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Xiuzhen Li
,
Donghai Wang
, and
Wen Zhou

Abstract

South China encountered an exceptionally heavy pre-summer rainy season in 2022 with the regional precipitation ranking first in the past 44 years. This study aims to analyze the multiple-time-scale variations of precipitation in this pre-summer rainy season to shed light on the complex dynamics influencing pre-summer precipitation over South China. The findings reveal that the variation of precipitation was dominated by the 10–20-day oscillation during April–May, while interannual variation and trend during May–June. The 10–20-day oscillation of precipitation in pre-summer rainy season in South China demonstrates a strong association with cold-air activity, which can be traced back to the propagation of disturbances along a teleconnection, which represents the dominant mode of intraseasonal atmospheric circulation over Eurasia in high latitudes during April–May. This teleconnection plays a crucial role in facilitating cold-air invasion and triggering precipitation over East China and South China. The interannual component of abnormal precipitation is strong during May–June of 2022. It is primarily attributed to the abnormal highs in the lower troposphere over the subtropical western North Pacific and Japan. These abnormal highs are likely stimulated by the combined influences of Eurasian teleconnection propagation and cooling sea surface temperature anomalies (SSTAs) over the tropical central and eastern Pacific in the third year of a consecutive La Niña event. However, the universality of the impact of Eurasian teleconnection propagation on the abnormal high over Japan on interannual scale necessitates further investigation. Furthermore, there is a significant upward trend in pre-summer rainfall over South China, accounting for 38% of the total anomaly observed in 2022.

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Víctor C. Mayta
and
Ángel F. Adames Corraliza

Abstract

Observations of column water vapor in the tropics show significant variations in space and time, indicating that it is strongly influenced by the passage of weather systems. It is hypothesized that many of the influencing systems are moisture modes, systems whose thermodynamics are governed by moisture. On the basis of four objective criteria, results suggest that all oceanic convectively coupled tropical depression (TD)-like waves and equatorial Rossby waves are moisture modes. These modes occur where the horizontal column moisture gradient is steep and not where the column water vapor content is high. Despite geographical basic-state differences, the moisture modes are driven by the same mechanisms across all basins. The moist static energy (MSE) anomalies propagate westward by horizontal moisture advection by the trade winds. Their growth is determined by the advection of background moisture by the anomalous meridional winds and anomalous radiative heating. Horizontal maps of column moisture and 850-hPa streamfunction show that convection is partially collocated with the low-level circulation in nearly all the waves. Both this structure and the process of growth indicate that the moisture modes grow from moisture–vortex instability. Last, space–time spectral analysis reveals that column moisture and low-level meridional winds are coherent and exhibit a phasing that is consistent with a poleward latent energy transport. Collectively, these results indicate that moisture modes are ubiquitous across the tropics. That they occur in regions of steep horizontal moisture gradients and grow from moisture–vortex instability suggests that these gradients are inherently unstable and are subject to continuous stirring.

Significance Statement

Over the tropics, column water vapor has been found to be highly correlated with precipitation, especially in slowly evolving systems. These observations and theory support the hypothesis that moisture modes exist, a type of precipitating weather system that does not exist in dry theory. In this study, we found that all oceanic tropical depression (TD)-like waves and equatorial Rossby waves are moisture modes. These systems exist in regions where moisture varies greatly in space, and they grow by transporting air from the humid areas of the tropics toward their low pressure center. These results indicate that the climatological-mean distribution of moisture in the tropics is unstable and is subject to stirring by moisture modes.

