Browse

You are looking at 1 - 10 of 14,510 items for :

  • Journal of the Atmospheric Sciences x
  • Refine by Access: All Content x
Clear All
Victor M. Torres, Chris D. Thorncroft, and Nicholas M. J. Hall

Abstract

This paper explores a new mechanism for in situ genesis of Easterly Waves (EWs) over the tropical Eastern Pacific (EPAC). Using an idealized primitive equation model, it is shown that EWs can be triggered by finite-amplitude transient heating close to the mid-level jet at about 15°N over the EPAC and Intra Americas Seas region. The atmospheric response to heating initiates EWs downstream showing an EW structure within 4 days, with a wavelength and propagation speed of about 2000 km and 4.6 ms- 1, respectively; resembling EWs described in the literature. The most sensitive location for EW initiation from finite amplitude transient heating is located over the northern part of South America and extending to the EPAC. The closer the heating is to the jet, the bigger the response. A stratiform heating profile is the most efficient at triggering EPAC EWs. Comparisons of simulated EWs over the EPAC and West Africa reveal similar structures but with a shorter wavelength and much weaker amplitudes over the EPAC. EPAC EWs are dominated by horizontal tilts against the shear on the equatorial side of the jet consistent with barotropic growth with weaker low-level amplitudes compared to those seen over West Africa. These differences arise due to differences in the mean state EPAC having a shorter and weaker mid-level jet with less baroclinicity.

Restricted access
Lukas Papritz, Franziska Aemisegger, and Heini Wernli

Abstract

Extratropical cyclones are responsible for a large share of precipitation at mid-latitudes and they profoundly impact the characteristics of the water cycle. In this study, we use the ERA5 reanalysis and a cyclone tracking scheme combined with a Lagrangian diagnostic to identify the sources of moisture precipitating close to the center of 676 deep North Atlantic cyclones in winters 1979 to 2018. Moisture uptakes occur pre-dominantly in originally cold and dry air heated over the North Atlantic, in particular, over the warm waters of the Gulf Stream, whereas more remote sources from land or the subtropics are less important. Analysing the dynamical environment of moisture uptakes, we find that moisture precipitating during the cyclone intensification phase originates in the pre-cyclone environment in the cold sectors of preceding cyclones and the cyclone-anticyclone interaction zone. These moisture sources are linked to the cyclone’s ascent regions via the so-called feeder airstream, a north-easterly cyclone-relative flow that arises due to the cyclone propagation exceeding the advection by the low-level background flow. During the decay phase more and more of the moisture originates in the cyclone’s own cold sector. Consequently, the residence time of precipitating waters in cyclones is short (median of ≈ 2 days) and transport distances are typically less than the distance travelled by the cyclone itself. These findings emphasize the importance of pre-conditioning by surface fluxes in the pre-cyclone environment for the formation of precipitation in cyclones, and suggest an important role for the hand-over of moisture from one cyclone to the next within a storm track.

Restricted access
Akash Deshmukh, Vaughan T. J. Phillips, Aaron Bansemer, Sachin Patade, and Deepak Waman

Abstract

Ice fragments are generated by sublimation of ice particles in subsaturated conditions in natural clouds. Conceivably, such sublimational breakup would be expected to cause ice multiplication in natural clouds. Any fragment that survives will grow to become ice precipitation that may sublimate and fragment further.

As a first step towards assessing this overlooked process, a formulation is proposed for the number of ice fragments from sublimation of ice particles for an atmospheric model. This is done by amalgamating laboratory observations from previously published studies. The concept of a ‘sublimated mass activity spectrum’ for the breakup is applied to the dataset. The number of ice fragments is determined by the relative humidity over ice and the initial size of the parent ice particles. The new formulation applies to dendritic crystals and heavily rimed particles only.

Finally, a thought experiment is performed for an idealized scenario of subsaturation with in-cloud descent. Scaling analysis yields an estimate of an ice enhancement ratio of about 5 (50) within a weak deep convective downdraft of about 2 m s-1, for an initial monodisperse population of dendritic snow (graupel) particles of 3 L-1 and 2 mm . During descent, there is a dynamic equilibrium between continual emission of fragments and their depletion by sublimation. A simplified bin microphysics parcel model exhibits this dynamical quasi-equilibrium, consistent with the thought experiment. The fragments have average lifetimes of around 90 and 240 seconds for dendrites and graupel respectively. Sublimational breakup is predicted to cause significant secondary ice production.

