78 results found
Mackie A, Brindley HE, Palmer PI, 2021, Contrasting observed atmospheric responses to tropical SST warming patterns, Journal of Geophysical Research: Atmospheres, Vol: 126, Pages: 1-12, ISSN: 2169-897X
Equilibrium climate sensitivity (ECS) is a theoretical concept which describes the change in global mean surface temperature that results from a sustained doubling of atmospheric CO2. Current ECS estimates range from ∼1.8 to 5.6 K, reflecting uncertainties in climate feedbacks. The sensitivity of the lower (1,000–700 hPa) and upper (500–200 hPa) troposphere to changes in spatial patterns of tropical sea surface temperature (SST) have been proposed by recent model studies as key feedbacks controlling climate sensitivity. We examine empirical evidence for these proposed mechanisms using 14 years of satellite data. We examine the response of temperature and humidity profiles, clouds, and top‐of‐the‐atmosphere radiation to relative warming in tropical ocean regions when there is either strong convection or subsidence. We find warmer SSTs in regions of strong subsidence are coincident with a decrease in lower tropospheric stability (−0.9 ± 0.4 KK−1) and low cloud cover (∼−6% K−1). This leads to a warming associated with the weakening in the shortwave cooling effect of clouds (4.2 ± 1.9 Wm−2K−1), broadly consistent with model calculations. In contrast, warmer SSTs in regions of strong convection are coincident with an increase in upper tropospheric humidity (3.2 ± 1.5% K−1). In this scenario, the dominant effect is the enhancement of the warming longwave cloud radiative effect (3.8 ± 3.0 Wm−2K−1) from an increase in high cloud cover (∼7% K−1), though changes in the net (longwave and shortwave) effect are not statistically significant (p < 0.003). Our observational evidence supports the existence of mechanisms linking contrasting atmospheric responses to patterns in SST, mechanisms which have been linked to climate sensitivity.
Choi TH, Brindley H, Ekins-Daukes N, et al., 2021, Developing automated methods to estimate spectrally resolved direct normal irradiance for solar energy applications, Renewable Energy, ISSN: 0960-1481
Choi KTH, Brindley H, 2021, COVID-19 lockdown air quality change implications for solar energy generation over China, Environmental Research Letters, Vol: 16, Pages: 1-10, ISSN: 1748-9326
We exploit changes in air quality seen during the COVID-19 lockdown over China to show how a cleaner atmosphere has notable co-benefits for solar concentrator photovoltaic energy generation. We use satellite observations and analyses of the atmospheric state to simulate surface broadband and spectrally resolved direct normal irradiance (DNI). Over Wuhan, the first city placed under lockdown, we show how the atmospheric changes not only lead to a 19.8% increase in broadband DNI but also induce a significant blue-shift in the DNI spectrum. Feeding these changes into a solar cell simulator results in a 29.7% increase in the power output for a typical triple-junction photovoltaic cell, with around one-third of the increase arising from enhanced cell efficiency due to improved spectral matching. Our estimates imply that these increases in power and cell efficiency would have been realised over many parts of China during the lockdown period. This study thus demonstrates how a cleaner atmosphere may enable more efficient large scale solar energy generation. We conclude by setting our results in the context of future climate change mitigation and air pollution policies.
Palchetti L, Brindley H, Bantges R, et al., 2020, FORUM: unique far-infrared satellite observations to better understand how Earth radiates energy to space, Bulletin of the American Meteorological Society, Vol: 101, Pages: E2030-E2046, ISSN: 0003-0007
The Outgoing Longwave Radiation (OLR) emitted to space is a fundamental component of the Earth’s energy budget. There are numerous, entangled physical processes that contribute to OLR and that are responsible for driving, and responding to, climate change. Spectrally-resolved observations can disentangle these processes, but technical limitations have precluded accurate space-based spectral measurements covering the far-infrared (FIR) from 100 to 667 cm−1 (wavelengths between 15 and 100 μm). The Earth’s FIR spectrum is thus essentially unmeasured even though at least half of the OLR arises from this spectral range. The region is strongly influenced by upper tropospheric/lower stratospheric water vapor, temperature lapse rate, ice cloud distribution and microphysics, all critical parameters in the climate system that are highly variable and still poorly observed and understood. To cover this uncharted territory in Earth observations, the Far-infrared Outgoing RadiationUnderstanding and Monitoring (FORUM) mission has recently been selected as ESA’s 9th Earth Explorer mission for launch in 2026. The primary goal of FORUM is to measure, with high absolute accuracy, the FIR component of the spectrally-resolved OLR for the first time with high spectral resolution and radiometric accuracy. The mission will provide a benchmark dataset of global observations which will significantly enhance our understanding of key forcing and feedback processes of the Earth’s atmosphere to enable more stringent evaluation of climate models. This paper describes the motivation for the mission, highlighting the scientific advances that are expected from the new measurements.
