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Zhiming Yang, Bo Yang, Pengfei Liu, Yunquan Zhang, and Xiao-Chen Yuan

Abstract

Climate may significantly affect human society. Few studies have focused on the temperature impact on residents’ health, especially mental health status. This paper uses 98 423 observations in China to study the relationship between temperature and health, based on the China Family Panel Studies survey during 2010–16. We analyze the health effects of extreme hot and cold weather and compare the effects under different social demographic factors including gender, age, and income. We find that temperature and health status exhibit a nonlinear relationship. Women and low-income households are more likely to be impacted by extreme cold, whereas men, the elderly, and high-income households are more sensitive to extreme heat. Our results highlight the potential effects of extreme temperatures on physical and mental health and provide implications for future policy decisions to protect human health under a changing climate.

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Victoria A. Johnson, Kimberly E. Klockow-McClain, Randy A. Peppler, and Angela M. Person

Abstract

Residents of the Oklahoma City metropolitan area are frequently threatened by tornadoes. Previous research indicates that perceptions of tornado threat affect behavioral choices when severe weather threatens and, as such, are important to study. In this paper, we examine the potential influence of tornado climatology on risk perception. Residents across central Oklahoma were surveyed about their perceptions of tornado proneness for their home location, and this was compared with the local tornado climatology. Mapping and programming tools were then used to identify relationships between respondents’ perceptions and actual tornado events. Research found that some dimensions of the climatology, such as tornado frequency, nearness, and intensity, have complex effects on risk perception. In particular, tornadoes that were intense, close, and recent had the strongest positive influence on risk perception, but weaker tornadoes appeared to produce an “inoculating” effect. Additional factors were influential, including sharp spatial discontinuities between neighboring places that were not tied to any obvious physical feature or the tornado climatology. Respondents holding lower perceptions of risk also reported lower rates of intention to prepare during tornado watches. By studying place-based perceptions, this research aims to provide a scientific basis for improved communication efforts before and during tornado events and for identifying vulnerable populations.

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Jen Henderson, Lisa Dilling, Rebecca Morss, Olga Wilhelmi, and Ursula Rick

Abstract

Unintended consequences from decisions made in one part of a social–ecological system in response to climate hazards can magnify vulnerabilities for others in the same system. Yet anticipating or identifying these cascades and spillovers in real time is difficult. Social learning is an important component of adaptation that has the ability to facilitate adaptive capacity by mobilizing multiple actors around a common resource to manage collectively in ways that build local knowledge, reflective practices, and a broader understanding of contexts for decisions. While the foundations of social learning in resource management have been theorized in the literature, empirical examples of unintended consequences that trigger social learning are few. This article analyzes two cases of drought decisions made along the Arkansas River basin in Colorado; in each, social learning occurred after actors experienced unanticipated impacts from others’ decisions. Methods include interviews with actors, both individual and institutional representatives of different sectors (recreation, agriculture, etc.), and a review of relevant historical and policy documents. The study identifies four features of social learning that aided actors’ responses to unanticipated consequences: governance structures that facilitated more holistic river management; relationship boundaries that expanded beyond small-scale decisions to capture interactions and emergent problems; knowledge of others’ previous experience, whether direct or indirect; and creation of spaces for safer experimentation with adaptation changes. Results identify empirical examples of actors who successfully learned to adapt together to unexpected consequences and thus may provide insight for others collectively managing drought extremes.

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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
Jonathan M. King, Kevin J. Anchukaitis, Jessica E. Tierney, Gregory J. Hakim, Julien Emile-Geay, Feng Zhu, and Rob Wilson

