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Jiwoo Lee, Kenneth R. Sperber, Peter J. Gleckler, Karl E. Taylor, and Céline J. W. Bonfils

Abstract

We evaluate extratropical modes of variability in the three most recent phases of the Coupled Model Intercomparison Project (CMIP3, CMIP5, and CMIP6) to gauge improvement of climate models over time. A suite of high-level metrics is employed to objectively evaluate how well climate models simulate the observed northern annular mode (NAM), North Atlantic Oscillation (NAO), Pacific–North America pattern (PNA), southern annular mode (SAM), Pacific decadal oscillation (PDO), North Pacific Oscillation (NPO), and North Pacific Gyre Oscillation (NPGO). We apply a common basis function (CBF) approach that projects model anomalies onto observed empirical orthogonal functions (EOFs), together with the traditional EOF approach, to CMIP Historical and AMIP models. We find simulated spatial patterns of those modes have been significantly improved in the newer models, although the skill improvement is sensitive to the mode and season considered. We identify some potential contributions to the pattern improvement of certain modes (e.g., the Southern Hemisphere jet and high-top vertical coordinate); however, the performance changes are likely attributed to gradual improvement of the base climate and multiple relevant processes. Less performance improvement is evident in the mode amplitude of these modes and systematic overestimation of the mode amplitude in spring remains in the newer climate models. We find that the postdominant season amplitude errors in atmospheric modes are not limited to coupled runs but are often already evident in AMIP simulations. This suggests that rectifying the egregious postdominant season amplitude errors found in many models can be addressed in an atmospheric-only framework, making it more tractable to address in the model development process.

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Minghao Yang, Chongyin Li, Xiong Chen, Yanke Tan, Xin Li, Chao Zhang, and Guiwan Chen

Abstract

The reproducibility of climatology and the midwinter suppression of the cold-season North Pacific storm track (NPST) in historical runs of 18 CMIP6 models is evaluated against the NCEP reanalysis data. The results show that the position of the climatological peak area of 850-hPa meridional eddy heat flux (υT850) is well captured by these models. The spatial patterns of climatological υT850 are basically consistent with the NCEP reanalysis. Generally, NorESM2-LM and CESM2-WACCM present a relatively strong capability to reproduce the climatological amplitude of υT850 with lower RMSE than the other models. Compared with CMIP5 models, the intermodel spread of υT850 climatology among the CMIP6 models is smaller, and their multimodel ensemble is closer to the NCEP reanalysis. The geographical distribution in more than half of the selected models is farther south and east. For the subseasonal variability of υT850, nearly half of the models exhibit a double-peak structure. In contrast, the apparent midwinter suppression in the NPST represented by the 250-hPa filtered meridional wind variance (υυ250) is reproduced by all the selected models. In addition, the present study investigates the possible reasons for simulation biases regarding climatological NPST amplitude. It is found that a higher model horizontal resolution significantly intensifies the climatological υυ250. There is a significant in-phase relationship between climatological υυ250 and the intensity of the East Asian winter monsoon (EAWM). However, the climatological υT850 is not sensitive to the model grid spacing. Additionally, the climatological low-tropospheric atmospheric baroclinicity is uncorrelated with climatological υυ250. The stronger climatological baroclinic energy conversion is associated with the stronger climatological υT850.

Open access
Yi Jin, Xuebin Zhang, John A. Church, and Xianwen Bao

Abstract

Projections of future sea level changes are usually based on global climate models (GCMs). However, the changes in shallow coastal regions, like the marginal seas near China, cannot be fully resolved in GCMs. To improve regional sea level simulations, a high-resolution (~8 km) regional ocean model is set up for the marginal seas near China for both the historical (1994–2015) and future (2079–2100) periods under representative concentration pathways (RCPs) 4.5 and 8.5. The historical ocean simulations are evaluated at different spatiotemporal scales, and the model is then integrated for the future period, driven by projected monthly climatological climate change signals from eight GCMs individually via both surface and open boundary conditions. The downscaled ocean changes derived by comparing historical and future experiments reveal greater spatial details than those from GCMs, such as a low dynamic sea level (DSL) center of −0.15 m in the middle of the South China Sea (SCS). As a novel test, the downscaled results driven by the ensemble mean forcings are almost identical with the ensemble average results from individually downscaled cases. Forcing of the DSL change and increased cyclonic circulation in the SCS are dominated by the climate change signals from the Pacific, while the DSL change in the East China marginal seas is caused by both local atmosphere forcing and signals from the Pacific. The method of downscaling developed in this study is a useful modeling protocol for adaptation and mitigation planning for future oceanic climate changes.

