Modeling the Influence of Upstream Land-atmosphere Coupling on the 2017 Persistent Drought over Northeast China

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  • 1 School of Hydrology and Water Resources, Nanjing University of Information Science and Technology, Nanjing 210044, China
  • 2 Key Laboratory of Regional Climate-Environment for Temperate East Asia (RCE-TEA), Institute of Atmospheric Physics, Chinese Academy of Sciences, Beijing 100029, China
  • 3 Key Laboratory of Arid Climatic Change and Reducing Disaster of Gansu Province, and Key Open Laboratory of Arid Climate Change and Disaster Reduction, Institute of Arid Meteorology, China Meteorological Administration, Lanzhou 730020, China
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Abstract

Persistent drought events that cause serious damages to economy and environment are usually intensified by the feedback between land surface and atmosphere. Therefore, reasonably modeling land-atmosphere coupling is critical for skillful prediction of persistent droughts. However, most high-resolution regional climate modeling focused on the amplification effect of land-atmosphere coupling on local anticyclonic circulation anomaly, while less attention was paid to the non-local influence through altering large-scale atmospheric circulation. Here we investigate how the antecedent land-atmosphere coupling over the area south to Lake Baikal (ASLB) influences the drought events occurred over its downstream region (Northeast China; NEC) by using Weather Research and Forecasting (WRF) model and linear baroclinic model (LBM). When the ASLB is artificially forced to be wet in the WRF simulations during March-May, the surface sensible heating is weakened and results in a cooling anomaly in low level atmosphere during May-July. Consequently, the anticyclonic circulation anomalies over ASLB and NEC are weakened, and the severity of NEC drought during May-July cannot be captured due to the upstream wetting in March-May. In the LBM experiments, idealized atmospheric heating anomaly that mimics the diabatic heating associated with surface wetness is imposed over ASLB, and the quasi-steady response pattern of 500-hPa geopotential height to the upstream wetting is highly consistent with that in the WRF simulation. In addition, the lower level heating instead of the upper level cooling makes a major contribution to the high pressure anomaly over NEC. This study implies the critical role of modeling upstream land-atmosphere coupling in capturing downstream persistent droughts.

Corresponding author address: Xing Yuan, School of Hydrology and Water Resources, Nanjing University of Information Science and Technology, Nanjing 210044, Jiangsu, China. E-mail: xyuan@nuist.edu.cn

Abstract

Persistent drought events that cause serious damages to economy and environment are usually intensified by the feedback between land surface and atmosphere. Therefore, reasonably modeling land-atmosphere coupling is critical for skillful prediction of persistent droughts. However, most high-resolution regional climate modeling focused on the amplification effect of land-atmosphere coupling on local anticyclonic circulation anomaly, while less attention was paid to the non-local influence through altering large-scale atmospheric circulation. Here we investigate how the antecedent land-atmosphere coupling over the area south to Lake Baikal (ASLB) influences the drought events occurred over its downstream region (Northeast China; NEC) by using Weather Research and Forecasting (WRF) model and linear baroclinic model (LBM). When the ASLB is artificially forced to be wet in the WRF simulations during March-May, the surface sensible heating is weakened and results in a cooling anomaly in low level atmosphere during May-July. Consequently, the anticyclonic circulation anomalies over ASLB and NEC are weakened, and the severity of NEC drought during May-July cannot be captured due to the upstream wetting in March-May. In the LBM experiments, idealized atmospheric heating anomaly that mimics the diabatic heating associated with surface wetness is imposed over ASLB, and the quasi-steady response pattern of 500-hPa geopotential height to the upstream wetting is highly consistent with that in the WRF simulation. In addition, the lower level heating instead of the upper level cooling makes a major contribution to the high pressure anomaly over NEC. This study implies the critical role of modeling upstream land-atmosphere coupling in capturing downstream persistent droughts.

Corresponding author address: Xing Yuan, School of Hydrology and Water Resources, Nanjing University of Information Science and Technology, Nanjing 210044, Jiangsu, China. E-mail: xyuan@nuist.edu.cn
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