: “For all plume scenarios, toxic levels of dissolved oil remain confined to the northern Gulf of Mexico, and abate within weeks after the spill stops.”

Semidirect radiative forcing of internal mixed black carbon cloud droplet and its regional climatic effect over China – Zhuang et al. (Journal of Geophysical Research)
A local study on Black Carbon cloud droplet radiative forcing. “…cloud droplets with BC can absorb more solar radiation and reduce their single-scattering albedo (SSA), leading to a positive cloud radiative forcing (SSA forcing) at TOA.” Result: “It is obvious that SSA forcing and its climate responses are weaker compared to BC direct, indirect, and semidirect effects. However, it does have nonnegligible influence on regional climate changes over China.”

Explicit validation of a surface shortwave radiation balance model over snow-covered complex terrain – Helbig et al. (Journal of Geophysical Research)
“A model that computes the surface radiation balance for all sky conditions in complex terrain is presented.” This results in a good agreement with measurements and models.

Regional downscaling for stable water isotopes: A case study of an atmospheric river event – Yoshimura et al. (Journal of Geophysical Research)
Abstract says it best: “In this paper an isotope-incorporated regional model is developed and utilized for simulations of an atmospheric river event that occurred in March 2005. A set of sensitivity experiments and comparisons with observations confirm that the kinetic isotopic exchange between falling droplets and ambient water vapor below the cloud base was mostly responsible for the initial enrichment and subsequent rapid drop of the deuterium abundance in precipitation observed during the event even under humid conditions. According to the budget analysis the increase in isotopic composition during the latter half of the event was primarily due to horizontal advection. The contribution of condensation from different atmospheric heights to the ground precipitation was not reflected in the precipitation isotopes.”

EGATEC: A new high-resolution engineering model of the global atmospheric electric circuit—Currents in the lower atmosphere – Odzimek et al. (Journal of Geophysical Research)
Global atmospheric electric conditions are studied by a model. “The model confirms that the global atmospheric electric activity peaks daily at ∼21 UT. The diurnal variation of the ionospheric potential and the global current have a maximum at 12 and 21–24 UT in July and at 9 and 21 UT in December, and a global minimum at 3–6 UT independent of season. About 80% of the current is generated by thunderstorm convective clouds and 20% by mid-level rain clouds.”

Insights into an Asian dust event sweeping Beijing during April 2006: Particle chemical composition, boundary layer structure, and radiative forcing – Wang et al. (Journal of Geophysical Research)
Dust effect to local climate is studied. ” The enhancement of dust loadings in the atmosphere of Beijing during the dust event resulted in a cooling effect by –62.0 W m−2 radiative forcing at the top of atmosphere.”

Temporal variations of atomic oxygen in the upper mesosphere from SABER – Smith et al. (Journal of Geophysical Research)
Measurements of oxygen in the high atmosphere. It varies a lot during the day and there’s also a seasonal variation.

Correction to “An aircraft-based upper troposphere lower stratosphere O3, CO, and H2O climatology for the Northern Hemisphere” – Tilmes et al. (Journal of Geophysical Research)
Another correction? Well, it really is not that rare to find some mistakes in published research articles. Researchers are human and these things happen.

A comparison of early Paleogene export productivity and organic carbon burial flux for Maud Rise, Weddell Sea, and Kerguelen Plateau, south Indian Ocean – Faul & Delaney (Paleoceanography)
Biological productivity in oceans in the past is being studied here. “In both regions, export productivity, organic C burial flux, and the fraction of organic C buried relative to export productivity decreased from the Paleocene/early Eocene to the middle Eocene. A shift is indicated from an early Paleogene two-gyre circulation in which nutrients were not efficiently recycled to the surface via upwelling in these regions, to a circulation more like the present day with efficient recycling of nutrients to the surface ocean. Export productivity was enhanced for Kerguelen Plateau relative to Maud Rise throughout the early Paleogene, possibly due to internal waves generated by the plateau regardless of gyre circulation.”

Short term variations of tracer transit speed on alpine glaciers – Werder et al. (The cryosphere)
The daily dynamics of a glacier in Schwitzerland is being measured and modelled.

