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Yiyun Yao
,
Anmin Duan
,
Jun Hu
, and
Yuheng Tang

Abstract

Based on observations and simplified, comprehensive atmospheric models, we investigate the impact of the tropical Atlantic sea surface temperature (SST) on the West Antarctic temperature and sea ice concentration in austral winter (June–August) on decadal time scales. The tropical gradient SST anomaly (SSTA) associated with the positive phase of the Atlantic meridional mode (AMM) usually leads to cool anomalies over the Antarctic Peninsula (AP) and a dipole-like sea ice distribution, with ice growth in the Amundsen–Bellingshausen Sea and loss in the Ross Sea. When the AMM is in a positive phase, upward motion over the warm region in the North Atlantic and downward motion over the cold region in the South Atlantic strengthen the Southern Hemisphere Hadley cell, resulting in upper-level convergence over the southwestern Atlantic. This convergence induces a Rossby wave, leading to an anticyclone anomaly over the Amundsen–Bellingshausen Sea. Meridional component winds of this anticyclone anomaly are associated with wind-driven sea ice drift, temperature advection, and anomalous turbulence heat fluxes, leading to a dipole-like sea ice distribution and AP cooling. These findings are verified using two types of atmospheric models. Therefore, the AMM plays a vital role in modulating the decadal change in temperature and sea ice distribution in the West Antarctic.

Open access
Shuheng Lin
,
Song Yang
,
Shan He
,
Hanjie Fan
,
Jiaxin Chen
,
Wenjie Dong
,
Jiaxue Wu
, and
Yuping Guan

Abstract

This study investigates the physical mechanisms responsible for the impacts of the Indian summer monsoon (ISM) on the evolution of El Niño–Southern Oscillation (ENSO), with a focus on understanding the monsoon-induced Pacific air–sea interactive processes. An observational analysis displays that a weaker-than-normal ISM can strengthen an ongoing El Niño event and weaken a La Niña event, and conversely for a stronger-than-normal ISM. A 1000-yr output from the Community Earth System Model version 2 is capable of reproducing this observed feature and is therefore used to explore the responsible ocean–atmosphere interactive processes involved. Results show that a weak ISM can cause a cyclonic circulation over the western North Pacific via stimulating atmospheric cold Kelvin waves, and conversely for a strong ISM. The westerly (easterly) wind anomalies on the southern flank of the anomalous cyclone (anticyclone) generate eastward (westward) current anomalies in the mixed layer and thus induce anomalous warm (cold) zonal advection. Furthermore, the wind anomalies excite oceanic downwelling (upwelling) Kelvin waves, which deepen (shoal) the thermocline in the equatorial eastern Pacific and result in anomalous warm (cold) vertical advection. A quantitative mixed layer heat budget analysis demonstrates that the influence of the monsoon-induced Pacific wind anomalies on ENSO is mainly achieved by changing the zonal advective feedback and thermocline feedback. This result is confirmed by model sensitivity experiments in which additional monsoon heating or cooling anomalies are imposed over the Indian region during the developing summer of an ENSO event.

Significance Statement

While previous studies have reported that the Indian summer monsoon (ISM) could influence the evolution of El Niño–Southern Oscillation (ENSO), this study is aimed at understanding the physical mechanisms for the Pacific air–sea interactive processes induced by the monsoon and their impact on ENSO. It is found that a weak and strong ISM can respectively induce an anomalous cyclonic and anticyclonic circulation over the western North Pacific. The wind anomalies on the southern flank of the anomalous circulation mainly change the zonal advective feedback and the thermocline feedback to affect ENSO development. This study provides a detailed physical explanation of how the ISM influences ENSO evolution.

