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  • Author or Editor: Wei Zhao x
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Chao Wang
,
Liguang Wu
,
Jun Lu
,
Qingyuan Liu
,
Haikun Zhao
,
Wei Tian
, and
Jian Cao

Abstract

Understanding variations in tropical cyclone (TC) translation speed (TCS) is of great importance for islands and coastal regions since it is an important factor in determining TC-induced local damages. Investigating the long-term change in TCS was usually subject to substantial limitations in the quality of historical TC records, but here we investigated the interannual variability in TCS over the western North Pacific (WNP) Ocean by using reliable satellite TC records. It was found that both temporal changes in large-scale steering flow and TC track greatly contributed to interannual variability in the WNP TCS. In the peak season (July–September), TCS changes were closely related to temporal variations in large-scale steering flow, which was linked to the intensity of the western North Pacific subtropical high. However, for the late season (October–December), changes in TC track played a vital role in interannual variability in TCS while the impacts of temporal variations in large-scale steering were weak. The changes in TC track were mainly contributed by the El Niño–Southern Oscillation (ENSO)-induced zonal migrations in TC genesis locations, which make more or fewer TCs move to the subtropical WNP, thus leading to notable changes in the basinwide TCS because of the much greater large-scale steering in the subtropical WNP. The increased influence of TC track change on TCS in the late season was linked to the greater contrast between the subtropical and the tropical large-scale steering in the late season. These results have important implications for understanding current and future variations in TCS.

Free access
Wei Zhao
,
Zhongmin Hu
,
Qun Guo
,
Genan Wu
,
Ruru Chen
, and
Shenggong Li

Abstract

Understanding the atmosphere–land surface interaction is crucial for clarifying the responses and feedbacks of terrestrial ecosystems to climate change. However, quantifying the effects of multiple climatic factors to vegetation activities is challenging. Using the geographical detector model (GDM), this study quantifies the relative contributions of climatic factors including precipitation, relative humidity, solar radiation, and air temperature to the interannual variation (IAV) of the normalized difference vegetation index (NDVI) in the northern grasslands of China during 2000 to 2016. The results show heterogeneous spatial patterns of determinant climatic factors on the IAV of NDVI. Precipitation and relative humidity jointly controlled the IAV of NDVI, illustrating more explanatory power than solar radiation and air temperature, and accounting for higher proportion of area as the determinant factor in the study region. It is noteworthy that relative humidity, a proxy of atmospheric aridity, is as important as precipitation for the IAV of NDVI. The contribution of climatic factors to the IAV of NDVI varied by vegetation type. Owing to the stronger explanatory power of climatic factors on NDVI variability in temperate grasslands, we conclude that climate variability may exert more influence on temperate grasslands than on alpine grasslands. Our study highlights the importance of the role of atmospheric aridity to vegetation activities in grasslands. We suggest focusing more on the differences between vegetation types when addressing the climate–vegetation relationships at a regional scale.

Free access
Meilin Zhu
,
Lonnie G. Thompson
,
Huabiao Zhao
,
Tandong Yao
,
Wei Yang
, and
Shengqiang Jin

Abstract

Glacier changes on the Tibetan Plateau (TP) have been spatially heterogeneous in recent decades. The understanding of glacier mass changes in western Tibet, a transitional area between the monsoon-dominated region and the westerlies-dominated region, is still incomplete. For this study, we used an energy–mass balance model to reconstruct annual mass balances from October 1967 to September 2019 to explore the effects of local climate and large-scale atmospheric circulation on glacier mass changes in western Tibet. The results showed that Xiao Anglong Glacier is close to a balanced condition, with an average value of −53 ± 185 mm water equivalent (w.e.) yr−1 for 1968–2019. The interannual mass balance variability during 1968–2019 was primary driven by ablation-season precipitation, which determined changes in the snow accumulation and strongly influenced melt processes. The interannual mass balance variability during 1968–2019 was less affected by ablation-season air temperature, which only weakly affected snowfall and melt energy. Further analysis suggests that the southward (or northward) shift of the westerlies caused low (or high) ablation-season precipitation, and therefore low (or high) annual mass balance for glaciers in western Tibet. In addition, the average mass balance for Xiao Anglong Glacier was 83 ± 185, −210 ± 185, and −10 ± 185 mm w.e. yr−1 for 1968–90, 1991–2012, and 2013–19, respectively. These mass changes were associated with the variations in precipitation and air temperature during the ablation season on interdecadal time scales.

