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Gyula Molnar and Wei-Chyung Wang

Abstract

Cloud optical properties, in particular the optical thickness, affect the earth-atmosphere radiation budget, and their potential changes associated with climate changes may induce feedback effect. A one-dimensional radiative-forcing model was used to illustrate that the difference in the vertical distribution of the radiative forcing between C02 increase and changes of solar constant can result in a different τ feedback. Recently, Wang et al. carried out a general circulation model study of the climatic effect of atmospheric trace gases CH4, CFCS, and N2O, and the model results indicate that these trace gases provide an important radiative energy source for the present climate. Because the radiative-forcing behavior of CO2 is different from that of these other gases, the simulations also show that different radiative forcing can lead to quite different climatic effects. Consequently, increases in these trace gases may also induce different τ feedback than that due to CO2 increase. Since no study was attempted before to address this aspect, here a one-dimensional model is used to investigate the τ feedback associated with trace gases using an updated τ scheme that relates τ to cloud liquid water content through cloud layer latent heat flux. Because of the different changes in the τ vertical distribution the τ feedback is calculated to be a small negative value for a C02 increase, but much larger negative values for increases of trace gases. The strongest negative feedback is found for CFCs.

Similar experiments were also feedback conducted using a revised version of the Somerville and Remer τ scheme, which relates τ to cloud liquid water content through cloud temperature. The results indicate that the negative feedback for C02 increases for a single cloud layer becomes much smaller when multiple-layer clouds are used, mainly due to the compensating effect of changes in τ values between high and low clouds. Because this scheme assumes a strong functional dependence of the local temperature, the τ feedback is also found to be sensitive to model dimensionally. In addition, the strength and sometimes even the sign of the τ feedback calculated from both schemes depend on the vertical distribution of cloud cover for the control climate, indicating the complexity of cloud-radiation interaction Clearly, more observational and theoretical studies are needed to understand the cloud microphysics and their relation to large-scale climate variables.

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Wei Wang and Rui Xin Huang

Abstract

Wind stress energy input through the surface ageostrophic currents is studied. The surface ageostrophic velocity is calculated using the classical formula of the Ekman spiral, with the Ekman depth determined from an empirical formula. The total amount of energy input over the global oceans for subinertial frequency is estimated as 2.4 TW averaged over a period from 1997 to 2002, or 2.3 TW averaged over a period from 1948 to 2002, based on daily wind stress data from NCEP–NCAR. Thus, in addition to the energy input to the near inertial waves of 0.5–0.7 TW reported by Alford and by Watanabe and Hibiya, the total energy input to the Ekman layer is estimated as 3 TW. This input is concentrated primarily over the Southern Ocean and the storm track in both the North Pacific and North Atlantic Oceans.

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Guoxing Chen and Wei-Chyung Wang

Abstract

Recently, Chen et al. used a combination of observations and WRF simulations to illustrate that the anthropogenic aerosol–cloud microphysics–radiation interactions over the southeast Pacific can potentially reduce the excessive shortwave radiation reaching the sea surface, a common bias identified in CMIP5 models. Here, with the aid of a mixed-layer ocean, the authors further study the implications of the shortwave radiation reduction to the underlying air–sea coupling, focusing on the SST sensitivity to the changes. Results show that responses of the air–sea coupling include two negative feedbacks (a large decrease in the latent heat flux and a small decrease in the sensible heat flux, both associated with the surface cooling) and a positive feedback (an increase in the cloud cover, caused by the increase in the relative humidity within the boundary layer, especially during the daytime). The 0.1°C (W m−2)−1 SST sensitivity is about half that documented in CMIP5 models. In addition, an effective daytime cloud fraction weighted with the solar diurnal cycle is proposed to facilitate diagnosing the intensity of cloud–radiation interactions in general circulation models.

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Wei Wang and Nelson L. Seaman

Abstract

A comparison study of four cumulus parameterization schemes (CPSs), the Anthes–Kuo, Betts–Miller, Grell, and Kain–Fritsch schemes, is conducted using The Pennsylvania State University–National Center for Atmospheric Research mesoscale model. Performance of these CPSs is examined using six precipitation events over the continental United States for both cold and warm seasons. Grid resolutions of 36 and 12 km are chosen to represent current mesoscale research models and future operational models. The key parameters used to evaluate skill include precipitation, sea level pressure, wind, and temperature predictions. Precipitation is evaluated statistically using conventional skill scores (such as threat and bias scores) for different threshold values based on hourly rainfall observations. Rainfall and other mesoscale features are also evaluated by careful examination of analyzed and simulated fields, which are discussed in the context of timing, evolution, intensity, and structure of the precipitation systems.

