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Sean R. Santellanes, George S. Young, David J. Stensrud, Matthew R. Kumjian, and Ying Pan

Abstract

Typical environmental conditions associated with horizontal convective rolls (HCRs) and cellular convection have been known for over 50 years. Yet our ability to predict whether HCRs, cellular convection, or no discernable organized (null) circulation will occur within a well-mixed convective boundary layer based upon easily observed environmental variables has been limited. Herein, a large database of 50 cases each of HCR, cellular convection, and null events is created that includes observations of mean boundary layer wind and wind shear, boundary layer depth; surface observations of wind, temperature, and relative humidity; and estimates of surface sensible heat flux. Results from a multiclass linear discriminant analysis applied to these data indicate that environmental conditions can be useful in predicting whether HCRs, cellular convection, or no circulation occurs, with the analysis identifying the correct circulation type on 72% of the case days. This result is slightly better than using a mean convective boundary layer (CBL) wind speed of 6 m s−1 to discriminate between HCRs and cells. However, the mean CBL wind speed has no ability to further separate out cases with no CBL circulation. The key environmental variables suggested by the discriminant analysis are mean sensible heat flux, friction velocity, and the Obukhov length.

Open access
Laura Paccini, Cathy Hohenegger, and Bjorn Stevens

Abstract

This study investigates whether the representation of explicit and parameterized convection influences the response to the Atlantic meridional mode (AMM). The main focus is on the precipitation response to the AMM-SST pattern, but possible implications for the atmospheric feedback on SST are also examined by considering differences in the circulation response between explicit and parameterized convection. On the basis of analysis from observations, SST composites are built to represent the positive and negative AMM. These SST patterns, in addition to the March–May climatology, are prescribed to the atmospheric ICON model. High-resolution simulations with explicit convection (E-CON) and coarse-resolution simulations with parameterized convection (P-CON) are used over a nested tropical Atlantic Ocean domain and a global domain, respectively. Our results show that a meridional shift of about 1° in the precipitation climatology explains most of the response to the AMM-SST pattern in simulations both with explicit convection and with parameterized convection. Our results also indicate a linearity in the precipitation response to the positive and negative AMM in E-CON, in contrast to P-CON. Further analysis of the atmospheric response to the AMM reveals that anomalies in the wind-driven enthalpy fluxes are generally stronger in E-CON than in P-CON. This result suggests that SST anomalies would be amplified more strongly in coupled simulations using an explicit representation of convection.

Restricted access
Anne Felsberg, Gabriëlle J. M. De Lannoy, Manuela Girotto, Jean Poesen, Rolf H. Reichle, and Thomas Stanley

Abstract

This global feasibility study assesses the potential of coarse-scale, gridded soil water estimates for the probabilistic modeling of hydrologically triggered landslides, using Soil Moisture Ocean Salinity (SMOS), Soil Moisture Active Passive (SMAP), and Gravity Recovery and Climate Experiment (GRACE) remote sensing data; Catchment Land Surface Model (CLSM) simulations; and six data products based on the assimilation of SMOS, SMAP, and/or GRACE observations into CLSM. SMOS or SMAP observations (~40-km resolution) are only available for less than 20% of the globally reported landslide events, because they are intermittent and uncertain in regions with complex terrain. GRACE terrestrial water storage estimates include 75% of the reported landslides but have coarse spatial and temporal resolutions (monthly, ~300 km). CLSM soil water simulations have the added advantage of complete spatial and temporal coverage, and are found to be able to distinguish between “stable slope” (no landslide) conditions and landslide-inducing conditions in a probabilistic way. Assimilating SMOS and/or GRACE data increases the landslide probability estimates based on soil water percentiles for the reported landslides, relative to model-only estimates at 36-km resolution for the period 2011–16, unless the CLSM model-only soil water content is already high (≥50th percentile). The SMAP Level 4 data assimilation product (at 9-km resolution, period 2015–19) more generally updates the soil water conditions toward higher landslide probabilities for the reported landslides, but is similar to model-only estimates for the majority of landslides where SMAP data cannot easily be converted to soil moisture owing to complex terrain.

Open access
Sijie Pan, Jidong Gao, Thomas A. Jones, Yunheng Wang, Xuguang Wang, and Jun Li

Abstract

With the launch of GOES-16 in November 2016, effective utilization of its data in convective-scale numerical weather prediction (NWP) has the potential to improve high-impact weather (HIWeather) forecasts. In this study, the impact of satellite-derived layered precipitable water (LPW) and cloud water path (CWP) in addition to NEXRAD observations on short-term convective-scale NWP forecasts are examined using three severe weather cases that occurred in May 2017. In each case, satellite-derived CWP and LPW products and radar observations are assimilated into the Advanced Research Weather Research and Forecasting (WRF-ARW) Model using the NSSL hybrid Warn-on-Forecast (WoF) analysis and forecast system. The system includes two components: the GSI-EnKF system and a deterministic 3DEnVAR system. This study examines deterministic 0–6-h forecasts launched from the hybrid 3DEnVAR analyses for the three severe weather events. Three types of experiments are conducted and compared: (i) the control experiment (CTRL) without assimilating any data, (ii) the radar experiment (RAD) with the assimilation of radar and surface observations, and (iii) the satellite experiment (RADSAT) with the assimilation of all observations including surface-, radar-, and satellite-derived CWP and LPW. The results show that assimilating additional GOES products improves short-range forecasts by providing more accurate initial conditions, especially for moisture and temperature variables.

