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Hamish D. Prince, Nicolas J. Cullen, Peter B. Gibson, Jono Conway, and Daniel G. Kingston

Abstract

The occurrence of extreme precipitation events in New Zealand regularly results in devastating impacts to the local society and environment. An automated atmospheric river (AR) detection technique (ARDT) is applied to construct a climatology (1979–2019) of extreme midlatitude moisture fluxes conducive to extreme precipitation. A distinct seasonality exists in AR occurrence aligning with seasonal variations in the midlatitude jet streams. The formation of the Southern Hemisphere winter split jet enables AR occurrence to persist through all seasons in northern regions of New Zealand, while southern regions of the country exhibit a substantial (50%) reduction in AR occurrence as the polar jet shifts southward during the cold season. ARs making landfall on the western coast of New Zealand (90% of all events) are characterized by a dominant northwesterly moisture flux associated with a distinct dipole pressure anomaly, with low pressure to the southwest and high pressure to the northeast of New Zealand. Precipitation totals during AR events increase with AR rank (five-point scale) throughout the country, with the most substantial increase on the windward side of the Southern Alps (South Island). The largest events (rank 5 ARs) produce 3-day precipitation totals exceeding 1000 mm. ARs account for up to 78% of total precipitation and up to 94% of extreme precipitation on the west coast of the South Island. Assessment of the multiscale atmospheric processes associated with AR events governing extreme precipitation in the Southern Alps of New Zealand should remain a priority given their hydrological significance and impact on people and infrastructure.

Open access
Alex Schueth, Christopher Weiss, and Johannes M. L. Dahl

Abstract

The forward-flank convergence boundary (FFCB) in supercells has been well documented in many observational and modeling studies. It is theorized that the FFCB is a focal point for the baroclinic generation of vorticity. This vorticity is generally horizontal and streamwise in nature, which can then be tilted and converted to midlevel (3–6 km AGL) vertical vorticity. Previous modeling studies of supercells often show horizontal streamwise vorticity present behind the FFCB, with higher-resolution simulations resolving larger magnitudes of horizontal vorticity. Recently, studies have shown a particularly strong realization of this vorticity called the streamwise vorticity current (SVC). In this study, a tornadic supercell is simulated with the Bryan Cloud Model at 125-m horizontal grid spacing, and a coherent SVC is shown to be present. Simulated range–height indicator (RHI) data show the strongest horizontal vorticity is located on the periphery of a steady-state Kelvin–Helmholtz billow in the FFCB head. Additionally, a similar structure is found in two separate observed cases with the Texas Tech University Ka-band (TTUKa) mobile radar RHIs. Analyzing vorticity budgets for parcels in the vicinity of the FFCB head in the simulation, stretching of vorticity is the primary contributor to the strong streamwise vorticity, while baroclinic generation of vorticity plays a smaller role.

Open access
Akshay Deoras, Kieran M. R. Hunt, and Andrew G. Turner

Abstract

This study analyzes the prediction of Indian monsoon low pressure systems (LPSs) on an extended time scale of 15 days by models of the Subseasonal-to-Seasonal (S2S) prediction project. Using a feature-tracking algorithm, LPSs are identified in 11 S2S models during a common reforecast period of June–September 1999–2010, and then compared with 290 and 281 LPSs tracked in ERA-Interim and MERRA-2 reanalysis datasets. The results show that all S2S models underestimate the frequency of LPSs. They are able to represent transits, genesis, and lysis of LPSs; however, large biases are observed in the Australian Bureau of Meteorology, China Meteorological Administration (CMA), and Hydrometeorological Centre of Russia (HMCR) models. The CMA model exhibits large LPS track position error and the intensity of LPSs is overestimated (underestimated) by most models when verified against ERA-Interim (MERRA-2). The European Centre for Medium-Range Weather Forecasts and Met Office models have the best ensemble spread–error relationship for the track position and intensity, whereas the HMCR model has the worst. Most S2S models are underdispersive—more so for the intensity than the position. We find the influence of errors in the LPS simulation on the pattern of total precipitation biases in all S2S models. In most models, precipitation biases increase with forecast lead time over most of the monsoon core zone. These results demonstrate the potential for S2S models at simulating LPSs, thereby giving the possibility of improved disaster preparedness and water resources planning.

