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Mei Hong
,
Dong Wang
,
Ren Zhang
,
Xi Chen
,
Jing-Jing Ge
, and
Dandan Yu

Abstract

Abnormal activity of the western Pacific subtropical high (WPSH) may result in extreme weather events in East Asia. However, because the relationship between the WPSH and other components of the East Asian summer monsoon (EASM) system is unknown, it is still difficult to forecast such abnormal activity. The delay-relevant method is used to study 2010 data for abnormal weather and it is concluded that the Indian monsoon latent heat flux, the Somali low-level jet, and the Tibetan high activity index can significantly affect anomalies in the WPSH in the EASM system. By combining genetic algorithms and statistical–dynamical reconstruction theory, a nonlinear statistical–dynamical model of the WPSH and these three influencing factors was objectively reconstructed from actual 2010 data and a dynamically extended forecasting experiment was carried out. To further test the forecasting performance of the reconstructed model, further experiments using data from nine abnormal WPSH years and eight normal WPSH years were performed for comparison. All the results suggest that the forecasts of the subtropical high area index, the Indian monsoon latent heat flux, the Somali low-level jet, and the Tibetan high activity index all have good performance in the short and medium terms (<25 days). Not only is the forecasting trend accurate, but the mean absolute percentage error is ≤9%. This work suggests new areas of research into the association between the WPSH and EASM systems and provides a new method for the prediction of the WPSH area index.

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Shuyun Zhao
,
Hua Zhang
,
Zhili Wang
, and
Xianwen Jing

Abstract

The comprehensive effects of anthropogenic aerosols (sulfate, black carbon, and organic carbon) on terrestrial aridity were simulated using an aerosol–climate coupled model system. The results showed that the increase in total anthropogenic aerosols in the atmosphere from 1850 to 2010 had caused global land annual mean precipitation to decrease by about 0.19 (0.18, 0.21) mm day−1, where the uncertainty range of the change (minimum, maximum) is given in parentheses following the mean change, and reference evapotranspiration ET0 (representing evapotranspiration ability) to decrease by about 0.33 (0.31, 0.35) mm day−1. The increase in anthropogenic aerosols in the atmosphere from 1850 to 2010 had caused land annual mean terrestrial aridity to decrease by about 3.0% (2.7%, 3.6%). The areal extent of global total arid and semiarid areas had reduced due to the increase in total anthropogenic aerosols in the atmosphere from preindustrial times. However, it was found that the increase in anthropogenic aerosols in the atmosphere had enhanced the terrestrial aridity and thus resulted in an expansion of arid and semiarid areas over East and South Asia. The projected decrease in anthropogenic aerosols in the atmosphere from 2010 to 2100 will increase global land annual mean precipitation by about 0.15 (0.13, 0.16) mm day−1 and ET0 by about 0.26 (0.25, 0.28) mm day−1, thereby producing a net increase in terrestrial aridity of about 2.8% (2.1%, 3.6%) and an expansion of global total arid and semiarid areas.

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Yuanlong Li
,
Weiqing Han
,
Fan Wang
,
Lei Zhang
, and
Jing Duan

Abstract

Multi-time-scale variabilities of the Indian Ocean (IO) temperature over 0–700 m are revisited from the perspective of vertical structure. Analysis of historical data for 1955–2018 identifies two dominant types of vertical structures that account for respectively 70.5% and 21.2% of the total variance on interannual-to-interdecadal time scales with the linear trend and seasonal cycle removed. The leading type manifests as vertically coherent warming/cooling with the maximal amplitude at ~100 m and exhibits evident interdecadal variations. The second type shows a vertical dipole structure between the surface (0–60 m) and subsurface (60–400 m) layers and interannual-to-decadal fluctuations. Ocean model experiments were performed to gain insights into underlying processes. The vertically coherent, basinwide warming/cooling of the IO on an interdecadal time scale is caused by changes of the Indonesian Throughflow (ITF) controlled by Pacific climate and anomalous surface heat fluxes partly originating from external forcing. Enhanced changes in the subtropical southern IO arise from positive air–sea feedback among sea surface temperature, winds, turbulent heat flux, cloud cover, and shortwave radiation. Regarding dipole-type variability, the basinwide surface warming is induced by surface heat flux forcing, and the subsurface cooling occurs only in the eastern IO. The cooling in the southeast IO is generated by the weakened ITF, whereas that in the northeast IO is caused by equatorial easterly winds through upwelling oceanic waves. Both El Niño–Southern Oscillation (ENSO) and IO dipole (IOD) events are favorable for the generation of such vertical dipole anomalies.