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Pengfei Zhang, Gang Chen, and Yi Ming

Abstract

While there is substantial evidence for tropospheric jet shift and Hadley cell expansion in response to greenhouse gas increases, quantitative assessments of individual mechanisms and feedback for atmospheric circulation changes remain lacking. We present a new forcing–feedback analysis on circulation response to increasing CO2 concentration in an aquaplanet atmospheric model. This forcing–feedback framework explicitly identifies a direct zonal wind response by holding the zonal mean zonal wind exerting on the zonal advection of eddies unchanged, in comparison with the additional feedback induced by the direct response in zonal mean zonal wind. It is shown that the zonal advection feedback accounts for nearly half of the changes to the eddy-driven jet shift and Hadley cell expansion, largely contributing to the subtropical precipitation decline, when the CO2 concentration varies over a range of climates. The direct response in temperature displays the well-known tropospheric warming pattern to CO2 increases, but the feedback exhibits negative signals. The direct response in eddies is characterized by a reduction in upward wave propagation and a poleward shift of midlatitude eddy momentum flux (EMF) convergence, likely due to an increase in static stability from moist thermodynamic adjustment. In contrast, the feedback features a dipole pattern in EMF that further shifts and strengthens midlatitude EMF convergence, resulting from the upper-level zonal wind increase seen in the direct response. Interestingly, the direct response produces an increase in eddy kinetic energy (EKE), but the feedback weakens EKE. Thus, the forcing–feedback framework highlights the distinct effect of zonal mean advecting wind from direct thermodynamic effects in atmospheric response to greenhouse gas increases.

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Mengmeng Lu, Song Yang, Junbin Wang, Yuting Wu, and Xiaolong Jia

Abstract

The thermal effect of the entire Tibetan Plateau (TP) tends to strengthen the South Asian summer monsoon (SASM); however, how does this monsoon component respond to the thermal conditions of different TP domains? How do the thermal conditions of the entire TP influence other monsoons, including the East Asian summer monsoon (EASM) and the Southeast Asian summer monsoon (SEASM)? These questions are addressed by conducting an experiment with the CESM, which is forced by reducing the surface albedo over the plateau by half, from a TP-averaged 0.20 to 0.10, from May to September, and similar experiments for different TP domains. Both observational and model results show that the entire TP heating intensifies the large-scale Asian monsoon, the SASM, and the EASM but surprisingly weakens the SEASM. It is also surprising that the TP heating exerts a stronger effect on the EASM than on the SASM. The southern TP (south of 35°N) does not show the strongest impact on the SASM in comparison with other TP domains, and it exerts the weakest impact on the EASM, which is most strongly influenced by the thermal effect of the eastern (east of 90°E) and northern TP. The western TP weakens the SEASM (as do the other domains), and it strengthens other monsoon components. The thermal conditions of the southern and eastern TP are accompanied by signals of tropical atmospheric response at relatively broader spatial scales, whereas those of the northern TP more apparently lead to a significant wave train extending eastward from the TP to western Eurasia over the higher latitudes.

Open access
Ivana Cerovečki and Andrew J. S. Meijers

Abstract

The deepest wintertime (July–September) mixed layers associated with Subantarctic Mode Water (SAMW) formation develop in the Indian and Pacific sectors of the Southern Ocean. In these two sectors the dominant interannual variability of both deep wintertime mixed layers and SAMW volume is an east–west dipole pattern in each basin. The variability of these dipoles is strongly correlated with the interannual variability of overlying winter quasi-stationary mean sea level pressure (MSLP) anomalies. Anomalously strong positive MSLP anomalies are found to result in the deepening of the wintertime mixed layers and an increase in the SAMW formation in the eastern parts of the dipoles in the Pacific and Indian sectors. These effects are due to enhanced cold southerly meridional winds, strengthened zonal winds, and increased surface ocean heat loss. The opposite occurs in the western parts of the dipoles in these sectors. Conversely, strong negative MSLP anomalies result in shoaling (deepening) of the wintertime mixed layers and a decrease (increase) in SAMW formation in the eastern (western) regions. The MSLP variabilities of the Pacific and Indian basin anomalies are not always in phase, especially in years with a strong El Niño, resulting in different patterns of SAMW formation in the western versus eastern parts of the Indian and Pacific sectors. Strong isopycnal depth and thickness anomalies develop in the SAMW density range in years with strong MSLP anomalies. When advected eastward, they act to precondition downstream SAMW formation in the subsequent winter.

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Helene Asbjørnsen, Helen L. Johnson, and Marius Årthun

Abstract

The inflow across the Iceland–Scotland Ridge determines the amount of heat supplied to the Nordic seas from the subpolar North Atlantic (SPNA). Consequently, variable inflow properties and volume transport at the ridge influence marine ecosystems and sea ice extent farther north. Here, we identify the upstream pathways of the Nordic seas inflow and assess the mechanisms responsible for interannual inflow variability. Using an eddy-permitting ocean model hindcast and a Lagrangian analysis tool, numerical particles are released at the ridge during 1986–2015 and tracked backward in time. We find an inflow that is well mixed in terms of its properties, where 64% comes from the subtropics and 26% has a subpolar or Arctic origin. The local instantaneous response to the NAO is important for the overall transport of both subtropical and Arctic-origin waters at the ridge. In the years before reaching the ridge, the subtropical particles are influenced by atmospheric circulation anomalies in the gyre boundary region and over the SPNA, forcing shifts in the North Atlantic Current (NAC) and the Subpolar Front. An equatorward-shifted NAC and westward-shifted Subpolar Front correspond to a warmer, more saline inflow. Atmospheric circulation anomalies over the SPNA also affect the amount of Arctic-origin water rerouted from the Labrador Current toward the Nordic seas. A high transport of Arctic-origin water is associated with a colder, fresher inflow across the Iceland–Scotland Ridge. The results thus demonstrate the importance of gyre dynamics and wind forcing in affecting the Nordic seas inflow properties and volume transport.