Murray JE, Brindley HE, Fox S, et al., 2020, Retrievals of high latitude surface emissivity across the infrared from high altitude aircraft flights, Journal of Geophysical Research: Atmospheres, Vol: 125, Pages: 1-16, ISSN: 2169-897X
We present retrievals of infrared spectral surface emissivities spanning the far and mid infrared from aircraft observations over Greenland, taken at an altitude of 9.2 km above sea level. We describe the flight campaign, available measurements and the retrieval method. The principal barriers to reducing uncertainty in the emissivity retrievals are found to be instrumental noise and our ability to simultaneously retrieve the underlying surface temperature. However, our results indicate that using the instrumentation available to us it is possible to retrieve emissivities from altitude with an uncertainty of ~ 0.02 or better across much of the infrared. They confirm that the far‐infrared emissivity of snow and ice surfaces can depart substantially from unity, reaching values as low as 0.9 between 400‐450 cm‐1. They also show good consistency with retrievals from the same flight made from near‐surface observations giving confidence in the methodology used and the results obtained for this more challenging viewing configuration. To the best of our knowledge, this is the first time that far‐infrared surface emissivity has been retrieved from altitude and demonstrates that the methodology has the potential to be extended to planned satellite far‐infrared missions.
Bantges RJ, Brindley HE, Murray JE, et al., 2020, A test of the ability of current bulk optical models to represent the radiative properties of cirrus cloud across the mid- and far-infrared, Atmospheric Chemistry and Physics, Vol: 20, Pages: 12889-12903, ISSN: 1680-7316
Measurements of mid- to far-infrared nadir radiances obtained from the UK Facility for Airborne Atmospheric Measurements (FAAM) BAe 146 aircraft during the Cirrus Coupled Cloud-Radiation Experiment (CIRCCREX) are used to assess the performance of various ice cloud bulk optical property models. Through use of a minimization approach, we find that the simulations can reproduce the observed spectra in the mid-infrared to within measurement uncertainty, but they are unable to simultaneously match the observations over the far-infrared frequency range. When both mid- and far-infrared observations are used to minimize residuals, first-order estimates of the spectral flux differences between the best-performing simulations and observations indicate a compensation effect between the mid- and far-infrared such that the absolute broadband difference is < 0.7 W m−2. However, simply matching the spectra using the mid-infrared (far-infrared) observations in isolation leads to substantially larger discrepancies, with absolute differences reaching ∼ 1.8 (3.1) W m−2. These results show that simulations using these microphysical models may give a broadly correct integrated longwave radiative impact but that this masks spectral errors, with implicit consequences for the vertical distribution of atmospheric heating. They also imply that retrievals using these models applied to mid-infrared radiances in isolation will select cirrus optical properties that are inconsistent with far-infrared radiances. As such, the results highlight the potential benefit of more extensive far-infrared observations for the assessment and, where necessary, the improvement of current ice bulk optical models.
Saito M, Yang P, Huang X, et al., 2020, Spaceborne mid‐ and far‐infrared observations improving nighttime ice cloud property retrievals, Geophysical Research Letters, Vol: 47, Pages: 1-10, ISSN: 0094-8276
Two upcoming missions are scheduled to provide novel spaceborne observations of upwelling far‐infrared spectra. In this study, the accuracy of ice cloud property retrievals using spaceborne middle‐to‐far‐infrared (MIR‐FIR) measurements is examined toward a better understanding of retrieval biases and uncertainties. Theoretical sensitivity studies demonstrate that the MIR‐FIR spectra are sensitive to ice cloud properties, thereby providing a robust means for retrieving cloud properties under nighttime conditions. However, the temperature dependence of the ice refractive index and relevant ice particle shape models need to be incorporated into the retrieval procedure to avoid systematic biases in inferring cloud optical thickness and effective particle radius. Furthermore, prior information of subpixel cloud fractions is essential to mitigation of substantial systematic retrieval biases due to inconsistent subpixel cloud fractions.
Magurno D, Cossich W, Maestri T, et al., 2020, Cirrus cloud identification from airborne far-infrared and mid-infrared spectra, Remote Sensing, Vol: 12, Pages: 1-19, ISSN: 2072-4292
Airborne interferometric data, obtained from the Cirrus Coupled Cloud-Radiation Experiment (CIRCCREX) and from the PiknMix-F field campaign, are used to test the ability of a machine learning cloud identification and classification algorithm (CIC). Data comprise a set of spectral radiances measured by the Tropospheric Airborne Fourier Transform Spectrometer (TAFTS) and the Airborne Research Interferometer Evaluation System (ARIES). Co-located measurements of the two sensors allow observations of the upwelling radiance for clear and cloudy conditions across the far- and mid-infrared part of the spectrum. Theoretical sensitivity studies show that the performance of the CIC algorithm improves with cloud altitude. These tests also suggest that, for conditions encompassing those sampled by the flight campaigns, the additional information contained within the far-infrared improves the algorithm’s performance compared to using mid-infrared data only. When the CIC is applied to the airborne radiance measurements, the classification performance of the algorithm is very high. However, in this case, the limited temporal and spatial variability in the measured spectra results in a less obvious advantage being apparent when using both mid- and far-infrared radiances compared to using mid-infrared information only. These results suggest that the CIC algorithm will be a useful addition to existing cloud classification tools but that further analyses of nadir radiance observations spanning the infrared and sampling a wider range of atmospheric and cloud conditions are required to fully probe its capabilities. This will be realised with the launch of the Far-infrared Outgoing Radiation Understanding and Monitoring (FORUM) mission, ESA’s 9th Earth Explorer.
