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Martyn P. Clark, Reza Zolfaghari, Kevin R. Green, Sean Trim, Wouter J. M. Knoben, Andrew Bennett, Bart Nijssen, Andrew Ireson, and Raymond J. Spiteri

Abstract

The intent of this paper is to encourage improved numerical implementation of land models. Our contributions in this paper are two-fold. First, we present a unified framework to formulate and implement land model equations. We separate the representation of physical processes from their numerical solution, enabling the use of established robust numerical methods to solve the model equations. Second, we introduce a set of synthetic test cases (the laugh tests) to evaluate the numerical implementation of land models. The test cases include storage and transmission of water in soils, lateral sub-surface flow, coupled hydrological and thermodynamic processes in snow, and cryosuction processes in soil. We consider synthetic test cases as “laugh tests” for land models because they provide the most rudimentary test of model capabilities. The laugh tests presented in this paper are all solved with the Structure for Unifying Multiple Modeling Alternatives model (SUMMA) implemented using the SUite of Nonlinear and DIfferential/Algebraic equation Solvers (SUNDIALS). The numerical simulations from SUMMA/SUNDIALS are compared against (1) solutions to the synthetic test cases from other models documented in the peer-reviewed literature; (2) analytical solutions; and (3) observations made in laboratory experiments. In all cases, the numerical simulations are similar to the benchmarks, building confidence in the numerical model implementation. We posit that some land models may have difficulty in solving these benchmark problems. Dedicating more effort to solving synthetic test cases is critical in order to build confidence in the numerical implementation of land models.

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Bing Pu and Qinjian Jin

Abstract

High concentrations of dust can affect climate and human health, yet our understanding of extreme dust events is still limited. A record-breaking trans-Atlantic African dust plume occurred during June 14–28, 2020, greatly degrading air quality over large areas of the Caribbean Basin and U.S. Daily PM2.5 concentrations exceeded 50 μg m−3 in several Gulf States, while the air quality index reached unhealthy levels for sensitive groups in more than 11 States. The magnitude and duration of aerosol optical depth over the tropical North Atlantic Ocean were the greatest ever observed during summer over the past 18 years based on satellite retrievals. This extreme trans-Atlantic dust event is associated with both enhanced dust emissions over western North Africa and atmospheric circulation extremes that favor long-range dust transport. An exceptionally strong African easterly jet and associated wave activities export African dust across the Atlantic toward the Caribbean in the middle to lower troposphere, while a westward extension of the North Atlantic subtropical high and a greatly intensified Caribbean low-level jet further transport the descended, shallower dust plume from the Caribbean Basin into the U.S. Over western North Africa, increased dust emissions are associated with strongly enhanced surface winds over dust source regions and reduced vegetation coverage in the western Sahel. While there are large uncertainties associated with assessing future trends in African dust emissions, model-projected atmospheric circulation changes in a warmer future generally favor increased long-range transport of African dust to the Caribbean Basin and the U.S.

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Soong-Ki Kim and Soon-Il An

Abstract

The life cycle of El Niño-Southern Oscillation (ENSO) typically follows a seasonal march, onset in spring, developing during summer, maturing in boreal winter, and decaying over the following spring. This feature is referred to as ENSO phase locking. Recent studies have noted that seasonal modulation of the ENSO growth rate is essential for this process. This study investigates the fundamental effect of a seasonally varying growth rate on ENSO phase locking using a modified seasonally-dependent recharge oscillator model. There are two phase locking regimes associated with the strength of the seasonal modulation of growth rate: (1) a weak regime in which only a single peak occurs; and (2) a strong regime in which two types of events occur either with a single peak or double peak. Notably, there is a seasonal gap in the strong regime, during which the ENSO peak cannot occur because of large-scale ocean-atmosphere coupled processes. We also retrieve a simple analytical solution of the seasonal variance of ENSO, revealing that the variance is governed by the time-integral of seasonally varying growth rate. Based on this formulation, we propose a seasonal energy index (SEI) that allows explaining the seasonal gap, and provides an intuitive explanation for ENSO phase locking, potentially applicable to global climate model ENSO diagnostics.

