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S. Neske, S. McGregor, M. Zeller, and D. Dommenget

Abstract

This study demonstrates that the generalization that strong anomalous equatorial Pacific westerly (easterly) winds during El Niño (La Niña) events display strong adjusted warm water volume (WWV) discharges (recharges) is often incorrect. Using ocean model simulations, we categorize the oceanic adjusted responses to strong anomalous equatorial winds into two categories: (i) transitioning (consistent with the above generalization) and (ii) neutral adjusted responses (with negligible WWV recharge and discharge). During the 1980–2016 period only 47% of strong anomalous equatorial winds are followed by transitioning adjusted responses, while the remaining are followed by neutral adjusted responses. Moreover, 55% (only 30%) of the strongest winds lead to transitioning adjusted responses during the pre-2000 (post-2000) period in agreement with the previously reported post-2000 decline of WWV lead time to El Niño–Southern Oscillation (ENSO) events. The prominent neutral adjusted WWV response is shown to be largely excited by anomalous wind stress forcing with a weaker curl (on average consistent with a higher ratio of off-equatorial to equatorial wind events) and weaker Rossby wave projection than the transitioning adjusted response. We also identify a prominent ENSO phase asymmetry where strong anomalous equatorial westerly winds (i.e., El Niño events) are roughly 1.6 times more likely to strongly discharge WWV than strong anomalous equatorial easterly winds (i.e., La Niña events) are to strongly recharge WWV. This ENSO phase asymmetry may be added to the list of mechanisms proposed to explain why El Niño events have a stronger tendency to be followed by La Niña events than vice versa.

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Rupayan Saha, Firat Y. Testik, and Murat C. Testik

Abstract

This study investigates the OTT Pluvio2 weighing precipitation gauge’s random and systematic error components as well as stabilization of the measurements on time varying rainfall intensities (RI) under laboratory conditions. A highly precise programmable peristaltic pump that provided both constant and time varying RI was utilized in the experiments. Abrupt, gradual step, and cyclic step changes in the RI values were evaluated. RI readings were taken in real-time (RT) at different time resolution (6-60s) for the RI range of 6-70mm/h. Our analysis indicates that the lower threshold for the OTT Pluvio2’s real-time RI measurements should be redefined as 7mm/h at a one-minute resolution. Tolerance intervals containing 95% of the repeated measurements with probability 0.95 are given. It is shown that the measurement variances are unequal over the range of RI and the measurement repeatability is not uniform. A statistically significant negative bias was observed for the RI values of 7 and 8mm/h, while there was not a statistically significant linearity problem. Through the use of statistical control limits, it is shown that means of the RI measurements stabilized on the actual RI value. A detailed investigation on RT bucket weight measurements revealed a time delay in bucket weight measurements, which causes notable errors in reported RI measurements under dynamic rainfall conditions. To demonstrate the potentiality of large errors in Pluvio2’s real-time RI measurements, a set of equations was developed that faithfully reproduced the Pluvio2’s internal (hidden) algorithm, and results from dynamic laboratory and in-situ rainfall scenarios were simulated. The results of this investigation show the necessity of modifying the present Pluvio2 RI algorithm to enhance its performance and show the possibility of post-processing the existing Pluvio2 RI datasets for improved measurement accuracies.

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Jingyi Li, Fei Li, Shengping He, Huijun Wang, and Yvan J Orsolini

Abstract

The Tibetan Plateau (TP), referred to as the “Asian water tower”, contains one of the largest land ice masses on Earth. The local glacier shrinkage and frozen-water storage are strongly affected by variations in surface air temperature over the TP (TPSAT), especially in springtime. This study reveals that the relationship between the February North Atlantic Oscillation (NAO) and March TPSAT is unstable with time and regulated by the phase of the Atlantic Multidecadal Variability (AMV). The significant out-of-phase connection occurs only during the warm phase of AMV (AMV+). The results show that during the AMV+, the negative phase of the NAO persists from February to March, and is accompanied by a quasi-stationary Rossby wave train trapped along a northward-shifted subtropical westerly jet stream across Eurasia, inducing an anomalous adiabatic descent that warms the TP. However, during the cold phase of the AMV, the negative NAO can not persist into March. The Rossby wave train propagates along the well-separated polar and subtropical westerly jets, and the NAO−TPSAT connection is broken. Further investigation suggests that the enhanced synoptic eddy and low frequency flow (SELF) interaction over the North Atlantic in February and March during the AMV+, caused by the enhanced and southward-shifted storm track, help maintain the NAO anomaly pattern via positive eddy feedback. This study provides a new detailed perspective on the decadal variability of the North Atlantic−TP connection in late winter−early spring.

