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Improved Simulation of the East Asian Summer Monsoon Rainfall with Satellite-Derived Snow Water Equivalent Data

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  • 1 International Pacific Research Center, School of Ocean and Earth Science and Technology, University of Hawaii at Manoa, Honolulu, Hawaii
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Abstract

The effect of Eurasian spring snow amount on the summer monsoon rainfall over East Asia has been studied both observationally and numerically. The results indicate that the Eurasian spring snow amount could be important for seasonal prediction of East Asian summer monsoon (EASM) rainfall. Therefore, accurately initializing snow could be critical to improving seasonal prediction of EASM rainfall by numerical models. An attempt has been made in this study to initialize snow in a regional climate model using snow water equivalent (SWE) data derived from a microwave imager. Results from an ensemble seasonal prediction experiment for the 2005 EASM show that the satellite-derived SWE data can be effectively used to initialize a dynamical seasonal prediction model, which leads to improved seasonal prediction of EASM rainfall. Possible effects of snow anomalies over the Tibetan Plateau on EASM rainfall were also studied through a comparative ensemble simulation in which snow was initialized by spinning up the same model from the previous winter. It is found that the anomalous snow amount over the Tibetan Plateau could lead to cooling of the surface and lower troposphere not only over the Tibetan Plateau but also in the surrounding areas because of the reduced net surface shortwave radiation associated with the high snow albedo. This would result in positive anomalies in geopotential height and weaken the cyclonic monsoon circulation in the lower troposphere in East Asia, causing a rainfall increase in South China but a reduction in the Yangtze River Valley in early summer (May–June). The difference in rainfall in midsummer (July–August) was not significant when compared with that in early summer. The surface heat budget indicates that the reduced net surface shortwave radiation is largely balanced by the reduced surface sensible heat flux.

Corresponding author address: Dr. Yuqing Wang, IPRC/SOEST, University of Hawaii at Manoa, RM POST 409G, 1680 East-West Road, Honolulu, HI 96822. Email: yuqing@hawaii.edu

Abstract

The effect of Eurasian spring snow amount on the summer monsoon rainfall over East Asia has been studied both observationally and numerically. The results indicate that the Eurasian spring snow amount could be important for seasonal prediction of East Asian summer monsoon (EASM) rainfall. Therefore, accurately initializing snow could be critical to improving seasonal prediction of EASM rainfall by numerical models. An attempt has been made in this study to initialize snow in a regional climate model using snow water equivalent (SWE) data derived from a microwave imager. Results from an ensemble seasonal prediction experiment for the 2005 EASM show that the satellite-derived SWE data can be effectively used to initialize a dynamical seasonal prediction model, which leads to improved seasonal prediction of EASM rainfall. Possible effects of snow anomalies over the Tibetan Plateau on EASM rainfall were also studied through a comparative ensemble simulation in which snow was initialized by spinning up the same model from the previous winter. It is found that the anomalous snow amount over the Tibetan Plateau could lead to cooling of the surface and lower troposphere not only over the Tibetan Plateau but also in the surrounding areas because of the reduced net surface shortwave radiation associated with the high snow albedo. This would result in positive anomalies in geopotential height and weaken the cyclonic monsoon circulation in the lower troposphere in East Asia, causing a rainfall increase in South China but a reduction in the Yangtze River Valley in early summer (May–June). The difference in rainfall in midsummer (July–August) was not significant when compared with that in early summer. The surface heat budget indicates that the reduced net surface shortwave radiation is largely balanced by the reduced surface sensible heat flux.

Corresponding author address: Dr. Yuqing Wang, IPRC/SOEST, University of Hawaii at Manoa, RM POST 409G, 1680 East-West Road, Honolulu, HI 96822. Email: yuqing@hawaii.edu

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