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Marvin A. Geller, Peter T. Love, and Ling Wang

Abstract

The 1-s-resolution U.S. radiosonde data are analyzed for unstable layers, where the potential temperature decreases with increasing altitude, in the troposphere and lower stratosphere (LS). Care is taken to exclude spurious unstable layers arising from noise in the soundings and also to allow for the destabilizing influence of water vapor in saturated layers. Riverton, Wyoming, and Greensboro, North Carolina, in the extratropics, are analyzed in detail, where it is found that the annual and diurnal variations are largest, and the interannual variations are smallest in the LS. More unstable layer occurrences in the LS at Riverton are found at 0000 UTC, while at Greensboro, more unstable layer occurrences in the LS are at 1200 UTC, consistent with a geographical pattern where greater unstable layer occurrences in the LS are at 0000 UTC in the western United States, while greater unstable layer occurrences are at 1200 UTC in the eastern United States. The picture at Koror, Palau, in the tropics is different in that the diurnal and interannual variations in unstable layer occurrences in the LS are largest, with much smaller annual variations. At Koror, more frequent unstable layer occurrences in the LS occur at 0000 UTC. Also, a “notch” in the frequencies of occurrence of thin unstable layers at about 12 km is observed at Koror, with large frequencies of occurrence of thick layers at that altitude. Histograms are produced for the two midlatitude stations and one tropical station analyzed. The log–log slopes for troposphere histograms are in reasonable agreement with earlier results, but the LS histograms show a steeper log–log slope, consistent with more thin unstable layers and fewer thick unstable layers there. Some radiosonde stations are excluded from this analysis since a marked change in unstable layer occurrences was identified when a change in radiosonde instrumentation occurred.

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Xinyu Li, Riyu Lu, and Joong-Bae Ahn

Abstract

The summer British–Baikal Corridor pattern (BBC) and the Silk Road pattern (SRP) manifest as zonally oriented teleconnections in the high and middle latitudes, respectively, of the Eurasian continent. In this study, we investigate the combined effects of the BBC and SRP on surface air temperatures over the Eurasian continent. It is found that the combination of the BBC and SRP results in two kinds of well-organized, large-scale circulation anomalies: the zonal tripole pattern and the Ω-like pattern in the 200-hPa geopotential height anomalies. The zonal tripole pattern is characterized by opposite variations between western Siberia/western Asia and Europe/central Asia/central Siberia, and the Ω-like pattern manifests as consistent variations over midlatitude Europe, western Siberia, and central Asia. Correspondingly, the resultant large-scale surface air temperature anomalies feature the same zonal tripole pattern and Ω-like pattern, respectively. Further results indicate that these two patterns resemble the two leading modes of surface air temperature anomalies over the middle to high latitudes of Eurasia. This study indicates that the temperature variations in the middle and high latitudes of Eurasia can be coordinated and evidently explained by the combination of the BBC and SRP, and it contributes to a more comprehensive understanding of the large-scale Eurasian climate variability.

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Goodwin Gibbins and Joanna D. Haigh

Abstract

A recent paper by Kato and Rose reports a negative correlation between the annual mean entropy production rate of the climate and the absorption of solar radiation in the CERES SYN1deg dataset, using the simplifying assumption that the system is steady in time. It is shown here, however, that when the nonsteady interannual storage of entropy is accounted for, the dataset instead implies a positive correlation; that is, global entropy production rates increase with solar absorption. Furthermore, this increase is consistent with the response demonstrated by an energy balance model and a radiative–convective model. To motivate this updated analysis, a detailed discussion of the conceptual relationship between entropy production, entropy storage, and entropy flows is provided. The storage-corrected estimate for the mean global rate of entropy production in the CERES dataset from all irreversible transfer processes is 81.9 mW m−2 K−1 and from only nonradiative processes is 55.2 mW m−2 K−1 (observations from March 2000 to February 2018).

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Johannes Mayer, Michael Mayer, and Leopold Haimberger

Abstract

This study uses advanced numerical and diagnostic methods to evaluate the atmospheric energy budget with the fifth major global reanalysis produced by ECMWF (ERA5) in combination with observed and reconstructed top of the atmosphere (TOA) energy fluxes for the period 1985–2018. We assess the meridional as well as ocean–land energy transport and perform internal consistency checks using mass-balanced data. Furthermore, the moisture and mass budgets in ERA5 are examined and compared with previous budget evaluations using ERA-Interim as well as observation-based estimates. Results show that peak annual mean meridional atmospheric energy transports in ERA5 (4.58 ± 0.07 PW in the Northern Hemisphere) are weaker compared to ERA-Interim (4.74 ± 0.09 PW), where the higher spatial and temporal resolution of ERA5 can be excluded as a possible reason. The ocean–land energy transport in ERA5 is reliable at least from 2000 onward (~2.5 PW) such that the imbalance between net TOA fluxes and lateral energy fluxes over land are on the order of ~1 W m−2. Spinup and spindown effects as revealed from inconsistencies between analyses and forecasts are generally smaller and temporally less variable in ERA5 compared to ERA-Interim. Evaluation of the moisture budget shows that the ocean–land moisture transport and parameterized freshwater fluxes agree well in ERA5, while there are large inconsistencies in ERA-Interim. Overall, the quality of the budgets derived from ERA5 is demonstrably better than estimates from ERA-Interim. Still some particularly sensitive budget quantities (e.g., precipitation, evaporation, and ocean–land energy transport) show apparent inhomogeneities, especially in the late 1990s, which warrant further investigation and need to be considered in studies of interannual variability and trends.