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José Ochoa, Vicente Ferreira-Bartrina, Julio Candela, Julio Sheinbaum, Manuel López, Paula Pérez-Brunius, Sharon Herzka, and Rainer M.W. Amon

Abstract

A key consequence in climate change is the warming of deep waters, away from the faster warming rates of near-surface subtropical and tropical waters. Since surface and near-surface oceanic temperatures have been measured far more frequently in time and space than deep waters (>2000 m), deep measurements become quite valuable. Semi-enclosed basins, as the Gulf of Mexico, are of particular interest as the waters below sills that connect with the neighboring oceans have residence times much longer than upper layers. Within the western Gulf of Mexico, near bottom measurements at ~3500 m depths at four sites show a stable linear warming trend of ~16±2 m°C decade-1 for the period 2007-2018, and CTD data from 8 oceanographic cruises occurring from 2003 to 2019 show a trend of ~18±~2 m°C decade-1 from the bottom to ~2000 m below the surface. The bottom geothermal heat flux is a contributing factor to be considered in the warming and renewal of such waters, but it has not changed over millennia therefore unlikely to be the cause of the observed trend. The densest waters that spill into the Gulf of Mexico, over the Yucatan Channel sill, must mix substantially during their descent and in the near bottom interior, losing their extreme values. A simple box model connects the observed warming, well within the gulf interior, with that expected in the densest waters that spill from the North Atlantic into the Cayman Basin through Windward Passage, and suggests, that the source waters at the entrance to the Caribbean have been warming for at least 100 years.

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Joseph M. Prospero, Anthony C. Delany, Audrey C. Delany, and Toby N. Carlson

CAPSULE

Over fifty years ago, African dust was serendipitously discovered in the Caribbean in three separate efforts one of which led to a fundamental understanding of the phenomenon.

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Kaushik Srinivasan, James C. McWilliams, and Arjun Jagannathan

Abstract

Submesoscale coherent vortices (SCVs) are a ubiquitous feature of topographic wakes in the extratropical oceans. Recent studies demonstrate a mechanism wherein high vorticity bottom boundary layers (BBLs) on the slopes of the topography separate (forming shear layers), undergo instabilities, and subsequently merge in the horizontal and align in the vertical to form vertically coherent, columnar, SCVs (i.e. with low vertical shear). Background rotation is critical to the vertical alignment of unstable vortical filaments into coherent SCVs. In the tropics, however, the weakening of rotation prevents this alignment. Employing an idealized framework of steady barotropic flow past an isolated seamount in a background of constant stratification N and rotation rate f, we examine the wake structure for a range of f values spanning values from the poles to the tropics. We find a systematic increase in the interior vertical shear with decreasing f that manifests as a highly layered wake structure consisting of vertically thin, ‘pancake’ SCVs possessing a high vertical shear. A monotonic increase in the wake energy dissipation rate is concomitantly observed with decreasing f. By examining the evolution equations for the vertical shear and vertical enstrophy, we find that the interior shear generation is an advective process, with the location of peak shear generation approximately colocated with maximum energy dissipation. This leads to the inference that high wake dissipation in tropical tropographic wakes is caused by parameterized shear instabilities induced by interior advective generation of vertical shear in the near wake region.

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Nathan A. Wendt and Israel L. Jirak

Abstract

The multi-radar/multi-sensor (MRMS) system generates an operational suite of derived products in the NationalWeather Service useful for real-time monitoring of severe convective weather. One such product generated byMRMSis the maximum estimated size of hail (MESH) that estimates hail size based on the radar reflectivity properties of a storm above the environmental 0 °C level. The MRMS MESH product is commonly used across the National Weather Service (NWS), including the Storm Prediction Center (SPC), to diagnose the expected hail size in thunderstorms. Previous work has explored the relationship between the MRMS MESH product and severe hail (≥ 25.4 mm or 1 in.) reported at the ground. This work provides an hourly climatology of severe MRMS MESH across the contiguous U.S. from 2012–2019, including an analysis of how the MESH climatology differs from the severe hail reports climatology. Results suggest that the MESH can provide beneficial hail risk information in areas where population density is low. Evidence shows that the MESH can provide potentially beneficial information about severe hail occurrence during the night in locations that are climatologically favored for upscale convective growth and elevated convection. These findings have important implications for the use of MESH as a verification dataset for SPC probabilistic hail forecasts as well as severe weather watch decisions in areas of higher hail risk but low population density.

