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Dingwen Zeng and Xing Yuan

Abstract

Persistent drought events that cause serious damage to the economy and environment are usually intensified by the feedback between the land surface and atmosphere. Therefore, reasonably modeling land–atmosphere coupling is critical for skillful prediction of persistent droughts. However, most high-resolution regional climate modeling has focused on the amplification effect of land–atmosphere coupling on local anticyclonic circulation anomalies, while less attention has been paid to the nonlocal influence through altering large-scale atmospheric circulation. Here we investigate how the antecedent land–atmosphere coupling over the area south of Lake Baikal (ASLB) influences the drought events occurring over its downstream region [i.e., Northeast China (NEC)] by using the Weather Research and Forecasting (WRF) Model and a linear baroclinic model (LBM). When the ASLB region is artificially forced to be wet in the WRF simulations during March–May, the surface sensible heating is weakened and results in a cooling anomaly in low level atmosphere during May–July. Consequently, the anticyclonic circulation anomalies over ASLB and NEC are weakened, and the severity of NEC drought during May–July cannot be captured due to the upstream wetting in March–May. In the LBM experiments, idealized atmospheric heating anomaly that mimics the diabatic heating associated with surface wetness is imposed over ASLB, and the quasi-steady response pattern of 500-hPa geopotential height to the upstream wetting is highly consistent with that in the WRF simulation. In addition, the lower-level heating instead of the upper-level cooling makes a major contribution to the high pressure anomaly over NEC. This study implies the critical role of modeling upstream land–atmosphere coupling in capturing downstream persistent droughts.

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Brett Chrisler and Justin P. Stachnik

Abstract

Recent studies have examined moist entropy (ME) as a proxy for moist static energy (MSE) and the relative role of the underlying processes responsible for changes in ME that potentially affect MJO propagation. This study presents an analysis of the intraseasonally varying (ISV) ME anomalies throughout the lifetime of observed MJO events. A climatology of continuing and terminating MJO events is created from an event identification algorithm using common tracking indices including the OLR-based MJO index (OMI), filtered OMI (FMO), real-time multivariate MJO (RMM), and velocity potential MJO (VPM) index. ME composites for all indices show a statistically significant break in the wavenumber-1 oscillation at day 0 for terminating events in nearly all domains except RMM phase 6 and phase 7. The ME tendency is decomposed into horizontal and vertical advection, sensible and latent heat fluxes, and shortwave and longwave radiative fluxes using ERA-Interim data. The relative role of each processes toward the eastward propagation is discussed as well as their effects on MJO stabilization. Statistically significant differences occur for all terms by day −10. A domain sensitivity test is performed where eastward propagation is favored for vertical advection given a larger, asymmetric domain for continuing events. A reduced eastward propagation from vertical advection is evident 2–3 days before similar differences in horizontal advection for terminating events. The importance of horizontal advection for the eastward propagation of the MJO is discussed in addition to the relative destabilization from vertical advection in the convectively suppressed region downstream of future terminating MJOs.

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Lixin Qu, Leif N. Thomas, and Robert D. Hetland

Abstract

This study describes a specific type of critical layer for near-inertial waves (NIWs) that forms when isopycnals run parallel to sloping bathymetry. Upon entering this slantwise critical layer, the group velocity of the waves decreases to zero and the NIWs become trapped and amplified, which can enhance mixing. A realistic simulation of anticyclonic eddies on the Texas–Louisiana shelf reveals that such critical layers can form where the eddies impinge onto the sloping bottom. Velocity shear bands in the simulation indicate that wind-forced NIWs are radiated downward from the surface in the eddies, bend upward near the bottom, and enter critical layers over the continental shelf, resulting in inertially modulated enhanced mixing. Idealized simulations designed to capture this flow reproduce the wave propagation and enhanced mixing. The link between the enhanced mixing and wave trapping in the slantwise critical layer is made using ray tracing and an analysis of the waves’ energetics in the idealized simulations. An ensemble of simulations is performed spanning the relevant parameter space that demonstrates that the strength of the mixing is correlated with the degree to which NIWs are trapped in the critical layers. While the application here is for a shallow coastal setting, the mechanisms could be active in the open ocean as well where isopycnals align with bathymetry.