Mackie A, Wild M, Brindley H, et al., 2020, Observed and CMIP5-Simulated Radiative Flux Variability Over West Africa, EARTH AND SPACE SCIENCE, Vol: 7
Bellisario C, Brindley HE, Tett SFB, et al., 2019, Can downwelling far-infrared radiances over Antarctica be estimated from mid-infrared information?, Atmospheric Chemistry and Physics, Vol: 19, Pages: 7927-7937, ISSN: 1680-7316
Far-infrared (FIR: 100cm−1<wavenumber, ν<667 cm−1) radiation emitted by the Earth and its atmosphere plays a key role in the Earth's energy budget. However, because of a lack of spectrally resolved measurements, radiation schemes in climate models suffer from a lack of constraint across this spectral range. Exploiting a method developed to estimate upwelling far-infrared radiation from mid-infrared (MIR: 667cm−1<ν<1400 cm−1) observations, we explore the possibility of inferring zenith FIR downwelling radiances in zenith-looking observation geometry, focusing on clear-sky conditions in Antarctica. The methodology selects a MIR predictor wavenumber for each FIR wavenumber based on the maximum correlation seen between the different spectral ranges. Observations from the REFIR-PAD instrument (Radiation Explorer in the Far Infrared – Prototype for Application and Development) and high-resolution radiance simulations generated from co-located radio soundings are used to develop and assess the method. We highlight the impact of noise on the correlation between MIR and FIR radiances by comparing the observational and theoretical cases. Using the observed values in isolation, between 150 and 360 cm−1, differences between the “true” and “extended” radiances are less than 5 %. However, in spectral bands of low signal, between 360 and 667 cm−1, the impact of instrument noise is strong and increases the differences seen. When the extension of the observed spectra is performed using regression coefficients based on noise-free radiative transfer simulations the results show strong biases, exceeding 100 % where the signal is low. These biases are reduced to just a few percent if the noise in the observations is accounted for in the simulation procedure. Our results imply that while it is feasible to use this type of approach to extend mid-infrared spectral m
Banks JR, Huenerbein A, Heinold B, et al., 2019, The sensitivity of the colour of dust in MSG-SEVIRI Desert Dust infrared composite imagery to surface and atmospheric conditions, Atmospheric Chemistry and Physics, Vol: 19, Pages: 6893-6911, ISSN: 1680-7316
Infrared “Desert Dust” composite imagery taken by the Spinning Enhanced Visible and InfraRed Imager (SEVIRI), onboard the Meteosat Second Generation (MSG) series of satellites above the equatorial East Atlantic, has been widely used for more than a decade to identify and track the presence of dust storms from and over the Sahara Desert, the Middle East, and southern Africa. Dust is characterised by distinctive pink colours in the Desert Dust false-colour imagery; however, the precise colour is influenced by numerous environmental properties, such as the surface thermal emissivity and skin temperature, the atmospheric water vapour content, the quantity and height of dust in the atmosphere, and the infrared optical properties of the dust itself. For this paper, simulations of SEVIRI infrared measurements and imagery have been performed using a modelling system, which combines dust concentrations simulated by the aerosol transport model COSMO-MUSCAT (COSMO: COnsortium for Small-scale MOdelling; MUSCAT: MUltiScale Chemistry Aerosol Transport Model) with radiative transfer simulations from the RTTOV (Radiative Transfer for TOVS) model. Investigating the sensitivity of the synthetic infrared imagery to the environmental properties over a 6-month summertime period from 2011 to 2013, it is confirmed that water vapour is a major control on the apparent colour of dust, obscuring its presence when the moisture content is high. Of the three SEVIRI channels used in the imagery (8.7, 10.8, and 12.0 µm), the channel at 10.8 µm has the highest atmospheric transmittance and is therefore the most sensitive to the surface skin temperature. A direct consequence of this sensitivity is that the background desert surface exhibits a strong diurnal cycle in colour, with light blue colours possible during the day and purple hues prevalent at night. In dusty scenes, the clearest pink colours arise from high-altitude dust in dry atmospheres. Elevated dust
Banks JR, Schepanski K, Heinold B, et al., 2018, The influence of dust optical properties on the colour of simulated MSG-SEVIRI Desert Dust infrared imagery, ATMOSPHERIC CHEMISTRY AND PHYSICS, Vol: 18, Pages: 9681-9703, ISSN: 1680-7316
Satellite imagery of atmospheric mineral dust is sensitive to the optical properties of the dust, governed by the mineral refractive indices, particle size, and particle shape. In infrared channels the imagery is also sensitive to the dust layer height and to the surface and atmospheric environment. Simulations of mineral dust in infrared "Desert Dust" imagery from the Spinning Enhanced Visible and InfraRed Imager (SEVIRI) have been performed, using the COSMO-MUSCAT (COSMO: COnsortium for Small-scale MOdelling; MUSCAT: MUltiScale Chemistry Aerosol Transport Model) dust transport model and the Radiative Transfer for TOVS (RTTOV) program, in order to investigate the sensitivity of the imagery to assumed dust properties. This paper introduces the technique and performs initial validation and comparisons with SEVIRI measurements over North Africa for daytime hours during 6 months covering June and July of 2011–2013. Using T-matrix scattering theory and assuming the dust particles to be spherical or spheroidal, wavelength- and size-dependent dust extinction values are calculated for a number of different dust refractive index databases, along with several values of the particle aspect ratio, denoting the particle shape. The consequences for the infrared extinction values of both the particle shape and the particle orientation are explored: this analysis shows that as the particle asphericity increases, the extinctions increase if the particles are aligned horizontally, and decrease if they are aligned vertically. Randomly oriented spheroidal particles have very similar infrared extinction properties as spherical particles, whereas the horizontally and vertically aligned particles can be considered to be the upper and lower bounds on the extinction values. Inputting these values into COSMO-MUSCAT-RTTOV, it is found that spherical particles do not appear to be sufficient to describe fully the resultant colour of the dust in the infrared imagery. Comparisons