Open access
Duo Chan and Peter Huybers

Abstract

Most historical sea surface temperature (SST) estimates indicate warmer World War II SSTs than expected from forcing and internal climate variability. If real, this World War II warm anomaly (WW2WA) has important implications for decadal variability, but the WW2WA may also arise from incomplete corrections of biases associated with bucket and engine room intake (ERI) measurements. To better assess the origins of the WW2WA, we develop five different historical SST estimates (reconstructions R1–R5). Using uncorrected SST measurements from the International Comprehensive Ocean–Atmosphere Data Set (ICOADS) version 3.0 (R1) gives a WW2WA of 0.41°C. In contrast, using only buckets (R2) or ERI observations (R3) gives WW2WAs of 0.18° and 0.08°C, respectively, implying that uncorrected biases are the primary source of the WW2WA. We then use an extended linear-mixed-effect method to quantify systematic differences between subsets of SSTs and develop groupwise SST adjustments based on differences between pairs of nearby SST measurements. Using all measurements after applying groupwise adjustments (R4) gives a WW2WA of 0.13°C [95% confidence interval (c.i.): 0.01°–0.26°C] and indicates that U.S. and U.K. naval observations are the primary cause of the WW2WA. Finally, nighttime bucket SSTs are found to be warmer than their daytime counterparts during WW2, prompting a daytime-only reconstruction using groupwise adjustments (R5) that has a WW2WA of 0.09°C (95% c.i.: −0.01° to 0.18°C). R5 is consistent with the range of internal variability found in either the CMIP5 (95% c.i.: −0.10° to 0.10°C) or CMIP6 ensembles (95% c.i.: −0.11° to 0.10°C). These results support the hypothesis that the WW2WA is an artifact of observational biases, although further data and metadata analyses will be important for confirmation.

Open access
Zhaolu Hou, Jianping Li, and Bin Zuo

Abstract

Numerical seasonal forecasts in Earth science always contain forecast errors that cannot be eliminated by improving the ability of the numerical model. Therefore, correction of model forecast results is required. Analog correction is an effective way to reduce model forecast errors, but the key question is how to locate analogs. In this paper, we updated the local dynamical analog (LDA) algorithm to find analogs and depicted the process of model error correction as the LDA correction scheme. The LDA correction scheme was first applied to correct the operational seasonal forecasts of sea surface temperature (SST) over the period 1982–2018 from the state-of-the-art coupled climate model named NCEP Climate Forecast System, version 2. The results demonstrated that the LDA correction scheme improves forecast skill in many regions as measured by the correlation coefficient and root-mean-square error, especially over the extratropical eastern Pacific and tropical Pacific, where the model has high simulation ability. El Niño–Southern Oscillation (ENSO) as the focused physics process is also improved. The seasonal predictability barrier of ENSO is in remission, and the forecast skill of central Pacific ENSO also increases due to the LDA correction method. The intensity of the ENSO mature phases is improved. Meanwhile, the ensemble forecast results are corrected, which proves the positive influence from this LDA correction scheme on the probability forecast of cold and warm events. Overall, the LDA correction scheme, combining statistical and model dynamical information, is demonstrated to be readily integrable with other advanced operational models and has the capability to improve forecast results.

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Stephen Jewson, Sebastian Scher, and Gabriele Messori

Abstract

Users of meteorological forecasts are often faced with the question of whether to make a decision now, on the basis of the current forecast, or to wait for the next and, it is hoped, more accurate forecast before making the decision. Following previous authors, we analyze this question as an extension of the well-known cost–loss model. Within this extended cost–loss model, the question of whether to decide now or to wait depends on two specific aspects of the forecast, both of which involve probabilities of probabilities. For the special case of weather and climate forecasts in the form of normal distributions, we derive a simple simulation algorithm, and equivalent analytical expressions, for calculating these two probabilities. We apply the algorithm to forecasts of temperature and find that the algorithm leads to better decisions in most cases relative to three simpler alternative decision-making schemes, in both a simulated context and when we use reforecasts, surface observations, and rigorous out-of-sample validation of the decisions. To the best of our knowledge, this is the first time that a dynamic multistage decision algorithm has been demonstrated to work using real weather observations. Our results have implications for the additional kinds of information that forecasters of weather and climate could produce to facilitate good decision-making on the basis of their forecasts.

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Weixin Xu, Steven A. Rutledge, and Kyle Chudler

Abstract

Using 17-yr spaceborne precipitation radar measurements, this study investigates how diurnal cycles of rainfall and convective characteristics over the South China Sea region are modulated by the boreal summer intraseasonal oscillation (BSISO). Generally, diurnal cycles change significantly between suppressed and active BSISO periods. Over the Philippines and Indochina, where the low-level monsoon flows impinge on coast lines, diurnal cycles of rainfall and many convective properties are enhanced during suppressed periods. During active periods, diurnal variation of convection is still significant over land but diminishes over water. Also, afternoon peaks of rainfall and MCS populations over land are obviously extended in active periods, mainly through the enhancement of stratiform precipitation. Over Borneo, where the prevailing low-level winds are parallel to coasts, diurnal cycles (both onshore and offshore) are actually stronger during active periods. Radar profiles also demonstrate a pronounced nocturnal offshore propagation of deep convection over western Borneo in active periods. During suppressed periods, coastal afternoon convection over Borneo is reduced, and peak convection occurs over the mountains until the convective suppression is overcome in the late afternoon or evening. A major portion (>70%) of the total precipitation over the Philippines and Indochina during suppressed periods falls from afternoon isolated to medium-sized systems (<10 000 km2), but more than 70% of the active BSISO rainfall is contributed by nocturnal (after 1800 LT) broad precipitation systems (>10 000 km2). However, offshore total precipitation is dominated by large precipitation systems (>10 000 km2) regardless of BSISO phases and regions.

