A Meteorological Reanalysis for the 1991 Gulf War

Shi, Jainn J.; Chang, Simon W.; Holt, Teddy R.; Hogan, Timothy F.; Westphal, Douglas L.
February 2004
Monthly Weather Review;Feb2004, Vol. 132 Issue 2, p623
Academic Journal
In support of the Department of Defense's Gulf War Illness study, the Naval Research Laboratory (NRL) has performed global and mesoscale meteorological reanalyses to provide a quantitative atmospheric characterization of the Persian Gulf region during the period between 15 January and 15 March 1991. This paper presents a description of the mid- to late-winter synoptic conditions, mean statistical scores, and near-surface mean conditions of the Gulf War theater drawn from the 2-month reanalysis. The reanalysis is conducted with the U.S. Navy's operational global and mesoscale analysis and prediction systems: the Navy Operational Global Atmospheric Prediction System (NOGAPS) and the Coupled Ocean–Atmosphere Mesoscale Prediction System (COAMPS). The synoptic conditions for the 2-month period can be characterized as fairly typical for the northeast monsoon season, with only one significant precipitation event affecting the Persian Gulf region. A comparison of error statistics to those from other mesoscale models with similar resolution covering complex terrains (though in different geographic locations) is performed. Results indicate similar if not smaller error statistics for the current study even though this 2-month reanalysis is conducted in an extremely data-sparse area, lending credence to the reanalysis dataset. The mean near-surface conditions indicate that variability in the wind and temperature fields arises mainly because of the differential diurnal processes in the region characterized by complex surface characteristics and terrain height. The surface wind over lower elevation, interior, land regions is mostly light and variable, especially in the nocturnal surface layer. The strong signature of diurnal variation of sea–land as well as lake–land circulation is apparent, with convergence over the water during the night and divergence during the day. Likewise, the boundary layer is thus strongly modulated by the diurnal cycle near the surface. The low mean PBL height and light mean winds combine to yield very low ventilation efficiency over the Saudi and Iraqi plains.


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