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Hong-Li Ren
,
Yuntao Wei
, and
Shuo Zhao

Abstract

The real-time multivariate Madden–Julian oscillation (MJO) (RMM) index has now been widely applied as a standard in operational subseasonal prediction and monitoring. Its calculation procedures involve the extraction of major intraseasonal variability (ISV) by subtracting the prior 120-day mean. However, this study uncovers that such a real-time strategy artificially creates unwanted low-frequency variability (LFVartificial) that might cause nonnegligible influences on the RMM amplitude and phase. Compared to the real LFV, the LFVartificial explains more (∼70% in boreal summer) of the residual LFV (LFVresidual) in the RMM index. It occupies 33% of all days that the LFVresidual explains more than one-half of total RMM amplitude, 19% that the LFV contribution exceeds ISV, and 10% that the LFVartificial-associated RMM amplitude surpasses 0.8. The RMM-defined “MJO” is obscured by the LFVresidual in such a way that the eastward-propagating mode is stronger and bigger with a slower phase speed, as compared with the “true” MJO derived from the 20–100-day filtered data. The interference effects of LFVresidual on the MJO might be particularly strong when the background state is changing rapidly with time. However, these issues can be well avoided when one chooses to remove the centered 120-day mean, as evidenced by the largely reduced three percentages (17%, 8%, and 1%) mentioned above in the so-derived index. These results give us a reminder that more attention should be paid to monitoring or predicting an MJO using the RMM index in a rapidly changing low-frequency background or in the boreal summer.

Significance Statement

The real-time multivariate MJO (RMM) index has been widely applied in the monitoring and prediction of the MJO, the major tropical intraseasonal variability influencing global weather and climate. Using observational analysis, we reveal that there exist such scenarios (∼16%) when large-amplitude RMM indices do not represent a strong MJO, mainly due to the obscuring effect of residual, while largely artificial, low-frequency variability introduced by the RMM calculation procedures. This finding is of great significance as it informs the research community that serious caution should be given when relating large RMM amplitude to the MJO, especially in a condition when the low-frequency background state is rapidly changing with time or in the boreal summer.

Free access
Li Tao
,
Tim Li
,
Yuan-Hui Ke
, and
Jiu-Wei Zhao

Abstract

A Pacific–Japan (PJ) pattern index is defined based on the singular value decomposition (SVD) analysis of summertime 500-hPa height in East Asia and precipitation in the tropical western North Pacific (WNP). The time series of this PJ index shows clearly the interannual and interdecadal variations since 1948. Idealized atmospheric general circulation model (AGCM) experiments were carried out to understand the remote and local SST forcing in causing the interannual variations of the PJ pattern and interdecadal variations of the PJ-like pattern. It is found that the PJ interannual variation is closely related to El Niño–Southern Oscillation (ENSO). A basinwide warming occurs in the tropical Indian Ocean (TIO) during El Niño mature winter. The TIO warming persists from the El Niño peak winter to the succeeding summer. Meanwhile, a cold SST anomaly (SSTA) appears in the eastern WNP and persists from the El Niño mature winter to the succeeding summer. Idealized AGCM experiments that separate the TIO and WNP SSTA forcing effects show that both the remote eastern TIO forcing and local WNP SSTA forcing are important in affecting atmospheric heating anomaly in the WNP monsoon region, which further impacts the PJ interannual teleconnection pattern over East Asia. In contrast to the interannual variation, the interdecadal change of the PJ-like pattern is primarily affected by the interdecadal change of SST in the TIO rather than by the local SSTA in the WNP.

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Wei Mei
,
Shang-Ping Xie
,
Ming Zhao
, and
Yuqing Wang

Abstract

Forced interannual-to-decadal variability of annual tropical cyclone (TC) track density in the western North Pacific between 1979 and 2008 is studied using TC tracks from observations and simulations by a 25-km-resolution version of the GFDL High-Resolution Atmospheric Model (HiRAM) that is forced by observed sea surface temperatures (SSTs). Two modes dominate the decadal variability: a nearly basinwide mode, and a dipole mode between the subtropics and lower latitudes. The former mode links to variations in TC number and is forced by SST variations over the off-equatorial tropical central North Pacific, whereas the latter might be associated with the Atlantic multidecadal oscillation. The interannual variability is also controlled by two modes: a basinwide mode driven by SST anomalies of opposite signs located in the tropical central Pacific and eastern Indian Ocean, and a southeast–northwest dipole mode connected to the conventional eastern Pacific ENSO. The seasonal evolution of the ENSO effect on TC activity is further explored via a joint empirical orthogonal function analysis using TC track density of consecutive seasons, and the analysis reveals that two types of ENSO are at work. Internal variability in TC track density is then examined using ensemble simulations from both HiRAM and a regional atmospheric model. It exhibits prominent spatial and seasonal patterns, and it is particularly strong in the South China Sea and along the coast of East Asia. This makes an accurate prediction and projection of TC landfall extremely challenging in these regions. In contrast, basin-integrated metrics (e.g., total TC counts and TC days) are more predictable.