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Peng Wang, Yishuai Jin, and Zhengyu Liu

Abstract

In this study, we investigate a diurnal predictability barrier (DPB) for weather predictions using an idealized model and observations. This DPB is referred to a maximum drop of predictability (e.g., autocorrelation) at a particular time of the day, regardless of the initial time. Previous studies demonstrated that a strong seasonal cycle of El Niño–Southern Oscillation (ENSO) growth rate is responsible for the seasonal predictability barrier of the ENSO in spring. This led us to investigate whether or not a strong diurnal cycle may generate a DPB. We study the DPB using an idealized model, the Lorenz 1963 model, with the addition of a diurnal cycle. We find that diurnal growth rate can generate a DPB in this chaotic system, regardless of the initial error. Finally, by calculating the autocorrelation function using the hourly data of surface temperature, we explore the DPB at two stations in Wisconsin and Beijing, China. A clear DPB feature is found at both stations. The dramatic drop of predictability at a specific time of the day is likely due to the diurnal variation of the system. This is a new feature that needs further study for short-term weather predictions.

Open access
Michael J. Reeder, Thomas Spengler, and Clemens Spensberger

Abstract

It is thought that the sensible heat fluxes associated with sea surface temperature (SST) fronts can affect the genesis and evolution of atmospheric fronts. An analytic model is developed and used to explore this idea. The model predictions are compared with climatologies of atmospheric fronts over the North Atlantic Ocean identified in reanalyses. The climatologies are divided into times when fronts are detected at a point and times when they are not, and compared with model results with and without fronts in their initial conditions. In airstreams with fronts, both the climatologies and model show that adiabatic frontogenesis is much more important than diabatic frontogenesis. They also show that there is weak diabatic frontogenesis associated with differential sensible heating over the SST front and frontolysis either side of it. Because of the upstream and downstream frontolysis, the SST front has relatively little net effect on atmospheric fronts in the model. This result holds true as the width and strength of the SST front changes. In airstreams initially without fronts, a combination of adiabatic and diabatic frontogenesis is important for the local genesis of atmospheric fronts over the SST front. The model shows sustained frontogenesis only when the deformation is sufficiently strong or when the translation speed is low, as advection otherwise weakens the potential temperature gradient. This strong localized diabatic frontogenesis, which is amplified by adiabatic frontogenesis, can result in a front, which is consistent with atmospheric fronts in the region being most frequently located along the SST front.

Open access
Samar Minallah and Allison L. Steiner

Abstract

Lakes are an integral part of the geosphere, but they are challenging to represent in Earth system models, which either exclude lakes or prescribe properties without simulating lake dynamics. In the ECMWF interim reanalysis (ERA-Interim), lakes are represented by prescribing lake surface water temperatures (LSWT) from external data sources, while the newer-generation ERA5 introduces the Freshwater Lake (FLake) parameterization scheme to the modeling system with different LSWT assimilation data sources. This study assesses the performance of these two reanalyses over three regions with the largest lakes in the world (Laurentian Great Lakes, African Great Lakes, and Lake Baikal) to understand the effects of their simulation differences on hydrometeorological variables. We find that differences in lake representation alter the associated hydrological and atmospheric processes and can affect regional hydroclimatic assessments. There are prominent differences in LSWT between the two datasets that influence the simulation of lake-effect snowstorms in the Laurentian winters and lake–land-breeze circulation patterns in the African region. Generally, ERA5 has warmer LSWT in all three regions for most months (by 2–12 K) and its evaporation rates are up to twice the magnitudes in ERA-Interim. In the Laurentian lakes, ERA5 has strong biases in LSWT and evaporation magnitudes. Over Lake Baikal and the African Great Lakes, ERA5 LSWT magnitudes are closer to satellite-based datasets, albeit with a warm bias (1–4 K), while ERA-Interim underestimates the magnitudes. ERA5 also simulates intense precipitation hot spots in lake proximity that are not visible in ERA-Interim and other observation-based datasets. Despite these limitations, ERA5 improves the simulation of lake–land circulation patterns across the African Great Lakes.

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