Open access
Julia Kukulies
,
Andreas F. Prein
,
Julia Curio
,
Hongyong Yu
, and
Deliang Chen

Abstract

Kilometer-scale climate model simulations are useful tools to investigate past and future changes in extreme precipitation, particularly in mountain regions, where convection is influenced by complex topography and land–atmosphere interactions. In this study, we evaluate simulations of a flood-producing mesoscale convective system (MCS) downstream of the Tibetan Plateau (TP) in the Sichuan basin from a kilometer-scale multimodel and multiphysics ensemble. The aim is to better understand the physical processes that need to be correctly simulated for successfully capturing downstream MCS formation. We assess how the ensemble members simulate these processes and how sensitive the simulations are to different model configurations. The preceding vortex evolution over the TP, its interaction with the jet stream, and water vapor advection into the basin are identified as key processes for the MCS formation. Most modeling systems struggle to capture the interaction between the vortex and jet stream, and perturbing the model physics has little impact, while constraining the large-scale flow by spectral nudging improves the simulation. This suggests that an accurate representation of the large-scale forcing is crucial to correctly simulate the MCS and associated precipitation. To verify whether the identified shortcomings systematically affect the MCS climatology in longer-term simulations, we evaluate a 1-yr WRF simulation and find that the seasonal cycle and spatial distribution of MCSs are reasonably well captured and not improved by spectral nudging. While the simulations of the MCS case highlight challenges in extreme precipitation forecasting, we conclude that these challenges do not systematically affect simulated climatological MCS characteristics.

Significance Statement

Convective storm systems in mountain regions are not well understood, because the spatial resolution in conventional regional climate models is too coarse to resolve relevant processes. Here, we evaluate high-resolution climate model simulations of a storm system on the downwind side of the Tibetan Plateau. Understanding which models and model setups work well to represent this type of storm system is important because high-resolution models can help us understand mechanisms of storm formation in mountain regions and how climate change will affect these. A key finding is that most of the models struggle to capture the selected storm case, while a 1-yr simulation shows that the general statistics of storm systems around the Tibetan Plateau are still reasonably well captured.

Open access
Qiaoling Ren
,
Kevin I. Hodges
,
Reinhard Schiemann
,
Yongjiu Dai
,
Xingwen Jiang
, and
Song Yang

Abstract

Using an objective feature-tracking algorithm and the fifth major global reanalysis produced by ECMWF data (ERA5), the seasonal behaviors of cyclonic transient eddies (cyclones) at different levels around the Tibetan Plateau (TP) were examined to understand the effects of the TP on cyclones. Results show that the TP tends to change the moving directions of the remote cyclones when they are close to the TP, with only 2% of the 250-hPa eastward-moving cyclones directly passing over the TP. The sudden reductions of their moving speeds and relative vorticity intensities around the TP suggest a suppression effect of the plateau. Over 70% of these cyclones perish over the TP regardless of the altitude. This percentage decreases to around 65% during summertime, exhibiting a weaker summer suppression effect. On the other hand, the TP has a stimulation effect on local cyclones through its dynamic forcing in winter, thermodynamic forcing in summer, and both forcings in the transitional seasons. The numbers of locally generated cyclones, especially at 500 hPa, just above the TP, are significantly larger than those of the remote cyclones during all seasons. Although about one-half of the local cyclones dissipate over the TP, the cyclones moving off the plateau significantly outnumber the moving-in cyclones, with the differences ranging from 0 to 6 cyclones per month. Only the 250-hPa wintertime moving-off cyclones are fewer than the cyclones entering the TP, which may be caused by the weaker stimulation effect and stronger suppression effect of the TP on the wintertime upper-level cyclones.

Significance Statement

Cyclonic transient eddies (cyclones), steered by westerly jet streams, can influence climate and induce extreme weather processes under certain conditions. The Tibetan Plateau (TP), the highest and largest obstacle embedded in the westerly jet streams, suppresses remote cyclones entering the TP region, destroying over 70% of these cyclones. However, because of the excitation effect of the TP on local cyclones, the numbers of cyclones moving off the TP are still larger than or equal to those of the moving-in cyclones, except at the upper levels in winter. This feature suggests that the TP cannot significantly decrease the total cyclone numbers in most cases, but it indeed weakens the mean intensity and moving speed of the cyclones.