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Shuai Hu, Tianjun Zhou, and Bo Wu

Abstract

The year-to-year variations of Tibetan Plateau (TP) summer rainfall have tremendous climate impacts on the adjoining and even global climate, attracting extensive research attention in recent decades to understand the underlying mechanism. In this study, we investigate an open question of how El Niño–Southern Oscillation (ENSO) influences the TP precipitation. We show that the developing ENSO has significant impacts on the summer rainfall over the southwestern TP (SWTP), which is the second EOF mode of the interannual variability of summer rainfall over the TP. The moisture budget indicates that both the suppressed vertical motion and the deficit of moisture contribute to the reduction of SWTP rainfall during El Niño’s developing summer, with the former contribution 4 times larger than the latter. Moist static energy analyses indicate that the anomalous advection of climatological moist enthalpy by anomalous zonal wind is responsible for the anomalous descending motions over the SWTP. The El Niño–related southward displacements of the South Asian high and the upper-level cyclonic anomalies over the west of TP stimulated by the suppressed Indian summer monsoon precipitation are two key processes dominating the anomalous zonal moist enthalpy advection over SWTP. Meanwhile, the India–Burma monsoon trough is strengthened during El Niño developing summer, which prevents the advection of water vapor into the SWTP, and thus contributes to the deficit of summer SWTP rainfall. Our results help to understand the complicated ENSO-related air–sea interaction responsible for the variability of TP precipitation and have implications for seasonal prediction of the TP climate.

Open access
Zhang Yue, W. Zhou, and Tim Li

Abstract

The complex interaction between the Indian Ocean dipole (IOD) and El Niño–Southern Oscillation (ENSO) is further investigated in this study, with a focus on the impacts of the IOD on ENSO in the subsequent year [ENSO(+1)]. The interaction between the IOD and the concurrent ENSO [ENSO(0)] can be summarized as follows: ENSO(0) can trigger and enhance the IOD, while the IOD can enhance ENSO(0) and accelerate its demise. Regarding the impacts of IOD(0) on the subsequent ENSO(+1), it is revealed that the IOD can lead to anomalous SST cooling patterns over the equatorial Pacific after the winter following the IOD, indicating the formation of a La Niña–like pattern in the subsequent year. While the SST cooling tendency associated with a positive IOD is attributable primarily to net heat flux (thermodynamic processes) from autumn to the ensuing spring, after the ensuing spring the dominant contribution comes from oceanic processes (dynamic processes) instead. From autumn to the ensuing spring, the downward shortwave flux response contributes the most to SST cooling over the central and eastern Pacific, due to the cloud–radiation–SST feedback. From the ensuing winter to the ensuing summer, changes in latent heat flux (LHF) are important for SST cooling, indicating that the release of LHF from the ocean into the atmosphere increases due to strong evaporation and leads to SST cooling through the wind–evaporation–SST feedback. The wind stress response and thermocline shoaling verify that local Bjerknes feedback is crucial for the initiation of La Niña in the later stage.

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Yongjia Lu, Wenshou Tian, Jiankai Zhang, Jinlong Huang, Ruhua Zhang, Tao Wang, and Mian Xu

Abstract

Using the ERA-Interim reanalysis dataset for the time period 1979–2016, we analyzed the influence of the stratospheric polar vortex shift on the Arctic Oscillation (AO) in winter (December–March). The results show that a shift in the stratospheric polar vortex toward the Eurasian continent is favorable for the occurrence of the negative phase of the AO. The duration of the AO events accompanied by the stratospheric polar vortex shift toward the Eurasian continent (AO-shift events) is longer than that of the remaining negative AO events (AO-noshift events), and the intensity of AO-shift events is greater than that of AO-noshift events from day 4 to day 15 of the life cycle of the events. The enhancement in the AO intensity during AO-shift events is likely due to downward extension of the stratospheric northern annular mode (NAM) signals and more poleward-propagating planetary waves in the troposphere and lower stratosphere and their convergence in the mid-high latitudes. Furthermore, the polar vortex shift can lead to changes in the intensity of the three action centers in the AO spatial pattern at 500 hPa. In general, during AO-shift events, the three action centers are stronger than those during AO-noshift events. There is an overall westward shift of the Arctic action center during AO-shift events, which may be closely related to the changes of Greenland blocking frequency.

