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Han Zhang
,
Xin-Zhong Liang
,
Yongjiu Dai
,
Lianchun Song
,
Qingquan Li
,
Fang Wang
, and
Shulei Zhang

Abstract

This study investigates skill enhancement in operational seasonal forecasts of Beijing Climate Center’s Climate System Model through regional Climate-Weather Research and Forecasting (CWRF) downscaling and improved land initialization in China. The downscaling mitigates regional climate biases, enhancing precipitation pattern correlations by 0.29 in spring and 0.21 in summer. It also strengthens predictive capabilities for interannual anomalies, expanding skillful temperature forecast areas by 6% in spring and 12% in summer. Remarkably, during seven of ten years with relative high predictability, the downscaling increases average seasonal precipitation anomaly correlations by 0.22 and 0.25. Additionally, substitution of initial land conditions via a Common Land Model integration reduces snow cover and cold biases across the Tibetan Plateau and Mongolia-Northeast China, consistently contributing to CWRF’s overall enhanced forecasting capabilities.

Improved downscaling predictive skill is attributed to CWRF’s enhanced physics representation, accurately capturing intricate regional interactions and associated teleconnections across China, especially linked to the Tibetan Plateau’s blocking and thermal effects. In summer, CWRF predicts an intensified South Asian High alongside a strengthened East Asian Jet compared to CSM, amplifying cold air advection and warm moisture transport over central to northeast regions. Consequently, rainfall distributions and interannual anomalies over these areas experience substantial improvements. Similar enhanced circulation processes elucidate skill improvement from land initialization, where accurate specification of initial snow cover and soil temperature within sensitive regions persists in influencing local and remote circulations extending beyond two seasons. Our findings emphasize the potential of improving physics representation and surface initialization to markedly enhance regional climate predictions.

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Suqin Q. Duan
,
Karen A. McKinnon
, and
Isla R. Simpson

Abstract

Climate change projections show amplified warming associated with dry conditions over tropical land. We compare two perspectives explaining this amplified warming: one based on tropical atmospheric dynamics, and the other focusing on soil moisture and surface fluxes. We first compare the full spatiotemporal distribution of changes in key variables in the two perspectives under a quadrupling of CO2 using daily output from the CMIP6 simulations. Both perspectives center around the partitioning of the total energy/energy flux into the temperature and humidity components. We examine the contribution of this temperature/humidity partitioning in the base climate and its change under warming to rising temperatures by deriving a diagnostic linearized perturbation model that relates the magnitude of warming to (1) changes in the total energy/energy flux, (2) the base-climate temperature/humidity partitioning, and (3) changes in the partitioning under warming. We show that the spatiotemporal structure of warming in CMIP6 models is well predicted by the inverse of the base-climate partition factor, which we term the base-climate sensitivity: conditions that are drier in the base climate have a higher base-climate sensitivity and experience more warming. On top of this relationship, changes in the partition factor under intermediate (between wet and dry) surface conditions further enhance or dampen the warming. We discuss the mechanistic link between the two perspectives by illustrating the strong relationships between lower tropospheric temperature lapse rates, a key variable for the atmospheric perspective, and surfaces fluxes, a key component of the land surface perspective.

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Martin Jucker
,
Chris Lucas
, and
Deepashree Dutta

Abstract

The amount of water vapor injected into the stratosphere after the eruption of Hunga Tonga-Hunga Ha’apai (HTHH) was unprecedented, and it is therefore unclear what it might mean for surface climate. We use chemistry climate model simulations to assess the long-term surface impacts of stratospheric water vapor (SWV) anomalies similar to those caused by HTHH, but neglect the relatively minor aerosol loading from the eruption. The simulations show that the SWV anomalies lead to strong and persistent warming of Northern Hemisphere landmasses in boreal winter, and austral winter cooling over Australia, years after eruption, demonstrating that large SWV forcing can have surface impacts on a decadal timescale. We also emphasize that the surface response to SWV anomalies is more complex than simple warming due to greenhouse forcing and is influenced by factors such as regional circulation patterns and cloud feedbacks. Further research is needed to fully understand the multi-year effects of SWV anomalies and their relationship with climate phenomena like El Nino Southern Oscillation.

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Zhen Liu
,
Changlin Chen
,
Guihua Wang
,
Shouwei Li
, and
Shouhua Liu

