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  • Author or Editor: Nicholas P. Klingaman x
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Peter M. F. Sheehan
,
Adrian J. Matthews
,
Benjamin G. M. Webber
,
Alejandra Sanchez-Franks
,
Nicholas P. Klingaman
, and
P. N. Vinayachandran

Abstract

The southwest monsoon delivers over 70% of India’s annual rainfall and is crucial to the success of agriculture across much of South Asia. Monsoon precipitation is known to be sensitive to sea surface temperature (SST) in the Bay of Bengal (BoB). Here, we use a configuration of the Unified Model of the Met Office coupled to an ocean mixed layer model to investigate the role of upper-ocean features in the BoB on southwest monsoon precipitation. We focus on the pronounced zonal and meridional SST gradients characteristic of the BoB; the zonal gradient in particular has an as-yet unknown effect on monsoon rainfall. We find that the zonal SST gradient is responsible for a 50% decrease in rainfall over the southern BoB (approximately 5 mm day−1), and a 50% increase in rainfall over Bangladesh and northern India (approximately 1 mm day−1). This increase is remotely forced by a strengthening of the monsoon Hadley circulation. The meridional SST gradient acts to decrease precipitation over the BoB itself, similarly to the zonal SST gradient, but does not have comparable effects over land. The impacts of barrier layers and high-salinity subsurface water are also investigated, but neither has significant effects on monsoon precipitation in this model; the influence of barrier layers on precipitation is felt in the months after the southwest monsoon. Models should accurately represent oceanic processes that directly influence BoB SST, such as the BoB cold pool, in order to faithfully represent monsoon rainfall.

Open access
Andrew D. King
,
Nicholas P. Klingaman
,
Lisa V. Alexander
,
Markus G. Donat
,
Nicolas C. Jourdain
, and
Penelope Maher

Abstract

Leading patterns of observed monthly extreme rainfall variability in Australia are examined using an empirical orthogonal teleconnection (EOT) method. Extreme rainfall variability is more closely related to mean rainfall variability during austral summer than in winter. The leading EOT patterns of extreme rainfall explain less variance in Australia-wide extreme rainfall than is the case for mean rainfall EOTs. The authors illustrate that, as with mean rainfall, the El Niño–Southern Oscillation (ENSO) has the strongest association with warm-season extreme rainfall variability, while in the cool season the primary drivers are atmospheric blocking and the subtropical ridge. The Indian Ocean dipole and southern annular mode also have significant relationships with patterns of variability during austral winter and spring. Leading patterns of summer extreme rainfall variability have predictability several months ahead from Pacific sea surface temperatures (SSTs) and as much as a year in advance from Indian Ocean SSTs. Predictability from the Pacific is greater for wetter-than-average summer months than for months that are drier than average, whereas for the Indian Ocean the relationship has greater linearity. Several cool-season EOTs are associated with midlatitude synoptic-scale patterns along the south and east coasts. These patterns have common atmospheric signatures denoting moist onshore flow and strong cyclonic anomalies often to the north of a blocking anticyclone. Tropical cyclone activity is observed to have significant relationships with some warm-season EOTs. This analysis shows that extreme rainfall variability in Australia can be related to remote drivers and local synoptic-scale patterns throughout the year.

Full access
Wenjun Zhang
,
Haiyan Li
,
Fei-Fei Jin
,
Malte F. Stuecker
,
Andrew G. Turner
, and
Nicholas P. Klingaman