Gristey JJ, Chiu JC, Gurney RJ, et al., 2018, Insights into the diurnal cycle of global Earth outgoing radiation using a numerical weather prediction model, ATMOSPHERIC CHEMISTRY AND PHYSICS, Vol: 18, Pages: 5129-5145, ISSN: 1680-7316
A globally complete, high temporal resolution and multiple-variable approach is employed to analyse the diurnal cycle of Earth's outgoing energy flows. This is made possible via the use of Met Office model output for September 2010 that is assessed alongside regional satellite observations throughout. Principal component analysis applied to the long-wave component of modelled outgoing radiation reveals dominant diurnal patterns related to land surface heating and convective cloud development, respectively explaining 68.5 and 16.0 % of the variance at the global scale. The total variance explained by these first two patterns is markedly less than previous regional estimates from observations, and this analysis suggests that around half of the difference relates to the lack of global coverage in the observations. The first pattern is strongly and simultaneously coupled to the land surface temperature diurnal variations. The second pattern is strongly coupled to the cloud water content and height diurnal variations, but lags the cloud variations by several hours. We suggest that the mechanism controlling the delay is a moistening of the upper troposphere due to the evaporation of anvil cloud. The short-wave component of modelled outgoing radiation, analysed in terms of albedo, exhibits a very dominant pattern explaining 88.4 % of the variance that is related to the angle of incoming solar radiation, and a second pattern explaining 6.7 % of the variance that is related to compensating effects from convective cloud development and marine stratocumulus cloud dissipation. Similar patterns are found in regional satellite observations, but with slightly different timings due to known model biases. The first pattern is controlled by changes in surface and cloud albedo, and Rayleigh and aerosol scattering. The second pattern is strongly coupled to the diurnal variations in both cloud water content and height in convective regions but only cloud water content in marine stratocu
Mackie A, Palmer PI, Brindley H, 2017, Characterizing energy budget variability at a Sahelian site: a test of NWP model behaviour, Atmospheric Chemistry and Physics, Vol: 17, Pages: 15095-15119, ISSN: 1680-7316
We use observations of surface and top-of-theatmosphere(TOA) broadband radiation fluxes determinedfrom the Atmospheric Radiation Measurement programmemobile facility, the Geostationary Earth Radiation Budget(GERB) and Spinning Enhanced Visible and Infrared Imager(SEVIRI) instruments and a range of meteorologicalvariables at a site in the Sahel to test the ability of theECMWF Integrated Forecasting System cycle 43r1 to describeenergy budget variability. The model has daily averagebiases of −12 and 18 W m−2for outgoing longwaveand reflected shortwave TOA radiation fluxes, respectively.At the surface, the daily average bias is 12(13) W m−2for the longwave downwelling (upwelling) radiation fluxand −21(−13) W m−2for the shortwave downwelling (upwelling)radiation flux. Using multivariate linear models ofobservation–model differences, we attribute radiation fluxdiscrepancies to physical processes, and link surface andTOA fluxes. We find that model biases in surface radiationfluxes are mainly due to a low bias in ice water path (IWP),poor description of surface albedo and model–observationdifferences in surface temperature. We also attribute observeddiscrepancies in the radiation fluxes, particularly duringthe dry season, to the misrepresentation of aerosol fieldsin the model from use of a climatology instead of a dynamicapproach. At the TOA, the low IWP impacts the amount ofreflected shortwave radiation while biases in outgoing longwaveradiation are additionally coupled to discrepancies inthe surface upwelling longwave flux and atmospheric humidity
Bellisario C, Brindley H, Murray J, et al., 2017, Retrievals of the Far Infrared surface emissivity over the Greenland Plateau using the Tropospheric Airborne Fourier Transform Spectrometer (TAFTS)., Journal of Geophysical Research, Vol: 122, Pages: 12152-12166, ISSN: 0148-0227
The Tropospheric Airborne Fourier Transform Spectrometer (TAFTS) measured near surface upwelling and downwelling radiances within the far infrared (FIR) over Greenland during two flights in March 2015. Here we exploit observations from one of these flights to provide in-situ estimates of FIR surface emissivity, encompassing the range 80-535 cm-1. The flight campaign and instrumental set-up is described as well as the retrieval method, including the quality control performed on the observations. The combination of measurement and atmospheric profile uncertainties means that the retrieved surface emissivity has the smallest estimated error over the range 360-535 cm-1, (18.7-27.8 μm), lying between 0.89 and 1 with an associated error which is of the order ± 0.06. Between 80 and 360 cm-1, the increasing opacity of the atmosphere, coupled with the uncertainty in the atmospheric state, means that the associated errors are larger and the emissivity values cannot be said to be distinct from 1. These FIR surface emissivity values are, to the best of our knowledge, the first ever from aircraft-based measurements. We have compared them to a recently developed theoretical database designed to predict the infrared surface emissivity of frozen surfaces. When considering the FIR alone, we are able to match the retrievals within uncertainties. However, when we include contemporaneous retrievals from the mid infrared (MIR), no single theoretical representation is able to capture the FIR and MIR behaviour simultaneously. Our results point towards the need for model improvement and further testing, ideally including in-situ characterisation of the underlying surface conditions.
