Lower Atmospheric Ducts over the South China Sea Related to the Monsoon, Atmospheric, and Ocean Conditions Based on ECMWF Reanalysis Data

Ning Yang aCollege of School of Electronics and Communication Engineering, Sun Yat-Sen University, Shenzhen, China

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Debin Su bCollege of Electronic Engineering, Chengdu University of Information Technology, Chengdu, China
cKey Laboratory of Atmospheric Sounding, China Meteorological Administration, Chengdu, China

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Luyao Sun aCollege of School of Electronics and Communication Engineering, Sun Yat-Sen University, Shenzhen, China

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Tao Wang aCollege of School of Electronics and Communication Engineering, Sun Yat-Sen University, Shenzhen, China

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Abstract

Atmospheric ducting is a highly refractive propagation condition that frequently occurs at sea and significantly impacts radar and communication equipment. This paper analyzes the spatiotemporal distribution of lower atmospheric ducts (LAD) in the South China Sea (SCS) and the variation of their occurrence rate with the monsoon by using reanalysis data from the ECMWF from 1980 to 2022. Additionally, the study discusses the relationship between ducting occurrences and atmospheric and oceanic conditions. The results indicate that wind dynamics in the SCS significantly impact ducting incidents. During the high-incidence period of LAD, humidity-gradient-constructed ducts are the primary mechanism. Before the onset of the monsoon, the mountains in the western part of Luzon Island obstruct the easterly wind, resulting in high temperatures and strong evaporation along the western coast of the mountains. Meanwhile, low temperatures and humidity prevail in the eastern part of the mountains, and they lead to a stratified atmosphere characterized by dry and cold upper layers and warm and humid lower layers in the western part of Luzon Island, which causes a distinct decrease in humidity with height. After the onset of the monsoon, the air from the Indochina Peninsula to the ocean is dry and cold, but the high-altitude area blocks it. This weakens the horizontal mobility of the low-level humid atmosphere over the sea, resulting in atmospheric stratification in the eastern coastal area of the Indochina Peninsula. This stratification leads to dry and cold upper layers and warm and humid lower layers.

Significance Statement

Atmospheric ducting is a superrefractive propagation condition that frequently occurs at sea and has a significant impact on radar and communication equipment and is related to large-scale or medium- and small-scale atmospheric stratification. The distribution of land and sea around the South China Sea (SCS) and the monsoon are important factors affecting the existence of atmospheric ducts in this region. Many scholars have studied the mechanism of atmospheric ducts in local areas based on observation data (or reanalysis data). The literature on the atmospheric ducts in the SCS mainly focuses on the spatial and temporal statistical distribution of seasons, months, and days, and gives the spatial and temporal distribution characteristics of the region within the statistical time, emphasizing the important influence of the monsoon on the duct, but there is no relevant research on the reasons for the existence of the specific relationship and its temporal and spatial distribution characteristics. The manuscript analyzes the temporal and spatial distribution of lower atmospheric ducts in the SCS and the variation of their occurrence rate with the monsoon, quantifies the contributions of temperature, humidity, and air pressure to the ducting occurrence, meanwhile discussing the ducting occurrence relation with atmospheric and oceanic conditions. In the end, we demonstrate that the development of high-incidence areas for SCS ducts prior to and following the onset of monsoon season is connected to factors such as wind patterns, seawater evaporation, and topography. Furthermore, unstable vertical transport of water vapor in both the atmosphere and oceanic conditions plays a crucial role in facilitating the creation of humidity-type ducts.

© 2024 American Meteorological Society. This published article is licensed under the terms of the default AMS reuse license. For information regarding reuse of this content and general copyright information, consult the AMS Copyright Policy (www.ametsoc.org/PUBSReuseLicenses).

Corresponding author: Tao Wang, wangtao35@mail.sysu.edu.cn

Abstract

Atmospheric ducting is a highly refractive propagation condition that frequently occurs at sea and significantly impacts radar and communication equipment. This paper analyzes the spatiotemporal distribution of lower atmospheric ducts (LAD) in the South China Sea (SCS) and the variation of their occurrence rate with the monsoon by using reanalysis data from the ECMWF from 1980 to 2022. Additionally, the study discusses the relationship between ducting occurrences and atmospheric and oceanic conditions. The results indicate that wind dynamics in the SCS significantly impact ducting incidents. During the high-incidence period of LAD, humidity-gradient-constructed ducts are the primary mechanism. Before the onset of the monsoon, the mountains in the western part of Luzon Island obstruct the easterly wind, resulting in high temperatures and strong evaporation along the western coast of the mountains. Meanwhile, low temperatures and humidity prevail in the eastern part of the mountains, and they lead to a stratified atmosphere characterized by dry and cold upper layers and warm and humid lower layers in the western part of Luzon Island, which causes a distinct decrease in humidity with height. After the onset of the monsoon, the air from the Indochina Peninsula to the ocean is dry and cold, but the high-altitude area blocks it. This weakens the horizontal mobility of the low-level humid atmosphere over the sea, resulting in atmospheric stratification in the eastern coastal area of the Indochina Peninsula. This stratification leads to dry and cold upper layers and warm and humid lower layers.

Significance Statement

Atmospheric ducting is a superrefractive propagation condition that frequently occurs at sea and has a significant impact on radar and communication equipment and is related to large-scale or medium- and small-scale atmospheric stratification. The distribution of land and sea around the South China Sea (SCS) and the monsoon are important factors affecting the existence of atmospheric ducts in this region. Many scholars have studied the mechanism of atmospheric ducts in local areas based on observation data (or reanalysis data). The literature on the atmospheric ducts in the SCS mainly focuses on the spatial and temporal statistical distribution of seasons, months, and days, and gives the spatial and temporal distribution characteristics of the region within the statistical time, emphasizing the important influence of the monsoon on the duct, but there is no relevant research on the reasons for the existence of the specific relationship and its temporal and spatial distribution characteristics. The manuscript analyzes the temporal and spatial distribution of lower atmospheric ducts in the SCS and the variation of their occurrence rate with the monsoon, quantifies the contributions of temperature, humidity, and air pressure to the ducting occurrence, meanwhile discussing the ducting occurrence relation with atmospheric and oceanic conditions. In the end, we demonstrate that the development of high-incidence areas for SCS ducts prior to and following the onset of monsoon season is connected to factors such as wind patterns, seawater evaporation, and topography. Furthermore, unstable vertical transport of water vapor in both the atmosphere and oceanic conditions plays a crucial role in facilitating the creation of humidity-type ducts.

© 2024 American Meteorological Society. This published article is licensed under the terms of the default AMS reuse license. For information regarding reuse of this content and general copyright information, consult the AMS Copyright Policy (www.ametsoc.org/PUBSReuseLicenses).

Corresponding author: Tao Wang, wangtao35@mail.sysu.edu.cn
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