Abstract

Using a range of Detection and Attribution Model Intercomparison Project (DAMIP) simulations from phase 6 of Coupled Model Intercomparison Project (CMIP6), we study the response of dynamic sea level (DSL) to external anthropogenic climate forcing [greenhouse gases (GHGs), aerosols, and stratospheric ozone] with a focus on the differences over the twentieth and twenty-first century. In the second half of the twentieth century, the DSL nonuniformity in the Northern Hemisphere (NH) was relatively small due to a cancellation between the effects of increasing GHGs and aerosols. In contrast, the DSL signal in the Southern Hemisphere (SH) over this period was large because stratospheric ozone depletion reinforced the effects of increasing GHGs. In the twenty-first century, the DSL response has been intensified in the NH because the warming effects of diminishing aerosols have acted to reinforce the effects of increasing GHGs. Meanwhile, the distribution of SH DSL has also become uneven although stratospheric ozone recovery has partially offset the effects of rising GHGs. Using a global ocean circulation model, we decompose the changes in the twenty-first century DSL into distinct responses to surface forcings including sea surface temperature, salinity, and wind stress. Our results show that the dipole-like pattern of DSL in the North Pacific can be attributed largely to sea surface warming, while the dipole-like pattern in the North Atlantic is attributed to subpolar surface salinity freshening. The belted pattern of DSL changes in the Southern Ocean is induced by both surface warming and intensifying/poleward-shifting westerly winds.

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Yuqiong Zheng
,
Shangfeng Chen
,
Wen Chen
,
Renguang Wu
,
Zhibiao Wang
,
Bin Yu
,
Peng Hu
, and
Jinling Piao

Abstract

The spring Pacific meridional mode (PMM) is an important precursor of El Niño–Southern Oscillation (ENSO). However, recent studies reported that only about half of the spring PMM events were followed by ENSO events. This study examines the role of internal climate variability in modulating the impact of PMM on ENSO using 100-member ensemble simulations of the Max Planck Institute Earth System Model (MPI-ESM). The relationship between spring PMM and following winter ENSO shows a large spread among the 100 members. The variation of spring Aleutian low (AL) intensity is identified to be an important factor modulating the PMM–ENSO relation. The spring AL affects the PMM–ENSO relationship by modifying PMM-generated low-level zonal wind anomalies over the tropical western Pacific. The strengthening of the spring AL is accompanied by westerly wind anomalies over the midlatitude northwestern Pacific, leading to sea surface temperature (SST) cooling there via an enhancement of upward surface heat flux. This results in increased meridional SST gradient and leads to northerly wind anomalies over the subtropical northwestern Pacific, which turn to surface westerly wind anomalies after reaching the equatorial western Pacific due to the conservation of potential vorticity. Thus, the low-level westerly (easterly) wind anomalies over the tropical western Pacific associated with the positive (negative) spring PMM were strengthened (weakened), which further contributes to an enhanced (a weakened) PMM–ENSO relation. The mechanism for the modulation of the AL on the spring PMM–ENSO relationship is verified by a set of AGCM simulations. This study suggests that the condition of the spring AL should be considered when predicting ENSO on the basis of the PMM.

Significance Statement

Spring Pacific meridional mode (PMM) is a predictor of ENSO, but not all spring PMM events are accompanied by the occurrence of ENSO events. This study aims to explore the influence of internal climate variability on the relationship between spring PMM and following ENSO. It is revealed that the Aleutian low exerts a crucial modulation on the spring PMM–ENSO relationship. The underlying physical mechanisms for the impact of the Aleutian low on the relationship between spring PMM and ENSO are further examined. The results of this study have important implications for improving the prediction of ENSO.

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Shihua Liu
,
Sihua Huang
,
Yanke Tan
,
Zhiping Wen
,
Xiaodan Chen
, and
Yuanyuan Guo

Abstract

Previous studies have pointed out that the tropical easterly jet (TEJ) core varies longitudinally or latitudinally. Whether there is a linkage between longitudinal and latitudinal variations of the TEJ core remains unclear. We found that, on the interannual time scale, the northward (southward) movement of the TEJ core is typically accompanied by a westward (eastward) shift, characterized by a noticeable northwest–southeast (NW–SE) displacement. This NW–SE shift is most evident in July. A locational index is defined to capture this shift by the difference of area-averaged 200-hPa zonal winds between the western Arabian Sea (AS) and the southern tip of the Indian Peninsula. Observations and numerical simulations demonstrated that the northwestward-shifted (southeastward-shifted) TEJ core is caused by the joint and individual influences from the enhanced (suppressed) convective activities over the eastern AS and suppressed (enhanced) convective activities over the northern Bay of Bengal–South China Sea (BOB–SCS). Enhanced (suppressed) convective activities over the eastern AS can induce upper-tropospheric divergence (convergence) and anticyclonic (cyclonic) circulations to the northwest of the convection, leading to anomalous easterly (westerly) over the western AS. The suppressed (enhanced) convective activities over the northern BOB–SCS can further facilitate the northwestward (southeastward) shift through inducing anomalous cyclonic (anticyclonic) circulation centering at the BOB and the associated anomalous westerly (easterly) over the southern tip of the Indian Peninsula. The NW–SE shift of the TEJ core may have an implication for the change in the area of the intense rainfall in South Asia.

Significance Statement

The purpose of this study is to explore the linkage between the zonal and meridional variations of the core of the tropical easterly jet (TEJ) and its underlying mechanisms. We found that the TEJ core features a pronounced northwest–southeast shift and this phenomenon only occurs in July. Thus, we defined a locational index to depict this unique characteristic and reveal its relationship with the anomalous convective activities over the eastern Arabian Sea and the northern Bay of Bengal–South China Sea. These results may help improve our understanding of the characteristics and mechanisms of the variations of the TEJ core.