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Jonathan L. Mitchell and Spencer A. Hill

Abstract

Weak-temperature-gradient influences from the tropics and quasigeostrophic influences from the extratropics plausibly constrain the subtropical-mean static stability in terrestrial atmospheres. Because mean descent acting on this static stability is a leading-order term in the thermodynamic balance, a state-invariant static stability would impose constraints on the Hadley cells, which this paper explores in simulations of varying planetary rotation rate. If downdraft-averaged effective heating (the sum of diabatic heating and eddy heat flux convergence) too is invariant, so must be vertical velocity—an “omega governor.” In that case, the Hadley circulation overturning strength and downdraft width must scale identically—the cell can strengthen only by widening or weaken only by narrowing. Semiempirical scalings demonstrate that subtropical eddy heat flux convergence weakens with rotation rate (scales positively) while diabatic heating strengthens (scales negatively), compensating one another if they are of similar magnitude. Simulations in two idealized, dry GCMs with a wide range of planetary rotation rates exhibit nearly unchanging downdraft-averaged static stability, effective heating, and vertical velocity, as well as nearly identical scalings of the Hadley cell downdraft width and strength. In one, eddy stresses set this scaling directly (the Rossby number remains small); in the other, eddy stress and bulk Rossby number changes compensate to yield the same, ~Ω−1/3 scaling. The consistency of this power law for cell width and strength variations may indicate a common driver, and we speculate that Ekman pumping could be the mechanism responsible for this behavior. Diabatic heating in an idealized aquaplanet GCM is an order of magnitude larger than in dry GCMs and reanalyses, and while the subtropical static stability is insensitive to rotation rate, the effective heating and vertical velocity are not.

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Ruoting Wu and Guixing Chen

Abstract

The Asian monsoon has large spatial and temporal variabilities in winds and precipitation. This study reveals that the Asian monsoon also exhibits pronounced regional differences in cloud regimes and cloud–rainfall relationship at a wide range of time scales from diurnal to seasonal to interannual. Over South (East) Asia, the convectively active regime of deep convection (CD) occurs frequently in June–September (March–September) with a late-afternoon peak (morning feature). The intermediate mixture (IM) regime over South Asia mainly occurs in summer and maximizes near noon. It develops as CD at late afternoon and dissipates as convective cirrus (CC) after midnight, showing a life cycle of thermal convection in response to solar radiation. Over East Asia, IM is dominant in cold seasons with a small diurnal cycle, indicating a prevalence of midlevel stratiform clouds. Further analyses show that CD and CC contribute 80%–90% of the rainfall amount and most of the intense rainfall in the two key regions. The CD-related rainfall also accounts for the pronounced diurnal cycles of summer rainfall with a late-afternoon peak (morning feature) over northern India (Southeast China). The afternoon CD-related rainfall mainly results from thermal convection under the moderate humidity but warm conditions particularly over northern India, while the morning CD-related rainfall over Southeast China is more related to the processes with high humidity. The CD/CC-related rainfall also exhibits large interannual variations that explain ~90% of the interannual variance of summer rainfall. The interannual variations of CD/CC occurrence are positively correlated with the moist southerlies and induced convergence, especially over Southeast China, suggesting a close relationship between cloud regimes and monsoon activities.

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Sergey Frolov, Carolyn A. Reynolds, Michael Alexander, Maria Flatau, Neil P. Barton, Patrick Hogan, and Clark Rowley

Abstract

Patterns of correlations between the ocean and the atmosphere are examined using a high-resolution (1/12° ocean and ice, 1/3° atmosphere) ensemble of data assimilative, coupled, global, ocean–atmosphere forecasts. This provides a unique perspective into atmosphere–ocean interactions constrained by assimilated observations, allowing for the contrast of patterns of coupled processes across regions and the examination of processes affected by ocean mesoscale eddies. Correlations during the first 24 h of the coupled forecast between the ocean surface temperature and atmospheric variables, and between the ocean mixed layer depth and surface winds are examined as a function of region and season. Three distinct coupling regimes emerge: 1) regions characterized by strong sea surface temperature fronts, where uncertainty in the ocean mesoscale influences ocean–atmosphere exchanges; 2) regions with intense atmospheric convection over the tropical oceans, where uncertainty in the modeled atmospheric convection impacts the upper ocean; and 3) regions where the depth of the seasonal mixed layer (MLD) determines the magnitude of the coupling, which is stronger when the MLD is shallow and weaker when the MLD is deep. A comparison with models at lower horizontal (1/12° vs 1° and 1/4°) and vertical (1- vs 10-m depth of the first layer) ocean resolution reveals that coupling in the boundary currents, the tropical Indian Ocean, and the warm pool regions requires high levels of horizontal and vertical resolution. Implications for coupled data assimilation and short-term forecasting are discussed.