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Jing Huang
,
Yang Zhang
,
Xiu-Qun Yang
,
Xuejuan Ren
, and
Haibo Hu

Abstract

An oceanic frontal zone is a confluent region of warm and cool ocean currents, characterized by a strong meridional gradient of sea surface temperature (SST). High-resolution SST observations show that the wintertime North Pacific exhibits a unique double-oceanic-front structure, with a subtropical frontal zone (STFZ) and a subarctic frontal zone (SAFZ), whose impacts on the weather and climate over the East Asia–North Pacific–North American region need further investigation. In this study, we conduct groups of multiyear and ensemble simulations using a WRF high-resolution regional climate model, through which the different impacts of the STFZ and SAFZ on the wintertime atmospheric circulations are identified and compared. Our multiyear simulations show that the STFZ, although with weaker intensity, exerts evident and consistent impacts on the storm track and westerly jet in the North Pacific by enhancing and elongating the eddy activity, zonal wind, and Aleutian low. The SAFZ exhibits coherent impacts on the low-level atmospheric baroclinicity and storm track; however, its impacts on the upper-level storm track and atmospheric circulations are divergent, exhibiting strong year-by-year difference. Our study suggests that the SAFZ’s impacts on the atmospheric circulations strongly depend on the background mean state, which contributes to the divergent impacts of the SAFZ. Furthermore, our results highlight the role of diabatic heating for the above different impacts of the STFZ and SAFZ on the atmosphere. We argue that the much deeper diabatic heating induced by the STFZ, via affecting the baroclinicity through the whole troposphere, can exert consistent influence on eddy activities and atmospheric circulations.

Open access
Jing Ma
,
Shang-Ping Xie
,
Haiming Xu
,
Jiuwei Zhao
, and
Leying Zhang

Abstract

Using the ensemble hindcasts of the European Centre for Medium-Range Weather Forecasts (ECMWF) coupled model for the period of 1980–2005, spatiotemporal evolution in the covariability of sea surface temperature (SST) and low-level winds in the ensemble mean and spread over the tropical Atlantic is investigated with the month-reliant singular value decomposition (SVD) method, which treats the variables in a given monthly sequence as one time step. The leading mode of the ensemble mean represents a coevolution of SST and winds over the tropical Atlantic associated with a phase transition of El Niño from the peak to decay phase, while the second mode is related to a phase transition from El Niño to La Niña, indicating a precursory role of the north tropical Atlantic (NTA) SST warming in La Niña development. The leading mode of ensemble spread in SST and winds further illustrates that an NTA SST anomaly acts as a precursor for El Niño–Southern Oscillation (ENSO). A north-tropical pathway for the delayed effect of the NTA SST anomaly on the subsequent ENSO event is identified; the NTA SST warming induces the subtropical northeast Pacific SST cooling through the modulation of a zonal–vertical circulation, setting off a North Pacific meridional mode (NPMM). The coupled SST–wind anomalies migrate southwestward to the central equatorial Pacific and eventually amplify into a La Niña event in the following months due to the equatorial Bjerknes feedback. Ensemble spread greatly increases the sample size and affords insights into the interbasin interactions between the tropical Atlantic and Pacific, as demonstrated here in the NTA SST impact on ENSO.

