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Seiji Kato, Norman G. Loeb, John T. Fasullo, Kevin E. Trenberth, Peter H. Lauritzen, Fred G. Rose, David A. Rutan, and Masaki Satoh

Abstract

Effects of water mass imbalance and hydrometeor transport on the enthalpy flux and water phase on diabatic heating rate in computing the regional energy and water budget of the atmosphere over ocean are investigated. Equations of energy and water budget of the atmospheric column that explicitly consider the velocity of liquid and ice cloud particles, and rain and snow are formulated by separating water variables from dry air. Differences of energy budget equations formulated in this study from those used in earlier studies are that 1) diabatic heating rate depends on water phase, 2) diabatic heating due to net condensation of nonprecipitating hydrometeors is included, and 3) hydrometeors can be advected with a different velocity from the dry-air velocity. Convergence of water vapor associated with phase change and horizontal transport of hydrometeors is to increase diabatic heating in the atmospheric column where hydrometeors are formed and exported and to reduce energy where hydrometeors are imported and evaporated. The process can improve the regional energy and water mass balance when energy data products are integrated. Effects of enthalpy transport associated with water mass transport through the surface are cooling to the atmosphere and warming to the ocean when the enthalpy is averaged over the global ocean. There is no net effect to the atmosphere and ocean columns combined. While precipitation phase changes the regional diabatic heating rate up to 15 W m−2, the dependence of the global mean value on the temperature threshold of melting snow to form rain is less than 1 W m−2.

Open access
Chunyong Jung and Gary M. Lackmann

Abstract

This study uses small ensembles of convection-allowing, quasi-idealized simulations to examine the response of North Atlantic tropical cyclones (TCs) undergoing extratropical transition (ET) to climate change. Using HURDAT2 and ERA5 data over a 40-yr period from 1979 to 2018, we developed storm-relative composite fields for past North Atlantic recurving, oceanic ET events. The quasi-idealized present-day simulations are initialized from these composites and run in an aquaplanet domain. A pseudo–global warming approach is used for future simulations: Thermodynamic changes between late twenty-first century and twentieth century, derived from an ensemble of 20 CMIP5 GCMs under the RCP8.5 scenario, are added to the present-day initial and lateral boundary conditions. The composite-initialized present-day simulations exhibit realistic ET characteristics. Future simulations show greater intensity, heavier precipitation, and stronger downstream midlatitude wave train development relative to the present-day case. Specifically, the future ET event is substantially stronger before ET completion, though the system undergoes less reintensification after ET completion. Reductions in lower-tropospheric baroclinicity associated with Arctic amplification could contribute to this result. The future simulation exhibits 3-hourly ensemble-mean precipitation rate increases ranging from ~23% to ~50%, depending on ET phase and averaging radius. In addition, larger eddy kinetic energy accompanies the future storm, partly created by increased baroclinic conversion, resulting in stronger amplification of downstream energy maxima via intensified ageostrophic geopotential flux convergence and divergence. These results suggest that future TCs undergoing ET could have greater potential to cause high-impact weather in western Europe through both direct and remote processes.

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Camille Hankel and Eli Tziperman

Abstract

Winter Arctic sea ice loss has been simulated with varying degrees of abruptness across global climate models (GCMs) run in phase 5 of the Coupled Model Intercomparison Project (CMIP5) under the high-emissions extended RCP8.5 scenario. Previous studies have proposed various mechanisms to explain modeled abrupt winter sea ice loss, such as the existence of a wintertime convective cloud feedback or the role of the freezing point as a natural threshold, but none have sought to explain the variability of the abruptness of winter sea ice loss across GCMs. Here we propose a year-to-year local positive feedback cycle in which warm, open oceans at the start of winter allow for the moistening and warming of the lower atmosphere, which in turn increases the downward clear-sky longwave radiation at the surface and suppresses ocean freezing. This situation leads to delayed and diminished winter sea ice growth and allows for increased shortwave absorption from lowered surface albedo during springtime. Last, the ocean stores this additional heat throughout the summer and autumn seasons, setting up even warmer ocean conditions that lead to further sea ice reduction. We show that the strength of this feedback, as measured by the partial temperature contributions of the different surface heat fluxes, correlates strongly with the abruptness of winter sea ice loss across models. Thus, we suggest that this feedback mechanism may explain intermodel spread in the abruptness of winter sea ice loss. In models in which the feedback mechanism is strong, this may indicate the possibility of hysteresis and thus irreversibility of sea ice loss.