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Hyung-Gyu Lim, Jong-Yeon Park, John P. Dunne, Charles A. Stock, Sung-Ho Kang, and Jong-Seong Kug

Abstract

Human activities such as fossil fuel combustion, land-use change, nitrogen (N) fertilizer use, emission of livestock, and waste excretion accelerate the transformation of reactive N and its impact on the marine environment. This study elucidates that anthropogenic N fluxes (ANFs) from atmospheric and river deposition exacerbate Arctic warming and sea ice loss via physical–biological feedback. The impact of physical–biological feedback is quantified through a suite of experiments using a coupled climate–ocean–biogeochemical model (GFDL-CM2.1-TOPAZ) by prescribing the preindustrial and contemporary amounts of riverine and atmospheric N fluxes into the Arctic Ocean. The experiment forced by ANFs represents the increase in ocean N inventory and chlorophyll concentrations in present and projected future Arctic Ocean relative to the experiment forced by preindustrial N flux inputs. The enhanced chlorophyll concentrations by ANFs reinforce shortwave attenuation in the upper ocean, generating additional warming in the Arctic Ocean. The strongest responses are simulated in the Eurasian shelf seas (Kara, Barents, and Laptev Seas; 65°–90°N, 20°–160°E) due to increased N fluxes, where the annual mean surface temperature increase by 12% and the annual mean sea ice concentration decrease by 17% relative to the future projection, forced by preindustrial N inputs.

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Yanyi He, Kaicun Wang, and Fei Feng

Abstract

Surface incident solar radiation (R s) is important for providing essential information on climate change. Existing studies have shown that the R s values from current reanalyses are significantly overestimated throughout China. The European Centre for Medium-Range Weather Forecasts (ECMWF) recently released the fifth generation of atmospheric reanalysis (i.e., ERA5) with a much higher spatiotemporal resolution and a major upgrade compared to its predecessor, ERA-Interim. This study is to verify whether ERA5 can improve the R s simulation using sunshine duration–derived R s values at ~2200 stations over China from 1979 to 2014 as reference data. Compared with the observed multiyear national mean, the R s overestimation is reduced from 15.88 W m−2 in ERA-Interim to 10.07 W m−2 in ERA5. From 1979 to 1993, ERA-Interim (−1.99 W m−2 decade−1; p < 0.05) and ERA5 (−2.42 W m−2 decade−1; p < 0.05) estimates of R s in China continued to decrease and the decline of the latter is closer to the observed. After 1993, they both show a strong brightening (i.e., 2.26 W m−2 decade−1 in ERA-Interim and 1.49 W m−2 decade−1 in ERA5) but observations show a nonsignificant increase by 0.30 W m−2 decade−1. Due to the improvement of total cloud cover (TCC) simulation by ERA5, its R s trend bias induced by the TCC trend bias is smaller than that in ERA-Interim. In addition, the reason why the simulation trend in ERA5 remains biased might be that ERA5 still ignores aerosol changes on interannual or decadal time scales. Therefore, subsequent reanalysis products still need to improve their simulation of clouds, water vapor, and aerosol, especially in aerosol direct and indirect effects on R s.

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Zhenhai Zhang and F. Martin Ralph

Abstract

Some extratropical cyclones (ETC) begin their development in close proximity to a preexisting atmospheric river (AR). This study investigates the differences in the cyclogenesis stage between these cyclogenesis events and those that begin without an AR nearby. Well-established ETC and AR detection methods are applied to reanalysis over the North Pacific during the 1979–2009 cool seasons (November–March). Of the 3137 cyclogenesis cases detected, 35% are associated with a nearby AR at the time of initial cyclogenesis. Of all 448 cyclones that deepened explosively in the 24 h after their initiation, 60% began with a preexisting AR nearby. The roles of both dry and diabatic processes that contribute to cyclogenesis are examined, specifically, low-level baroclinicity, upper-level forcing, water vapor inflow, and latent heating. ETCs that develop associated with a preexisting AR receive nearly 80% more water vapor inflow on average, enhancing latent heating and intensifying cyclone deepening in the genesis stage. In contrast, neither low-level baroclinicity nor upper-level potential vorticity exhibit statistically significant differences between cyclogenesis events with and without an AR. Cyclogenesis events associated with an exceptionally strong AR at the ETC initial time deepen even more rapidly in the genesis stage, indicating that the intensity of an antecedent AR can modulate cyclogenesis. About half of the cyclogenesis cases off the U.S. West Coast are associated with ARs at their initial time. These results imply that errors in initial conditions related to ARs can contribute to errors in both AR and ETC predictions, as well as their concomitant impacts.

Open access