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Olawale James Ikuyajolu
,
Luke Van Roekel
,
Steven R. Brus
,
Erin E. Thomas
,
Yi Deng
, and
James J. Benedict

Abstract

This study investigates the sensitivity of the Madden–Julian oscillation (MJO) to changes to the bulk flux parameterization and the role of ocean surface waves in air–sea coupling using a fully coupled ocean–atmosphere–wave model. The atmospheric and ocean model components of the Energy Exascale Earth System Model (E3SM) are coupled to a spectral wave model, WAVEWATCH III (WW3). Two experiments with wind speed–dependent bulk algorithms (NCAR and COARE3.0a) and one experiment with wave-state-dependent flux (COR3.0a-WAV) were conducted. We modify COARE3.0a to include surface roughness calculated within WW3 and also account for the buffering effect of waves on the relative difference between air-side and ocean-side momentum flux. Differences in surface fluxes, primarily caused by discrepancies in drag coefficients, result in significant differences in MJO’s properties. While COARE3.0a has better convection–circulation coupling than NCAR, it exhibits anomalous MJO convection east of the date line. The wave-state-dependent flux (COR3.0-WAV) improves the MJO representation over the default COARE3.0 algorithm. Strong easterlies over the Pacific Ocean in COARE3.0a enhance the latent heat flux (LHFLX). This is responsible for the anomalous MJO propagation after the date line. In COR3.0a-WAV, waves reduce the anomalous easterlies, leading to a decrease in LHFLX and MJO dissipation after the date line. These findings highlight the role of surface fluxes in MJO simulation fidelity. Most importantly, we show that the proper treatment of wave-induced effects in bulk flux parameterization improves the simulation of coupled climate variability.

Open access
Kitty Attwood
,
Richard Washington
, and
Callum Munday

Abstract

Heat lows are key features of subtropical climates and monsoon systems. In southern Africa, they are pivotal to understanding divergent climate change projections, in particular the veracity of future rainfall decline. Compared to other heat lows, including in West Africa and Australia, the southern African heat low remains poorly documented. Here, we analyze the diurnal cycle, seasonal variability, and trends of the heat low in reanalysis data. In ERA5, 462 strong heat low days are detected between September and March from 1990 to 2019, equating to 7.3% of days sampled. These events feature ascent (exceeding −0.2 Pa s−1) at low levels (strongest between 800 and 600 hPa) and subsidence aloft, generating low-level cyclonic flow with anticyclonic flow above. This flow exhibits strong diurnal variability, with peak windspeeds between 0600 and 0900 UTC and maximum ascent at ∼2300 UTC. Heat lows form preferentially over Angola in September (∼14°S) and October (15°–20°S), and in Namibia from November to March (∼20°–26°S). Strongest ascent occurs over areas of high elevation. Finally, we show a rapidly increasing frequency of strong heat low days, with a 175% increase between 1960–89 and 1990–2019. The greatest increase (459%) has occurred in the early summer months of September and October, consistent with projections of delayed rainfall onset. Strikingly, more strong heat lows are detected in the most recent 5 years of analysis (2014–19) than in the 30-yr period from 1960 to 1989. These results suggest the heat low is an important feature in determining drying trends over southern Africa and is a vital indicator of climate model accuracy.

Significance Statement

This work documents the heat low that forms in southern Africa in the lowest levels of the atmosphere. The feature is present during austral summer (from September to March) and is associated with below average rainfall across much of the subcontinent. The frequency of strong heat lows has rapidly increased in line with regional amplified warming trends. The heat low is identified as an important control on circulation and precipitation patterns and changes in the frequency or intensity of the feature in the future are likely to influence the strength of declining rainfall trends across southern Africa.