Banks J, Brindley HE, Stenchikov G, et al., 2017, Satellite retrievals of dust aerosol over the Red Sea and the Persian Gulf (2005–2015), Atmospheric Chemistry and Physics, Vol: 17, Pages: 3987-4003, ISSN: 1680-7316
The inter-annual variability of the dust aerosol presence over the Red Sea and the Persian Gulf is analysed over the period 2005–2015. Particular attention is paid to the variation in loading across the Red Sea, which has previously been shown to have a strong, seasonally dependent latitudinal gradient. Over the 11 years considered, the July mean 630 nm aerosol optical depth (AOD) derived from the Spinning Enhanced Visible and InfraRed Imager (SEVIRI) varies between 0.48 and 1.45 in the southern half of the Red Sea. In the north, the equivalent variation is between 0.22 and 0.66. The temporal and spatial pattern of variability captured by SEVIRI is also seen in AOD retrievals from the MODerate Imaging Spectroradiometer (MODIS), but there is a systematic offset between the two records. Comparisons of both sets of retrievals with ship- and land-based AERONET measurements show a high degree of correlation with biases of < 0.08. However, these comparisons typically only sample relatively low aerosol loadings. When both records are stratified by AOD retrievals from the Multi-angle Imaging SpectroRadiometer (MISR), opposing behaviour is revealed at high MISR AODs ( > 1), with offsets of +0.19 for MODIS and −0.06 for SEVIRI. Similar behaviour is also seen over the Persian Gulf. Analysis of the scattering angles at which retrievals from the SEVIRI and MODIS measurements are typically performed in these regions suggests that assumptions concerning particle sphericity may be responsible for the differences seen.
Cahill B, Toumi R, Stenchikov G, et al., 2017, Evaluation of thermal and dynamic impacts of summer dust aerosols on the Red Sea, Journal of Geophysical Research: Oceans, Vol: 122, Pages: 1325-1346, ISSN: 2169-9275
The seasonal response of upper ocean processes in the Red Sea to summer-time dust aerosol perturbations is investigated using an uncoupled regional ocean model. We find that the upper limit response is highly sensitive to dust-induced reductions in radiative fluxes. Sea surface cooling of −1°C and −2°C is predicted in the northern and southern regions, respectively. This cooling is associated with a net radiation reduction of −40 W m−2 and −90 W m−2 over the northern and southern regions, respectively. Larger cooling occurs below the mixed layer at 75 m in autumn, −1.2°C (north) and −1.9°C (south). SSTs adjust more rapidly (ca. 30 days) than the subsurface temperatures (seasonal time scales), due to stronger stratification and increased mixed layer stability inhibiting the extent of vertical mixing. The basin average annual heat flux reverses sign and becomes positive, +4.2 W m−2 (as compared to observed estimates −17.3 W m−2) indicating a small gain of heat from the atmosphere. When we consider missing feedbacks from atmospheric processes in our uncoupled experiment, we postulate that the magnitude of cooling and the time scales for adjustment will be much less, and that the annual heat flux will not reverse sign but nevertheless be reduced as a result of dust perturbations. While our study highlights the importance of considering coupled ocean-atmosphere processes on the net surface energy flux in dust perturbation studies, the results of our uncoupled dust experiment still provide an upper limit estimate of the response of the upper ocean to dust-induced radiative forcing perturbations.