Open access
Zhe Wang, Jiankai Zhang, Tao Wang, Wuhu Feng, Yihang Hu, and Xiran Xu

Abstract

The factors responsible for the size of the Antarctic ozone hole in November are analyzed. Comparing two samples of anomalously large and small November ozone holes with respect to 1980–2017 climatology in November, the results show that the anomalously large ozone hole in austral late winter is not a precondition for the anomalously large ozone hole in November. The size of the Antarctic ozone hole in November is mainly influenced by dynamical processes from the end of October to mid-November. During anomalously large November ozone hole events, weaker dynamical ozone transport appears from the end of October to mid-November, which is closely related to planetary wave divergence in the stratosphere between 60° and 90°S. Further analyses indicate that the wave divergence is partially attributed to less upward propagation of planetary waves from the troposphere, which is associated with weak baroclinic disturbances at the end of October. Subsequently, zonal wind speed in the upper stratosphere intensifies, and the distance between the critical layer (U = 0) and wave-reflecting surfaces becomes larger. As a result, more planetary waves are reflected and then wave divergence is enhanced. The processes responsible for the anomalously small Antarctic ozone holes in November are almost opposite to those for the anomalously large Antarctic ozone holes.

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Se-Yong Song, Sang-Wook Yeh, and Hyun-Su Jo

Abstract

The leading modes of the North Pacific jet (NPJ) variability include intensity changes and meridional shifts in jet position on low-frequency time scales. These leading modes of NPJ variability are closely associated with weather and climate conditions spanning from Asia to the United States. In this study, we investigated changes in the NPJ’s role as a conduit for U.S. surface air temperature (SAT) anomalies during the boreal winter across the late 1990s. We found that the leading mode of NPJ variability changed from the NPJ intensity changes to meridional shifts in NPJ position across the late 1990s. It leads to the change in the role of the NPJ as a conduit for U.S. SAT anomalies. Before the late 1990s, the variability of NPJ intensity significantly impacted western U.S. SAT anomalies related to the anomalous surface cyclonic circulation over the North Pacific. After the late 1990s, however, the variability of the NPJ’s meridional shift significantly influenced the eastern U.S. SAT anomalies in association with the anomalous surface cyclonic circulation over the northern North Pacific. Further analysis and model experiments revealed that the western to central North Pacific Ocean has been warming since the late 1990s and modulates atmospheric baroclinicity. This phenomenon mainly leads to a northward NPJ shift and implies that the eddy-driven mechanism on the NPJ’s formation, which acts to enhance the meridional variability of NPJ position, becomes dominant. We conclude that this northward shift of NPJ could have contributed to enhancing the NPJ’s meridional shift variability, significantly influencing the eastern U.S. SAT anomalies since the late 1990s.

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XiaoJing Jia, Chao Zhang, Renguang Wu, and QiFeng Qian

Abstract

The present study explores the changed relationship between the interannual variations in spring (April–May) precipitation over southern China (SPSC) and sea surface temperature (SST) anomalies in the tropical Pacific and south Indian Oceans during the 1960–2017 period. Observational analysis shows that the relation between SPSC and El Niño–Southern Oscillation (ENSO) was significant before the mid-1980s (P1) and after the early 2000s (P3) but insignificant in between, from the mid-1980s to the early 2000s (P2). In P2, positive anomalous SPSC was significantly correlated with negative anomalous SST in the south Indian Ocean. During this period, an anomalous anticyclone and intensified southwesterly winds tended to appear over tropical India accompanied by a negative anomalous south Indian Ocean SST, which caused anomalous low-level convergence over the western Pacific. As a result, the western Pacific subtropical high (WPSH) tended to weaken and retreat eastward. This resulted in anomalous moisture convergence in southern China, favoring enhanced SPSC. Further analysis shows that the negative south Indian Ocean SST anomalies tended to induce anomalous cross-equatorial vertical circulation where the south Indian Ocean and southern China are controlled by descending and ascending airflow. The ascending motion may also contribute to positive anomalous SPSC. The observed contribution of the south Indian Ocean SST anomalies to the SPSC variation is confirmed by numerical experiments using an atmospheric model. The intensified variance of SST in the south Indian Ocean and the eastward shift of the ENSO-related circulation anomalies over the western tropical Pacific may partly account for the changes in the SST–SPSC relationship.

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