Open access
Abdullah A. Fahad
,
Oreste Reale
,
Andrea Molod
,
Tahmidul Azom Sany
,
Md Tashin Ahammad
, and
Dimitris Menemenlis

Abstract

Tropical cyclones (TCs) in the Bay of Bengal (BoB) are among the most devastating events in nature, significantly influencing human life. They affect the region between April and December, being separated into two distinct phases: the premonsoon (April–June, AMJ) and postmonsoon (October–December, OND), with little activity during the monsoon peak. In this article, the influence of the tropical easterly jet (TEJ) on the observed BoB TC activity, and the expected changes under global warming conditions, are investigated using reanalyses and Coupled Model Intercomparison Project phase 6 (CMIP6) models. The general assumption is that TC activity should increase in response to warmer sea surface temperature (SST). However, several dynamical processes are needed to create organized convection, which is a prerequisite for TC development. The results show that the frequency and accumulated energy should decrease in the future (2020–49), compared to the historical climate (1950–79), during both phases. However, the northern BoB TCs’ intensity increases during OND. The change of the mean TEJ and intermittent shear relaxations in the future climate are found to play a major role in the change of TC activity rather than the SST. During AMJ, a southward shift of the mean TEJ and its intermittent shear relaxations are associated with reduced TC activity. During OND, the decrease of the frequency of TEJ and subtropical jet (STJ) intermittent shear relaxations are associated with the reduction of TC activity. This study clarifies the importance of both the mean and intermittency of the TEJ in determining the future of TC activity in the BoB.

Open access
Xiaoqing Liao
,
Christopher E. Holloway
,
Xiangbo Feng
,
Chunlei Liu
,
Xinyu Lyu
,
Yufeng Xue
,
Ruijuan Bao
,
Jiandong Li
, and
Fangli Qiao

Abstract

There are no well-accepted mechanisms that can explain the annual frequency of tropical cyclones (TCs) both globally and in individual ocean basins. Recent studies using idealized models showed that the climatological frequency of TC genesis (TCG) is proportional to the Coriolis parameter associated with the intertropical convergence zone (ITCZ) position. In this study, we investigate the effect of the ITCZ position on TCG on the interannual time scale using observations over 1979–2020. Our results show that the TCG frequency is significantly correlated with the ITCZ position in the North Atlantic (NA) and western North Pacific (WNP), with more TCG events in years when the ITCZ is farther poleward. The ITCZ–TCG relationship in NA is dominated by TCG events in the tropics (0°–20°N), while the relationship in WNP is due to TCs formed in the east sector (140°E–180°). We further confirmed that ENSO has little effect on the ITCZ–TCG relationship despite the fact that it can affect the ITCZ position and TCG frequency separately. In NA and WNP, a poleward shift of ITCZ is significantly associated with large-scale environment changes favoring TCG in the main development region (MDR). However, the basinwide TCG frequency has a weak relationship with the ITCZ in other ocean basins. We showed that a poleward ITCZ in the eastern North Pacific and South Pacific favors TCG on the poleward flank of the MDR, while it suppresses TCG on the equatorward flank, leading to insignificant change in the basinwide TCG frequency. In the south Indian Ocean, the ITCZ position has weak effect on TCG frequency due to the mixed influences of environmental conditions.

Open access
Prashant D. Sardeshmukh
,
Jih-Wang Aaron Wang
,
Gilbert P. Compo
, and
Cécile Penland

Abstract

It is well known that randomly perturbing an atmospheric model’s diabatic tendencies can increase its probabilistic forecast skill, mainly by increasing the spread of ensemble forecasts and making it more consistent with the errors of ensemble-mean forecasts. Less obvious and less well established is that such perturbations can also reduce the errors of the ensemble-mean forecasts and improve the model’s mean climate, variability, and sensitivity to forcing. A clear reduction in ensemble-mean forecast errors is demonstrated here in large ensembles of 15-day forecasts made with NOAA’s Global Forecast System model. The nearly ubiquitous reduction around the globe, obtained throughout the forecast range, is interpreted as arising in effect from a modification of the model’s deterministic evolution operator by a stochastic noise-induced drift. The effect is general in systems with state-dependent noise, and occurs even if the noise is not white. In the atmospheric context considered here, the effect is suggested to arise largely from noise-induced reductions of mechanical and thermal damping by chaotic boundary layer and cloud-radiative processes, which also tend to increase model sensitivity to forcing. The results presented here are consistent with many previous studies performed with models ranging from simple stochastically forced models to comprehensive global weather and climate models. They suggest that the diabatic interactions in most current global atmospheric models may not be sufficiently chaotic and this deficiency could be partly remedied by specifying additional stochastic terms. Using some empirical guidance in such specifications may be unavoidable, given the generally intractable complexity of the diabatic interactions.