Francis DBK, Flamant C, Chaboureau J-P, et al., 2016, Dust emission and transport over Iraq associated with the summer Shamal winds, AEOLIAN RESEARCH, Vol: 24, Pages: 15-31, ISSN: 1875-9637
Parfitt R, Russell JE, Bantges RJ, et al., 2016, A study of the time evolution of GERB shortwave calibration by comparison with CERES Edition-3A data, Remote Sensing of Environment, Vol: 186, Pages: 416-427, ISSN: 0034-4257
This study examines the evolution of the GERB-2 and GERB-1 Edition 1 shortwave radiance calibration between 2004-2007 and 2007-2012 respectively, through comparison with CERES instrument FM1 Edition 3A SSF instantaneous radiances. Two periods when simultaneous observations from both GERB-2 and GERB-1 were available, January 13th to February 11th 2007 and May 1st to May 10th 2007, are also compared. For these two overlap periods respectively, averaged over all CERES ‘unfiltered-to-filtered radiance ratio’ subsets, the GERB-1/CERES unfiltered radiance ratio is on average found to be 1.6% and 1.9% lower than the associated GERB-2/CERES unfiltered radiance ratio. Over the two longer time series the GERB/CERES unfiltered radiance ratio shows a general decrease with time for both GERB-2 and GERB-1. The rate of decrease varies through time but no significant seasonal dependence is seen. Averaged over all subsets the GERB-2/CERES unfiltered radiance ratio showed a decrease of 1.9% between June 2004 and June 2006. Between June 2007 and June 2012, the corresponding decrease in the GERB-1/CERES unfiltered radiance ratio was 6.5%. The evolution of the GERB/CERES unfiltered radiance ratio for both GERB-2 and GERB-1 shows a strong dependence on the CERES unfiltered-to-filtered radiance ratio, indicating that it is spectrally dependent. Further time-series analysis and theoretical work using simulated spectral radiance curves suggests that for GERB-1 the evolution is consistent with a darkening in the GERB shortwave spectral response function which is most pronounced at the shortest wavelengths. For GERB-2, no single spectral cause can be identified, suggesting that the evolution is likely due to a combination of several different effects.
Murray JE, Brindley HE, Bryant RG, et al., 2016, Enhancing weak transient signals in SEVIRI false color imagery: Application to dust source detection in southern Africa, Journal of Geophysical Research: Atmospheres, Vol: 121, Pages: 10199-10219, ISSN: 2169-897X
A method is described to significantly enhance the signature of dust events using observations from the Spinning Enhanced Visible and InfraRed Imager (SEVIRI). The approach involves the derivation of a composite clear-sky signal for selected channels on an individual time-step and pixel basis. These composite signals are subtracted from each observation in the relevant channels to enhance weak transient signals associated with either (a) low levels of dust emission, or (b) dust emissions with high salt or low quartz content. Different channel combinations, of the differenced data from the steps above, are then rendered in false color imagery for the purpose of improved identification of dust source locations and activity. We have applied this clear-sky difference (CSD) algorithm over three [globally significant] source regions in southern Africa: the Makgadikgadi Basin, Etosha Pan, and the Namibian and western South African coast. Case study analyses indicate three notable advantages associated with the CSD approach over established image rendering methods: (i) an improved ability to detect dust plumes, (ii) the observation of source activation earlier in the diurnal cycle, and (iii) an improved ability to resolve and pinpoint dust plume source locations.
Brindley HE, Bantges RJ, 2016, The spectral signature of recent climate change, Current Climate Change Reports, Vol: 2, Pages: 112-126, ISSN: 2198-6061
Spectrally resolved measurements of the Earth’s reflected shortwave (RSW) and outgoing longwave radiation (OLR) at the top of the atmosphere intrinsically contain the imprints of a multitude of climate relevant parameters. Here, we review the progress made in directly using such observations to diagnose and attribute change within the Earth system over the past four decades. We show how changes associated with perturbations such as increasing greenhouse gases are expected to be manifested across the spectrum and illustrate the enhanced discriminatory power that spectral resolution provides over broadband radiation measurements. Advances in formal detection and attribution techniques and in the design of climate model evaluation exercises employing spectrally resolved data are highlighted. We illustrate how spectral observations have been used to provide insight into key climate feedback processes and quantify multi-year variability but also indicate potential barriers to further progress. Suggestions for future research priorities in this area are provided.
Bantges RJ, Brindley HE, Chen XH, et al., 2016, On the detection of robust multi-decadal changes in the Earth’s Outgoing Longwave Radiation spectrum, Journal of Climate, Vol: 29, Pages: 4939-4947, ISSN: 1520-0442
Differences between Earth’s global mean all-sky outgoing longwave radiation spectrum as observed in 1970 [Interferometric Infrared Spectrometer (IRIS)], 1997 [Interferometric Monitor for Greenhouse Gases (IMG)], and 2012 [Infrared Atmospheric Sounding Instrument (IASI)] are presented. These differences are evaluated to determine whether these are robust signals of multidecadal radiative forcing and hence whether there is the potential for evaluating feedback-type responses. IASI–IRIS differences range from +2 K in the atmospheric window (800–1000 cm−1) to −5.5 K in the 1304 cm−1 CH4 band center. Corresponding IASI–IMG differences are much smaller, at 0.2 and −0.8 K, respectively. More noticeably, IASI–IRIS differences show a distinct step change across the 1042 cm−1 O3 band that is not seen in IASI–IMG comparisons. This step change is a consequence of a difference in behavior when moving from colder to warmer scenes in the IRIS data compared to IASI and IMG. Matched simulations for the relevant periods using ERA reanalyses mimic the spectral behavior shown by IASI and IMG rather than by IRIS. These findings suggest that uncertainties in the spectral response of IRIS preclude the use of these data for quantitative assessments of forcing and feedback processes.