Open access
Isaac Davis
and
Brian Medeiros

Abstract

The Community Earth System Model, version 2 (CESM2), has a very high climate sensitivity driven by strong positive cloud feedbacks. To evaluate the simulated clouds in the present climate and characterize their response with climate warming, a clustering approach is applied to three independent satellite cloud products and a set of coupled climate simulations. Using k-means clustering with a Wasserstein distance cost function, a set of typical cloud configurations is derived for the satellite cloud products. Using satellite simulator output, the model clouds are classified into the observed cloud regimes in both current and future climates. The model qualitatively reproduces the observed cloud configurations in the historical simulation using the same time period as the satellite observations, but it struggles to capture the observed heterogeneity of clouds which leads to an overestimation of the frequency of a few preferred cloud regimes. This problem is especially apparent for boundary layer clouds. Those low-level cloud regimes also account for much of the climate response in the late twenty-first century in four shared socioeconomic pathway simulations. The model reduces the frequency of occurrence of these low-cloud regimes, especially in tropical regions under large-scale subsidence, in favor of regimes that have weaker cloud radiative effects.

Open access
Soumik Ghosh
,
Orli Lachmy
, and
Yohai Kaspi

Abstract

Climate models generally predict a poleward shift of the midlatitude circulation in response to climate change induced by increased greenhouse gas concentration, but the intermodel spread of the eddy-driven jet shift is large and poorly understood. Recent studies point to the significance of midlatitude midtropospheric diabatic heating for the intermodel spread in the jet latitude. To examine the role of diabatic heating in the jet response to climate change, a series of simulations are performed using an idealized aquaplanet model. It is found that both increased CO2 concentration and increased saturation vapor pressure induce a similar warming response, leading to a poleward and upward shift of the midlatitude circulation. An exception to this poleward shift is found for a certain range of temperatures, where the eddy-driven jet shifts equatorward, while the latitude of the eddy heat flux remains essentially unchanged. This equatorward jet shift is explained by the connection between the zonal-mean momentum and heat budgets: increased diabatic heating in the midlatitude midtroposphere balances the cooling by the Ferrel cell ascending branch, enabling an equatorward shift of the Ferrel cell streamfunction and eddy-driven jet, while the latitude of the eddy heat flux remains unchanged. The equatorward jet shift and the strengthening of the midlatitude diabatic heating are found to be sensitive to the model resolution. The implications of these results for a potential reduction in the jet shift uncertainty through the improvement of convective parameterizations are discussed.

Significance Statement

The latitude of the eddy-driven jet displays considerable variation in climate models, and the factors influencing this variability are poorly understood. This work connects the strength of midlatitude diabatic heating to the structure of the midlatitude circulation and the eddy-driven jet latitude. The direction of the eddy-driven jet shift in response to climate change is found to depend on the diabatic heating response, which in turn depends on the parameterized convective heating. These results highlight the role of convective parameterizations in the representation of the midlatitude circulation in climate models. Additionally, the results imply that the eddy-driven jet shift cannot be explained solely based on the storm-track response to climate change, in contrast with previously suggested explanations.

Restricted access
Olivia Gozdz
,
Martha W. Buckley
, and
Timothy DelSole

Abstract

The impact of interactive ocean dynamics on internal variations of Atlantic sea surface temperature (SST) is investigated by comparing preindustrial control simulations of a fully coupled atmosphere–ocean–ice model to the same atmosphere–ice model with the ocean replaced by a motionless slab layer (henceforth slab ocean model). Differences in SST variability between the two models are diagnosed by an optimization technique that finds components whose variance differs as much as possible. This technique reveals that Atlantic SST variability differs significantly between the two models. The two components with the most extreme enhancement of SST variance in the slab ocean model resemble the tripole SST pattern associated with the North Atlantic Oscillation (NAO) and the Atlantic multidecadal variability (AMV) pattern. This result supports previous claims that ocean dynamics are not necessary for the AMV, although ocean dynamics lead to slight increases in the memory of both the AMV and the NAO tripole. The component with the most extreme enhancement of SST variance in the fully coupled model resembles the Atlantic Niño pattern, confirming the ability of our technique to isolate physical modes known to require ocean dynamics. The second component with more variance in the fully coupled model is a mode of subpolar SST variability. Both the reemergence of SST anomalies and changes in ocean heat transport lead to increased SST variance and memory in the subpolar Atlantic. Despite large differences in the mean and variability of SST, atmospheric variability is quite similar between the two models, confirming that most atmospheric variability is generated by internal atmospheric dynamics.