Open access
Isaac Campbell
and
James A. Renwick

Abstract

In this study, we explore linkages between the monthly mean 500 hPa height field (Z500) and its high-frequency variability over 2–8-day periods, a proxy for Southern Hemisphere storm track activity. We apply maximum covariance analysis to identify leading modes of covariability between the Z500 and high-frequency variance anomalies on monthly and submonthly time scales, using two reanalysis products. We also calculate covariance with indices of large-scale variability [Southern Annular Mode (SAM), El Niño–Southern Oscillation (ENSO), and zonal wave 3 (ZW3)]. We find large-scale circulation patterns emerge as prominent modes of covariability, particularly SAM and ENSO, accounting for 11.1% and 7.8% of covariability on the monthly scale, respectively. The seasonal cycle plays a prominent role in explaining variability in both SAM and ENSO interactions with the storm track. We find that despite a broadly linear response, both SAM and ENSO teleconnections present additional complexities and nonlinearities. Despite strong ZW3 signals in the mean height field, its influence on the high-frequency variance field remains unclear. We conclude the mean height field is most likely strongly linked with high-frequency variance, but interference from other influences may lead to an inconsistent response. We note both fields have an apparent hemispheric response to the SAM, but ENSO has a more regional response and ZW3 a relatively incoherent response. This suggests ENSO and ZW3 patterns depend less on feedbacks between the storm track and the mean height field than the SAM.

Open access
Yoko Yamagami
,
Hiroaki Tatebe
,
Takahito Kataoka
,
Tatsuo Suzuki
, and
Masahiro Watanabe

Abstract

Climate models typically have a cold sea surface temperature (SST) bias for the Arabian Sea, which regulates the Indian monsoon system as a water vapor source. Since the SST for the Arabian Sea is critical for the Indian monsoon, a better understanding of the processes that affect the SST is required. In this study, the effects of mesoscale oceanic variability on simulations of the Arabian Sea SST and Indian summer monsoon precipitation were investigated based on a comparison of climate model experiments in which non-eddying and eddy-permitting ocean components are coupled. In the eddy-permitting model, warm water advection driven by mesoscale variability near the Gulf of Aden and the Gulf of Oman increases the SST in the western Arabian Sea. Lateral eddy heat transport enhances warm water outflows to the Arabian Sea and suppresses surface water cooling by coastal upwelling during the southwestern monsoon season. Furthermore, a sensitivity experiment shows the primary importance of resolving oceanic mesoscale eddies and the secondary importance of resolving the Persian Gulf and Red Sea for the Arabian Sea SST. Also, the summer monsoonal precipitation decreases (increases) over the southeastern Arabian Sea (western and northern India) in the eddy-permitting model due to enhancement of wind convergence in the lower troposphere. Atmospheric general circulation model experiments indicate that the precipitation difference is partly caused by SST changes over the western Arabian Sea. The findings imply that the ocean resolution of climate models is a key factor in efficiently simulating the Indian monsoon.

Open access
Weimin Jiang
,
Guillaume Gastineau
, and
Francis Codron

Abstract

The climate responses to Atlantic meridional overturning circulation (AMOC) fluctuations are investigated in a hierarchy of sensitivity experiments. We modify the baroclinic component of the North Atlantic Ocean currents online in an atmosphere–ocean general circulation model to reproduce typical AMOC multidecadal variability found in a preindustrial control simulation in the same model. An analogous experiment is also conducted using a slab-ocean experiment. The responses to a strong AMOC include a widespread warming in the Northern Hemisphere and a northward shift of the intertropical convergence zone over the Atlantic Ocean. The driving mechanism of climate responses is then investigated with the changes in the energy flows in the ocean and atmosphere. The large-scale atmospheric changes in the tropics are organized by an anomalous cross-equatorial Hadley circulation transporting energy southward and moisture and heat northward. Changes in the Indo-Pacific Ocean circulation and heat transport, driven by the wind stress associated with the abnormal Hadley cell, damp the atmospheric responses. The lack of Indo-Pacific transport and ocean heat storage leads to amplified atmospheric changes in the slab-ocean experiments, which are further amplified by a positive feedback due to the interhemispheric antisymmetric changes in low cloud cover.

Open access