Open access
Feihong Zhou
,
Daniel Fiifi Tawia Hagan
,
Guojie Wang
,
X. San Liang
,
Shijie Li
,
Yuhao Shao
,
Emmanuel Yeboah
, and
Xikun Wei

Abstract

The land surface and atmosphere interaction forms an integral part of the climate system. However, this intricate relationship involves many complicated interactions and feedback effects between multiple variables. As a result, relying solely on traditional linear regression analysis and correlation analysis to distinguish between multivariate complex “driver–response” relations can be challenging, since they do not have the needed asymmetry to establish causality. The Liang–Kleeman (LK) information flow theory provides a strict nonparametric causality measurement for identifying the causality between any given time series, and its recent extension from bivariate to multivariate form provides a powerful tool for causal inference in complex multivariate systems. However, the multivariate LK information flow also assumes stationarity in time and requires a sufficiently long time series to ensure statistical sufficiency. To remedy this challenge, we rely on the square-root Kalman filter to estimate the time-varying form of the multivariate LK information flow causality. The results from theoretical and real-world applications show that the new algorithm provides a valuable tool for characterizing time-varying causal relationships in land–atmosphere interactions, even when the time series are short and highly correlated.

Significance Statement

Causality in land–atmosphere interactions is generally characterized by seasonal and intraseasonal changes that are usually not captured with commonly used approaches, because most approaches assume the time series are stationary. In this study, we extend the recently proposed multivariate Liang–Kleeman information flow causality (MtvLK) to handle nonstationary systems such as those in land–atmosphere interactions. By considering nonstationarity, we aim to unravel time-varying causal structures that are usually masked out in commonly used methods. Validating the MtvLK with synthetic models showed that the MtvLK is able to obtain the expected causal structures. Furthermore, real-world applications reveal novel findings of the time-varying causal structures between soil moisture, vapor pressure deficit, and the gross primary product.

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Clara Deser
,
Adam S. Phillips
,
Michael. A. Alexander
,
Dillon J. Amaya
,
Antonietta Capotondi
,
Michael G. Jacox
, and
James D. Scott

Abstract

The future evolution of sea surface temperature (SST) extremes is of great concern, not only for the health of marine ecosystems and sustainability of commercial fisheries, but also for precipitation extremes fueled by moisture evaporated from the ocean. This study examines the projected influence of anthropogenic climate change on the intensity and duration of monthly SST extremes, hereafter termed marine heat waves (MHWs) and marine cold waves (MCWs), based on initial-condition large ensembles with seven Earth system models. The large number of simulations (30–100) with each model allows for robust quantification of future changes in both the mean state and variability in each model. In general, models indicate that future changes in variability will cause MHW and MCW events to intensify in the northern extratropics and weaken in the tropics and Southern Ocean, and to shorten in duration in many areas. These changes are generally symmetric between MHWs and MCWs, except for the longitude of duration change in the tropical Pacific and sign of duration change in the Arctic. Projected changes in ENSO account for a large fraction of the variability-induced changes in MHW and MCW characteristics in each model and are responsible for much of the intermodel spread as a result of differences in future ENSO behavior. The variability-related changes in MHW and MCW characteristics noted above are superimposed upon large mean-state changes. Indeed, their contribution to the total change in SST during MHW and MCW events is generally <10% except in polar regions where they contribute upward of 50%.

Open access
Qianru Wang
and
Shuhua Zhang

Abstract

Solar radiation balances significantly affect Earth’s surface energy balance and climate change. Studying top-of-the-atmosphere (TOA) albedo changes is of great significance for understanding Earth’s energy budget and atmospheric circulation. The Loess Plateau (LP), located in the middle reaches of the Yellow River in China, is one of the most severely eroded areas in the world. In this paper, long-term remote sensing data were used to analyze the changes in the TOA albedo in the LP from 1982 to 2016. The results showed that the TOA albedo, its atmospheric contribution (AC), and surface contribution (SC) exhibited decreasing trends: −0.0012, −0.0010, and −0.0003 a−1. The spatial pattern of the TOA albedo was similar to AC, which indicates that AC dominates the change in the TOA albedo. We detected driving factors for AC and SC and found that the cloud fraction (CF) was the main driving factor of the AC, whereas the soil moisture (SM) dominated the SC. The driving factors of two typical regions with a significantly decreasing trend in the TOA albedo were also detected. The Mu Us Desert, where vegetation improved significantly, showed a decreasing trend in the TOA albedo, and we found that NDVI was the main driving factor for the change in the SC of the TOA albedo. However, the Eastern Qilian Mountains, where snow cover decreased in recent years, also showed a significant decreasing trend in the TOA albedo; the SC here was mainly driven by the changes in snow cover days (SCD). These results indicate that changes in the surface environment alter the radiation balance.

