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Xin Li, Zhaoxia Pu, and Zhiqiu Gao

Abstract

Horizontal boundary layer roll vortices are a series of large-scale turbulent eddies that prevail in a hurricane’s boundary layer. In this paper, a one-way nested sub-kilometer-scale large eddy simulation (LES) based on the Weather Research and Forecasting model (WRF) was used to examine the impact of roll vortices on the evolution of Hurricane Harvey around its landfall from 0000z on 25 to 1800z 27 August 2017. The simulation results imply that the turbulence in the LES can be attributed mainly to roll vortices. With the representation of roll vortices, the LES simulation provided a better simulation of hurricane wind vertical structure and precipitation. In contrast, the mesoscale simulation with the YSU PBL scheme overestimated the precipitation for the hurricane over the ocean.

Further analysis indicates that the roll vortices introduced a positive vertical flux and thinner inflow layer, whereas a negative flux maintained the maximum tangential wind at around 400 m above ground. During hurricane landfall, the weak negative flux maintained the higher wind in the LES simulation. The overestimated low-level vertical flux in the mesoscale simulation with the YSU scheme led to overestimated hurricane intensity over the ocean and accelerated the decay of the hurricane during landfall. Rainfall analysis reveals that the roll vortices led to a weak updraft and insufficient water vapor supply in the LES. For the simulation with the YSU scheme, the strong updraft combined with surplus water vapor eventually led to unrealistic heavy rainfall for the hurricane over the ocean.

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Antonio Navarra, Joe Tribbia, and Stefan Klus

Abstract

In the last years, ensemble methods have been widely popular in atmospheric, climate, and ocean dynamics investigations and forecasts as convenient methods to obtain statistical information on these systems. In many cases, ensembles have been used as an approximation to the probability distribution that has acquired more and more a central role, as the importance of a single trajectory, or member, was recognized as less informative. This paper shows that using results from the dynamical systems and more recent results from the machine learning and AI communities, we can arrive at a direct estimation of the probability distribution evolution and also at the formulation of predictor systems based on a nonlinear formulation. The paper introduces the theory and demonstrates its application to two examples. The first is a one-dimensional system based on the Niño-3 index; the second is a multidimensional case based on time series of monthly mean SST in the Pacific. We show that we can construct the probability distribution and set up a system to forecast its evolution and derive various quantities from it. The objective of the paper is not strict realism, but the introduction of these methods and the demonstration that they can be used also in the complex, multidimensional environment typical of atmosphere and ocean applications.

Open access
Michael Diaz and William R. Boos

Abstract

This study examines processes fundamental to the development of South Asian monsoon depressions using an array of integrations of an idealized convection-permitting numerical model. In each integration, a wave of initially small amplitude is subjected to a different amount of vertical and meridional wind shear, with temperature and moisture fields constructed according to realistic constraints. Based on the evolution of this disturbance into monsoon depression–like vortices, two features of the background environment emerge as important: the low-level gradient of moist static energy (MSE) and the low-level meridional shear. As the low-level MSE gradient steepens, the disturbance becomes stronger and produces more rain. This strengthening results from the interaction of the vortex with latent heat release by convection that is in turn organized by positive MSE advection in the northerly flow west of the vortex. In this region of advection, moister air from the north ascends along upward-sloping isentropes, driving moist convection. The disturbance also becomes stronger with increasing meridional shear, which makes the environment more barotropically unstable. The absence of either of these two features of the background environment prevents substantial growth of the disturbance. Our results suggest that monsoon depression growth in South Asia is fostered by the coexistence of a strong low-level MSE gradient with strong meridional wind shear associated with the monsoon trough.

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Xiaoxu Tian and Kayo Ide

Abstract

In this study, the tangent linear and adjoint (TL/AD) models for the Model for Prediction Across Scales (MPAS) Shallow Water (SW) component are tested and demonstrated. Necessary verification check procedures of TL/AD are included to ensure that the models generate correct results. The TL/AD models are applied to calculate the singular vectors (SVs) with a 48-h optimization time interval (OTI) under both the quasi-uniform-resolution (UR) and smoothly variable-resolution (VR) meshes in the cases of Hurricanes Sandy (2012) and Joaquin (2015). For the global domain, the VR mesh with 30 210 grid cells uses slightly fewer computational resources than the UR mesh with 40 962 cells. It is found that at the points before Hurricanes Sandy and Joaquin made sharp turns, the leading SV from the VR experiment show sensitivities in both areas surrounding the hurricane and those relatively far away, indicating the significant impacts from the environmental flows. The leading SVs from the UR experiments are sensitive to only areas near the storm. Forecasts by the nonlinear SW model demonstrate that in the VR experiment, Hurricane Sandy has a northwest turn similar to the case in the real world while the storm gradually disappeared in the UR experiment. In the case of Hurricane Joaquin, the nonlinear forecast with the VR mesh can generate a track similar to the best track, while the storm became falsely dissipated in the forecast with the UR mesh. These experiments demonstrate, in the context of SW dynamics with a single layer and no physics, the track forecasts in the cases of Hurricanes Sandy and Joaquin with the VR mesh are more realistic than the UR mesh. The SV analyses shed light on the key features that can have significant impacts on the forecast performances.