Abstract

We use the Northern Hemisphere Tree-Ring Network Development (NTREND) tree-ring database to examine the effects of using a small, highly sensitive proxy network for paleotemperature data assimilation over the last millennium. We first evaluate our methods using pseudoproxy experiments. These indicate that spatial assimilations using this network are skillful in the extratropical Northern Hemisphere and improve on previous NTREND reconstructions based on point-by-point regression. We also find our method is sensitive to climate model biases when the number of sites becomes small. Based on these experiments, we then assimilate the real NTREND network. To quantify model prior uncertainty, we produce 10 separate reconstructions, each assimilating a different climate model. These reconstructions are most dissimilar prior to 1100 CE, when the network becomes sparse, but show greater consistency as the network grows. Temporal variability is also underestimated before 1100 CE. Our assimilation method produces spatial uncertainty estimates, and these identify tree-line North America and eastern Siberia as regions that would most benefit from development of new millennial-length temperature-sensitive tree-ring records. We compare our multimodel mean reconstruction to five existing paleotemperature products to examine the range of reconstructed responses to radiative forcing. We find substantial differences in the spatial patterns and magnitudes of reconstructed responses to volcanic eruptions and in the transition between the Medieval epoch and Little Ice Age. These extant uncertainties call for the development of a paleoclimate reconstruction intercomparison framework for systematically examining the consequences of proxy network composition and reconstruction methodology and for continued expansion of tree-ring proxy networks.

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Shaohua Chen, Haikun Zhao, Philp J. Klotzbach, Graciela B. Raga, Jian Cao, and Chao Wang

Abstract

This study analyzes decadal modulation of transbasin variability (TBV) on extended boreal summer (May–October) tropical cyclone frequency (TCF) over the western North Pacific (WNP), central-eastern North Pacific (CENP), and North Atlantic (NATL) basins. There are distinct decadal regimes (P1: 1979–97, P2: 1998–2008, and P3: 2009–19) with changes in the interannual relationship between TBV and TCF over these three basins. During P1 and P3, there is a significant interannual TBV–TCF relationship over the CENP and NATL, but these relationships become insignificant during P2. Changes in the interannual TBV–TCF relationship over the WNP are opposite to those over the CENP and NATL basins, with significant relationship during P2 but insignificant relationship during P1 and P3. Changes in all three basins coincide with decadal changes in large-scale parameters associated with TBV. Consistent basinwide changes in lower-tropospheric vorticity (vertical wind shear) associated with TBV appear to be largely responsible for changes in total TCF over the NATL (CENP) during P1 and P3. In contrast, a dipole pattern in lower-tropospheric vorticity and vertical wind shear anomalies associated with TBV over the NATL and CENP basins occurs during P2, leading to an insignificant interannual TBV–TCF relationship over the NATL and CENP basins. Over the WNP, a basinwide consistent distribution of lower-tropospheric vorticity associated with TBV is consistent with changes in total TCF during P2, whereas a dipole correlation pattern between TBV-associated factors and TCF during P1 and P3 leads to a weak correlation between TBV and WNP TCF. These three distinct observed decadal regimes may be associated with interactions between ENSO and the Pacific decadal oscillation on decadal time scales.

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D. J. Webb, P. Spence, R. M. Holmes, and M. H. England

Abstract

The Atlantic meridional overturning circulation (AMOC) plays a key role in determining the distribution of heat and nutrients in the global ocean. Climate models suggest that Southern Ocean winds will strengthen and shift poleward in the future, which could have implications for future AMOC trends. Using a coupled global–ocean sea ice model at 1/4° horizontal resolution, we study the response of the North Atlantic overturning to two anomalous Southern Ocean wind-forcing scenarios; namely, a strengthening (τ +15%) and a poleward intensification (τ4°S+15%). In both scenarios, a strengthening in the North Atlantic overturning develops within a decade, with a much stronger response in the τ4°S+15% case. In τ4°S+15%, we find that the primary link between the North Atlantic response and the Southern Ocean forcing is via the propagation of baroclinic waves. In fact, due to the rapid northward propagation of these waves, changes in the AMOC in the τ4°S+15% case appear to originate in the North Atlantic and propagate southward, whereas in the τ +15% case AMOC anomalies propagate northward from the Southern Ocean. We find the difference to be predominately caused by the sign of the baroclinic waves propagating from the forcing region into the North Atlantic: downwelling in the τ +15% case versus upwelling in the τ4°S+15% case. In the τ4°S+15% case, upwelling waves propagate into the NADW formation regions along shelf-slope topography bringing dense water to the surface. This reduces vertical density gradients leading to deeper wintertime convective overturn of surface waters and an intensification of the AMOC.

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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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