Significance Statement

The Loess Plateau in China is one of the most severe cases of soil erosion in the world, and ecological restoration projects have been carried out to recover the fragile ecological environment. Our study was designed to explore changes in the top-of-the-atmosphere (TOA) albedo of the Loess Plateau between 1982 and 2016 using a long time series of multisource satellite products, and driving factors in the atmosphere and at the surface were analyzed. We concluded that the TOA albedo of the Loess Plateau decreased over 35 years, and its atmospheric contribution dominated the change in the TOA albedo. However, the significant ecological improvement in the Loess Plateau, especially in the central vegetation recovery region, such as the Mu Us Desert, was also strongly related to the regional changes in the surface contribution of the TOA albedo. The climate changes had a considerable impact on the eastern branch of the Qilian Mountains in the Qinghai region, where the decline in snow cover days affected the local Alpine meadow ecosystems; therefore, snow cover days also played a decisive role in the local variation of the surface contribution of the TOA albedo.

Restricted access
Weizhen Chen
,
Chang-Hoi Ho
,
Song Yang
,
Zeming Wu
, and
Hongjing Chen

Abstract

The Madden–Julian oscillation (MJO) and the quasi-biweekly oscillation (QBWO) are prominent components of the intraseasonal oscillations over the tropical Indo-Pacific Ocean. This study examines the tropical cyclone (TC) genesis over the Bay of Bengal (BOB) and the South China Sea (SCS) on an intraseasonal scale in May–June during 1979–2021. Results show that the convection associated with the two types of intraseasonal oscillations simultaneously modulates TC genesis in both ocean basins. As the MJO/QBWO convection propagated, TCs form alternately over the two basins, with a significant increase (decrease) in TC genesis frequency in the convective (nonconvective) MJO/QBWO phase. Based on the anomalous genesis potential index associated with the MJO/QBWO, an assessment of the influence of various factors on TC genesis is further assessed. Middle-level relative humidity and lower-level relative vorticity play key roles in the MJO/QBWO modulation on TC genesis. The MJO primarily enhances large-scale cross-equatorial moisture transport, resulting in significant moisture convergence, while the QBWO generally strengthens the monsoon trough and induces the retreat of the western North Pacific subtropical high, increasing the regional lower-level relative vorticity. The potential intensity and vertical wind shear make small or negative contributions. This study provides insights into the neighboring basin TC relationship at intraseasonal scales, which has a potential to improve the short-term prediction of regional TC activity.

Significance Statement

The Madden–Julian oscillation (MJO) and the quasi-biweekly oscillation (QBWO) are two types of intraseasonal tropical atmospheric oscillations. The development of tropical cyclones (TCs) is often accompanied by intraseasonal convection. This study highlights the distinct roles of MJO and QBWO in TC genesis over the South Asian marginal seas (e.g., Bay of Bengal and South China Sea). The QBWO can co-regulate TC genesis along with the background of the MJO, where the large-scale MJO mainly provides moisture, while the small-scale QBWO mainly contributes to vorticity. These findings provide useful information for subseasonal TCs forecasting. There are many developing countries along the South Asian marginal seacoast; therefore, further research on regional TC climate would help effectively reduce casualties and property damage.