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Yuhao Liu
,
Shoude Guan
,
I.-I. Lin
,
Wei Mei
,
Fei-Fei Jin
,
Mengya Huang
,
Yihan Zhang
,
Wei Zhao
, and
Jiwei Tian

Abstract

The effect of tropical cyclone (TC) size on TC-induced sea surface temperature (SST) cooling and subsequent TC intensification is an intriguing issue without much exploration. Via compositing satellite-observed SST over the western North Pacific during 2004–19, this study systematically examined the effect of storm size on the magnitude, spatial extension, and temporal evolution of TC-induced SST anomalies (SSTA). Consequential influence on TC intensification is also explored. Among the various TC wind radii, SSTA are found to be most sensitive to the 34-kt wind radius (R34) (1 kt ≈ 0.51 m s−1). Generally, large TCs generate stronger and more widespread SSTA than small TCs (for category 1–2 TCs, R34: ∼270 vs 160 km; SSTA: −1.7° vs −0.9°C). Despite the same effect on prolonging residence time of TC winds, the effect of doubling R34 on SSTA is more profound than halving translation speed, due to more wind energy input into the upper ocean. Also differing from translation speed, storm size has a rather modest effect on the rightward shift and timing of maximum cooling. This study further demonstrates that storm size regulates TC intensification through an oceanic pathway: large TCs tend to induce stronger SST cooling and are exposed to the cooling for a longer time, both of which reduce the ocean’s enthalpy supply and thereby diminish TC intensification. For larger TCs experiencing stronger SST cooling, the probability of rapid intensification is half of smaller TCs. The presented results suggest that accurately specifying storm size should lead to improved cooling effect estimation and TC intensity prediction.

Significance Statement

Storm size has long been speculated to play a crucial role in modulating the TC self-induced sea surface temperature (SST) cooling and thus potentially influence TC intensification through ocean negative feedback. Nevertheless, systematic analysis is lacking. Here we show that larger TCs tend to generate stronger SST cooling and have longer exposure to the cooling effect, both of which enhance the strength of the negative feedback. Consequently, larger TCs undergo weaker intensification and are less likely to experience rapid intensification than smaller TCs. These results demonstrate that storm size can influence TC intensification not only from the atmospheric pathway, but also via the oceanic pathway. Accurate characterization of this oceanic pathway in coupled models is important to accurately forecast TC intensity.

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Yong Zhao
,
Anning Huang
,
Yang Zhou
,
Danqing Huang
,
Qing Yang
,
Yufen Ma
,
Man Li
, and
Gang Wei

Abstract

The changes in summer rainfall over the Tarim Basin, China, and the underlying mechanisms have been investigated using the observed rainfall data at 34 stations and the NCEP–NCAR reanalysis data during the period of 1961–2007. Results show that the summer rainfall over the Tarim Basin, which exhibits a significant increasing trend during the last half century, is closely related to the summer middle and upper tropospheric cooling over central Asia. Mechanism analysis indicates that the middle and upper tropospheric cooling over central Asia results in a location farther south of the subtropical westerly jet over western and central Asia with anomalous southerly wind at lower levels and ascending motion prevailing over the Tarim Basin. Such anomalies in the atmospheric circulations provide favorable conditions for the enhanced summer rainfall over the Tarim Basin. Further analysis suggests that the weakened South Asian summer monsoon (SASM) could be potentially responsible for the middle and upper tropospheric cooling over central Asia. This is largely through the atmospheric responses to the diabatic heating effect of the SASM. A weakened SASM can result in an anomalous cyclone in the middle and upper troposphere over central Asia. The western part of the anomalous cyclone produces more cold air advection, which leads to the cooling. This study suggests indirect but important effects of the SASM on the summer rainfall over the Tarim Basin.

