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Cesar Azorin-Molina, Tim R. McVicar, Jose A. Guijarro, Blair Trewin, Andrew J. Frost, Gangfeng Zhang, Lorenzo Minola, Seok-Woo Son, Kaiqiang Deng, and Deliang Chen

Abstract

Wind gusts represent one of the main natural hazards due to their increasing socioeconomic and environmental impacts on, as examples: human safety; maritime-terrestrial-aviation activities; engineering and insurance applications; and energy production. However, the existing scientific studies focused on observed wind gusts are relatively few compared to those on mean wind speed. In Australia, previous studies found a slowdown of near-surface mean wind speed, termed “stilling”, but a lack of knowledge on the multi-decadal variability and trends in the magnitude (wind speed maxima) and frequency (exceeding the 90th percentile) of wind gusts exists. A new homogenized daily peak wind gusts (DPWG) dataset containing 548 time series across Australia for the period 1941-2016 is analyzed to determine long-term trends in wind gusts. Here we show that both the magnitude and frequency of DPWG declined across much of the continent, with a distinct seasonality: negative trends in summer-spring-autumn and weak negative or non-trending (even positive) trends in winter. We demonstrate that ocean-atmosphere oscillations such as the Indian Ocean Dipole and the Southern Annular Mode partly modulate decadal-scale variations of DPWG. The long-term declining trend of DPWG is consistent with the “stilling” phenomenon, suggesting that global warming may have reduced Australian wind gusts.

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Haruhiko Kashiwase, Kay I. Ohshima, Kazuki Nakata, and Takeshi Tamura

Abstract

Long-term quantification of sea ice production in coastal polynyas (thin sea ice areas) is an important issue to understand the global overturning circulation and its changes. The Special Sensor Microwave/Imager (SSM/I), which has nearly 30 years of observation, is a powerful tool for that purpose owing to its ability to detect thin ice areas. However, previous SSM/I thin ice thickness algorithms differ between regions, probably due to the difference in dominant type of thin sea ice in each region. In this study, we developed an SSM/I thin ice thickness algorithm that accounts for three types of thin sea ice (active frazil, thin solid ice, and a mixture of two types), using the polarization and gradient ratios. The algorithm is based on comparison with the ice thickness derived from the MODerate resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer (MODIS) for 22 polynya events off the Ross Ice Shelf, off Cape Darnley, and off the Ronne Ice Shelf in the Southern Ocean. The algorithm can properly discriminate the ice type in coastal polynyas and estimate the thickness of thin sea ice (≤20 cm) with an error range of less than 6 cm. We also confirmed that the algorithm can be applied to other passive microwave radiometers with higher spatial resolution to obtain more accurate and detailed distributions of ice type and thickness. The validation of this algorithm in the Arctic Ocean, suggests its applicability to the global oceans.

Open access
Jie Zhang, Qianrong Ma, Haishan Chen, Siwen Zhao, and Zhiheng Chen

Abstract

Precipitation is crucial for life and the ecological environment in Asian drylands. This study investigated precipitation trends in Asian drylands in previous four decades and simulated its possible linkage with snow cover reduction over the Tibetan Plateau. The results show that precipitation has been increasing and contributing to wetter conditions in Asian drylands. The increasing trends can be attributed to the deepened quasi-stationary wave trough around the Lake Balkhash and the meridional water-vapor flux originated from the Arabian Sea and the Bay of Bengal. The mid-latitude waves and eddy disturbances correspond to the northward upper-level Tibetan Plateau (TP) mode of the South Asian High (TP-SAH) and the Afro-Asia jet with cyclonic rotation. Both SAH and Afro-Asia jet anomalies strengthen the ascending motion and northward water-vapor convergence in Asian drylands, and those are favorable for summer precipitation. The anomalous circulations are linked to the following: (1) the reduced snow cover (SC) over the west TP in the late spring results in decreasing soil moisture and increasing diabatic heating in summer and favors northward extension of TP-SAH and the Afro-Asia jet; (2) the reduced TP/SC increases surface temperature over TP and northeast Asia, which decreases the temperature gradient between the TP and the Indian Ocean, between northeast Asia and East Asia. Decreased temperature gradients are beneficial to the southwest-northeast cyclonic rotation of Afro-Asia jet and consequently strengthen the southerly wind and northward water-vapor flux over TP and surrounding regions. This study emphasizes important effects of the reducing TP/SC on intensifying summer precipitation in Asian drylands.

