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Siyan Dong, Ying Sun, Chao Li, Xuebin Zhang, Seung-Ki Min, and Yeon-Hee Kim

Abstract

While the IPCC Fifth Assessment Working Group I report assessed observed changes in extreme precipitation on the basis of both absolute and percentile-based extreme indices, human influence on extreme precipitation has rarely been evaluated on the basis of percentile-based extreme indices. Here we conduct a formal detection and attribution analysis on changes in four percentile-based precipitation extreme indices. The indices include annual precipitation totals from days with precipitation exceeding the 99th and 95th percentiles of wet-day precipitation in 1961–90 (R99p and R95p) and their contributions to annual total precipitation (R99pTOT and R95pTOT). We compare these indices from a set of newly compiled observations during 1951–2014 with simulations from models participating in phase 6 of the Coupled Model Intercomparison Project (CMIP6). We show that most land areas with observations experienced increases in these extreme indices with global warming during the historical period 1951–2014. The new CMIP6 models are able to reproduce these overall increases, although with considerable over- or underestimations in some regions. An optimal fingerprinting analysis reveals detectable anthropogenic signals in the observations of these indices averaged over the globe and over most continents. Furthermore, signals of greenhouse gases can be separately detected, taking other forcing into account, over the globe and over Asia in these indices except for R95p. In contrast, signals of anthropogenic aerosols and natural forcings cannot be detected in any of these indices at either global or continental scales.

Open access
Xianglin Dai, Yang Zhang, and Xiu-Qun Yang

Abstract

Low-frequency (LF) transient eddies (intraseasonal eddies with time scales longer than 10 days) are increasingly found to be important in large-scale atmospheric circulation, high-impact climate events, and subseasonal-to-seasonal forecasts. In this study, the features and maintenance of available potential energy of LF eddies (LF EAPE), which denote LF temperature fluctuations, have been investigated. Our study shows that wintertime LF EAPE, with greater amplitude than that of the extensively studied high-frequency (HF) eddies, exhibits distinct horizontal and vertical structures. Different from HF eddies, whose action centers are over midlatitude oceans, the LF EAPE is most active in the continents in the midlatitudes, as well as the subpolar region with shallower vertical structure. By diagnosing the derived energy budget of LF EAPE, we find that, with the strong background temperature gradient in mid- and high-latitude continents (e.g., coast regions along the Greenland, Barents, and Kara Seas), baroclinic generation is the major source of LF EAPE. The generated LF EAPE in the subpolar region is transported downstream and southward to midlatitude continents via background flow. The generated LF EAPE is also dissipated by HF eddies, damped by diabatic effects, and converted to LF EKE via vertical motions. The above energy budget, together with the barotropic dynamics revealed by previous works, suggests multiple energy sources and thus complicated dynamics of LF variabilities.

Open access
Gareth J. Marshall

Abstract

The Arctic continues to warm at a much faster rate than the global average. One process contributing to “Arctic amplification” involves changes in low-frequency macroscale atmospheric circulation patterns and their consequent influence on regional climate. Here, using ERA5 data, we examine decadal changes in the impact of seven such patterns on winter near-surface temperature (SAT) and precipitation (PPN) in northern Russia and calculate the temporal consistency of any statistically significant relationships. We demonstrate that the 40-yr climatology hides considerable decadal variability in the spatial extent of such circulation pattern–climate relationships across the region, with few areas where their temporal consistency exceeds 60%. This is primarily a response to the pronounced decadal expansion/contraction and/or mobility of the circulation patterns’ centers of action. The North Atlantic Oscillation (NAO) is the dominant pattern (having the highest temporal consistency) affecting SAT west of the Urals. Farther east, the Scandinavian (SCA), Polar/Eurasian (POL), and West Pacific patterns are successively the dominant pattern influencing SAT across the West Siberian Plains, Central Siberian Plateau, and mountains of Far East Siberia, respectively. From west to east, the SCA, POL, and Pacific–North American patterns exert the most consistent decadal influence on PPN. The only temporally invariant significant decadal relationships occur between the NAO and SAT and the SCA and PPN in small areas of the North European Plain.

Open access
Liping Zhang, Thomas L. Delworth, William Cooke, Hugues Goosse, Mitchell Bushuk, Yushi Morioka, and Xiaosong Yang

Abstract

Previous studies have shown the existence of internal multidecadal variability in the Southern Ocean using multiple climate models. This variability, associated with deep ocean convection, can have significant climate impacts. In this work, we use sensitivity studies based on Geophysical Fluid Dynamics Laboratory (GFDL) models to investigate the linkage of this internal variability with the background ocean mean state. We find that mean ocean stratification in the subpolar region that is dominated by mean salinity influences whether this variability occurs, as well as its time scale. The weakening of background stratification favors the occurrence of deep convection. For background stratification states in which the low-frequency variability occurs, weaker ocean stratification corresponds to shorter periods of variability and vice versa. The amplitude of convection variability is largely determined by the amount of heat that can accumulate in the subsurface ocean during periods of the oscillation without deep convection. A larger accumulation of heat in the subsurface reservoir corresponds to a larger amplitude of variability. The subsurface heat buildup is a balance between advection that supplies heat to the reservoir and vertical mixing/convection that depletes it. Subsurface heat accumulation can be intensified both by an enhanced horizontal temperature advection by the Weddell Gyre and by an enhanced ocean stratification leading to reduced vertical mixing and surface heat loss. The paleoclimate records over Antarctica indicate that this multidecadal variability has very likely happened in past climates and that the period of this variability may shift with different climate background mean state.