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Qingxuan Yang
,
Wei Zhao
,
Xinfeng Liang
,
Jihai Dong
, and
Jiwei Tian

Abstract

Direct microstructure observations across three warm mesoscale eddies were conducted in the northern South China Sea during the field experiments in July 2007, December 2013, and January 2014, respectively, along with finestructure measurements. An important finding was that turbulent mixing in the mixed layer was considerably elevated in the periphery of each of these eddies, with a mixing level 5–7 times higher than that in the eddy center. To explore the mechanism behind the high mixing level, this study carried out analyses of the horizontal wavenumber spectrum of velocities and spectral fluxes of kinetic energy. Spectral slopes showed a power law of k −2 in the eddy periphery and of k −3 in the eddy center, consistent with the result that the kinetic energy of submesoscale motion in the eddy periphery was more greatly energized than that in the center. Spectral fluxes of kinetic energy also revealed a forward energy cascade toward smaller scales at the wavelength of kilometers in the eddy periphery. This study illustrated a possible route for energy cascading from balanced mesoscale dynamics to unbalanced submesoscale behavior, which eventually furnished turbulent mixing in the upper ocean.

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Chun Zhou
,
Wei Zhao
,
Jiwei Tian
,
Qingxuan Yang
, and
Tangdong Qu

Abstract

The Luzon Strait, with its deepest sills at the Bashi Channel and Luzon Trough, is the only deep connection between the Pacific Ocean and the South China Sea (SCS). To investigate the deep-water overflow through the Luzon Strait, 3.5 yr of continuous mooring observations have been conducted in the deep Bashi Channel and Luzon Trough. For the first time these observations enable us to assess the detailed variability of the deep-water overflow from the Pacific to the SCS. On average, the along-stream velocity of the overflow is at its maximum at about 120 m above the ocean bottom, reaching 19.9 ± 6.5 and 23.0 ± 11.8 cm s−1 at the central Bashi Channel and Luzon Trough, respectively. The velocity measurements can be translated to a mean volume transport for the deep-water overflow of 0.83 ± 0.46 Sverdrups (Sv; 1 Sv ≡ 106 m3 s−1) at the Bashi Channel and 0.88 ± 0.77 Sv at the Luzon Trough. Significant intraseasonal and seasonal variations are identified, with their dominant time scales ranging between 20 and 60 days and around 100 days. The intraseasonal variation is season dependent, with its maximum strength taking place in March–May. Deep-water eddies are believed to play a role in this intraseasonal variation. On the seasonal time scale, the deep-water overflow intensifies in late fall (October–December) and weakens in spring (March–May), corresponding well with the seasonal variation of the density difference between the Pacific and SCS, for which enhanced mixing in the deep SCS is possibly responsible.

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Er Lu
,
Wei Zhao
,
Xukai Zou
,
Dianxiu Ye
,
Chunyu Zhao
, and
Qiang Zhang

Abstract

A method is developed in this study to monitor and detect extreme precipitation events. For a rainfall event to be severe, it should last for a long period and affect a wide region while maintaining a strong intensity. However, if the duration is inappropriately taken as too long and the region is inappropriately taken as too wide, then the averaged intensity might be too weak. There should be a balance among the three quantities. Based upon understanding of the issue, the authors proposed a simple mathematical model, which contains two reasonable constraints. The relation of the “extreme” intensity with both duration and region (EIDR) is derived. With the prescribed baseline extreme intensities, the authors calculate the relative intensities with the data. Through comparison among different time periods and spatial sizes, one can identify the event that is most extreme, with its starting time, duration, and geographic region being determined. Procedures for monitoring the extreme event are provided. As an example, the extreme event contained in the 1991 persistent heavy rainfall over east China is detected.

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Ruijie Ye
,
Chun Zhou
,
Wei Zhao
,
Jiwei Tian
,
Qingxuan Yang
,
Xiaodong Huang
,
Zhiwei Zhang
, and
Xiaolong Zhao

Abstract

The deep water overflow at three gaps in the Heng-Chun Ridge of the Luzon Strait is investigated based on long-term continuous mooring observations. For the first time, these observations enable us to assess the detailed structure and variability in the deep water overflow directly spilling into the South China Sea (SCS). The strong bottom-intensified flows at moorings WG2 and WG3 intrude into the deep SCS with maximum along-stream velocities of 19.2 ± 9.9 and 15.2 ± 6.8 cm s−1, respectively, at approximately 50 m above the bottom. At mooring WG1, the bottom current revealed spillage into the Luzon Trough from the SCS. The volume transport estimates are 0.73 ± 0.08 Sv at WG2 and 0.45 ± 0.02 Sv at WG3, suggesting that WG2 is the main entrance for the deep water overflow crossing the Heng-Chun Ridge into the SCS. By including the long-term observational results from previous studies, the pathway of the deep water overflow through the Luzon Strait is also presented. In addition, significant intraseasonal variations with dominant time scales of approximately 26 days at WG2 and WG3 have been revealed, which tend to be enhanced in spring and may reverse the deep water overflow.