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Yuqing Zhang
,
Qinglong You
,
Changchun Chen
,
Jing Ge
, and
Muhammad Adnan

Abstract

Compared to traditional drought events, flash droughts evolve rapidly during short-term extreme atmospheric conditions, with a lasting period of one pentad to several weeks. There are two main categories of flash droughts: the heat wave flash drought (HWFD), which is mainly caused by persistent high temperatures (heat waves), and the precipitation deficit flash drought (PDFD), which is mainly triggered by precipitation deficits. The authors’ previous research focused on the characteristics and causes of flash drought based on meteorological observations and Variable Infiltration Capacity (VIC) model simulations in a humid subtropical basin (Gan River basin, China). In this study, the authors evaluated the downscaled phase 5 of the Coupled Model Intercomparison Project (CMIP5) models’ simulations, coupled with the VIC model (CMIP5–VIC) in reproducing flash droughts in a humid subtropical basin in China. Most downscaled CMIP5–VIC simulations can reproduce the spatial patterns of flash droughts with respect to the benchmarks. The coupled models fail to readily replicate interannual variation (interannual pentad change), but most models can reflect the interannual variability (temporal standard deviation) and long-term average pentads of flash droughts. It is difficult to simultaneously depict both the spatial and temporal features of flash droughts within only one coupled model. The climatological patterns of the best multimodel ensemble mean are close to those of the all-model ensemble mean, but the best multimodel ensemble mean has a minimal bias range and relatively low computational burden.

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Wenjun Zhang
,
Fei-Fei Jin
,
Jing-Xia Zhao
, and
Jianping Li

Abstract

The fidelity of coupled climate models simulating El Niño–Southern Oscillation (ENSO) patterns has been widely examined. Nevertheless, a systematical narrow bias in the simulated meridional width of the sea surface temperature anomaly (SSTA) of ENSO has been largely overlooked. Utilizing the preindustrial control simulations of 11 coupled climate models from phase 3 of the Coupled Model Intercomparison Project (CMIP3), it was shown that the simulated width of the ENSO SSTA is only about two-thirds of what is observed. Through a heat budget analysis based on simulations and ocean reanalysis datasets, it is demonstrated that the SSTA outside of the equatorial strip is predominantly controlled by the anomalous meridional advection by climatological currents and heat-flux damping. The authors thus propose a simple damped-advective conceptual model to describe ENSO width. The simple model indicates that this width is primarily determined by three factors: meridional current, ENSO period, and thermal damping rate. When the meridional current is weak, it spreads the equatorial SSTA away from the equator less effectively and the ENSO width thus tends to be narrow. A short ENSO period allows less time to transport the equatorial SSTA toward the off-equatorial region, and strong damping prevents expansion of the SSTA away from the equator, both of which lead to the meridional width becoming narrow. The narrow bias of the simulated ENSO width is mainly due to a systematical bias in weak trade winds that lead to weak ocean meridional currents, and partly due to a bias toward short ENSO periods.

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Jing-Wu Liu
,
Su-Ping Zhang
, and
Shang-Ping Xie

Abstract

Effects of the sea surface temperature (SST) front along the East China Sea Kuroshio on sea surface winds at different time scales are investigated. In winter and spring, the climatological vector wind is strongest on the SST front while the scalar wind speed reaches a maximum on the warm flank of the front and is collocated with the maximum difference between sea surface temperature and surface air temperature (SST − SAT). The distinction is due to the change in relative importance of two physical processes of SST–wind interaction at different time scales. The SST front–induced sea surface level pressure (SLP) adjustment (SF–SLP) contributes to a strong vector wind above the front on long time scales, consistent with the collocation of baroclinicity in the marine boundary layer and corroborated by the similarity between the thermal wind and observed wind shear between 1000 and 850 hPa. In contrast, the SST modulation of synoptic winds is more evident on the warm flank of the SST front. Large thermal instability of the near-surface layer strengthens temporal synoptic wind perturbations by intensifying vertical mixing, resulting in a scalar wind maximum. The vertical mixing and SF–SLP mechanisms are both at work but manifest more clearly at the synoptic time scale and in the long-term mean, respectively. The cross-frontal variations are 1.5 m s−1 in both the scalar and vector wind speeds, representing the vertical mixing and SF–SLP effects, respectively. The results illustrate the utility of high-frequency sampling by satellite scatterometers.

