Related Research Areas
Water & Energy Cycles

This proposal is to (i) evaluate and critique the NASA/Goddard Modern Era Retrospective-analysis for Research and Applications (MERRA) reanalyses and the assimilating model, and exploit the reanalyses to the extent possible to (ii) improve understanding of the mass, energy and water cycles; (iii) improve knowledge of their variability on various time scales; (iv) help evaluate climate models and improve understanding of climate sensitivity in models through application of MERRA products; and (v) provide a commentary on various complementary datasets. The proposal directly addresses NASA Modeling, Analysis and Prediction (MAP) questions. The focus of our previous work has been on mass, energy and water, and their sources and sinks in the climate system using several atmospheric reanalyses, but they revealed a number of shortcomings. The new MERRA reanalysis data will allow for a more comprehensive and reliable assessment of the atmospheric water and energy budgets and their uncertainties. The work will focus on exploiting the new MERRA reanalyses, by computing the vertically-integrated storage, transport and divergence of energy within the atmosphere (sensible heat, potential energy, latent energy, kinetic energy, combined into dry static energy, moist static energy, and total energy) from the reanalyses and the implied diabatic forcings. We further utilize Clouds and the Earth’s Radiant Energy System (CERES) top-of-atmosphere radiation and other fields from NASA satellites, precipitation, various land surface datasets on runoff and river discharge, and multiple ocean datasets, enabling us to close the energy budget and allocate the main sources of uncertainty. This provides the coupled atmosphere-ocean observational constraints for evaluating models and understanding the Earth system. The observational estimates will be compared with MERRA model output as well as coupled climate model output from Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) Fourth Assessment (AR4) models to evaluate them and to provide insights into equilibrium climate sensitivity.

Project PI: Kevin Trenberth/UCAR

CGD-NCAR, P.O. Box 3000, Boulder, CO, 80307-3000





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Started: Aug 10, 2010

Last Activity: Dec 16, 2010


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