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Guixing Chen, Yu Du, and Zhiping Wen

Abstract

This study revisits the long-term variabilities of the East Asian summer monsoon (EASM) in 1958–2017 through examination of diurnal cycles. We group monsoon days into four dynamic quadrants (Q1 to Q4), with emphasis on the strong daily southerlies coupled with a large (Q1) or small (Q4) diurnal amplitude over Southeast China. The occurrence day of Q1 increases in June–July with the seasonal progress of the EASM. It is most pronounced in the 1960s to the 1970s and declines to the lowest in the 1980s to the 1990s, whereas the Q4 occurrence increases notably from the 1970s to the 1990s; both groups return to normal in recent years. The interdecadal decrease (increase) of Q1 (Q4) occurrence corresponds well to the known weakening of EASM in the twentieth century, and it also coincides with the rainfall anomalies over China shifting from a “north flooding and south drought” to a “north drought and south flooding” mode. The rainfall under Q1 (Q4) can account for ~60% of the interannual variance of summer rainfall in northern (southern) China. The contrasting effects of Q1 and Q4 on rainfall are due to their remarkably different regulation on water vapor transport and convergence. The interannual/interdecadal variations of Q1 (Q4) occurrence determine the anomalous water vapor transports to northern (southern) China, in association with the various expansion of the western Pacific subtropical high. In particular, Q1 conditions can greatly intensify nighttime moisture convergence, which is responsible for the long-term variations of rainfall in northern China. The results highlight that the diurnal cycles in monsoon flow act as a key regional process working with large-scale circulation to regulate the spatial distributions and long-term variabilities of EASM rainfall.

Open access
Mi-Kyung Sung, Seok-Woo Son, Changhyun Yoo, Jaeyoung Hwang, and Soon-Il An

Abstract

In recent winters, there have been repeated observations of extreme warm and cold spells in the midlatitude countries. This has evoked questions regarding how winter temperature extremes are induced. In this study, we demonstrate that abnormally warm winter weather in East Asia can drive the onset of extremely cold weather in North America approximately one week forward. These seesawing extremes across the basin are mediated by the North Pacific Oscillation (NPO), one of the recurrent atmospheric patterns over the North Pacific. Budget analysis of the quasigeostrophic geopotential tendency equation shows that intense thermal advection over East Asia is able to trigger the growth of the NPO. Vorticity fluxes associated with the upper-level stationary trough then strengthen and maintain the NPO against thermal damping following the onset of the NPO. Differential diabatic heating accompanied by changes in circulation also positively contribute to the growth and maintenance of the NPO. These results imply that recurrent cold extremes, seemingly contrary to global warming, may be an inherent feature resulting from strengthening warm extremes.

Open access
Christopher J. Cardinale, Brian E. J. Rose, Andrea L. Lang, and Aaron Donohoe

Abstract

The flux of moist static energy into the polar regions plays a key role in the energy budget and climate of the polar regions. While usually studied from a vertically integrated perspective (F wall), this analysis examines its vertical structure, using the NASA-MERRA-2 reanalysis to compute climatological and anomalous fluxes of sensible, latent, and potential energy across 70°N and 65°S for the period 1980–2016. The vertical structure of the climatological flux is bimodal, with peaks in the middle to lower troposphere and middle to upper stratosphere. The near-zero flux at the tropopause defines the boundary between stratospheric (F strat) and tropospheric (F trop) contributions to F wall. Especially at 70°N, F strat is found to be important to the climatology and variability of F wall, contributing 20.9 W m−2 to F wall (19% of F wall) during the winter and explaining 23% of the variance of F wall. During winter, an anomalous poleward increase in F strat preceding a sudden stratospheric warming is followed by an increase in outgoing longwave radiation anomalies, with little influence on the surface energy budget of the Arctic. Conversely, a majority of the energy input by an anomalous poleward increase in F trop goes toward warming the Arctic surface. Overall, F trop is found to be a better metric than F wall for evaluating the influence of atmospheric circulations on the Arctic surface climate.

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Jed E. Lenetsky, Bruno Tremblay, Charles Brunette, and Gianluca Meneghello

Abstract

We use ocean observations and reanalyses to investigate the subseasonal predictability of summer and fall sea ice area (SIA) in the western Arctic Ocean associated with lateral ocean heat transport (OHT) through Bering Strait and vertical OHT along the Alaskan coastline from Ekman divergence and upwelling. Results show predictive skill of spring Bering Strait OHT anomalies in the Chukchi Sea and eastern East Siberian Sea for June and July SIA, followed by a sharp drop in predictive skill in August, September, and October and a resurgence of the correlation in November during freeze-up. Fall upwelling of Pacific Water along the Alaskan coastline—a mechanism that was proposed as a preconditioner for lower sea ice concentration (SIC) in the Beaufort Sea the following summer—shows minimal predictive strength on both local and regional scales for any months of the melt season. A statistical hindcast based on May Bering Strait OHT anomalies explains 77% of July Chukchi Sea SIA variance. Using OHT as a predictor of SIA anomalies in the Chukchi Sea improves hindcasts from the simple linear trend by 35% and predictions from spring sea ice thickness anomalies by 24%. This work highlights the importance of ocean heat anomalies for melt season sea ice prediction and provides observational evidence of subseasonal changes in forecast skill observed in model-based forecasts of the Chukchi Sea.