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Peter J. Marinescu, Susan C. van den Heever, Max Heikenfeld, Andrew I. Barrett, Christian Barthlott, Corinna Hoose, Jiwen Fan, Ann M. Fridlind, Toshi Matsui, Annette K. Miltenberger, Philip Stier, Benoit Vie, Bethan A. White, and Yuwei Zhang

Abstract

This study presents results from a model intercomparison project, focusing on the range of responses in deep convective cloud updrafts to varying cloud condensation nuclei (CCN) concentrations among seven state-of-the-art cloud-resolving models. Simulations of scattered convective clouds near Houston, Texas, are conducted, after being initialized with both relatively low and high CCN concentrations. Deep convective updrafts are identified, and trends in the updraft intensity and frequency are assessed. The factors contributing to the vertical velocity tendencies are examined to identify the physical processes associated with the CCN-induced updraft changes. The models show several consistent trends. In general, the changes between the High-CCN and Low-CCN simulations in updraft magnitudes throughout the depth of the troposphere are within 15% for all of the models. All models produce stronger (~+5%–15%) mean updrafts from ~4–7 km above ground level (AGL) in the High-CCN simulations, followed by a waning response up to ~8 km AGL in most of the models. Thermal buoyancy was more sensitive than condensate loading to varying CCN concentrations in most of the models and more impactful in the mean updraft responses. However, there are also differences between the models. The change in the amount of deep convective updrafts varies significantly. Furthermore, approximately half the models demonstrate neutral-to-weaker (~−5% to 0%) updrafts above ~8 km AGL, while the other models show stronger (~+10%) updrafts in the High-CCN simulations. The combination of the CCN-induced impacts on the buoyancy and vertical perturbation pressure gradient terms better explains these middle- and upper-tropospheric updraft trends than the buoyancy terms alone.

Open access
Hao-Yan Liu, Yuqing Wang, and Jian-Feng Gu

Abstract

This study investigates the intensity change of binary tropical cyclones (TCs) in idealized cloud-resolving simulations. Four simulations of binary interaction between two initially identical mature TCs of about 70 m s−1 with initial separation distance varying from 480 to 840 km are conducted in a quiescent f-plane environment. Results show that two identical TCs finally merge if their initial separation distance is within 600 km. The binary TCs presents two weakening stages (stages 1 and 3) with a quasi-steady evolution (stage 2) in between. Such intensity change of one TC is correlated with the upper-layer vertical wind shear (VWS) associated with the upper-level anticyclone (ULA) of the other TC. The potential temperature budget shows that eddy radial advection of potential temperature induced by large upper-layer VWS contributes to the weakening of the upper-level warm core and thereby the weakening of binary TCs in stage 1. In stage 2, the upper-layer VWS first weakens and then restrengthens with relatively weak magnitude, leading to a quasi-steady intensity evolution. In stage 3, due to the increasing upper-layer VWS, the nonmerging binary TCs weaken again until their separation distance exceeds the local Rossby radius of deformation of the ULA (about 1600 km), which can serve as a dynamical critical distance within which direct interaction can occur between two TCs. In the merging cases, the binary TCs weaken prior to merging because highly asymmetric structure develops as a result of strong horizontal deformation of the inner core. However, the merged system intensifies shortly after merging.

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François Lott, Bruno Deremble, and Clément Soufflet

Abstract

The nonhydrostatic version of the mountain flow theory presented in Part I is detailed. In the near-neutral case, the surface pressure decreases when the flow crosses the mountain to balance an increase in surface friction along the ground. This produces a form drag that can be predicted qualitatively. When stratification increases, internal waves start to control the dynamics and the drag is due to upward-propagating mountain waves as in Part I. The reflected waves nevertheless add complexity to the transition. First, when stability increases, upward-propagating waves and reflected waves interact destructively and low-drag states occur. When stability increases further, the interaction becomes constructive and high-drag states are reached. In very stable cases, the reflected waves do not affect the drag much. Although the drag gives a reasonable estimate of the Reynolds stress, its sign and vertical profile are profoundly affected by stability. In the near-neutral case, the Reynolds stress in the flow is positive, with a maximum around the top of the inner layer, decelerating the large-scale flow in the inner layer and accelerating it above. In the more stable cases, on the contrary, the large-scale flow above the inner layer is decelerated as expected for dissipated mountain waves. The structure of the flow around the mountain is also strongly affected by stability: it is characterized by nonseparated sheltering in the near-neutral cases, by upstream blocking in the very stable case, and at intermediate stability by the presence of a strong but isolated wave crest immediately downstream of the ridge.