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Lei Liu, Huijie Xue, and Hideharu Sasaki

Abstract

Using the extended “interior + surface quasigeostrophic” method from the 2019 study by Liu et al. (hereafter L19), subsurface density and horizontal velocities can be reconstructed from sea surface buoyancy and surface height. This study explores the potential of L19 for diagnosing the upper-ocean vertical velocity w field from high-resolution surface information, employing the 1/30° horizontal resolution OFES model output. Specifically, we employ the L19-reconstructed density and horizontal velocity fields in a diabatic version of the omega equation that incorporates a simplified parameterization for turbulent vertical mixing. The w diagnosis is evaluated against OFES output in the Kuroshio Extension region of the North Pacific, and the result indicates that the L19 method constitutes an effective framework. Statistically, the OFES-simulated and L19-diagnosed w fields have a 2-yr-averaged spatial correlation of 0.42–0.51 within the mixed layer and 0.51–0.67 throughout the 1000-m upper ocean below the mixed layer. Including the diabatic turbulent mixing effect has improved the w diagnoses inside the mixed layer, particularly for the cold-season days with the largest correlation improvement reaching 0.31. Our encouraging results suggest that the L19 method can be applied to the high-resolution sea surface height data from the forthcoming Surface Water and Ocean Topography (SWOT) satellite mission for reconstructing 3D hydrodynamic conditions of the upper ocean.

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Xianwen Jing, Xianglei Huang, Xiuhong Chen, Dong L. Wu, Peter Pilewskie, Odele Coddington, and Erik Richard

Abstract

Not only total solar irradiance (TSI) but also spectral solar irradiance (SSI) matter for our climate. Different surfaces can have different reflectivity for the visible (VIS) and near-infrared (NIR). The recent NASA Total and Spectral Solar Irradiance Sensor (TSIS-1) mission has provided more accurate SSI observations than before. The TSI observed by TSIS-1 differs from the counterpart used by climate models by no more than 1 W m−2. However, the SSI difference in a given VIS (e.g., 0.44–0.63 μm) and NIR (e.g., 0.78–1.24 μm) band can be as large as 4 W m−2 with opposite signs. Using the NCAR CESM2, we study to what extent such different VIS and NIR SSI partitions can affect the simulated climate. Two sets of simulations with identical TSI are carried out, one with SSI partitioning as observed by the TSIS-1 mission and the other with what has been used in the current climate models. Due to different VIS-NIR spectral reflectance contrasts between icy (or snowy) surfaces and open water, the simulation with more SSI in the VIS has less solar absorption by the high-latitude surfaces, ending up with colder polar surface temperature and larger sea ice coverage. The difference is more prominent over the Antarctic than over the Arctic. Our results suggest that, even for the identical TSI, the surface albedo feedback can be triggered by different SSI partition between the VIS and NIR. The results underscore the importance of continuously monitoring SSI and the use of correct SSI in climate simulations.

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Paige E. Martin, Brian K. Arbic, and Andrew McC. Hogg

Abstract

Ocean–atmosphere coupling modifies the variability of Earth’s climate over a wide range of time scales. However, attribution of the processes that generate this variability remains an outstanding problem. In this article, air–sea coupling is investigated in an eddy-resolving, medium-complexity, idealized ocean–atmosphere model. The model is run in three configurations: fully coupled, partially coupled (where the effect of the ocean geostrophic velocity on the sea surface temperature field is minimal), and atmosphere-only. A surface boundary layer temperature variance budget analysis computed in the frequency domain is shown to be a powerful tool for studying air–sea interactions, as it differentiates the relative contributions to the variability in the temperature field from each process across a range of time scales (from daily to multidecadal). This method compares terms in the ocean and atmosphere across the different model configurations to infer the underlying mechanisms driving temperature variability. Horizontal advection plays a dominant role in driving temperature variance in both the ocean and the atmosphere, particularly at time scales shorter than annual. At longer time scales, the temperature variance is dominated by strong coupling between atmosphere and ocean. Furthermore, the Ekman transport contribution to the ocean’s horizontal advection is found to underlie the low-frequency behavior in the atmosphere. The ocean geostrophic eddy field is an important driver of ocean variability across all frequencies and is reflected in the atmospheric variability in the western boundary current separation region at longer time scales.

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