Observational Estimates (observational + estimate)

Distribution by Scientific Domains

Selected Abstracts

Consistency of modelled and observed temperature trends in the tropical troposphere

B. D. Santer
Abstract A recent report of the U.S. Climate Change Science Program (CCSP) identified a ,potentially serious inconsistency' between modelled and observed trends in tropical lapse rates (Karl et al., 2006). Early versions of satellite and radiosonde datasets suggested that the tropical surface had warmed more than the troposphere, while climate models consistently showed tropospheric amplification of surface warming in response to human-caused increases in well-mixed greenhouse gases (GHGs). We revisit such comparisons here using new observational estimates of surface and tropospheric temperature changes. We find that there is no longer a serious discrepancy between modelled and observed trends in tropical lapse rates. This emerging reconciliation of models and observations has two primary explanations. First, because of changes in the treatment of buoy and satellite information, new surface temperature datasets yield slightly reduced tropical warming relative to earlier versions. Second, recently developed satellite and radiosonde datasets show larger warming of the tropical lower troposphere. In the case of a new satellite dataset from Remote Sensing Systems (RSS), enhanced warming is due to an improved procedure of adjusting for inter-satellite biases. When the RSS-derived tropospheric temperature trend is compared with four different observed estimates of surface temperature change, the surface warming is invariably amplified in the tropical troposphere, consistent with model results. Even if we use data from a second satellite dataset with smaller tropospheric warming than in RSS, observed tropical lapse rate trends are not significantly different from those in all other model simulations. Our results contradict a recent claim that all simulated temperature trends in the tropical troposphere and in tropical lapse rates are inconsistent with observations. This claim was based on use of older radiosonde and satellite datasets, and on two methodological errors: the neglect of observational trend uncertainties introduced by interannual climate variability, and application of an inappropriate statistical ,consistency test'. Copyright © 2008 Royal Meteorological Society [source]

The properties of Ly, emitting galaxies in hierarchical galaxy formation models

M. Le Delliou
ABSTRACT We present detailed predictions for the properties of Ly,-emitting galaxies in the framework of the , cold dark matter cosmology, calculated using the semi-analytical galaxy formation model galform. We explore a model that assumes a top-heavy initial mass function in starbursts and that has previously been shown to explain the sub-millimetre number counts and the luminosity function of Lyman-break galaxies at high redshift. We show that this model, with the simple assumption that a fixed fraction of Ly, photons escape from each galaxy, is remarkably successful at explaining the observed luminosity function of Ly, emitters (LAEs) over the redshift range 3 < z < 6.6. We also examine the distribution of Ly, equivalent widths and the broad-band continuum magnitudes of emitters, which are in good agreement with the available observations. We look more deeply into the nature of LAEs, presenting predictions for fundamental properties such as the stellar mass and radius of the emitting galaxy and the mass of the host dark matter halo. The model predicts that the clustering of LAEs at high redshifts should be strongly biased relative to the dark matter, in agreement with observational estimates. We also present predictions for the luminosity function of LAEs at z > 7, a redshift range that is starting to be be probed by near-infrared surveys and using new instruments such as the Dark Ages Z Lyman Explorer (DAzLE). [source]

North Atlantic forcing of climate and its uncertainty from a multi-model experiment

M. J. Rodwell
Abstract To understand recent climate change in the North Atlantic region and to produce better climate forecasts with uncertainty estimates it is important to determine the atmospheric ,response' to Atlantic sea-surface temperature (SST) forcing. There have been conflicting results regarding the strength, character and tropical-versus-extratropical origin of this response. For model-based studies, this may indicate differing sensitivities to Atlantic SST, but the comparison is complicated by changes in experimental design. Here, a highly controlled experiment with five atmospheric models is undertaken. The influence of realistic (if reasonably strong) and optimally chosen North Atlantic (equator to 70°N) SST anomalies is isolated. Unexpected global agreement between the models is found (e.g. the North Atlantic Oscillation (NAO), Eurasian temperatures, rainfall over the Americas and Africa, and the Asian monsoon). The extratropical North Atlantic region response appears to be associated with remote Caribbean and tropical Atlantic SST anomalies, and with local forcing. Some features such as the European winter-temperature response would be stronger than atmospheric ,noise' if the prescribed SST anomalies persisted for just two years. More generally, Atlantic air,sea interaction appears to be important for climate variability on the 30-year timescale and, thus, to be important in the climate-change context. The multi-model mean response patterns are in reasonable agreement with observational estimates, although the model response magnitudes may be too weak. The similarity between their responses helps to reconcile models. Inter-model differences do still exist and these are discussed and quantified. © Crown copyright, 2004. [source]

Local group dwarf galaxies in the ,CDM paradigm

J. Peñarrubia
Abstract We report the results of two theoretical studies that examine the dynamics of stellar systems embedded within cold dark matter (CDM) halos in order to assess observational constraints on the dark matter content of Local Group dwarf spheroidals (dSphs). (i) Firstly, approximating the stellar and dark components by King and NFW models, respectively, we calculate the parameters of dark halos consistent with the kinematics and spatial distribution of stars in dSphs as well as with cosmological N-body simulations. (ii) Subsequently, N-body realization of these models are constructed to study the evolution of dwarf spheroidal galaxies (dSphs) driven by galactic tides. The analytical estimates highlight the poor correspondence between luminosity and halo mass. In systems where data exist, the stellar velocity dispersion profiles remains flat almost to the nominal "tidal" radius, implying that stars are deeply embedded within the dwarf halos and are therefore quite resilient to tidal disruption. This is confirmed by our N-body experiments: halos need to lose more than 90% of their original mass before stars can be stripped. As tidal mass loss proceeds, the stellar luminosity, L, velocity dispersion, ,0, central surface brightness, ,0, and core radius, Rc, decrease monotonically. Remarkably, the evolution of these parameters is solely controlled by the total amount of mass lost from within the luminous radius, which permit us to derive a tidal evolutionary track for each of them. This information is used to examine whether the newly-discovered ultra-faintMilkyWay dwarfs are tidally-stripped versions of the "classical", bright dwarfs. Although dSph tidal evolutionary tracks parallel the observed scaling relations in the luminosity-radius plane, they predict too steep a change in velocity dispersion compared with the observational estimates. The ultra-faint dwarfs are thus unlikely to be the tidal remnants of systems like Fornax, Draco, or Sagittarius. Despite spanning four decades in luminosity, dSphs appear to inhabit halos of comparable peak circular velocity, lending support to scenarios that envision dwarf spheroidals as able to form only in halos above a certain mass threshold. (© 2008 WILEY-VCH Verlag GmbH & Co. KGaA, Weinheim) [source]

Assessment of the severe weather environment in North America simulated by a global climate model

Patrick T. Marsh
Abstract Annual and seasonal cycles of convectively important atmospheric parameters for North America have been computed using the Community Climate System Model version 3 (CCSM3) Global Climate Model using a decade of CCSM3 data. Results for the spatial and temporal distributions of environments conducive to severe convective weather qualitatively agree with observational estimates from NCAR/NCEP global reanalyses, although the model underestimates the frequency of occurrence of severe weather environments. This result demonstrates the possibility for future studies aimed at determining possible changes in the distribution of severe weather environments associated with global climate change. Copyright © 2007 Royal Meteorological Society [source]