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Guoqiang Tang, Martyn P. Clark, and Simon Michael Papalexiou

Abstract

Stations are an important source of meteorological data, but often suffer from missing values and short observation periods. Gap filling is widely used to generate serially complete datasets (SCDs), which are subsequently used to produce gridded meteorological estimates. However, the value of SCDs in spatial interpolation is scarcely studied. Based on our recent efforts to develop a SCD over North America (SCDNA), we explore the extent to which gap filling improves gridded precipitation and temperature estimates. We address two specific questions: (1) Can SCDNA improve the statistical accuracy of gridded estimates in North America? (2) Can SCDNA improve estimates of trends on gridded data? In addressing these questions, we also evaluate the extent to which results depend on the spatial density of the station network and the spatial interpolation methods used. Results show that the improvement in statistical interpolation due to gap filling is more obvious for precipitation, followed by minimum temperature and maximum temperature. The improvement is larger when the station network is sparse and when simpler interpolation methods are used. SCDs can also notably reduce the uncertainties in spatial interpolation. Our evaluation across North America from 1979 to 2018 demonstrates that SCDs improve the accuracy of interpolated estimates for most stations and days. SCDNA-based interpolation also obtains better trend estimation than observation-based interpolation. This occurs because stations used for interpolation could change during a specific period, causing changepoints in interpolated temperature estimates and affect the long-term trends of observation-based interpolation, which can be avoided using SCDNA. Overall, SCDs improve the performance of gridded precipitation and temperature estimates.

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Ansar Khan, Samiran Khorat, Rupali Khatun, Quang-Van Doan, U. S. Nair, and Dev Niyogi

Abstract

India responded to the COVID-19 pandemic through a three-phase nationwide lockdown: 25 March - 14 April, 15 April - 3 May and 4 - 17 May, 2020. We utilized this unique opportunity to assess the impact of restrictions on the air quality of Indian cities. We conducted comprehensive statistical assessments for the Air Quality Index (AQI) and criteria pollutant concentrations for 91 cities during the lockdown phases to the preceding seven days (pre-lockdown phase 18-24March,2020) and corresponding values from the same days of the year in 2019. Both comparisons show statistically significant country-wide mean decrease in AQI (33%), PM2.5 (36%), PM10 (40%), NO2 (58%), O3 (5%), SO2 (25%), NH3(28%), and CO(60%). These reductions represent a background or the lower bound of air quality burden of industrial and transportation sectors. The northern region was most impacted by the first two phases of the lockdown, while the southern region was most affectedin the last phase. The northeastern region was least affected, followed by the eastern region which also showed an increase in O3during the lockdown. Analysis of satellite retrieved Aerosol Optical Depth (AOD) shows that effects of restrictions on particulate pollution to be variable- locally confined in some areas or having a broader impact in other regions. Anomalous behavior over the eastern region suggestsa differing role of regional societal response or meteorology. The study results have policy implications as they provide the observational background values for the industrial and transportation sector’s contribution to urban pollution.

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S. P. Alexander and A. R. Klekociuk

Abstract

We combine observations of optically-thin cirrus clouds made by lidar at Davis, Antarctica (69°S, 78°E) during 14 – 15 June 2011 with a microphysical retrieval algorithm to constrain the ice water content (IWC) of these clouds. The cirrus were embedded in a tropopause jet which flowed around a ridge of high pressure extending southwards over Davis from the Southern Ocean. Cloud optical depths were (0.082±0.001) and sub-visual cirrus were present during 11% of the observation period. The macrophysical cirrus cloud properties obtained during this case study are consistent with those previously reported at lower latitudes. MODIS satellite imagery and AIRS surface temperature data are used as inputs into a radiative transfer model in order to constrain the IWC and ice water path of the cirrus. The derived cloud IWC is consistent with in-situ observations made at other locations but at similarly cold temperatures. The optical depths derived from the model agree with those calculated directly from the lidar data. This study demonstrates the value of a combination of ground-based lidar observations and a radiative transfer model in constraining microphysical cloud parameters which could be utilised at locations where other lidar measurements are made.