It is found that the general 6-h precipitation forecast skill for these schemes is fairly good in predicting four out of six cases examined in this study, even for higher thresholds. The forecast skill is generally higher for cold-season events than for warm-season events. There is an increase in the forecast skill in the 12-km model, and the gain is most obvious in predicting heavier rainfall amounts. The model’s precipitation forecast skill is better in rainfall volume than in either the areal coverage or the peak amount. The scheme with the convective available potential energy–based closure assumption (Kain–Fritsch scheme) appears to perform better. Some systematic behaviors associated with various schemes are also noted wherever possible.

The partition of rainfall into subgrid scale and grid scale is sensitive to the particular parameterization scheme chosen, but relatively insensitive to either the model grid sizes or the convective environments.

The prediction of mesoscale surface features in warm-season cases, such as mesoscale pressure centers, wind-shift lines (gust fronts), and temperature fields, strongly suggests that the CPSs with moist downdrafts are able to predict these surface features more accurately.

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Wei Wang and Thomas T. Warner

Abstract

The Penn State/NCAR mesoscale model has been used in a study of special static- and dynamic-initialization techniques that improve a very-short-range forecast of the heavy convective rainfall that occurred in Texas, Oklahoma and Kansas during 9–10 May 1979, the SESAME IV study period. In this study, the model is initialized during the precipitation event. Two types of four-dimensional data assimilation (FDDA) procedures are used in the dynamic-initialization experiments in order to incorporate data during a 12-hour preforecast period. With the first type, FDDA by Newtonian relaxation is used to incorporate sounding data during the preforecast period. With the second FDDA procedure, radar-based precipitation-rate estimates and hourly raingage data are used to define a three-dimensional latent-heating rate field that contributes to the diabatic heating term in the model's thermodynamic equation during the preforecast period. This latent-heating specification procedure is also employed in static-initialization experiments, where the observed rainfall rate and radar echo pattern near the initial time of the forecast are used to infer a latent-heating rate that is specified in the mesoscale model's thermodynamic equation during the early part of the actual forecast. The precipitation forecasts from these static- and dynamic-initialization experiments are compared with the forecast produced when only operational radiosonde data are used in a conventional static initialization.

The conventional (control) initialization procedure that used only operational radiosonde data produced a precipitation prediction for the first three to four hours of the forecast period that would have been inadequate in an operational setting. Whereas at the initial time of the forecast there was substantial convective precipitation observed in a band near the edge of an elevated mixed layer, the model did not initiate the heavy rainfall until about the fourth hour of the forecast.

The use of the experimental static initialization with prescribed latent heating during the first forecast hour produced greatly improved rainfall rates during the first three to four hours. The success of the technique was shown to be not especially sensitive to moderate variations in the duration, intensity and vertical distribution of the imposed heating. Applications of the Newtonian-relaxation procedure during the preforecast period, that relaxed the model solution toward the initial large-scale analysis, produced a better precipitation forecast than did the control, with a maximum in approximately the correct position, but the intensities were too small. Combined use of either the preforecast or in-forecast latent-heat forcing with the Newtonian relaxation produced an improved forecast of rainfall intensity compared to use of the Newtonian relaxation alone. Even though both the experimental static- and dynamic-initialization procedures produced considerably improved very-short-range precipitation forecasts, compared to the control, the experimental static-initialization procedure that used latent-heat forcing during the first forecast hour did slightly better for this case.

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Yi Zhang and Wei-Chyung Wang

Abstract

Two 100-yr equilibrium simulations from the NCAR Community Climate Model coupled to a nondynamic slab ocean are used to investigate the activity of northern winter extratropical cyclones and anticyclones under a greenhouse warming scenario. The first simulation uses the 1990 observed CO2, CH4, N2O, CFC-11, and CFC-12 concentrations, and the second adopts the year 2050 concentrations according to the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change business-as-usual scenario. Variables that describe the characteristic properties of the cyclone-scale eddies, such as surface cyclone and anticyclone frequency and the bandpassed root-mean-square of 500-hPa geopotential height, along with the Eady growth rate maximum, form a framework for the analysis of the cyclone and anticyclone activity.

Objective criteria are developed for identifying cyclone and anticyclone occurrences based on the 1000-hPa geopotential height and vorticity fields and tested using ECMWF analyses. The potential changes of the eddy activity under the greenhouse warming climate are then examined. Results indicate that the activity of cyclone-scale eddies decreases under the greenhouse warming scenario. This is not only reflected in the surface cyclone and anticyclone frequency and in the bandpassed rms of 500-hPa geopotential height, but is also discerned from the Eady growth rate maximum. Based on the analysis, three different physical mechanisms responsible for the decreased eddy activity are discussed: 1) a decrease of the extratropical meridional temperature gradient from the surface to the midtroposphere, 2) a reduction in the land–sea thermal contrast in the east coastal regions of the Asian and North American continents, and 3) an increase in the eddy meridional latent heat fluxes. Uncertainties in the results related to the limitations of the model and the model equilibrium simulations are discussed.