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Weiyi Wang
,
Xiaohong Liu
,
Chenglai Wu
,
Guangxing Lin
,
Yong Wang
,
Zheng Lu
,
Xi Zhao
, and
Linyi Wei

Abstract

In this study, the fast response of East Asian summer precipitation to COVID-19–induced aerosol emission reductions is examined using the Community Earth System Model, version 2.2 (CESM2.2). The emission reductions decreased aerosol optical depth and cloud cover over northern China in June 2020. The troposphere became warmer, strengthening the land–sea thermal contrast and anomalous southerly winds. The subtropical westerly jet accelerated and shifted southward, favoring low-level convergence, upward air motions, and subsequent condensational heating over the Yangtze River basin (YRB). The feedback of condensational heating in return strengthened the convergence and ascent. The western North Pacific subtropical high was intensified, which further enhanced the moisture advection and convergence over the YRB. Both the enhanced moisture convergence and ascent increased precipitation over the YRB during June 2020. Furthermore, local and remote emission reductions show different impacts on convection and moisture transport over the YRB. The emission reductions over China caused stronger convective precipitation (1.15 vs 0.63 mm day−1) but weaker larger-scale precipitation (1.17 vs 2.24 mm day−1) than the emission reductions outside China. In addition to the emission reductions, the sea surface temperature (SST) anomalies in 2020 also play an important role in increasing precipitation over the YRB, contributing about 42.8%. The relative contribution of SST anomalies also increases under the COVID-19–induced emission scenario.

Restricted access
Tianjiao Ma
,
Wen Chen
,
Shangfeng Chen
,
Chaim I. Garfinkel
,
Shuoyi Ding
,
Lei Song
,
Zhibo Li
,
Yulian Tang
,
Jingliang Huangfu
,
Hainan Gong
, and
Wei Zhao

Abstract

This study aims to better understand the ENSO impacts on climate anomalies over East Asia in early winter (November–December) and late winter (January–February). In particular, the possible mechanisms during early winter are investigated. The results show that ENSO is associated with a Rossby wave train emanating from the tropical Indian Ocean toward East Asia (denoted as tIO-EA) in early winter. This tIO-EA wave train in El Niño (La Niña) is closely related to a weakening (strengthening) of the East Asian trough, and thereby a weakened (strengthened) East Asian winter monsoon and warm (cold) temperature anomalies over northeastern China and Japan. By using partial regression analysis and numerical experiments, we identify that the formation of tIO-EA wave train is closely related to precipitation anomalies in the tropical eastern Indian Ocean and western Pacific (denoted as eIO/wP). In addition, the ENSO-induced North Atlantic anomalies may also contribute to formation of the tIO-EA wave train in conjunction with the eIO/wP precipitation. The response of eIO/wP precipitation to ENSO is stronger in early winter than in late winter. This can be attributed to the stronger anomalous Walker circulation over the Indian Ocean, which in turn is caused by higher climatological SST and stronger mean precipitation state in the Indian Ocean during early winter.

Free access
Wei Zhao
,
Shangfeng Chen
,
Hengde Zhang
,
Jikang Wang
,
Wen Chen
,
Renguang Wu
,
Wanqiu Xing
,
Zhibiao Wang
,
Peng Hu
,
Jinling Piao
, and
Tianjiao Ma

Abstract

The Beijing–Tianjin–Hebei (BTH) region has encountered increasingly severe and frequent haze pollution during recent decades. This study reveals that El Niño–Southern Oscillation (ENSO) has distinctive impacts on interannual variations of haze pollution over BTH in early and late winters. The impact of ENSO on the haze pollution over the BTH is strong in early winter, but weak in late winter. In early winter, ENSO-related sea surface temperature anomalies generate double-cell Walker circulation anomalies, with upward motion anomalies over the tropical central-eastern Pacific and tropical Indian Ocean, and downward motion anomalies over the tropical western Pacific. The ascending motion and enhanced atmospheric heating anomalies over the tropical Indian Ocean trigger atmospheric teleconnection propagating from the north Indian Ocean to East Asia, and result in the generation of an anticyclonic anomaly over Northeast Asia. The associated southerly anomalies to the west side lead to more serious haze pollution via reducing surface wind speed and increasing low-level humidity and the thermal inversion. The strong contribution of the Indian Ocean heating anomalies to the formation of the anticyclonic anomaly over Northeast Asia in early winter can be confirmed by atmospheric model numerical experiments. In late winter, vertical motion and precipitation anomalies are weak over the tropical Indian Ocean related to ENSO. As such, ENSO cannot induce a clear anticyclonic anomaly over Northeast Asia via atmospheric teleconnection, and thus has a weak impact on the haze pollution over BTH. Further analysis shows that stronger ENSO-induced atmospheric heating anomalies over the tropical Indian Ocean in early winter are partially due to higher mean SST and precipitation there.