Marsham JH, Parker DJ, Todd MC, et al., 2016, The contrasting roles of water and dust in controlling daily variations in radiative heating of the summertime Saharan heat low, Atmospheric Chemistry and Physics, Vol: 16, Pages: 3563-3575, ISSN: 1680-7324
The summertime Sahara heat low (SHL) is a key component of the West African monsoon (WAM) system. Considerable uncertainty remains over the relative roles of water vapour and dust aerosols in controlling the radiation budget over the Sahara and therefore our ability to explain variability and trends in the SHL, and in turn, the WAM. Here, new observations from Fennec supersite-1 in the central Sahara during June 2011 and June 2012, together with satellite retrievals from GERB, are used to quantify how total column water vapour (TCWV) and dust aerosols (from aerosol optical depth, AOD) control day-to-day variations in energy balance in both observations and ECWMF reanalyses (ERA-I). The data show that the earth-atmosphere system is radiatively heated in June 2011 and 2012. Although the empirical analysis of observational data cannot completely disentangle the roles of water vapour, clouds and dust, the analysis demonstrates that TCWV provides a far stronger control on TOA net radiation, and so the net heating of the earth-atmosphere system, than AOD does. In contrast, variations in dust provide a much stronger control on surface heating, but the decreased surface heating associated with dust is largely compensated by increased atmospheric heating, and so dust control on net TOA radiation is weak. Dust and TCWV are both important for direct atmospheric heating. ERA-I, which assimilated radiosondes from the Fennec campaign, captures the control of TOA net flux by TCWV, with a positive correlation (r = 0.6) between observed and modelled TOA net radiation, despite the use of a monthly dust climatology in ERA-I that cannot capture the daily variations in dustiness. Variations in surface net radiation, and so the vertical profile of radiative heating, are not captured in ERA-I, since it does not capture variations in dust. Results show that ventilation of the SHL by cool moist air leads to a radiative warming, stabilising the SHL with respect to such perturbations. It is k
Brindley H, Osipov S, Bantges R, et al., 2015, An assessment of the quality of aerosol retrievals over the Red Sea and evaluation of the climatological cloud-free dust direct radiative effect in the region, Journal of Geophysical Research: Atmospheres, Vol: 120, Pages: 10862-10878, ISSN: 2169-897X
Ground-based and satellite observations are used in conjunction with the Rapid Radiative Transfer Model (RRTM) to assess climatological aerosol loading and the associated cloud-free aerosol direct radiative effect (DRE) over the Red Sea. Aerosol optical depth (AOD) retrievals from the Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer and Spinning Enhanced Visible and InfraRed Imager (SEVIRI) instruments are first evaluated via comparison with ship-based observations. Correlations are typically better than 0.9 with very small root-mean-square and bias differences. Calculations of the DRE along the ship cruises using RRTM also show good agreement with colocated estimates from the Geostationary Earth Radiation Budget instrument if the aerosol asymmetry parameter is adjusted to account for the presence of large particles. A monthly climatology of AOD over the Red Sea is then created from 5 years of SEVIRI retrievals. This shows enhanced aerosol loading and a distinct north to south gradient across the basin in the summer relative to the winter months. The climatology is used with RRTM to estimate the DRE at the top and bottom of the atmosphere and the atmospheric absorption due to dust aerosol. These climatological estimates indicate that although longwave effects can reach tens of W m−2, shortwave cooling typically dominates the net radiative effect over the Sea, being particularly pronounced in the summer, reaching 60 W m−2 at the surface. The spatial gradient in summertime AOD is reflected in the radiative effect at the surface and in associated differential heating by aerosol within the atmosphere above the Sea. This asymmetric effect is expected to exert a significant influence on the regional atmospheric and oceanic circulation.
Brindley H, Osipov S, Bantges R, et al., 2015, An assessment of the quality of aerosol retrievals over the Red Sea and evaluation of the climatological cloud-free dust direct radiative effect in the region, Journal of Geophysical Research: Atmospheres, Vol: 120, ISSN: 2169-897X
Ground-based and satellite observations are used in conjunction with the Rapid RadiativeTransfer Model (RRTM) to assess climatological aerosol loading and the associated cloud-free aerosol directradiative effect (DRE) over the Red Sea. Aerosol optical depth (AOD) retrievals from the Moderate ResolutionImaging Spectroradiometer and Spinning Enhanced Visible and InfraRed Imager (SEVIRI) instruments are firstevaluated via comparison with ship-based observations. Correlations are typically better than 0.9 with verysmall root-mean-square and bias differences. Calculations of the DRE along the ship cruises using RRTM alsoshow good agreement with colocated estimates from the Geostationary Earth Radiation Budget instrumentif the aerosol asymmetry parameter is adjusted to account for the presence of large particles. A monthlyclimatology of AOD over the Red Sea is then created from 5 years of SEVIRI retrievals. This shows enhancedaerosol loading and a distinct north to south gradient across the basin in the summer relative to the wintermonths. The climatology is used with RRTM to estimate the DRE at the top and bottom of the atmosphereand the atmospheric absorption due to dust aerosol. These climatological estimates indicate that althoughlongwave effects can reach tens of W m 2, shortwave cooling typically dominates the net radiativeeffect over the Sea, being particularly pronounced in the summer, reaching 120 W m 2 at the surface.The spatial gradient in summertime AOD is reflected in the radiative effect at the surface and in associateddifferential heating by aerosol within the atmosphere above the Sea. This asymmetric effect is expected toexert a significant influence on the regional atmospheric and oceanic circulation.