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Wei Wang and Rui Xin Huang

Abstract

Wind energy input into the ocean is primarily produced through surface waves. The total rate of this energy source, integrated over the World Ocean, is estimated at 60 TW, based on empirical formulas and results from a numerical model of surface waves. Thus, surface wave energy input is about 50 times the energy input to the surface geostrophic current and 20 times the total tidal dissipation rate. Most of the energy input is concentrated within the Antarctic Circumpolar Current.

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Wei Tan, Xin Wang, Weiqiang Wang, Chunzai Wang, and Juncheng Zuo

Abstract

This study investigates variations of sea surface temperature (SST) anomalies in the South China Sea (SCS) during developing autumn of various El Niño events. The warm SST anomalies are observed in the SCS for canonical El Niño and El Niño Modoki I, whereas the cold SST anomalies are found for El Niño Modoki II. The ocean heat budget analyses show that the latent heat flux change induced by various types of El Niño events is a major contributor to the SCS SST variations. An anomalous anticyclone resides near the Philippine Sea for canonical El Niño and El Niño Modoki I, which induces the southerly wind anomalies over the SCS and thus weakens the climatological northeasterly in boreal autumn. The weakened surface wind speed reduces heat loss from the ocean, leading to a warmer state in the SCS. However, for El Niño Modoki II, the anomalous anticyclone shifts westward to the west of the SCS, and thus the northeasterly wind anomalies appear in the SCS. The northeasterly anomalies enhance the climatological northeasterly monsoon, increase the wind speed, and increase heat loss from the ocean, thus resulting in a cooling in the SCS. The anomalous anticyclone associated with El Niño events also increases shortwave radiation. The increases of the shortwave radiation can also contribute to the SCS warming for canonical El Niño and El Niño Modoki I in addition to the warm effect from the latent heat flux. Because the cooling effect from the latent heat flux is larger than that of the shortwave radiation for El Niño Modoki II, the SCS for El Niño Modoki II tends to be cool.

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Yansen Wang, Wei-Kuo Tao, and Joanne Simpson

Abstract

A two-dimensional cloud-resolving model is linked with a TOGA COARE flux algorithm to examine the impact of the ocean surface fluxes on the development of a tropical squall line and its associated precipitation processes. The model results show that the 12-h total surface rainfall amount in the run excluding the surface fluxes is about 80% of that for the run including surface fluxes (domain-averaged rainfall, 3.4 mm). The model results also indicate that latent heat flux or evaporation from the ocean is the most influential factor among the three fluxes (latent heat, sensible heat, and momentum) for the development of the squall system. The average latent and sensible heat fluxes in the convective (disturbed) region are 60 and 11 W m−2 larger, respectively, than those of the nonconvective (clear) region due to the gust wind speed, a cool pool near the surface, and drier air from downdrafts associated with the convective activity. These results are in good agreement with observations.

In addition, sensitivity tests using a simple bulk aerodynamic approximation as well as a Blackadar-type surface flux formulation have predicted much larger latent and sensible heat fluxes than those obtained using the TOGA COARE flux algorithm. Consequently, much more surface rainfall was simulated using a simple aerodynamic approximation or a Blackadar-type surface flux formulation. The results presented here also suggest that a fine vertical resolution (at least in the lowest model grid point) is needed in order to study the interactive processes between the ocean and convection using a cloud-resolving model.

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Wei-Chyung Wang and Gerald A. Domoto

Abstract

A modified two-flux approximation is employed to compute the transfer of radiation in a finite, inhomogeneous, turbid atmosphere. A perturbation technique is developed to allow the treatment of non-gray gaseous absorption with multiple scattering. The perturbation method, which employs a backscatter factor as a parameter, can be used with anisotropic particle scattering as well as Rayleigh scattering.

This method is used to study the effect of aerosols on radiative solar heating and infrared cooling as well as the radiative-convective temperature distribution in the earth's atmosphere. It is found that the effect of aerosols in the infrared cannot be neglected; while in the visible, the effect can be the same order as that due to absorption by water vapor. For a high surface albedo (>0.30) heating of the earth-atmosphere system results due to the presence of aerosols. The aerosols also reduce the amount of convection needed to maintain a stable atmosphere. For the case of a dense haze a temperature inversion is found to exist close to the ground.

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