Abstract

Previous studies documented that a distinct southward shift of central Pacific low-level wind anomalies occurring during the ENSO decaying phase is caused by an interaction between the western Pacific annual cycle and El Niño–Southern Oscillation (ENSO) variability. The present study finds that the meridional movement of the central Pacific wind anomalies appears only during traditional eastern Pacific El Niño (EP El Niño) events rather than in central Pacific El Niño (CP El Niño) events in which sea surface temperature (SST) anomalies are confined to the central Pacific. The zonal structure of ENSO-related SST anomalies therefore has an important effect on meridional asymmetry in the associated atmospheric response and its modulation by the annual cycle. In contrast to EP El Niño events, the SST anomalies of CP El Niño events extend farther west toward the warm pool region with its climatological warm SSTs. In the warm pool region, relatively small SST anomalies are thus able to excite convection anomalies on both sides of the equator, even with a meridionally asymmetric SST background state. Therefore, almost meridionally symmetric precipitation and wind anomalies are observed over the central Pacific during the decaying phase of CP El Niño events. The SST anomaly pattern of La Niña events is similar to CP El Niño events with a reversed sign. Accordingly, no distinct southward displacement of the atmospheric response occurs over the central Pacific during the La Niña decaying phase. These results have important implications for ENSO climate impacts over East Asia, since the anomalous low-level anticyclone over the western North Pacific is an integral part of the annual cycle–modulated ENSO response.

Full access
Liang Guo
,
Nicholas P. Klingaman
,
Pier Luigi Vidale
,
Andrew G. Turner
,
Marie-Estelle Demory
, and
Alison Cobb

Abstract

The coastal region of East Asia (EA) is one of the regions with the most frequent impacts from tropical cyclones (TCs). In this study, rainfall and moisture transports related to TCs are measured over EA, and the contribution of TCs to the regional water budget is compared with other contributors, especially the mean circulation of the EA summer monsoon (EASM). Based on ERA-Interim reanalysis (1979–2012), the trajectories of TCs are identified using an objective feature tracking method. Over 60% of TCs occur from July to October (JASO). During JASO, TC rainfall contributes 10%–30% of the monthly total rainfall over the coastal region of EA; this contribution is highest over the south/southeast coast of China in September. TCs make a larger contribution to daily extreme rainfall (above the 95th percentile): 50%–60% over the EA coast and as high as 70% over Taiwan Island. Compared with the mean EASM, TCs transport less moisture over EA. However, as the peak of the mean seasonal cycle of TCs lags two months behind that of the EASM, the moisture transported by TCs is an important source for the water budget over the EA region when the EASM withdraws. This moisture transport is largely performed by westward-moving TCs. These results improve understanding of the water cycle of EA and provide a useful test bed for evaluating and improving seasonal forecasts and coupled climate models.

Full access
L. Ruby Leung
,
William R. Boos
,
Jennifer L. Catto
,
Charlotte A. DeMott
,
Gill M. Martin
,
J. David Neelin
,
Travis A. O’Brien
,
Shaocheng Xie
,
Zhe Feng
,
Nicholas P. Klingaman
,
Yi-Hung Kuo
,
Robert W. Lee
,
Cristian Martinez-Villalobos
,
S. Vishnu
,
Matthew D. K. Priestley
,
Cheng Tao
, and
Yang Zhou

Abstract

Precipitation sustains life and supports human activities, making its prediction one of the most societally relevant challenges in weather and climate modeling. Limitations in modeling precipitation underscore the need for diagnostics and metrics to evaluate precipitation in simulations and predictions. While routine use of basic metrics is important for documenting model skill, more sophisticated diagnostics and metrics aimed at connecting model biases to their sources and revealing precipitation characteristics relevant to how model precipitation is used are critical for improving models and their uses. This paper illustrates examples of exploratory diagnostics and metrics including 1) spatiotemporal characteristics metrics such as diurnal variability, probability of extremes, duration of dry spells, spectral characteristics, and spatiotemporal coherence of precipitation; 2) process-oriented metrics based on the rainfall–moisture coupling and temperature–water vapor environments of precipitation; and 3) phenomena-based metrics focusing on precipitation associated with weather phenomena including low pressure systems, mesoscale convective systems, frontal systems, and atmospheric rivers. Together, these diagnostics and metrics delineate the multifaceted and multiscale nature of precipitation, its relations with the environments, and its generation mechanisms. The metrics are applied to historical simulations from phases 5 and 6 of the Coupled Model Intercomparison Project. Models exhibit diverse skill as measured by the suite of metrics, with very few models consistently ranked as top or bottom performers compared to other models in multiple metrics. Analysis of model skill across metrics and models suggests possible relationships among subsets of metrics, motivating the need for more systematic analysis to understand model biases for informing model development.

Open access