Open access
Wataru Mashiko and Udai Shimada

Abstract

Very strong Typhoon Goni (2015) passed over the Yaeyama Islands in southwestern Japan during the rapid intensification stage on 23 August. Surface data collected by the dense network of weather stations as well as Doppler radar observations over the islands revealed a finescale structure in the inner core of the typhoon near the surface. Goni had a clear eye surrounded by a square-shaped eyewall with intense convection. The surface observations revealed that several vortices with a diameter of ~7–10 km accompanied by a pressure deficit were present inside the eye. From the Doppler velocity field, mesovortices with diameters of approximately 10 km were found at the apexes of the square-shaped eyewall. These mesovortices and the inner rainbands emanating outward from the apexes of the polygonal eyewall generally exhibited features typical of vortex Rossby waves. The mesovortices were accompanied by a pressure deficit at the surface and enhanced surface winds. The data also indicated the first observational evidence of near-surface mixing between the eye and eyewall through the mesovortices, that is, the transport of high equivalent potential temperature in the eye toward the eyewall. The radar data revealed that many radar-reflectivity filaments that had a pleated shape with lengths of a few kilometers extended perpendicularly from the inner edge of the eyewall at low levels. The filaments associated with wind perturbations at low levels caused significant wind gusts accompanied by sudden pressure drops and shifts in wind direction at the surface.

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Xingchi Wang and Tobias Kukulka

Abstract

Turbulence driven by wind and waves controls the transport of heat, momentum, and matter in the ocean surface boundary layer (OSBL). For realistic ocean conditions, winds and waves are often neither aligned nor constant, for example, when winds turn rapidly. Using a large-eddy simulation (LES) method, which captures shear-driven turbulence (ST) and Langmuir turbulence (LT) driven by the Craik–Leibovich vortex force, we investigate the OSBL response to abruptly turning winds. We design idealized LES experiments in which winds are initially constant to equilibrate OSBL turbulence before abruptly turning 90° either cyclonically or anticyclonically. The transient Stokes drift for LT is estimated from a spectral wave model. The OSBL response includes three successive stages that follow the change in direction. During stage 1, turbulent kinetic energy (TKE) decreases as a result of reduced TKE production. Stage 2 is characterized by TKE increasing, with TKE shear production recovering and exceeding TKE dissipation. Transient TKE levels may exceed their stationary values because of inertial resonance and nonequilibrium turbulence. Turbulence relaxes to its equilibrium state at stage 3, but LT still adjusts as a result of slowly developing waves. During stages 1 and 2, greatly misaligned wind and waves lead to Eulerian shear TKE production exceeding Stokes drift shear TKE production. A Reynolds stress budget analysis and Reynolds-averaged Navier–Stokes equation models indicate that Stokes drift shear production furthermore drives the OSBL response. The Coriolis effects result in asymmetrical OSBL responses to wind turning directions. Our results suggest that transient wind conditions play a key role in understanding realistic OSBL dynamics.

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Wilton Sturges

Abstract

A previous study by the author concluded that either there were errors in the satellite results or that some long-term means were not in geostrophic balance. Ship-drift results are in good agreement with surface drifters, but these two do not agree with satellite sea surface heights (SSH). The agreement between the first two suggested the possibility that there could be errors in the SSH or that the mean surface flow is not in geostrophic balance. The present results, using the addition of a fourth long-term mean from hydrographic data, which agrees with the SSH, resolves the issue. The lack of agreement between different long-term means is from inadequate coverage in space and time in data from ship drifts and drifters.

Open access
Xu Zhang, Yuhua Yang, Baode Chen, and Wei Huang

Abstract

The quantitative precipitation forecast in the 9-km operational modeling system (without the use of a convection parameterization scheme) at the Shanghai Meteorological Service (SMS) usually suffers from excessive precipitation at the grid scale and less-structured precipitation patterns. Two scale-aware convection parameterizations were tested in the operational system to mitigate these deficiencies. Their impacts on the warm-season precipitation forecast over China were analyzed in case studies and two-month retrospective forecasts. The results from case studies show that the importance of convection parameterization depends on geographical regions and weather regimes. Considering a proper magnitude of parameterized convection can produce more realistic precipitation distribution and reduce excessive gridscale precipitation in southern China. In northeast and southwest China, however, the convection parameterization plays an insignificant role in precipitation forecast because of strong synoptic-scale forcing. A statistical evaluation of the two-month retrospective forecasts indicates that the forecast skill for precipitation in the 9-km operational system is improved by choosing proper convection parameterization. This study suggests that improvement in contemporary convection parameterizations is needed for their usage for various meteorological conditions and reasonable partitioning between parameterized and resolved convection.