Restricted access
Ilai Guendelman, Darryn W. Waugh, and Yohai Kaspi

Abstract

Zonal jets are common in planetary atmospheres. Their character, structure, and seasonal variability depend on the planetary parameters. During solstice on Earth and Mars, there is a strong westerly jet in the winter hemisphere and weak, low-level westerlies in the ascending regions of the Hadley cell in the summer hemisphere. This summer jet has been less explored in a broad planetary context, both due to the dominance of the winter jet and since the balances controlling it are more complex, and understanding them requires exploring a boarder parameter regime. To better understand the jet characteristics on terrestrial planets and the transition between winter- and summer-dominated jet regimes, we explore the jet’s dependence on rotation rate and obliquity. Across a significant portion of the parameter space, the dominant jet is in the winter hemisphere, and the summer jet is weaker and restricted to the boundary layer. However, we show that for slow rotation rates and high obliquities, the strongest jet is in the summer rather than the winter hemisphere. Analysis of the summer jet’s momentum balance reveals that the balance is not simply cyclostrophic and that both boundary layer drag and vertical advection are essential. At high obliquities and slow rotation rates, the cross-equatorial winter cell is wide and strong. The returning poleward flow in the summer hemisphere is balanced by low-level westerlies through an Ekman balance and momentum is advected upwards close to the ascending branch, resulting in a mid-troposphere summer jet.

Restricted access
Min Min, Lu Zhang, Peng Zhang, and Zhigang Yao

Abstract

The plane-parallel atmosphere as an underlying assumption in physics is appropriately used in the rigorous numerical simulation of the atmospheric radiative transfer model (RTM) with incident solar light. The solar irradiance is a constant with the plane-parallel assumption, which is attributed to the small difference in the distance between any point on Earth’s surface to the sun. However, at night, atmospheric RTMs use the moon as a unique incident light source in the sky. The Earth–moon distance is approximately 1/400 of the Earth–sun distance. Thus, the varying Earth–moon distance on Earth’s surface can influence the top of atmosphere (TOA) lunar irradiance for the plane-parallel atmosphere assumption. In this investigation, we observe that the maximum biases in Earth–moon distance and day/night band lunar irradiance at the TOA are ±1.7% and ±3.3%, respectively, with the plane-parallel assumption. According to our calculations, this bias effect on the Earth–moon distance and lunar irradiance shows a noticeable spatiotemporal variation on a global scale that can impact the computational accuracy of an RTM at night. In addition, we also developed a fast and portable correction algorithm for the Earth–moon distance within a maximum bias of 18 km or ±0.05%, because of the relatively low computational efficiency and the large storage space necessary for the standard ephemeris computational software. This novel correction algorithm can be easily used or integrated into the atmospheric RTM at night.

Restricted access
Daniel J. Kirshbaum and Katia Lamer

Abstract

Cumulus entrainment is a complex process that has long challenged conceptual understanding and atmospheric prediction. To investigate this process observationally, two retrievals are used to generate multiyear climatologies of shallow-cumulus bulk entrainment (ϵ) at two Atmospheric Radiation Measurement cloud observatories, one in the U.S. Southern Great Plains (SGP) and the other in the Azores archipelago in the eastern North Atlantic (ENA). The statistical distributions of ϵ thus obtained, as well as certain environmental and cloud-related sensitivities of ϵ, are consistent with previous findings from large-eddy simulations. The retrieved ϵ robustly increases with cloud-layer relative humidity and decreases in wider clouds and cloud ensembles with larger cloud-base mass fluxes. While ϵ also correlates negatively with measures of cloud-layer vigor (e.g., maximum in-cloud vertical velocity and cloud depth), the extent to which these metrics actually regulate ϵ (or vice versa) is unclear. Novel sensitivities of ϵ include a robust decrease of ϵ with increasing subcloud wind speed in oceanic flows, as well as a decrease of ϵ with increasing cloud-base mass flux in individual cumuli. A strong land–ocean contrast in ϵ is also found, with median values of 0.5–0.6 km−1 at the continental SGP site and 1.0–1.1 km−1 at the oceanic ENA site. This trend is associated with drier and deeper cloud layers, along with larger cloud-base mass fluxes, at SGP, all of which favor reduced ϵ. The flow dependence of retrieved ϵ implies that its various sensitivities should be accounted for in cumulus parameterization schemes.

