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Nicholas A. Goldacker and Matthew D. Parker

Abstract

Supercell storms can develop a “dynamical response” whereby upward accelerations in the lower troposphere amplify as a result of rotationally induced pressure falls aloft. These upward accelerations likely modulate a supercell’s ability to stretch near-surface vertical vorticity to achieve tornadogenesis. This study quantifies such a dynamical response as a function of environmental wind profiles commonly found near supercells. Self-organizing maps (SOMs) were used to identify recurring low-level wind profile patterns from 20,194 model-analyzed, near-supercell soundings. The SOM nodes with larger 0–500 m storm-relative helicity (SRH) and streamwise vorticity (ωs) corresponded to higher observed tornado probabilities. The distilled wind profiles from the SOMs were used to initialize idealized numerical simulations of updrafts. In environments with large 0–500 m SRH and large ωs, a rotationally induced pressure deficit, increased dynamic lifting, and a strengthened updraft resulted. The resulting upward-directed accelerations were an order of magnitude stronger than typical buoyant accelerations. At 500 m AGL, this dynamical response increased the vertical velocity by up to 25 m s–1, vertical vorticity by up to 0.2 s–1, and pressure deficit by up to 5 hPa. This response specifically augments the near-ground updraft (the midlevel updraft properties are almost identical across the simulations). However, dynamical responses only occurred in environments where 0–500 m SRH and ωs exceeded 110 m2 s–2 and 0.015 s–1, respectively. The presence vs. absence of this dynamical response may explain why environments with higher 0–500 m SRH and ωs correspond to greater tornado probabilities.

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Jordi Isern-Fontanet and Antonio Turiel

Abstract

The multifractal theory of turbulence is used to investigate the energy cascade in the Northwestern Atlantic ocean. The statistics of singularity exponents of horizontal velocity gradients computed from in situ measurements at 2 km resolution are used to characterize the anomalous scaling of the velocity structure functions at depths between 50 ad 500 m. Here, we show that the degree of anomalous scaling can be quantified using singularity exponents. Observations reveal, on one side, that the anomalous scaling has a linear dependence on the exponent characterizing the strongest velocity gradient and, on the other side, that the slope of this linear dependence decreases with depth. Since the observed distribution of exponents is asymmetric about the mode at all depths, we use an infinitely divisible asymmetric model of the energy cascade, the log-Poisson model, to derive the functional dependence of the anomalous scaling with the exponent of the strongest velocity gradient, as well as the dependence with dissipation. Using this model we can interpret the vertical change of the linear slope between the anomalous scaling and the exponents of the strongest velocity gradients as a change in the energy cascade. This interpretation assumes the validity of the multifractal theory of turbulence, which has been assessed in previous studies.

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Yisen Zhong, Meng Zhou, Joanna J. Waniek, Lei Zhou, and Zhaoru Zhang

Abstract

The long-term satellite altimeter and reanalysis data show that large seasonal variations are associated with geostrophic Kuroshio intrusion, but not with the current intensity, width and axis position east of Philippine. To address this issue, we examine the seasonal variability of surface intrusion patterns by a new streamline-based method. The along-streamline analysis reveals that the seasonality of geostrophic intrusion is only attributed to the cyclonic shear part of the flow, while the anticyclonic shear part always leaps across the Luzon Strait. A possible physical mechanism is proposed to accommodate these seasonal characteristics based on globally the vorticity (torque work) balance between the basin-wide negative wind stress curl and the positive vorticity fluxes induced by the lateral wall, as well as locally loss of balance between the torques of frictional stresses and normal stresses owing to the boundary gap. Through modifying the nearshore sea surface level, the northeasterly/southeasterly monsoon increases/decreases the positive vorticity fluxes in response to global vorticity balance, and simultaneously amplifies/alleviates the local imbalance by enhancing/reducing the positive frictional stress torque within the cyclonic shear layer. Therefore, in winter when the positive torque is large enough, the Kuroshio splits and the intrusion occurs, while in summer the stress torque is so weak that the entire current keeps flowing north.