Open access
L. C. Slivinski, G. P. Compo, P. D. Sardeshmukh, J. S. Whitaker, C. McColl, R. J. Allan, P. Brohan, X. Yin, C. A. Smith, L. J. Spencer, R. S. Vose, M. Rohrer, R. P. Conroy, D. C. Schuster, J. J. Kennedy, L. Ashcroft, S. Brönnimann, M. Brunet, D. Camuffo, R. Cornes, T. A. Cram, F. Domínguez-Castro, J. E. Freeman, J. Gergis, E. Hawkins, P. D. Jones, H. Kubota, T. C. Lee, A. M. Lorrey, J. Luterbacher, C. J. Mock, R. K. Przybylak, C. Pudmenzky, V. C. Slonosky, B. Tinz, B. Trewin, X. L. Wang, C. Wilkinson, K. Wood, and P. Wyszyński

Abstract

The performance of a new historical reanalysis, the NOAA–CIRES–DOE Twentieth Century Reanalysis version 3 (20CRv3), is evaluated via comparisons with other reanalyses and independent observations. This dataset provides global, 3-hourly estimates of the atmosphere from 1806 to 2015 by assimilating only surface pressure observations and prescribing sea surface temperature, sea ice concentration, and radiative forcings. Comparisons with independent observations, other reanalyses, and satellite products suggest that 20CRv3 can reliably produce atmospheric estimates on scales ranging from weather events to long-term climatic trends. Not only does 20CRv3 recreate a “best estimate” of the weather, including extreme events, it also provides an estimate of its confidence through the use of an ensemble. Surface pressure statistics suggest that these confidence estimates are reliable. Comparisons with independent upper-air observations in the Northern Hemisphere demonstrate that 20CRv3 has skill throughout the twentieth century. Upper-air fields from 20CRv3 in the late twentieth century and early twenty-first century correlate well with full-input reanalyses, and the correlation is predicted by the confidence fields from 20CRv3. The skill of analyzed 500-hPa geopotential heights from 20CRv3 for 1979–2015 is comparable to that of modern operational 3–4-day forecasts. Finally, 20CRv3 performs well on climate time scales. Long time series and multidecadal averages of mass, circulation, and precipitation fields agree well with modern reanalyses and station- and satellite-based products. 20CRv3 is also able to capture trends in tropospheric-layer temperatures that correlate well with independent products in the twentieth century, placing recent trends in a longer historical context.

Open access
Caroline M. Wainwright, John H. Marsham, David P. Rowell, Declan L. Finney, and Emily Black

Abstract

The East African precipitation seasonal cycle is of significant societal importance, and yet the current generation of coupled global climate models fails to correctly capture this seasonality. The use of convective parameterization schemes is a known source of precipitation bias in such models. Recently, a high-resolution regional model was used to produce the first pan-African climate change simulation that explicitly models convection. Here, this is compared with a corresponding parameterized-convection simulation to explore the effect of the parameterization on representation of East Africa precipitation seasonality. Both models capture current seasonality, although an overestimate in September–October in the parameterized simulation leads to an early bias in the onset of the boreal autumn short rains, associated with higher convective instability and near-surface moist static energy. This bias is removed in the explicit model. Under future climate change both models show the short rains getting later and wetter. For the boreal spring long rains, the explicit convection simulation shows the onset advancing but the parameterized simulation shows little change. Over Uganda and western Kenya both simulations show rainfall increases in the January–February dry season and large increases in boreal summer and autumn rainfall, particularly in the explicit convection model, changing the shape of the seasonal cycle, with potential for pronounced socioeconomic impacts. Interannual variability is similar in both models. Results imply that parameterization of convection may be a source of uncertainty for projections of changes in seasonal timing from global models and that potentially impactful changes in seasonality should be highlighted to users.

Open access
Omar V. Müller, Pier Luigi Vidale, Benoît Vannière, Reinhard Schiemann, Retish Senan, Reindert J. Haarsma, and Johann H. Jungclaus