Open access
Clara Orbe
,
David Rind
,
Darryn W. Waugh
,
Jeffrey Jonas
,
Xiyue Zhang
,
Gabriel Chiodo
,
Larissa Nazarenko
, and
Gavin A. Schmidt

Abstract

Stratospheric ozone, and its response to anthropogenic forcings, provides an important pathway for the coupling between atmospheric composition and climate. In addition to stratospheric ozone’s radiative impacts, recent studies have shown that changes in the ozone layer due to 4xCO2 have a considerable impact on the Northern Hemisphere (NH) tropospheric circulation, inducing an equatorward shift of the North Atlantic jet during boreal winter. Using simulations produced with the NASA Goddard Institute for Space Studies (GISS) high-top climate model (E2.2), we show that this equatorward shift of the Atlantic jet can induce a more rapid weakening of the Atlantic meridional overturning circulation (AMOC). The weaker AMOC, in turn, results in an eastward acceleration and poleward shift of the Atlantic and Pacific jets, respectively, on longer time scales. As such, coupled feedbacks from both stratospheric ozone and the AMOC result in a two-time-scale response of the NH midlatitude jet to abrupt 4xCO2 forcing: a “fast” response (5–20 years) during which it shifts equatorward and a “total” response (∼100–150 years) during which the jet accelerates and shifts poleward. The latter is driven by a weakening of the AMOC that develops in response to weaker surface zonal winds that result in reduced heat fluxes out of the subpolar gyre and reduced North Atlantic Deep Water formation. Our results suggest that stratospheric ozone changes in the lower stratosphere can have a surprisingly powerful effect on the AMOC, independent of other aspects of climate change.

Restricted access
Qingzhe Zhu
,
Yuzhi Liu
, and
Na Xiao

Abstract

Dust is the predominant type of aerosol over the Tibetan Plateau (TP) due to the existence of surrounding significant dust sources. However, the contributions of different dust sources to the distribution and variation of dust over the TP and corresponding mechanisms are still being explored. By separating emissions from different dust sources in a numerical model, this study detected that dust originating from East Asia, the Middle East, and North Africa are the main contributors to spring dust over the TP, accounting for 42%–68%, 13%–27%, and 9%–25% of the total dust concentration, respectively. East Asian dust primarily affects the dust over the central and northern parts of the TP, whereas Middle Eastern and North African dust mainly contributes to the dust over the western and southern parts of the TP. Additionally, the variation in dust over the TP is related to East Asian and North African dust, which contribute 58% and 35% of the total variation, respectively. The mechanism underlying this association is attributable to the SST over the northern North Atlantic and updrafts over the northern slope of the TP: the increased SST enhances westerlies from North Africa to East Asia and northwesterly winds over the northern slope of the TP and combines with the stronger westerlies to promote the transport of East Asian and North African dust to the TP. Consequently, it is necessary to focus on the impact of multiple dust sources on the dust over the TP.

Restricted access
Chia-Wei Lan
,
Chao-An Chen
, and
Min-Hui Lo

Abstract

Between 1979 and 2021, global ocean regions experienced a decrease in dry season precipitation, while the trend over land areas varied considerably. Some regions, such as southeastern China, the Maritime Continent, eastern Europe, and eastern North America, showed a slight increasing trend in dry season precipitation. This study analyzes the potential mechanisms behind this trend by using the fifth major global reanalysis produced by ECMWF (ERA5) data. The analysis shows that the weakening of downward atmospheric motions played a critical role in enhancing dry season precipitation over land. An atmospheric moisture budget analysis revealed that larger convergent moisture fluxes lead to an increase in water vapor content below 400 hPa. This, in turn, induced an unstable tendency in the moist static energy profile, leading to a more unstable atmosphere and weakening downward motions, which drove the trend toward increasing dry season precipitation over land. More water vapor in the low troposphere is because of higher moisture convergence and moisture transport from ocean to land regions. In summary, this study demonstrates the intricate elements involved in altering dry season rainfall trends over land, which also emphasizes the importance of comprehending the spatial distribution of the wet-get-wetter and dry-get-drier paradigm.