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Oscar Guzman and Haiyan Jiang

Abstract

Based on 19 years of precipitation data collected by the Tropical Rainfall Measuring Mission (TRMM) and the Global Precipitation Measurement (GPM) mission, a comparison of the rainfall produced by tropical cyclones (TCs) in different global basins is presented. A total of 1789 TCs were examined in the period from 1998 to 2016 by taking advantage of more than 47,737 observations of TRMM/GPM 3B42 multi-satellite derived rainfall amounts. The axisymmetric component of the TC rainfall is analyzed in all TC-prone basins. The resulting radial profiles show that major hurricanes in the Atlantic basin exhibit significantly heavier inner-core rainfall rates than those in any other basins. To explain the possible causes of this difference, rainfall distributions for major hurricanes are stratified according to different TC intensity and environmental variables. Based on the examination of these parameters, we found that the stronger rainfall rates in the Atlantic major hurricanes are associated with higher values of convective available potential energy, drier relative humidity in the low to middle troposphere, colder air temperature at 250hPa, and stronger vertical wind shear than other basins. These results have important implications in the refining of our understanding of the mechanisms of TC rainfall.

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ZONGJIAN KE, XINGWEN JIANG, JINMING FENG, and ZUNYA WANG

Abstract

In the last two decades, southwestern China (SWC) has experienced severe droughts, which are always accompanied by severe deficiencies in precipitation. In this study, we found that the interannual variability in boreal winter precipitation in SWC is modulated by the Philippine Sea anomalous anticyclone (PSAC). The interannual relationship between the PSAC and SWC precipitation experienced an interdecadal change around the early 1980s. The correlation between them was enhanced in the period from 1981 to 2001 (P2) compared to the period from 1961 to 1980 (P1). In P1, the moisture transported by the PSAC mainly affected eastern China, as the PSAC was located over the northern Philippine Sea, and the moisture budget of SWC was dominated by moisture transport at the western boundary. The PSAC, however, strengthened and shifted southwestward in P2, accompanied by a deepened India-Burma trough. As such, the PSAC transported moist air from the western North Pacific and the Indian Ocean into SWC through its southern boundary. Meanwhile, the stronger PSAC in P2 was accompanied by an upper-level convergence from the western North Pacific to the Bay of Bengal, which induced an upper-level divergence and ascending motion over SWC. Thus, the PSAC caused a significant increase in precipitation in P2. Stronger air-sea interactions in the western North Pacific induced by the El Niño–Southern Oscillation may be responsible for the enhancement and southwestward shift of the PSAC in P2 compared to that in P1.

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Yishuai Jin and Zhengyu Liu

Abstract

In this paper, we investigate the potential factors that control the relationship between the El Niño-Southern Oscillation (ENSO) persistence barriers (PB) in sea surface temperature (SST) and ocean heat content (OHC) and apply it to explain observational ENSO PBs. With the addition of seasonal growth rate in SST in the neutral recharge oscillator (NRO) model, approximate analytical solutions of autocorrelation functions for SST and OHC suggest strictly that the timing of PB for OHC leads that of SST by half a year and the strength of the two PBs are the same. The numerical solutions of the NRO model also show a similar relationship. The role of ENSO growth rate to PBs in SST and OHC is then identified in the damped and unstable ENSO regime. Therefore, it is suggested that for the observational ENSO, the seasonally varying ENSO growth rate in SST controls PBs in SST and OHC simultaneously.

Open access
Muhammad Naufal Razin and Michael M. Bell

Abstract

Hurricane Ophelia (2005) underwent an unconventional eyewall replacement cycle (ERC) as it was a Category 1 storm located over cold sea surface temperatures near 23°C. The ERC was analyzed using airborne radar, flight-level, and dropsonde data collected during the Hurricane Rainband and Intensity Change Experiment (RAINEX) intensive observation period on 11 September 2005. Results showed that the spin-up of the secondary tangential wind maximum during the ERC can be attributed to the efficient convergence of absolute angular momentum by the mid-level inflow of Ophelia’s dominantly stratiform rainbands. This secondary tangential wind maximum strongly contributed to the azimuthal mean tangential wind field, which is conducive for increased low-level supergradient winds and corresponding outflow. The low-level supergradient forcing enhanced convergence to form a secondary eyewall. Ophelia provides a unique example of an ERC occurring in a weaker storm with predominantly stratiform rainbands, suggesting an important role of stratiform precipitation processes in the development of secondary eyewalls.

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