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Yalalt Nyamgerel, Sang-Bum Hong, Yeongcheol Han, Songyi Kim, Jeonghoon Lee, and Soon Do Hur

Abstract

Polar snowpits or ice cores preserve valuable information derived from atmosphere on past climate and environment changes. A 1.57 m snowpit record from the coastal site (Styx Glacier) in Eastern Antarctica covering the period from January 2011 to January 2015 was discussed and compared with meteorological variables. Dominant contribution of sea salt aerosols deposition due to the proximity of the site to the ocean and processes of sea ice formation was revealed in the ionic concentrations. Consistent seasonal peaks in δ18O, δD, MSA, nssSO42 and NO3 indicate the strong enhancement of their source during warm period, while the sea salt ions (Na+, K+, Mg2+, Ca2+, Cl and totSO42) exhibit a different distribution. Monthly mean δ18O positively correlates with the air temperature record from AWS located in the main wind direction. Despite the shortness of the record, we suspect that the slight depletion of the isotopic composition and lowering of the snow accumulation could have related to the cooler air temperature with decreasing of open sea area. Consistency with previous studies and the positive correlation of sea salt ions in the snowpit indicate the relatively well preservation of snow layers with noticeable climate and environmental signals (e.g. changes in SIE or sea surface temperature). We report a new snowpit record, which would be comparative and supportive to understand similar signals preserved in deeper ice cores in this location.

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Stanley G. Benjamin, Eric P. James, Ming Hu, Curtis R. Alexander, Therese T. Ladwig, John M. Brown, Stephen S. Weygandt, David D. Turner, Patrick Minnis, William L. Smith Jr., and Andrew K. Heidinger

Abstract

Accurate cloud and precipitation forecasts are a fundamental component of short-range data assimilation/model prediction systems such as the NOAA 3-km High-Resolution Rapid Refresh (HRRR) or the 13-km Rapid Refresh (RAP). To reduce cloud and precipitation spin-up problems, a non-variational assimilation technique for stratiform clouds was developed within the Gridpoint Statistical Interpolation (GSI) data assimilation system. One goal of this technique is retention of observed stratiform cloudy and clear 3D volumes into the subsequent model forecast. The cloud observations used include cloud-top data from satellite brightness temperatures, surface-based ceilometer data, and surface visibility. Quality control, expansion into spatial information content, and forward operators are described for each observation type. The projection of data from these observation types into an observation-based cloud-information 3D gridded field is accomplished via identification of cloudy, clear, and cloud-unknown 3D volumes. Updating of forecast background fields is accomplished through clearing and building of cloud water and cloud ice with associated modifications to water vapor and temperature. Impact of the cloud assimilation on short-range forecasts is assessed with a set of retrospective experiments in warm and cold seasons using the RAPv5 model. Short-range (1-9h) forecast skill is improved in both seasons for cloud ceiling and visibility and for 2-m temperature in daytime and with mixed results for other measures. Two modifications were introduced and tested with success: use of prognostic subgrid-scale cloud fraction to condition cloud building (in response to a high bias) and removal of a WRF-based rebalancing.

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Israel Gonzalez III and H. E. Willoughby

Abstract

Vortex Rossby Waves (VRWs) affect Tropical Cyclones’ (TCs’) motion, structure, and intensity. They propagate within annular waveguides defined by a passband between Ω1D, the Doppler-shifted frequency of a one-dimensional VRW, and zero. Wavenumber-1 VRWs cause TC motion directly and have wider waveguides than wavenumbers ≥ 2. VRWs forced with fixed rotation frequency propagate away from the forcing. Initially outward-propagating waves are Doppler shifted to zero at a critical radius, where they are absorbed. Initially inward-propagating waves are Doppler-shifted to Ω1D, reflect from a turning point, propagate outward, and are ultimately absorbed at the critical radius. Between the forcing and the turning radii, the VRWs have standing-wave structure; outward from the forcing they are trailing spirals. They carry angular momentum fluxes that act to accelerate the mean flow at the forcing radius and decelerate it at the critical radius.

Mean flow vorticity monopoles are inconsistent with Stokes Theorem on a spherical Earth, because a contour enclosing the monopole’s antipode would have nonzero circulation but would enclose zero vorticity.

The Rossby waveguide paradigm also fits synoptic-scale Rossby Waves in a meridionally sheared zonal flow. These waves propagate within a waveguide confined between a poleward turning latitude and an equatorward critical latitude. Forced waves are comma-shaped gyres that resemble observed frontal cyclones, with trailing filaments equatorward of the forcing latitude and standing waves poleward. Even neutral forced Rossby waves converge westerly momentum at the latitude of forcing.

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Xiaoxu Tian and Xiaolei Zou

Abstract

A four-dimensional variational (4D-Var) data assimilation (DA) system is developed for the global nonhydrostatic atmospheric dynamical core of the Model for Prediction Across Scales (MPAS). The nonlinear forward and adjoint models of the MPAS-Atmosphere dynamic core are included in a Python-driven structure to formulate a continuous 4D-Var DA system, shown to effectively minimize the cost function that measures the distances between the nonlinear model simulations and observations. In this study, three idealized experiments with a six-hour assimilation window are conducted to validate and demonstrate the numerical feasibilities of the 4D-Var DA system for both uniform- and variable-resolution meshes. In the first experiment, only a single point observation is assimilated. The resulting solution shows that the analysis increments have highly flow-dependent features. The observations in the second experiment are all model prognostic variables that span the entire global domain, the purpose of which is to check how well the initial conditions six hours prior to the observations can be reversely inferred. The differences between the analysis and the referenced "truth" are significantly smaller than those calculated with the first guess. The third experiment assimilates the mass field only, i.e., potential temperatures in the case of MPAS-Atmosphere, and examines the impacts on the wind field and the mass field under initial conditions. Both the wind vectors and potential temperatures in the analysis agree more with the referenced "truth" than the first guess because the adjustments made to the initial conditions are dynamically consistent in the 4D-Var system.