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Alain T. Tamoffo
,
Torsten Weber
,
William Cabos
,
Paul-Arthur Monerie
,
Kerry H. Cook
,
Dmitry V. Sein
,
Alessandro Dosio
,
Nana A. B. Klutse
,
Akintomide A. Akinsanola
, and
Daniela Jacob

Abstract

This study explores the added value (AV) of a regional earth system model (ESM) compared to an atmosphere-only regional climate model (RCM) in simulating West African Monsoon (WAM) rainfall. The primary goals are to foster discussions on the suitability of coupled RCMs for WAM projections and deepen our understanding of ocean-atmosphere coupling’s influence on the WAM system. The study employs results from dynamical downscaling of the ERA-Interim reanalysis and Max Plank Institute ESM (MPI-ESM-LR) by two RCMs, REMO (atmosphere-only) and ROM (REMO coupled with Max Planck Institute Ocean Model; MPIOM), at ∼25-km horizontal resolution. Results show that in regions distant from coupling domain boundaries such as West Africa (WA), constraint conditions from ERA-Interim are more beneficial than coupling effects. REMO, reliant on oceanic sea surface temperatures (SSTs) from observations and influenced by ERA-Interim, is biased under coupling conditions, although coupling offers potential advantages in representing heat and mass fluxes. Contrastingly, as intended, coupling improves SSTs-monsoon fluxes’ relationships under ESM-forced conditions. In this latter case, coupling features a dipole-like spatial structure of AV, improving precipitation over the Guinean coast but degrading precipitation over half of the Sahel. Our extensive examination of physical processes and mechanisms underpinning the WAM system supports the plausibility of AV. Additionally, we found that the monsoonal dynamics over the ocean respond to convective activity, with the Sahara-Sahel surface temperature gradient serving as the maintenance mechanism. While further efforts are needed to enhance the coupled RCM, we advocate for its use in the context of WAM rainfall forecasts and projections.

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Chen Liu
,
Lei Chen
, and
Stefan Liess

Abstract

The features of large-scale atmospheric circulations, storm tracks, and the mean flow-eddy interaction during winter Pacific-North American (PNA) events are investigated using National Centers for Environmental Prediction-National Center for Atmospheric Research (NCEP-NCAR) reanalysis data at subseasonal timescale from 1979 to 2022. The day-to-day variations of storm-track activity and stream function reveal that storm-track activity varies along the evolution of mean flow. To better understand storm track variability with the mean flow-eddy interaction, further exploration is made by analyzing local energy energetics. The changes in horizontal and vertical baroclinic energy conversions from background flow correspond to the storm track anomalies over the North Pacific, indicating that the anomalies in storm tracks are due to the anomalous mean flow associated with PNA patterns impacting energy conversion through mean flow-eddy interaction. Eddy feedback driven by vorticity and heat fluxes is analyzed. This provides a concrete illustration of how eddy feedback serves as a positive factor for the upper-tropospheric circulation anomalies associated with the PNA pattern.

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Suqiong Hu
,
Wenjun Zhang
,
Masahiro Watanabe
,
Feng Jiang
,
Fei-Fei Jin
, and
Han-Ching Chen

Abstract

El Niño–Southern Oscillation (ENSO), the dominant mode of interannual variability in the tropical Pacific, is well known to affect the extratropical climate via atmospheric teleconnections. Extratropical atmospheric variability may in turn influence the occurrence of ENSO events. The winter North Pacific Oscillation (NPO), as the secondary dominant mode of atmospheric variability over the North Pacific, has been recognized as a potential precursor for ENSO development. This study demonstrates that the preexisting winter NPO signal is primarily excited by sea surface temperature (SST) anomalies in the equatorial western–central Pacific. During ENSO years with a preceding winter NPO signal, which accounts for approximately 60% of ENSO events observed in 1979–2021, significant SST anomalies emerge in the equatorial western–central Pacific in the preceding autumn and winter. The concurrent presence of local convection anomalies can act as a catalyst for NPO-like atmospheric circulation anomalies. In contrast, during other ENSO years, significant SST anomalies are not observed in the equatorial western–central Pacific during the preceding winter, and correspondingly, the NPO signal is absent. Ensemble simulations using an atmospheric general circulation model driven by observed SST anomalies in the tropical western–central Pacific can well reproduce the interannual variability of observed NPO. Therefore, an alternative explanation for the observed NPO–ENSO relationship is that the preceding winter NPO is a companion to ENSO development, driven by the precursory SST signal in the equatorial western–central Pacific. Our results suggest that the lagged relationship between ENSO and the NPO involves a tropical–extratropical two-way coupling rather than a purely stochastic forcing of the extratropical atmosphere on ENSO.

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