Osipov S, Stenchikov G, Brindley H, et al., 2015, Diurnal cycle of the dust instantaneous direct radiative forcing over the Arabian Peninsula, Atmospheric Chemistry and Physics, Vol: 15, Pages: 9537-9553, ISSN: 1680-7324
In this study we attempted to better quantify radiative effects of dust over the Arabian Peninsula and their dependence on input parameters. For this purpose we have developed a stand-alone column radiation transport model coupled with the Mie, T-matrix and geometric optics calculations and driven by reanalysis meteorological fields and atmospheric composition. Numerical experiments were carried out for a wide range of aerosol optical depths, including extreme values developed during the dust storm on 18–20 March 2012. Comprehensive ground-based observations and satellite retrievals were used to estimate aerosol optical properties, validate calculations and carry out radiation closure. The broadband surface albedo, fluxes at the bottom and top of the atmosphere as well as instantaneous dust radiative forcing were estimated both from the model and observations. Diurnal cycle of the shortwave instantaneous dust direct radiative forcing was studied for a range of aerosol and surface characteristics representative of the Arabian Peninsula. Mechanisms and parameters responsible for diurnal variability of the radiative forcing were evaluated. We found that intrinsic variability of the surface albedo and its dependence on atmospheric conditions, along with anisotropic aerosol scattering, are mostly responsible for diurnal effects.
Ryder CL, McQuaid JB, Flamant C, et al., 2015, Advances in understanding mineral dust and boundary layer processes over the Sahara from Fennec aircraft observations, Atmospheric Chemistry and Physics, Vol: 15, Pages: 8479-8520, ISSN: 1680-7324
The Fennec climate programme aims to improve understanding of the Saharan climate system through a synergy of observations and modelling. We present a description of the Fennec airborne observations during 2011 and 2012 over the remote Sahara (Mauritania and Mali) and the advances in the understanding of mineral dust and boundary layer processes they have provided. Aircraft instrumentation aboard the UK FAAM BAe146 and French SAFIRE (Service des Avions Français Instrumentés pour la Recherche en Environnement) Falcon 20 is described, with specific focus on instrumentation specially developed for and relevant to Saharan meteorology and dust. Flight locations, aims and associated meteorology are described. Examples and applications of aircraft measurements from the Fennec flights are presented, highlighting new scientific results delivered using a synergy of different instruments and aircraft. These include (1) the first airborne measurement of dust particles sizes of up to 300 microns and associated dust fluxes in the Saharan atmospheric boundary layer (SABL), (2) dust uplift from the breakdown of the nocturnal low-level jet before becoming visible in SEVIRI (Spinning Enhanced Visible Infra-Red Imager) satellite imagery, (3) vertical profiles of the unique vertical structure of turbulent fluxes in the SABL, (4) in situ observations of processes in SABL clouds showing dust acting as cloud condensation nuclei (CCN) and ice nuclei (IN) at −15 °C, (5) dual-aircraft observations of the SABL dynamics, thermodynamics and composition in the Saharan heat low region (SHL), (6) airborne observations of a dust storm associated with a cold pool (haboob) issued from deep convection over the Atlas Mountains, (7) the first airborne chemical composition measurements of dust in the SHL region with differing composition, sources (determined using Lagrangian backward trajectory calculations) and absorption properties between 2011 and 2012, (8) coincident ozone and
Hu F, Sun J, Brindley HE, et al., 2015, Systems Analysis for Thermal Infrared 'THz Torch' Applications, Journal of Infrared, Millimeter, and Terahertz Waves, Vol: 36, Pages: 474-495, ISSN: 1866-6892
The ‘THz Torch’ concept was recently introduced by the authors for providing secure wireless communications over short distances within the thermal infrared (10-100 THz). Unlike conventional systems, thermal infrared can exploit front-end thermodynamics with engineered blackbody radiation. For the first time, a detailed power link budget analysis is given for this new form of wireless link. The mathematical modeling of a short end-to-end link is provided, which integrates thermodynamics into conventional signal and noise power analysis. As expected from the Friis formula for noise, it is found that the noise contribution from the pyroelectric detector dominates intrinsic noise. From output signal and noise voltage measurements, experimental values for signal-to-noise ratio (SNR) are obtained and compared with calculated predictions. As with conventional communications systems, it is shown for the first time that the measured SNR and measured bit error rate found with this thermodynamics-based system resembles classical empirical models. Our system analysis can serve as an invaluable tool for the development of thermal infrared systems, accurately characterizing each individual channel and, thus, enables the performance of multi-channel ‘THz Torch’ systems to be optimized.
Brindley H, Bantges R, Russell J, et al., 2015, Spectral Signatures of Earth's Climate Variability over 5 Years from IASI, JOURNAL OF CLIMATE, Vol: 28, Pages: 1649-1660, ISSN: 0894-8755
Klueser L, Banks JR, Martynenko D, et al., 2015, Information content of space-borne hyperspectral infrared observations with respect to mineral dust properties, REMOTE SENSING OF ENVIRONMENT, Vol: 156, Pages: 294-309, ISSN: 0034-4257
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