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Jianguo Yuan and Jun-Hong Liang

Abstract

Large-eddy simulations are used to investigate the influence of a horizontal frontal zone, represented by a stationary uniform background horizontal temperature gradient, on the wind- and wave-driven ocean surface boundary layers. In a frontal zone, the temperature structure, the ageostrophic mean horizontal current, and the turbulence in the ocean surface boundary layer all change with the relative angle among the wind and the front. The net heating and cooling of the boundary layer could be explained by the depth-integrated horizontal advective buoyancy flux, called the Ekman Buoyancy Flux (or the Ekman-Stokes Buoyancy Flux if wave effects are included). However, the detailed temperature profiles are also modulated by the depth-dependent advective buoyancy flux and submesoscale eddies. The surface current is deflected less (more) to the right of the wind and wave when the depth-integrated advective buoyancy flux cools (warms) the ocean surface boundary layer. Horizontal mixing is greatly enhanced by submesoscale eddies. The eddy-induced horizontal mixing is anisotropic and is stronger to the right of the wind direction. Vertical turbulent mixing depends on the superposition of the geostrophic and ageostrophic current, the depth-dependent advective buoyancy flux, and submesoscale eddies.

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Daniel F. Schmidt and Kevin M. Grise

Abstract

Climate change during the twenty-first century has the potential to substantially alter geographic patterns of precipitation. However, regional precipitation changes can be very difficult to project, and in some regions, global climate models do not even agree on the sign of the precipitation trend. Since some of this uncertainty is due to internal variability rather than model bias, models cannot be used to narrow the possibilities to a single outcome, but they can usefully quantify the range of plausible outcomes and identify the combination of dynamical drivers that would be likely to produce each.

This study uses a storylines approach—a type of regression-based analysis—to identify some of the key dynamical drivers that explain the variance in 21st century U.S. winter precipitation trends across CMIP6 models under the SSP3-7.0 emissions scenario. This analysis shows that the spread in precipitation trends is not primarily driven by differences in modeled climate sensitivity. Key drivers include global-mean surface temperature, but also tropical upper-troposphere temperature, the El Niño-Southern Oscillation (ENSO), the Pacific-North America (PNA) pattern, and the East Pacific (EP) dipole (a dipole pattern in geopotential heights over North America’s Pacific coast). Combinations of these drivers can reinforce or cancel to produce various high- or low-impact scenarios for winter precipitation trends in various regions of the United States. For example, the most extreme winter precipitation trends in the southwestern U.S. result from opposite trends in ENSO and EP, whereas the wettest winter precipitation trends in the midwestern U.S. result from a combination of strong global warming and a negative PNA trend.

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Israel Weinberger, Chaim I. Garfinkel, Ian P. White, and Thomas Birner

Abstract

The connection between the polar stratospheric vortex and the vertical component of the Eliassen-Palm flux in the lower stratosphere and upper troposphere is examined in model level data from the ERA-5 reanalysis. The particular focus of this work is on the conditions that lead to upward wave propagation between the tropopause and the bottom of the vortex near 100 hPa. The ability of four different versions of the index of refraction to capture this wave propagation are evaluated. The original Charney and Drazin index of refraction includes terms ignored by Matsuno that are shown to be critical for understanding upward wave propagation just above the tropopause in both the climatology and during extreme heat flux events. By adding these terms to the Matsuno index of refraction, it is possible to construct a useful tool that describes wave flux immediately above the tropopause and at the same time also describes the role of meridional variations within the stratosphere. It is shown that a stronger tropopause inversion layer tends to restrict upward wave propagation. It is also shown that while only 38% of extreme wave-1 Eliassen-Palm flux vertical component (Fz) at 100hPa events are preceded by extreme Fz at 300hPa, there are almost no extreme events at 100hPa in which the anomaly at 300hPa is of opposite sign or very weak. Overall, wave propagation near the tropopause is sensitive to vertical gradients in buoyancy frequency, and these vertical gradients may not be accurately captured in models or reanalysis products especially with lower vertical resolutions.

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