Abstract

Land–atmosphere interactions are often interpreted as local effects, whereby the soil state drives local atmospheric conditions and feedbacks originate. However, nonlocal mechanisms can significantly modulate land–atmosphere exchanges and coupling. We make use of GCMs at different resolutions (low ~1° and high ~0.25°) to separate the two contributions to coupling: better represented local processes versus the influence of improved large-scale circulation. We use a two-legged metric, complemented by a process-based assessment of four CMIP6 GCMs. Our results show that weakening, strengthening, and relocation of coupling hot spots occur at high resolution globally. The northward expansion of the Sahel hot spot, driven by nonlocal mechanisms, is the most notable change. The African easterly jet’s horizontal wind shear is enhanced in JJA due to better resolved orography at high resolution. This effect, combined with enhanced easterly moisture flux, favors the development of African easterly waves over the Sahel. More precipitation and soil moisture recharge produce strengthening of the coupling, where evapotranspiration remains controlled by soil moisture, and weakening where evapotranspiration depends on atmospheric demand. In SON, the atmospheric influence is weaker, but soil memory helps to maintain the coupling between soil moisture and evapotranspiration and the relocation of the hot spot at high resolution. The multimodel agreement provides robust evidence that atmospheric dynamics determines the onset of land–atmosphere interactions, while the soil state modulates their duration. Comparison of precipitation, soil moisture, and evapotranspiration against satellite data reveals that the enhanced moistening at high resolution significantly reduces model biases, supporting the realism of the hot-spot relocation.

Open access
Chunlüe Zhou, Junhong Wang, Aiguo Dai, and Peter W. Thorne

Abstract

This study develops an innovative approach to homogenize discontinuities in both mean and variance in global subdaily radiosonde temperature data from 1958 to 2018. First, temperature natural variations and changes are estimated using reanalyses and removed from the radiosonde data to construct monthly and daily difference series. A penalized maximal F test and an improved Kolmogorov–Smirnov test are then applied to the monthly and daily difference series to detect spurious shifts in the mean and variance, respectively. About 60% (40%) of the changepoints appear in the mean (variance), and ~56% of them are confirmed by available metadata. The changepoints display a country-dependent pattern likely due to changes in national radiosonde networks. Mean segment length is 7.2 (14.6) years for the mean (variance)-based detection. A mean (quantile)-matching method using up to 5 years of data from two adjacent mean (variance)-based segments is used to adjust the earlier segments relative to the latest segment. The homogenized series is obtained by adding the two homogenized difference series back to the subtracted reference series. The homogenized data exhibit more spatially coherent trends and temporally consistent variations than the raw data, and lack the spurious tropospheric cooling over North China and Mongolia seen in several reanalyses and raw datasets. The homogenized data clearly show a warming maximum around 300 hPa over 30°S–30°N, consistent with model simulations, in contrast to the raw data. The results suggest that spurious changes are numerous and significant in the radiosonde records and our method can greatly improve their homogeneity.

Open access
Xian Wu, Yuko M. Okumura, and Pedro N. DiNezio

Abstract

Analysis of observational data and a long control simulation of the Community Earth System Model, version 1 (CESM1), shows that El Niño events developing in boreal spring to early summer usually terminate after peaking in winter, whereas those developing after summer tend to persist into the second year. To test the predictability of El Niño duration based on the onset timing, perfect model predictions were conducted for three El Niño events developing in April or September in the CESM1 control simulation. For each event, 30-member ensemble simulations are initialized with the same oceanic conditions in the onset month but with slightly different atmospheric conditions and integrated for 2 years. The CESM1 successfully predicts the termination of El Niño after the peak in 95% of the April-initialized simulations and the continuation of El Niño into the second year in 83% of the September-initialized simulations. The predictable component of El Niño duration arises from the initial oceanic conditions that affect the timing and magnitude of negative feedback within the equatorial Pacific, as well as from the Indian and Atlantic Oceans. The ensemble spread of El Niño duration, on the other hand, originates from surface wind variability over the western equatorial Pacific in spring following the peak. The wind variability causes a larger spread in the September-initialized than the April-initialized ensemble simulations due to weaker negative feedback in spring. These results indicate potential predictability of El Niño events beyond the current operational forecasts by 1 year.

Open access
Manish K. Joshi, Muhammad Adnan Abid, and Fred Kucharski

Abstract

In this study the role of an Indian Ocean heating dipole anomaly in the transition of the North Atlantic–European (NAE) circulation response to El Niño–Southern Oscillation (ENSO) from early to late winter is analyzed using a twentieth-century reanalysis and simulations from phase 5 of the Coupled Model Intercomparison Project (CMIP5). It is shown that in early winter a warm (cold) ENSO event is connected through an atmospheric bridge with positive (negative) rainfall anomalies in the western Indian Ocean and negative (positive) anomalies in the eastern Indian Ocean. The early winter heating dipole, forced by a warm (cold) ENSO event, can set up a wave train emanating from the subtropical South Asian jet region that reaches the North Atlantic and leads to a response that spatially projects onto the positive (negative) phase of the North Atlantic Oscillation. The Indian Ocean heating dipole is partly forced as an atmospheric teleconnection by ENSO, but can also exist independently and is not strongly related to local Indian Ocean sea surface temperature (SST) forcing. The Indian Ocean heating dipole response to ENSO is much weaker in late winter (i.e., February and March) and not able to force significant signals in the North Atlantic region. CMIP5 multimodel ensemble reproduces the early winter Indian Ocean heating dipole response to ENSO and its transition in the North Atlantic region to some extent, but with weaker amplitude. Generally, models that have a strong early winter ENSO response in the subtropical South Asian jet region along with tropical Indian Ocean heating dipole also reproduce the North Atlantic response.

Open access