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Valerio Capecchi

Abstract

We investigate the potential added value of running three limited-area ensemble systems (with the WRF, Meso-NH, and MOLOCH models and a grid spacing of approximately 2.5 km) for two heavy-precipitation events in Italy. Such high-resolution ensembles include an explicit treatment of convective processes and dynamically downscale the ECMWF global ensemble predictions, which have a grid spacing of approximately 18 km. The predictions are verified against rain gauge data, and their accuracy is evaluated over that of the driving coarser-resolution ensemble system. Furthermore, we compare the simulation speed (defined as the ratio of simulation length to wall-clock time) of the three limited-area models to estimate the computational effort for operational convection-permitting ensemble forecasting. We also study how the simulation wall-clock time scales with increasing numbers of computing elements (from 36 to 1152 cores). Objective verification methods generally show that convection-permitting forecasts outperform global forecasts for both events, although precipitation peaks remain largely underestimated for one of the two events. Comparing simulation speeds, the MOLOCH model is the fastest and the Meso-NH is the slowest one. The WRF Model attains efficient scalability, whereas it is limited for the Meso-NH and MOLOCH models when using more than 288 cores. We finally demonstrate how the model simulation speed has the largest impact on a joint evaluation with the model performance because the accuracy of the three limited-area ensembles, amplifying the forecasting capability of the global predictions, does not differ substantially.

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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
Dong Wan Kim and Sukyoung Lee

Abstract

This study examines the role of the latent heating in exciting the upper-level circulation anomaly, which destructively interferes with the climatological stationary wave in the Western Hemisphere during boreal summer. This destructive interference pattern closely resembles the circulation trend that is known to be responsible for surface heat extreme trends. To investigate the mechanism behind this circulation anomaly, daily stationary–transient wave interference and related meteorological variables are analyzed using reanalysis data for the period of 1979–2017. Numerical model simulations forced by reanalysis heating anomalies indicate that the destructive interference pattern is most effectively excited by latent heating anomalies over the North Pacific Ocean and eastern Canada. The North Pacific heating anomaly drives circulation anomalies that not only resemble the destructive interference pattern, but also transport moisture into eastern Canada. The resulting latent heating over eastern Canada drives circulation that further reinforces the destructive interference pattern, which includes a prominent high pressure system over Greenland. Tropical heating also plays a role in driving the destructive interference pattern. On intraseasonal time scales, the destructive interference pattern is preceded by suppressed Indo–western Pacific heating and enhanced North American monsoon heating. On decadal time scales, both heating centers have strengthened, but the trend of the North American monsoon heating was greater than that of the Indo–western Pacific heating. These uneven heating trends help to explain the resemblance between the destructive interference pattern and the circulation trend over the Western Hemisphere.

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Ravi P. Shukla and J. L. Kinter

Abstract

This study examines the possible relationship between predictions of weekly and biweekly averages of 10-m winds at 3-week lead time and interannual variability over the western Pacific and Indian Ocean (WP-IO) using Climate Forecast System version 2 (CFSv2) reforecasts for period 1979–2008. There is a large temporal correlation between forecasts and reanalyses for zonal, meridional, and total wind magnitudes at 10 m over most of WP-IO for the average of weeks 1 and 2 (W1 and W2) in reforecasts initialized in January (JIR) and May (MIR). The model has some correlations that exceed 95% confidence in some portions of WP-IO in week 3 (W3) but no skill in week 4 (W4) over most of the region. The model depicts prediction skill in the 14-day average of weeks 3–4 (W3–4) over portions of WP-IO, similar to the level of skill in W3. The amplitude of interannual variability (IAV) for 10-m winds in W1 of JIR and MIR is close to that in reanalyses. As lead time increases, the amplitude of IAV of 10-m winds gradually decreases over WP-IO in reforecasts, in contrast to behavior in reanalyses. The amplitude of IAV of predicted 10-m winds in W3–4 over WP-IO is equivalent to that in W3 and W4 in reforecasts. In contrast, the amplitude of IAV in W3–4 in January and May of the reanalysis is much smaller than IAV of W3 and W4. Therefore, one of the possible causes for prediction skill in W3–4 over subregions of WP-IO is due to a reduction of IAV bias in W3–4 in comparison to IAV bias in W3 and W4.

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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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Qingzhe Zhu, Yuzhi Liu, Tianbin Shao, Run Luo, and Ziyuan Tan

Abstract

The Tibetan Plateau (TP), the so-called water tower of Asia, plays an important role in the water cycle. However, few studies have linked the TP’s water vapor supply with the climate over North China. In this study, we found that changes in the subtropical westerly jet (SWJ) dynamically induce drought in North China, and the TP plays an important role in this relationship. During July–August for the period of 1981–2019, the SWJ center between 75° and 105°E obviously shifted northward at a rate of 0.04° per year. Correspondingly, the zonal winds in the southern subtropics were incredibly weakened, causing the outflow of water vapor from the TP to decrease dramatically. Combined with numerical simulations, we discovered that a reduction in water vapor transport from the TP can obviously decrease the precipitation over North China. Sensitivity experiments demonstrated that if the water vapor outflow from the eastern border of the TP decreases by 52.74%, the precipitation in North China will decrease by 12.69% due to a decrease in the local cloud fraction caused by a diminished water vapor content in the atmosphere. Therefore, although less water vapor transport occurs in the upper troposphere than in the lower troposphere, the impact of transport from the TP in the former on the downstream precipitation cannot be ignored.

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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.

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Gregory Tierney, Walter A. Robinson, Gary Lackmann, and Rebecca Miller

Abstract

High-impact events such as heat waves and droughts are often associated with persistent positive geopotential height anomalies (PAs). Understanding how PA activity will change in a future warmer climate is therefore fundamental to projecting associated changes in weather and climate extremes. This is a complex problem because the dynamics of PAs and their associated blocking activity are still poorly understood. Furthermore, climate change influences on PA activity may be geographically dependent and encompass competing influences. To expose the salient impacts of climate change, we use an oceanic channel configuration of the Weather Research and Forecasting Model in a bivariate experiment focused on changes in environmental temperature, moisture, and baroclinicity. The 500-hPa wind speed and flow variability are found to increase with increasing temperature and baroclinicity, driven by increases in latent heat release and a stronger virtual temperature gradient. Changes to 500-hPa sinuosity are negligible. PAs are objectively identified at the 500-hPa level using an anomaly threshold method. When using a fixed threshold, PA trends indicate increased activity and strength with warming but decreased activity and strength with Arctic amplification. Use of a climate-relative threshold hides these trends and highlights the importance of accurate characterization of the mean flow. Changes in PA activity mirror corresponding changes in 500-hPa flow variability and are found to be attributable to changes in three distinct dynamical mechanisms: baroclinic wave activity, virtual temperature effects, and latent heat release.

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