Open access
Hai Bui and Thomas Spengler

Abstract

The sea surface temperature (SST) distribution can modulate the development of extratropical cyclones through sensible and latent heat fluxes. However, the direct and indirect effects of these surface fluxes, and thus the SST, are still not well understood. This study tackles this problem using idealized channel simulations of moist baroclinic development under the influence of surface fluxes. The model is initialized with a zonal wind field resembling the midlatitude jet and a different SST distribution for each experiment, where the absolute SST, the SST gradient, and the meridional position of the SST front are varied. The surface latent heat flux associated with the absolute SST plays a key role in enhancing the moist baroclinic development, while the sensible heat fluxes associated with the SST gradient play a minor role that can be detrimental for the development of the cyclone. The additional moisture provided by the latent heat fluxes originates from about 1000 km ahead of the cyclone a day prior to the time of the most rapid deepening. When the SST in this region is higher than 16°C, the additional latent heat is conducive for explosive cyclone development. For SSTs above 20°C, the cyclones feature characteristics of hybrid cyclones with latent heat release close to their core, maintaining their intensity for a longer period due to continuous and extensive moisture supply from the surface. A high absolute SST with a weak SST gradient, however, can lead to a delay of the deepening stage, because of unorganized convection at early stages reducing environmental baroclinicity.

Open access
Joseph Egger and Klaus P. Hoinka

Abstract

Given a flow domain D with subdomains D1 and D2, piecewise potential vorticity inversion (PPVI) inverts a potential vorticity (PV) anomaly in D2 and assumes vanishing PV in D1 where boundary conditions must be taken into account. It is a widely held view that the PV anomaly exerts a far-field influence on D1, which is revealed by PPVI. Tests of this assertion are conducted using a simple quasigeostrophic model where an upper layer D2 contains a PV anomaly and D1 is the layer underneath. This anomaly is inverted. Any downward physical impact of PV in D2 must also be represented in the results of a downward piecewise density inversion (PDI) based on the hydrostatic relation and the density in D2 as following from PPVI. There is no doubt about the impact of the mass in D2 on the flow in the lower layer D1. Thus results of PPVI and PDI have to agree closely. First, PPVI is applied to a locally confined PV anomaly in D2. There is no far-field “response” in D1 if stationarity is imposed. Modifications of boundary conditions lead to “induced” flows in D1 but the results of PPVI and PDI differ widely. This leads to a simple proof that there is no physical far-field influence of PV anomalies in D2. Wave patterns of the streamfunction restricted to D2 are prescribed in a second series of tests. The related PV anomalies are obtained by differentiation and are also confined to D2 in this case. This approach illustrates the basic procedure to derive PV fields from observations which excludes a far-field response.

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R. S. Lieberman, J. France, D. A. Ortland, and S. D. Eckermann

Abstract

Recent studies suggest linkages between anomalously warm temperatures in the winter stratosphere, and the high-latitude summer mesopause. The summer temperature anomaly is manifested in the decline of polar mesospheric clouds. The 2-day wave is a strong-amplitude and transient summer feature that interacts with the background state so as to warm the high-latitude summer mesopause. This wave has been linked to a low-latitude phenomenon called inertial instability, which is organized by breaking planetary waves in the winter stratosphere. Hence, inertial instability has been identified as a possible nexus between the disturbed winter stratosphere, and summer mesopause warming. We investigate a sustained occurrence of inertial instability during 19 July–8 August 2014. During this period, stratospheric winter temperatures warmed by about 10 K, while a steep decline in polar mesospheric clouds was reported between 26 July and 6 August. We present, for the first time, wave driving associated with observed inertial instability. The effect of inertial instability is to export eastward momentum from the winter hemisphere across the equator into the summer hemisphere. Using a primitive equation model, we demonstrate that the wave stresses destabilize the stratopause summer easterly jet. The reconfigured wind profile excites the wavenumber-4 component of the 2-day wave, leading to enhanced warming of the summer mesopause. This work supports previous numerical investigations that identified planetary wave–driven inertial instability as a source of the 2-day wave.

Open access