Open access
Mingshi Yang
,
Zhuo Wang
,
Robert M. Rauber
, and
John E. Walsh

Abstract

Arctic cyclones (ACs) are an important component of the Arctic climate system. While previous studies focused on case studies or samples of intense ACs, an AC tracking algorithm is applied here to ERA5 to provide more than 9300 tracks. This large sample enables evaluations of seasonality, latitudinal dependence, and the structural evolution of ACs using storm-centered composite analysis and phase space analysis. The structures of ACs of different genesis regions, polar versus midlatitude, are also examined and compared. The results show that ACs typically have an asymmetric horizontal structure with cold air to the west and warm air to the east of the cyclone center. Cyclone asymmetry decreases, and the circulation becomes more barotropic in higher latitudes. ACs of polar origin are more symmetric than ACs of midlatitude origin and dominate the cyclone occurrences over the Arctic Ocean. Regarding seasonality, winter ACs are more intense and have a stronger horizontal asymmetry, and the cyclonic circulation extends higher into the stratosphere than summer ACs. In contrast, summer ACs have stronger warm anomalies in the lower stratosphere associated with subsidence above the cyclone center, and the cyclonic circulation typically does not extend beyond 50 hPa. The latitudinal and seasonal variations of AC structure are consistent with the latitudinal and seasonal differences in environmental baroclinicity. Additionally, our analyses show that the structural evolution of ACs is characterized by reduced vertical tilt and asymmetry, weakened temperature contrast between west and east sectors in troposphere, and reduced updraft strength in the later stage of the AC life cycle.

Significance Statement

Arctic cyclones play a crucial role in climate projections and risk assessments for Arctic infrastructure, transportation, and other human activities. This study aims to enhance our understanding of Arctic cyclone characteristics, including their origin, structure, seasonality, and evolution. We discovered that Arctic cyclones exhibit various structures in different environments. Their degrees of symmetry, vertical tilts, temperature contrasts, and updraft strengths vary with season, latitude, and life cycle stage.

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Chenyang Jin
,
Hailong Liu
,
Pengfei Lin
, and
Yiwen Li

Abstract

Decision-makers need reliable projections of future sea level change for risk assessment. Untangling the sources of uncertainty in sea level projections will help narrow the projection uncertainty. Here, we separate and quantify the contributions of internal variability, intermodel uncertainty, and scenario uncertainty to the ensemble spread of dynamic sea level (DSL) at both the basin and regional scales using Coupled Model Intercomparison Project phase 6 (CMIP6) and FGOALS-g3 large ensemble (LEN) data. For basin-mean DSL projections, intermodel uncertainty is the dominant contributor (>55%) in the near term (2021–40), midterm (2041–60), and long term (2081–2100) relative to the climatology of 1995–2014. Internal variability is of secondary importance in the near- and midterm until scenario uncertainty exceeds it in all basins except the Indian Ocean in the long term. For regional-scale DSL projections, internal variability is the dominant contributor (60%–100%) in the Pacific Ocean, Indian Ocean, and western boundary of the Atlantic Ocean, while intermodel uncertainty is more important in other regions in the near term. The contribution of internal variability (intermodel uncertainty) decreases (increases) in most regions from midterm to long term. Scenario uncertainty becomes important after emerging in the Southern, Pacific, and Atlantic Oceans. The signal-to-noise ratio (S/N) maps for regional DSL projections show that anthropogenic DSL signals can only emerge from a few regions. Assuming that model differences are eliminated, the perfect CMIP6 ensemble can capture more anthropogenic regional DSL signals in advance. These findings will help establish future constraints on DSL projections and further improve the next generation of climate models.

Significance Statement

Clarifying the sources of uncertainty in DSL projections is fundamental for further improving projections. Hence, this study aims to separate and quantify the three uncertainties in both basin and regional scale DSL projections using CMIP6 models and a 110-member large-ensemble experiment: internal variability, intermodel, and scenario uncertainty. We show that intermodel uncertainty is the dominant contributor at both the basin and regional scale, even though internal variability plays an important role in most regions of the Indian Ocean, Pacific Ocean, and Atlantic Ocean. Scenario uncertainty is negligible before it emerges at both the basin and regional scale in the long term. This provides the direction for constraining uncertainty in DSL projections.