Full access
Shoudong Zhao
,
Minghu Ding
,
Wenqian Zhang
,
Ting Wei
,
Wei Cheng
,
Junming Chen
, and
Cunde Xiao

Abstract

Changes in extreme temperatures have more effects on ecosystems and human society than changes in climate averages. As a hotspot of global warming, the Arctic has experienced unprecedented heatwaves recently, which highlights the importance of identifying long-term variations of extreme temperatures. However, spatial unbalance of observations and artificially chosen investigation periods limit our knowledge of extreme temperatures over the Arctic lands. Here, we build a complete and quality-controlled observation network on surface temperature over the Arctic lands and combine in situ and reanalysis data to evaluate changes of extreme temperatures during the period 1979–2020. Our results indicate that 1) the increase in extreme temperatures has accelerated since the 2000s, especially on the coast of Eurasia; 2) the change magnitude for cold events is larger than for warm events, in terms of intensity, frequency, and duration; and 3) increases in warm events only occur locally, for example, Alaska and central Siberia, while decreases in cold events occur throughout the Arctic lands. The long-term trends of extreme temperatures are synchronous with sea ice loss, and patterns of interannual variations are mainly related to the North Atlantic Oscillation. We suggest further efforts toward improvement over North America, especially for Greenland, through sufficient observations and regional models.

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Yongli Zhang
,
Hao Wei
,
Youyu Lu
,
Xiaofan Luo
,
Xianmin Hu
, and
Wei Zhao

Abstract

Four events of distinctly low summer ice coverage in the Beaufort Sea, in 1998, 2008, 2012, and 2016, have been identified using satellite-observed concentration between 1979 and 2017. Previous studies have revealed that these four minima were impacted by preconditioning of the ice cover, and specifically the 1998 event was preconditioned toward thinner ice by anomalous southeasterly winds during winter. This study further investigates the 1998 event through analyzing the solution of a coupled ocean and sea ice model. Compared with the mean condition during 1995–2015, the net ice loss in the melt season (May–September) of 1998 was not particularly high. In the preceding fall (October–December 1997), the ice conditions and processes contributing to ice changes were neither significantly different from the mean condition nor unique in the time series during 1995–2015. In the preceding winter (January–April 1998), over the southeastern part of the Beaufort Sea, the ice was 1.5 m thinner than the mean condition on average, and the increase in ice thickness due to freezing was nearly offset by the decrease due to lateral advection, which was the result of high westward ice export and limited southerly import. The dynamic process in preceding winter was also the cause of low ice in summer 2016 according to a recent study. Model analyses suggest that the 2008 event was due to the small regional ice volume at the end of summer 2007 and ice export during the preceding fall, whereas the 2012 event was caused by the excessive summer melting.

Free access
Yi Yang
,
Hongtao Nie
,
Yongli Zhang
,
Xiaofan Luo
,
Hao Wei
, and
Wei Zhao

Abstract

Open water in ice-covered oceans is an essential condition for shipping and resource exploitation. We investigate the interannual and spatial variations of the open water onset time in the Kara Sea (KS) and the underlying mechanisms through analyzing satellite-based observations and model simulation results. The empirical orthogonal function (EOF) analysis on the satellite sea ice concentration during 1979–2020 reveals two primary spatial distribution patterns of the open water onset time. The first mode EOF1 shows the coherent advance or delay of the open water onset time within the KS, which is consistent with the multiyear-averaged state. The second mode EOF2 exhibits a seesaw pattern between the southwest and middle regions, which represents the regional difference of the open water onset time within the KS. In 1997 with significant anomaly in EOF2, analysis of the model simulation reveals that the strong easterly wind-induced ice transport is the main reason for the earlier opening in the middle region and delayed opening in the southwestern region. When compared with the multiyear-averaged state, this dynamic process causes a noticeable redistribution of local sea ice in the early melting season (May to June), with much more ice in the southwestern region, thence influences the regional onset time of open water. A similar situation also occurred in the years 1985, 2001, and 2004, as these years presented stronger easterly wind energy accumulated over May to June, which cause earlier opening in the middle region and later opening in the southwestern region.

Significance Statement

Variability of the open water in the Arctic Ocean has a significant impact on climate and ecosystem variability and also human activities. This study focuses on understanding why the onset time of open water was asynchronous over the Kara Sea. Generally, the open water first forms in the western region of the Kara Sea under the influences of warm inflow from the Barents Sea and river runoff. However, when strong easterly winds prevail across the whole region at the beginning of the melting season, sea ice is transported from east to west, resulting in the advanced opening in the middle and delayed opening in the southwest regions. This finding points out that wind can combine with surface and lateral heat fluxes to influence the interannual variability in the distribution of the open water onset time in the Kara Sea.

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