Open access
Haibo Bi, Yunhe Wang, Yu Liang, Weifu Sun, Xi Liang, Qinglong Yu, Zehua Zhang, and Xiuli Xu

Abstract

Atmospheric circulation associated with the Arctic Dipole (AD) pattern plays a crucial role in modulating the variations of summertime sea ice concentration (SIC) within the Pacific Arctic sector (PAS). Based on reanalysis data and satellite observations, we found that the impacts of atmospheric circulation associated with AD+ on SIC change over different regions of the PAS (including East Siberian Sea (ESS), Beaufort and Chukchi Seas (BCS), and Canadian Arctic Archipelago (CAA)), are dependent on the phase shifts of Pacific Decadal Oscillation (PDO). Satellite observations reveal that SIC anomalies, influenced by AD+ during PDO- relative to that during PDO+, varies significantly in summer by 4.9%, -7.3%, and -6.4% over ESS, BCS, and CAA, respectively. Overall, the atmospheric anomalies over CAA and BCS in terms of specific humidity, air temperature, and thereby downward longwave radiation (DLR), are enhanced (weakened) in the atmospheric conditions associated with AD+ during PDO- (PDO+). In these two regions, the larger (smaller) increases in specific humidity and air temperature, associated with AD+ during PDO- (PDO+), are connected to the increased (decreased) poleward moisture flux, strengthened (weakened) convergence of moisture and heat flux, and partly to adiabatic heating. As a consequence, the DLR and surface net energy flux anomalies over the two regions are reinforced in the atmospheric scenarios associated with AD+ during PDO- compared with that during PDO+. Therefore, smaller SIC anomalies are identified over CAA and BCS in the cases related to AD+ during PDO- than during PDO+. Essentially, the changes of the DLR anomaly in CAA and BCS are in alignment with geopotential height anomalies, which are modulated by the anticyclonic circulation pattern in association with AD+ during varying PDO phases. In contrast, the SIC changes over ESS is primarily attributed to the variations in mechnical wind focring and sea surface temperature (SST) anomalies. The cloud fraction anomalies associated with AD+ during different PDO phases are found not to be a significant contributor to the variations of sea ice anomaly in the studied regions. Given the oscillatory nature of PDO, we speculate that the recent shift to the PDO+ phase may temporarily slow the observed significant decline trend of the summertime SIC within PAS of the Arctic.

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Shifeng Hao, Xiaopeng Cui, and Jianping Huang

Abstract

The square conservative exponential integral method (SCEIM) is proposed for transport problems on the sphere. The method is a combination of the square conservation algorithm and the exponential integral method. The main emphasis in the development of SCEIM is on conservation, positive-definite, and reversibility as well as achieving comparable accuracy to other published schemes. The most significant advantage of SCEIM is to change the forward model to the backward model by setting a negative time step, and the backward model can be used to solve the inverse problem. Moreover, the polar problem is significantly improved by using a simple effective central skip-point difference scheme without major penalty on the overall effectiveness of SCEIM. To demonstrate the effectiveness and generality of the SCEIM, this method is evaluated by standard cosine bell tests and deformational flow tests. The numerical results show that SCEIM is a time-convergence method as well as a grid-convergence method, and has a strong shape-preserving ability. In the tests of the inverse problem, the sharp fronts are successfully regressed back into their initial weak fronts and the cosine bells move against the wind direction and return to the initial position with high accuracy. The numerical results of forward simulations are compared with those of published schemes, the total mass conservation, and error norms are competitive in term of accuracy.

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T. Connor Nelson, James Marquis, Adam Varble, and Katja Friedrich

Abstract

The Remote Sensing of Electrification, Lightning, and Mesoscale/Microscale Processes with Adaptive Ground Observations (RELAMPAGO) and Cloud, Aerosol, and Complex Terrain Interactions (CACTI) projects deployed a high-spatiotemporal-resolution radiosonde network to examine environments supporting deep convection in the complex terrain of central Argentina. This study aims to characterize atmospheric profiles most representative of the near-cloud environment (in time and space) to identify the mesoscale ingredients affecting storm initiation and growth. Spatiotemporal autocorrelation analysis of the soundings reveals that there is considerable environmental heterogeneity, with boundary layer thermodynamic and kinematic fields becoming statistically uncorrelated on scales of 1–2 h and 30 km. Using this as guidance, we examine a variety of environmental parameters derived from soundings collected within close proximity (30 km in space and 30 min in time) of 44 events over 9 days where the atmosphere either: 1) supported the initiation of sustained precipitating convection, 2) yielded weak and short-lived precipitating convection, or 3) produced no precipitating convection in disagreement with numerical forecasts from convection-allowing models (i.e., Null events). There are large statistical differences between the Null event environments and those supporting any convective precipitation. Null event profiles contained larger convective available potential energy, but had low free-tropospheric relative humidity, higher freezing levels, and evidence of limited horizontal convergence near the terrain at low levels that likely suppressed deep convective growth. We also present evidence from the radiosonde and satellite measurements that flow–terrain interactions may yield gravity wave activity that affects CI outcome.