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Margo S. Andrews
,
Vittorio A. Gensini
,
Alex M. Haberlie
,
Walker S. Ashley
,
Allison C. Michaelis
, and
Mateusz Taszarek

Abstract

Elevated mixed layers (EMLs) influence the severe convective storm climatology in the contiguous United States (CONUS), playing an important role in the initiation, sustenance, and suppression of storms. This study creates a high-resolution climatology of the EML to analyze variability and potential changes in EML frequency and characteristics for the first time. An objective algorithm is applied to ERA5 to detect EMLs, defined in part as layers of steep lapse rates (≥8.0°C km−1) at least 200 hPa thick, in the CONUS and northern Mexico from 1979 to 2021. EMLs are most frequent over the Great Plains in spring and summer, with a standard deviation of 4–10 EML days per year highlighting sizable interannual variability. Mean convective inhibition associated with the EML’s capping inversion suggests many EMLs prohibit convection, although—like nearly all EML characteristics—there is considerable spread and notable seasonal variability. In the High Plains, statistically significant increases in EML days (4–5 more days per decade) coincide with warmer EML bases and steeper EML lapse rates, driven by warming and drying in the low levels of the western CONUS during the study period. Additionally, increases in EML base temperatures result in significantly more EML-related convective inhibition over the Great Plains, which may continue to have implications for convective storm frequency, intensity, severe perils, and precipitation if this trend persists.

Significance Statement

Elevated mixed layers (EMLs) play a role in the spatiotemporal frequency of severe convective storms and precipitation across the contiguous United States and northern Mexico. This research creates a detailed EML climatology from a modern reanalysis dataset to uncover patterns and potential changes in EML frequency and associated meteorological characteristics. EMLs are most common over the Great Plains in spring and summer, but show significant variability year-to-year. Robust increases in the number of days with EMLs have occurred since 1979 across the High Plains. Lapse rates associated with EMLs have trended steeper, in part due to warmer EML base temperatures. This has resulted in increasing EML convective inhibition, which has important implications for regional climate.

Open access
Michael D. Eabry
,
Rishav Goyal
,
Andréa S. Taschetto
,
Will Hobbs
, and
Alex Sen Gupta

Abstract

Large-scale modes of atmospheric variability in the southern midlatitudes can influence Antarctic sea ice concentrations (SIC) via diverse processes. For instance, variability in both the Southern Annular Mode (SAM) and zonal wave 3 (ZW3) have been linked to the abrupt 2015/16 sea ice decline. While SIC responses to each of SAM and ZW3 have been examined previously, their interaction and synchronous impact on Antarctic sea ice has not. Here, we investigate SAM/ZW3 interactions and their associated combined impacts on Antarctic sea ice using a 1200-yr simulation from a state-of-the-art climate model. Our results suggest that zonal wind anomalies associated with SAM drive SIC anomalies in the marginal ice-zone via advection of ice normal to the ice edge and Ekman drift. In contrast, meridional wind anomalies associated with ZW3 can have opposing dynamic and thermodynamic effects on SIC. Both SAM- and ZW3-related SIC anomalies propagate eastward, likely by the Antarctic Circumpolar Current. The interaction of SAM and ZW3 leads to interesting regional SIC responses. During negative SAM, ZW3-associated meridional wind anomalies across western Antarctica are closer to the ice edge and have a stronger impact on sea ice overall. ZW3 phase affects meridional wind anomalies across the whole ice edge, whereas it affects SIC anomalies mainly over western Antarctica. In parts of eastern Antarctica, SIC anomalies are less sensitive to ZW3 phase, but are sensitive to SAM, particularly in locations where the ice edge has a prominent angle relative to the SAM-related zonal wind anomalies.

Significance Statement

The Southern Annular Mode (SAM) and zonal wave 3 (ZW3) are large-scale atmospheric circulation patterns affecting midlatitude east–west and north–south winds, respectively, over the Southern Ocean. Variations in winds can affect sea ice formation, which can feed back to influence Southern Hemisphere climate. We examine how variations in SAM and ZW3 affect Antarctic sea ice due to a combination of wind- and ocean-driven ice movement and sea ice growth or melting. Regional variations in ice concentrations are due both to alternating north–south ZW3 winds and to the interaction of SAM-related east–west winds with the ice edge. SAM and ZW3 can also interact, leading to stronger north–south wind and sea ice responses over western Antarctica when SAM-related midlatitude winds weaken.

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