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Sijie Pan, Jidong Gao, Thomas A. Jones, Yunheng Wang, Xuguang Wang, and Jun Li

Abstract

With the launch of GOES-16 in November 2016, effective utilization of its data in convective-scale numerical weather prediction (NWP) has the potential to improve high-impact weather (HIWeather) forecasts. In this study, the impact of satellite-derived Layered Precipitable Water (LPW) and Cloud Water Path (CWP) in addition to NEXRAD radar observations on short-term convective scale NWP forecasts are examined using three severe weather cases that occurred in May 2017. In each case, satellite-derived CWP and LPW products and radar observations are assimilated into the Advanced Research Weather Research and Forecasting (WRF-ARW) model using the NSSL hybrid Warn-on-Forecast (WoF) analysis and forecast system. The system includes two components, the GSI-EnKF system, and a deterministic 3DEnVAR system. This study examines deterministic 0-6 h forecasts launched from the hybrid 3DEnVAR analyses for the three severe weather events. Three types of experiments are conducted and compared: (i) the control experiment (CTRL) without assimilating any data, (ii) the radar experiment (RAD) with the assimilation of radar and surface observations, and (iii) the satellite experiment (RADSAT) with the assimilation of all observations including surface, radar and satellite derived CWP and LPW. The results show that assimilating additional GOES products improves short-range forecasts by providing more accurate initial conditions, especially for moisture and temperature variables.

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ANNE TAKAHASHI, TOSHIYUKI HIBIYA, and ALBERTO C. NAVEIRA GARABATO

Abstract

The finescale parameterization, formulated on the basis of a weak nonlinear wave–wave interaction theory, is widely used to estimate the turbulent dissipation rate, ε. However, this parameterization has previously been found to overestimate ε in the Antarctic Circumpolar Current (ACC) region. One possible reason for this overestimation is that vertical wavenumber spectra of internal wave energy are distorted from the canonical Garrett-Munk spectrum and have a spectral “hump” at low vertical wavenumbers. Such distorted vertical wavenumber spectra were also observed in other mesoscale eddy-rich regions. In this study, using eikonal simulations, in which internal wave energy cascades are evaluated in the frequency-wavenumber space, we examine how the distortion of vertical wavenumber spectra impacts on the accuracy of the finescale parameterization. It is shown that the finescale parameterization overestimates ε for distorted spectra with a low-vertical-wavenumber hump because it incorrectly takes into account the breaking of these low-vertical-wavenumber internal waves. This issue is exacerbated by estimating internal wave energy spectral levels from the low-wavenumber band rather than from the high-wavenumber band, which is often contaminated by noise in observations. Thus, in order to accurately estimate the distribution of ε in eddy-rich regions like the ACC, high-vertical-wavenumber spectral information free from noise contamination is indispensable.

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Hyeyum Hailey Shin, Domingo Muñoz-Esparza, Jeremy A. Sauer, and Matthias Steiner

Abstract

This study explores the response of flow around isolated cuboid buildings to variations in the incoming turbulence arising from changes in atmospheric boundary layer (ABL) stability using a building-resolving large-eddy simulation (LES) technique with explicit representation of building effects through an immersed body force method. An extensive suite of LES for a neutral ABL with different model resolution and advection scheme configurations reveals that at least 6, 12, and 24 grid points per building side are required in order to resolve building-induced vortex shedding, mean-flow features, and turbulence statistics, respectively, with an advection scheme of a minimum of third-order. Using model resolutions that meet this requirement, 21 building-resolving simulations are performed under varying atmospheric stability conditions, from weakly stable to convective ABLs, and for different building sizes (H), resulting in L ABL/H ≈ 0.1 – 10, where L ABL is the integral length scale of the incoming ABL turbulence. The building-induced flow features observed in the canonical neutral ABL simulation, e.g., the upstream horseshoe vortex and the downstream arch vortex, gradually weaken with increasing surface-driven convective instability due to the enhancement of background turbulent mixing. As a result, two local turbulence kinetic energy peaks on the lateral side of the building in non-convective cases are merged into a single peak in strong convective cases. By considering the ABL turbulence scale and building size altogether, it is shown that the building impact decreases with increasing LABL/H, as coherent turbulent structures in the ABL become more dominant over a building-induced flow response for L ABL/H > 1.

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