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Jingzhuo Wang
,
Jing Chen
,
Hanbin Zhang
,
Ruoyun Ma
, and
Fajing Chen

Abstract

To compare the roles of two kinds of initial perturbations in a convection-permitting ensemble prediction system (CPEPS) and reveal the effects of the differences in large-scale/small-scale perturbation components on the CPEPS, three initial perturbation schemes are introduced, including a dynamical downscaling (DOWN) scheme originating from a coarse-resolution model, a multiscale ensemble transform Kalman filter (ETKF) scheme, and a filtered ETKF (ETKF_LARGE) scheme. First, the comparisons between the DOWN and ETKF schemes reveal that they behave differently in many ways. Specifically, the ensemble spread and forecast error for precipitation in the DOWN scheme are larger than those in the ETKF; the probabilistic forecasting skill for precipitation in the DOWN scheme is better than that in the ETKF at small neighborhood radii, whereas the advantages of the ETKF begin to appear as the neighborhood radius increases; DOWN possesses better spread–skill relationships than ETKF and has comparable probabilistic forecasting skills for nonprecipitation. Second, the comparisons between DOWN and ETKF_LARGE indicate that the differences in the large-scale initial perturbation components are key to the differences between DOWN and ETKF. Third, the comparisons between ETKF and ETKF_LARGE demonstrate that the small-scale initial perturbations are important since they can increase the precipitation spread in the early times and decrease the forecast errors while simultaneously improving the probabilistic forecasting skill for precipitation. Given the advantages of the DOWN and ETKF schemes and the importance of both large-scale and small-scale initial perturbations, multiscale initial perturbations should be constructed in future research.

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Hong-Bo Liu
,
Jing Yang
,
Da-Lin Zhang
, and
Bin Wang

Abstract

During the mei-yu season of the summer of 2003, the Yangtze and Huai River basin (YHRB) encountered anomalously heavy rainfall, and the northern YHRB (nYHRB) suffered a severe flood because of five continuous extreme rainfall events. A spectral analysis of daily rainfall data over YHRB reveals two dominant frequency modes: one peak on day 14 and the other on day 4 (i.e., the quasi-biweekly and synoptic-scale mode, respectively). Results indicate that the two scales of disturbances contributed southwesterly and northeasterly anomalies, respectively, to the mei-yu frontal convergence over the southern YHRB (sYHRB) at the peak wet phase. An analysis of bandpass-filtered circulations shows that the lower and upper regions of the troposphere were fully coupled at the quasi-biweekly scale, and a lower-level cyclonic anomaly over sYHRB was phase locked with an anticyclonic anomaly over the Philippines. At the synoptic scale, the strong northeasterly components of an anticyclonic anomaly with a deep cold and dry layer helped generate the heavy rainfall over sYHRB. Results also indicate the passages of five synoptic-scale disturbances during the nYHRB rainfall. Like the sYHRB rainfall, these disturbances originated from the periodical generations of cyclonic and anticyclonic anomalies at the downstream of the Tibetan Plateau. The nYHRB rainfalls were generated as these disturbances moved northeastward under the influence of monsoonal flows and higher-latitude eastward-propagating Rossby wave trains. It is concluded that the sYHRB heavy rainfall resulted from the superposition of quasi-biweekly and synoptic-scale disturbances, whereas the intermittent passages of five synoptic-scale disturbances led to the flooding rainfall over nYHRB.

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