Significance Statement

This study found that global land precipitation during the dry season slightly increased from 1979 to 2021, while precipitation over oceans declined. Moist static energy analysis showed a trend toward less stability in areas with increased dry season precipitation and the opposite trend in regions with declining precipitation. Water vapor content trends and dynamic components were the primary controlling mechanism for precipitation trends. Furthermore, the hotspots with pronounced increases or decreases in dry season precipitation reflect local circulation changes influenced by anthropogenic or natural factors.

Open access
Beiyao Liu
,
Ying Li
,
Zhehong Wu
, and
Jialu Lin

Abstract

Early summer is a peak time for tropical cyclone (TC) activities over the Bay of Bengal (BoB) and a period of South Asian monsoon onset, and the TCs during this time have a significant impact on the water vapor transport associated with monsoons. This study investigates the anomalous characteristics of the dynamic–thermal atmospheric circulation structure and water vapor budget over the Tibetan Plateau (TP) under the influence of BoB TCs generated in May from 1979 to 2020 with JTWC best track data and ERA5 data. Results reveal that a significant southerly water vapor channel forms from the BoB to the southeastern TP with a water vapor convergence near the Yarlung Zangbo Grand Canyon. A part of the water vapor is transported directly to the TP by deep southerly jet, while the other part is lifted by TCs and then climbs upward to the TP by two uplift processes occurring on the southern slope of the TP and over the TP respectively, which makes the whole troposphere over the southeastern TP warmer and wetter. It is found that anomalous southeasterly airflow in the northeast of TC circulation turns to anomalous southwesterly airflow forming an abnormal anticyclonic circulation over the southern TP in the middle and upper troposphere due to the diabatic heating effect. In this process, the TP acts as an anomalous water vapor sink with remarkable water vapor inflow through its southern boundary, with the main water vapor outflow through the eastern boundary, but a weak easterly water vapor backflow to the eastern TP in the lower troposphere.

Significance Statement

This study attempts to investigate the anomalous features of the water vapor budget over the Tibetan Plateau (TP) under the influence of the Bay of Bengal (BoB) tropical cyclones (TCs) during early summer. Results show that a significant southerly water vapor channel forms from the BoB to the southeastern TP with a water vapor convergence near the Yarlung Zangbo Grand Canyon. The TP acts as an anomalous water vapor sink with more and higher water vapor inflows through the southern boundary of the TP. A positive temperature and humidity anomaly can be found over the southeastern TP extending upward into the middle and upper troposphere. The results are helpful to understand how the BoB TCs affect the weather process over the TP.

Restricted access
William Kamp
,
Weiqing Han
,
Lei Zhang
,
Shoichiro Kido
, and
Julian P. McCreary

Abstract

Coastal flooding induced by sea surface high extreme (HEX) events is an increasing risk to human society and infrastructure as both urban growth in coastal areas and anthropogenic sea level rise continue, especially for island nations like Indonesia. This paper investigates the role of atmospheric intraseasonal oscillations (ISOs), which are dominated by the Madden–Julian oscillation (MJO), in forcing HEXs on the coasts of Indonesia bordering the Indian Ocean. We use satellite altimetry data from 1993 to 2021 and tide gauge observations to detect HEXs, and modeling experiments using both the Regional Ocean Modeling System and a Bayesian dynamic linear model to understand the forcing and processes. We find that HEXs exhibit strong seasonality, with most events occurring during boreal winter (December–February) and spring (March–May) that are dominated by seasonal-to-decadal and intraseasonal variability respectively. In 32% of the 56 HEX events detected, the amplitude of ISO-induced sea level anomalies (SLAs) exceeds that of seasonal-to-decadal SLAs. Surface wind stress associated with atmospheric ISOs is the major forcing for intraseasonal SLAs, and both the remote westerly wind stress from the Indian Ocean equator and northwesterly longshore wind stress at the Indonesian coasts play important roles in driving the HEXs. The MJO is the dominant cause of ISO-dominated HEXs and its impact shows strong seasonal differences. Spring MJOs are associated with stronger convective anomalies over the eastern Indian Ocean equator that drive stronger zonal winds across the equatorial basin that lead to more HEX events compared to winter MJOs when the convection is shifted southward.

Open access