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Evan A. Kalina, Isidora Jankov, Trevor Alcott, Joseph Olson, Jeffrey Beck, Judith Berner, David Dowell, and Curtis Alexander

Abstract

The High-Resolution Rapid Refresh Ensemble (HRRRE) is a 36-member ensemble analysis system with 9 forecast members that utilizes the Advanced Research version of the Weather Research and Forecasting (ARW-WRF) dynamic core and the physics suite from the operational Rapid Refresh/High-Resolution Rapid Refresh deterministic modeling system. A goal of HRRRE development is a system with sufficient spread among members, comparable in magnitude to the random error in the ensemble mean, to represent the range of possible future atmospheric states. HRRRE member diversity has traditionally been obtained by perturbing the initial and lateral boundary conditions of each member, but recent development has focused on implementing stochastic approaches in HRRRE to generate additional spread. These techniques were tested in retrospective experiments and in the May 2019 Hazardous Weather Testbed Spring Experiment (HWT-SE). Results show a 6%–25% increase in the ensemble spread in 2-m temperature, 2-m mixing ratio, and 10-m wind speed when stochastic parameter perturbations are used in HRRRE (HRRRE-SPP). Case studies from HWT-SE demonstrate that HRRRE-SPP performed similar to or better than the operational High-Resolution Ensemble Forecast system, version 2 (HREFv2), and the nonstochastic HRRRE. However, subjective evaluations provided by HWT-SE forecasters indicated that overall, HRRRE-SPP predicted lower probabilities of severe weather (using updraft helicity as a proxy) compared to HREFv2. A statistical analysis of the performance of HRRRE-SPP and HREFv2 from the 2019 summer convective season supports this claim, but also demonstrates that the two systems have similar reliability for prediction of severe weather using updraft helicity.

Open access
John R. Mecikalski, Thea N. Sandmæl, Elisa M. Murillo, Cameron R. Homeyer, Kristopher M. Bedka, Jason M. Apke, and Chris P. Jewett

Abstract

Few studies have assessed combined satellite, lightning, and radar databases to diagnose severe storm potential. The research goal here is to evaluate next-generation, 60-s update frequency geostationary satellite and lightning information with ground-based radar to isolate which variables, when used in concert, provide skillful discriminatory information for identifying severe (hail ≥ 2.5 cm in diameter, winds ≥ 25 m s−1, and tornadoes) versus nonsevere storms. The focus of this study is predicting severe thunderstorm and tornado warnings. A total of 2004 storms in 2014–15 were objectively tracked with 49 potential predictor fields related to May, daytime Great Plains convective storms. All storms occurred when 1-min Geostationary Operational Environmental Satellite (GOES)-14 “super rapid scan” data were available. The study used three importance methods to assess predictor importance related to severe warnings and used random forests to provide a model and skill evaluation measuring the ability to predict severe storms. Three predictor importance methods show that GOES mesoscale atmospheric-motion-vector-derived cloud-top divergence and above-anvil cirrus plume presence provide the most satellite-based discriminatory power for diagnosing severe warnings. Other important fields include Earth Networks Total Lightning flash density, GOES estimated cloud-top vorticity, and overshooting-top presence. Severe warning predictions are significantly improved at the 95% confidence level when a few important satellite and lightning fields are combined with radar fields, versus when only radar data are used in the random-forest model. This study provides a basis for including satellite and lightning fields within machine-learning models to help forecast severe weather.

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Yoshi N. Sasaki and Chisato Umeda

Abstract

It has been reported that the sea surface temperature (SST) trend of the East China Sea during the twentieth century was a couple of times larger than the global mean SST trend. However, the detailed spatial structure of the SST trend in the East China Sea and its mechanism have not been understood. The present study examines the SST trend in the East China Sea from 1901 to 2010 using observational data and a Regional Ocean Modeling System (ROMS) with an eddy-resolving horizontal resolution. A comparison among two observational datasets and the model output reveals that enhanced SST warming occurred along the Kuroshio and along the coast of China over the continental shelf. In both regions, the SST trends were the largest in winter. The heat budget analysis using the model output indicates that the upper-layer temperature rises in both regions were induced by the trend of ocean advection, which was balanced in relation to the increase of surface net heat release. In addition, the rapid SST warming along the Kuroshio was induced by the acceleration of the Kuroshio. Sensitivity experiments revealed that this acceleration was likely caused by the negative wind stress curl anomalies over the North Pacific. In contrast, the enhanced SST warming along the China coast resulted from the ocean circulation change over the continental shelf by local atmospheric forcing.

Open access