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Joshua B. Wadler, Jun A. Zhang, Robert F. Rogers, Benjamin Jaimes, and Lynn K. Shay

Abstract

The spatial and temporal variation in multiscale structures during the rapid intensification of Hurricane Michael (2018) are explored using a coupled atmospheric–oceanic dataset obtained from NOAA WP-3D and G-IV aircraft missions. During Michael’s early life cycle, the importance of ocean structure is studied to explore how the storm intensified despite experiencing moderate vertical shear. Michael maintained a fairly symmetric precipitation distribution and resisted lateral mixing of dry environmental air into the circulation upshear. The storm also interacted with an oceanic eddy field leading to cross-storm sea surface temperature (SST) gradients of ~2.5°C. This led to the highest enthalpy fluxes occurring left of shear, favoring the sustainment of updrafts into the upshear quadrants and a quick recovery from low-entropy downdraft air. Later in the life cycle, Michael interacted with more uniform and higher SSTs that were greater than 28°C, while vertical shear imposed asymmetries in Michael’s secondary circulation and distribution of entropy. Midlevel (~4–8 km) outflow downshear, a feature characteristic of hurricanes in shear, transported high-entropy air from the eyewall region outward. This outflow created a cap that reduced entrainment across the boundary layer top, protecting it from dry midtropospheric air out to large radii (i.e., >100 km), and allowing for rapid energy increases from air–sea enthalpy fluxes. Upshear, low-level (~0.5–2 km) outflow transported high-entropy air outward, which aided boundary layer recovery from low-entropy downdraft air. This study underscores the importance of simultaneously measuring atmospheric and oceanographic parameters to understand tropical cyclone structure during rapid intensification.

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Joseph P. Clark, Vivek Shenoy, Steven B. Feldstein, Sukyoung Lee, and Michael Goss

Abstract

The wintertime (December – February) 1990 - 2016 Arctic surface air temperature (SAT) trend is examined using self-organizing maps (SOMs). The high dimensional SAT dataset is reduced into nine representative SOM patterns, with each pattern exhibiting a decorrelation time scale about 10 days and having about 85% of its variance coming from intraseasonal timescales. The trend in the frequency of occurrence of each SOM pattern is used to estimate the interdecadal Arctic winter warming trend associated with the SOM patterns. It is found that trends in the SOM patterns explain about one-half of the SAT trend in the Barents and Kara Seas, one-third of the SAT trend around Baffin Bay and two-thirds of the SAT trend in the Chukchi Sea. A composite calculation of each term in the thermodynamic energy equation for each SOM pattern shows that the SAT anomalies grow primarily through the advection of the climatological temperature by the anomalous wind. This implies that a substantial fraction of Arctic amplification is due to horizontal temperature advection that is driven by changes in the atmospheric circulation. An analysis of the surface energy budget indicates that the skin temperature anomalies as well as the trend, although very similar to that of the SAT, are produced primarily by downward longwave radiation.

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Li-Zhi Shen, Chun-Chieh Wu, and Falko Judt

Abstract

This study attempts to understand how surface heat fluxes in different storm regions affect tropical cyclone (TC) size. The Advanced Research Weather Research and Forecasting (ARW-WRF) model (version 3.5.1) is used to simulate Typhoon Megi (2016). A series of numerical experiments are carried out, including a control simulation and several sensitivity experiments with surface heat fluxes suppressed in different TC regions [to mimic the reduction of the Wind-Induced Surface Heat Exchange (WISHE) feedback in the inner and/or outer core]. The results show that with surface heat fluxes suppressed in the entire domain, the TC tends to be smaller. Meanwhile, the TC size is more sensitive to the surface heat flux change in the outer core than to that in the inner core. Suppressing surface heat fluxes can weaken the rainbands around the suppressed area, which in turn slows down the secondary circulation. When the surface heat flux is suppressed in the inner-core region, the weakening of the secondary circulation associated with the diminished inner rainbands is limited to the inner core region, and only slightly affects the absolute angular momentum import from the outer region, thus having negligible impact on TC size. However, suppression of surface heat fluxes in the outer-core region leads to less active outer rainbands and a more substantial weakening of secondary circulation. This results in less absolute momentum import from the outer region, and in turn, a smaller TC.

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Tsz-Kin Lai, Eric A. Hendricks, Konstantinos Menelaou, and M. K. Yau

Abstract

Radar imagery of some double-eyewall tropical cyclones shows that the inner eyewalls became elliptical prior to their dissipation during the eyewall replacement cycles, indicating that the barotropic instability (BI) across the moat (also known as type-2 BI) may play a role. To further examine the physics of inner eyewall decay and outer eyewall intensification under the influence of the type-2 instability, three-dimensional numerical experiments are performed. In the moist full-physics run, the simulated vortex exhibits the type-2 instability and the associated azimuthal wavenumber-2 radial flow pattern. The absolute angular momentum (AAM) budget calculation indicates, after the excitation of the type-2 instability, a significant intensification in the negative radial advection of AAM at the inner eyewall. It is further shown that the changes in radial AAM advection largely result from the eddy processes associated with the type-2 instability and contribute significantly to the inner eyewall decay. The budget calculation also suggests that the type-2 instability can accelerate the inner eyewall decay in concert with the boundary layer cutoff effect. Another dry no-physics idealized experiment is conducted and the result shows that the type-2 instability alone is able to weaken the inner eyewall and also strengthen the outer eyewall with nonnegligible effect.

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