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Shubhi Agrawal, Craig R. Ferguson, Lance Bosart, and D. Alex Burrows

Abstract

A spectral analysis of Great Plains 850-hPa meridional winds (V850) from ECMWF’s coupled climate reanalysis of 1901–2010 (CERA-20C) reveals that their warm season (April–September) interannual variability peaks in May with 2–6-yr periodicity, suggestive of an underlying teleconnection influence on low-level jets (LLJs). Using an objective, dynamical jet classification framework based on 500-hPa wave activity, we pursue a large-scale teleconnection hypothesis separately for LLJs that are uncoupled (LLJUC) and coupled (LLJC) to the upper-level jet stream. Differentiating between jet types enables isolation of their respective sources of variability. In the U.S. south-central plains (SCP), May LLJCs account for nearly 1.6 times more precipitation and 1.5 times greater V850 compared to LLJUCs. Composite analyses of May 250-hPa geopotential height (Z250) conditioned on LLJC and LLJUC frequencies highlight a distinct planetary-scale Rossby wave pattern with wavenumber 5, indicative of an underlying circumglobal teleconnection (CGT). An index of May CGT is found to be significantly correlated with both LLJC (r = 0.62) and LLJUC (r = −0.48) frequencies. Additionally, a significant correlation is found between May LLJUC frequency and NAO (r = 0.33). Further analyses expose decadal-scale variations in the CGT–LLJC and CGT–LLJUC teleconnections that are linked to the PDO. Dynamically, these large-scale teleconnections impact LLJ class frequency and intensity via upper-level geopotential anomalies over the western United States that modulate near-surface geopotential and temperature gradients across the SCP.

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Hongyu Li, Qiang Zhang, Ping Yue, Liang Zhang, Xiaochen Niu, Hongli Zhang, Kaicheng Xing, Yuanyuan Jing, and Guofei Shang

Abstract

Investigating the response of land surface energy exchange to key climatic signals such as the East Asian summer monsoon (EASM) is essential for understanding the intensive interactions in the Earth system. This study focuses on the summer monsoon transition zone (SMTZ) in China, which has a climate rather sensitive to the EASM activity, and examined the response of land surface energy exchange over the SMTZ to summer monsoon activity. A flux evaluation of five reanalysis/modeling datasets indicates that JRA-55 (the Japanese 55-Year Reanalysis) reasonably represents interannual variations of surface heat fluxes over the SMTZ. The EASM activity is accurately identified in the SMTZ by introducing a monsoon temporal duration index (MTDI), which presents climate variations of summer rainfall and EASM activity better than commonly used summer monsoon indexes. Based on MTDI and long-term flux datasets, it was found that the interannual fluctuation of the EASM intensively controls surface energy partitioning and turbulent heat exchange but has a weak impact on radiative processes over the SMTZ. Furthermore, surface sensible and latent heat fluxes significantly responded to the influential period of the summer monsoon, exhibiting approximately quadratic/logarithmic relationships with the MTDI. More prominent interannual variabilities of turbulent heat fluxes were observed in weak summer monsoon years, during which an active interaction between surface energy exchange and a warming and drying climate occurred. An ensemble empirical mode decomposition (EEMD) analysis confirms that EASM activity dominates the quasi-biennial and multidecadal variations of turbulent heat fluxes over the SMTZ, which may be achieved by the transport of tropical quasi-biennial and Pacific decadal oscillation (PDO) signals to the midlatitudes of East Asia. The expected intensification of summer monsoon activity in the future may induce acceleration of energy and hydrological cycle and exert a substantial impact on the availability of water and the ecosystem stability over the SMTZ.

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Er Lu, Jiawei Hao, and Kexin Yang

Abstract

The temporal–spatial variations of the static stability of dry air and the relative importance of their influencing quantities are explored. Derivation shows that while it links to the vertical difference of temperature, static stability also relates to the temperature itself. The static stability is expressed as a nonlinear function of temperature and the vertical difference of temperature. The relative importance of the two influencing quantities is assessed with linear regression. Tests show that the linear fitting method is robust. The results of the dominance rely on the data examined, which include an interannual variation, a seasonal variation, and a spatial variation that consists of the grid points over the globe. It is revealed that in the lower troposphere, while the temporal variations of static stability are dominated by the vertical difference of temperature, the temperature itself may also have considerable influence, especially over the high latitudes of the two hemispheres. In the stratosphere, temperature tends to have more contributions. Over the Antarctic, temperature dominates the seasonal and interannual variations of the static stability. The spatial variation of the static stability of July is influenced by both temperature and its vertical difference before 1980, but after that it is dominated by temperature.

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