Significance Statement

There exist large discrepancies regarding the contribution of El Niño–Southern Oscillation (ENSO) events to the wintertime haze pollution over North China. Several studies have indicated that ENSO has a weak impact on the haze pollution over North China. However, some studies have argued that ENSO events can exert impacts on the occurrence of haze pollution over North China. In this study, we present evidence to demonstrate that ENSO has distinctive impacts on interannual variations of the haze pollution over the Beijing–Tianjin–Hebei (BTH) region in North China in early and late winters. Specifically, ENSO has a strong impact on the haze pollution over BTH in early winter, whereas the impact of ENSO on the haze pollution over BTH is fairly weak in late winter. Results of this study could reconcile the discrepancy of previous studies about the impact of ENSO on the haze pollution over North China.

Full access
Clara Orbe
,
Luke Van Roekel
,
Ángel F. Adames
,
Amin Dezfuli
,
John Fasullo
,
Peter J. Gleckler
,
Jiwoo Lee
,
Wei Li
,
Larissa Nazarenko
,
Gavin A. Schmidt
,
Kenneth R. Sperber
, and
Ming Zhao

Abstract

We compare the performance of several modes of variability across six U.S. climate modeling groups, with a focus on identifying robust improvements in recent models [including those participating in phase 6 of the Coupled Model Intercomparison Project (CMIP)] compared to previous versions. In particular, we examine the representation of the Madden–Julian oscillation (MJO), El Niño–Southern Oscillation (ENSO), the Pacific decadal oscillation (PDO), the quasi-biennial oscillation (QBO) in the tropical stratosphere, and the dominant modes of extratropical variability, including the southern annular mode (SAM), the northern annular mode (NAM) [and the closely related North Atlantic Oscillation (NAO)], and the Pacific–North American pattern (PNA). Where feasible, we explore the processes driving these improvements through the use of “intermediary” experiments that utilize model versions between CMIP3/5 and CMIP6 as well as targeted sensitivity experiments in which individual modeling parameters are altered. We find clear and systematic improvements in the MJO and QBO and in the teleconnection patterns associated with the PDO and ENSO. Some gains arise from better process representation, while others (e.g., the QBO) from higher resolution that allows for a greater range of interactions. Our results demonstrate that the incremental development processes in multiple climate model groups lead to more realistic simulations over time.

Free access
Ronald Gelaro
,
Will McCarty
,
Max J. Suárez
,
Ricardo Todling
,
Andrea Molod
,
Lawrence Takacs
,
Cynthia A. Randles
,
Anton Darmenov
,
Michael G. Bosilovich
,
Rolf Reichle
,
Krzysztof Wargan
,
Lawrence Coy
,
Richard Cullather
,
Clara Draper
,
Santha Akella
,
Virginie Buchard
,
Austin Conaty
,
Arlindo M. da Silva
,
Wei Gu
,
Gi-Kong Kim
,
Randal Koster
,
Robert Lucchesi
,
Dagmar Merkova
,
Jon Eric Nielsen
,
Gary Partyka
,
Steven Pawson
,
William Putman
,
Michele Rienecker
,
Siegfried D. Schubert
,
Meta Sienkiewicz
, and
Bin Zhao

Abstract

The Modern-Era Retrospective Analysis for Research and Applications, version 2 (MERRA-2), is the latest atmospheric reanalysis of the modern satellite era produced by NASA’s Global Modeling and Assimilation Office (GMAO). MERRA-2 assimilates observation types not available to its predecessor, MERRA, and includes updates to the Goddard Earth Observing System (GEOS) model and analysis scheme so as to provide a viable ongoing climate analysis beyond MERRA’s terminus. While addressing known limitations of MERRA, MERRA-2 is also intended to be a development milestone for a future integrated Earth system analysis (IESA) currently under development at GMAO. This paper provides an overview of the MERRA-2 system and various performance metrics. Among the advances in MERRA-2 relevant to IESA are the assimilation of aerosol observations, several improvements to the representation of the stratosphere including ozone, and improved representations of cryospheric processes. Other improvements in the quality of MERRA-2 compared with MERRA include the reduction of some spurious trends and jumps related to changes in the observing system and reduced biases and imbalances in aspects of the water cycle. Remaining deficiencies are also identified. Production of MERRA-2 began in June 2014 in four processing streams and converged to a single near-real-time stream in mid-2015. MERRA-2 products are accessible online through the NASA Goddard Earth Sciences Data Information Services Center (GES DISC).

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