Restricted access
George Duffy, Greg Mcfarquhar, Stephen W. Nesbitt, and Ralf Bennartz

Abstract

The retrieval of the mass-weighted mean diameter (D m) is a fundamental component of spaceborne precipitation retrievals. The Dual-Frequency Precipitation Radar (DPR) on the Global Precipitation Measurement (GPM) satellite is the first satellite to use dual-wavelength ratio measurements—the quotient of radar reflectivity factors (Z) measured at Ku and Ka wavelengths—to retrieve D m. While it is established that DWR, being theoretically insensitive to changes in ice crystal mass and concentration, can provide a superior retrieval of D m compared to Z-based retrievals, the benefits of this retrieval have yet to be directly observed or quantified. In this study, DWR–D m and ZD m relationships are empirically generated from collocated airborne radar and in situ cloud particle probe measurements. Data are collected during nine intensive observation periods (IOPs) from three experiments representing different locations and times of year. Across IOPs with varying ice crystal concentrations, cloud temperatures, and storm types, ZD m relationships vary considerably while the DWR–D m relationship remains consistent. This study confirms that a DWR–D m relationship can provide a more accurate and consistent D m retrieval than a ZD m relationship, quantified by a reduced overall RMSE (0.19 and 0.25 mm, respectively) and a reduced range of biases between experiments (0.11 and 0.32 mm, respectively).

Restricted access
Donglei Shi and Guanghua Chen

Abstract

The rapid intensification (RI) of Supertyphoon Lekima (2019) is investigated from the perspective of balanced potential vorticity (PV) dynamics using a high-resolution numerical simulation. The PV budget shows that the inner-core PV anomalies (PVAs) formed during the RI mainly comprise an eyewall PV tower generated by diabatic heating, a high-PV bridge extending into the eye resulting from the PV mixing, and an upper-tropospheric high-PV core induced by the PV intrusion from stratosphere. The inversion of the total PVA at the end of the RI captures about 90% of changes in pressure and wind fields, indicating that the storm is quasi-balanced. The piecewise PV inversion further demonstrates that the eyewall and mixed PVAs induce the upper-level and midlevel warm cores in the eye region, respectively. The two warm cores cause nearly all the balanced central pressure decrease and thus dominate the RI, with the contribution of the upper warm core being twice that of the midlevel one. In contrast, the upper-tropospheric PV core induces significant warming near the tropopause and deep-layer cooling beneath, reinforcing the upper-level warm core but causing little surface pressure drop. By comparing the diabatic PV generation due to the convective burst (CB) and non-CB precipitation, we found that the non-CB precipitation accounts for a larger portion for the eyewall PVA and thus the associated upper-level warming, distinct from previous studies that primarily attributed the upper-level warm-core formation to the CB. Nevertheless, CBs act to be more efficient PV generators due to their vigorous latent heat release and are thus favorable for RI.

Restricted access
Hung-I Lee and Jonathan L. Mitchell

Abstract

A global Hovmöller diagram of column water vapor (CWV) at 30°N from daily ERA-Interim data shows seasonally migrating North Pacific/Atlantic quasi-stationary atmospheric rivers (QSARs) located in the eastern Pacific/Atlantic in winter and propagate to the western Pacific/Atlantic in summer. Simplified general circulation model (GCM) experiments produce QSAR-like features if the boundary conditions include 1) the sea surface temperature contrast from the tropical warm pool–cold tongue and 2) topographic contrast similar to the Tibetan Plateau. Simulated QSARs form downstream of topographic contrast during winter and coincide with it in summer. Two models of baroclinic instability demonstrate that QSARs coincide with the location where the most unstable mode phase speed equals that of the upper-level zonal winds. A consistent interpretation is that the waves become quasi stationary at this location and break. The location of quasi stationarity migrates from the eastern Pacific/Atlantic in the winter, when upper-level winds are strong and extended over the basin, to the western Pacific/Atlantic when winds are weak and contracted. Low-level wind convergence and moist static energy coincide with QSARs, and since the former two are essential ingredients to monsoon formation, this implies an important role for QSARs in monsoon onset. This connection opens a new window into the dynamics of subtropical monsoon extensions.

Restricted access
Pak Wah Chan, Pedram Hassanzadeh, and Zhiming Kuang

Abstract

The response of midlatitude equilibrated eddy length scale to static stability has long been questioned but not investigated in well-controlled experiments with unchanged mean zonal wind and meridional temperature gradient. With iterative use of the linear response function of an idealized dry atmosphere, we obtain a time-invariant and zonally uniform forcing to decrease the near-surface temperature by over 2 K while keeping the change in zonal wind negligible (within 0.2 m s−1). In such experiments of increased static stability, energy-containing zonal scale decreases by 3%–4%, which matches with Rhines scale decrease near the jet core. Changes in Rossby radius (+2%), maximum baroclinic growth scale (−1%), and Kuo scale (0%) fail to match this change in zonal scale. These findings and well-controlled experiments help with better understanding of eddy–mean flow interactions and hence the midlatitude circulation and its response to climate change.

Restricted access