Observations and modelling of the wave mode evolution of an impulse-driven 3 mHz ULF wave – Borderick et al. (Annales Geophysicae)
Ultra Low Frequency wave event is being studied. If I interpret correctly, the wave started from solar wind changes and then advanced in our atmosphere in 1998.

Empirically modelled Pc3 activity based on solar wind parameters – Heilig et al. (Annales Geophysicae)
This study is also about solar wind and some pulsations it causes.

Neogene stratigraphy of Taylor Valley, Transantarctic Mountains, Antarctica: Evidence for climate dynamism and a vegetated Early Pliocene coastline of McMurdo Sound – Fielding et al. (Global and Planetary Change)
A valley floor in Antarctica is being studied for finding resolution to some past climate problems. Studied time period reaches millions of years into the past.

3-D Reconstruction of Active Regions with STEREO – Aschwanden & Wülser (Journal of Atmospheric and Solar-Terrestrial Physics)
A study of active regions in solar corona.

(As I’m writing this, another 18 papers popped up from AMS. I’m not going through them here…)

The brazilian decimetric array and space weather – Sawant et al. (Journal of Atmospheric and Solar-Terrestrial Physics)
Another Sun related study.

Review and revision of Cenozoic tropical planktonic foraminiferal biostratigraphy and calibration to the Geomagnetic Polarity and Astronomical Time Scale – Wade et al. (Earth-Science Reviews)
Review articles are always interesting, if one manages to find their full text. This one has rather well-constrained subject area, as you can see from the title.

The carbon balance of tropical forest regions, 1990–2005 – Malhi (Current Opinion in Environmental Sustainability)
The carbon sink/source situations of different forest regions is being estimated here. (By the way, I find the title of the journal rather poor for a scientific journal.)

The potential of New Zealand kauri (Agathis australis) for testing the synchronicity of abrupt climate change during the Last Glacial Interval (60,000–11,700 years ago) – Turney et al. (Quaternary Science Reviews)
Timings of past climate changes determined from radiocarbon dated fossil evidence.

Paleoceanographic Changes on the Farallon Escarpment Off Central California During the Last 16,000 Years – McGann (Quaternary International)
Past climate information is being extracted from marine proxies.

Inferring Precipitation-Anomaly Gradients from Tree Rings – Meko et al. (Quaternary International)
Precipitation is one thing tree rings can indicate – precipitation during recent centuries is being studied here.

Physico-chemical characterization and cytotoxicity of ambient coarse, fine, and ultrafine particulate matters in Shanghai atmosphere – Lu et al. (Atmospheric Environment)
Measurements of air pollution in Sanghai atmosphere.

Impact of emission control strategy on NO2 in urban areas of Korea – Shon & Kim (Atmospheric Environment)
Measurements of nitrogen dioxide in Korea atmosphere.

Elemental mercury in coastal seawater of Yellow Sea, China: Temporal variation and air-sea exchange – Ci et al. (Atmospheric Environment)
Measurements of mercury in Yellow Sea.

Effect of urbanization on lightning over four metropolitan cities of India – Lal & Pawar (Atmospheric Environment)
Urbanization might affect the convection and lightning. “Our analysis shows that both the inland cities show considerable enhancement, where as both the coastal cities do not show enhancement in lightning, in the last 8 years.”

Ichnostratigraphy of middle Cenozoic Coprinisphaera from central Patagonia: Insights into the evolution of dung beetles, herbivores and grass-dominated habitats – Sanchez et al. (Palaeogeography, Palaeoclimatology, Palaeoecology)
The evolution of dung beetles.

Attributes of the wood-boring trace fossil Asthenopodichnium in the Late Cretaceous Wahweap Formation, Utah, USA – Moran et al. (Palaeogeography, Palaeoclimatology, Palaeoecology)
Another biological paper.

Doppler radar observations of mesovortices within a cool-season tornadic squall line over the UK – Clark et al. (Atmospheric Research)
Measurements of a tornado.

As you can see, my comments got shorter towards the end. The sheer volume of scientific research just outweighted me. Not all the papers were about climate due to some journals having rather broad subject areas. At any case, lot of scientific research is being done in climate related fields every day. 29 new papers appeared to my reader while I was writing this. Perhaps a small break before digging into them…


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