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Jin-Yi Yu
and
Carlos R. Mechoso

Abstract

This study examines interannual variability produced by a recent version of the University of California, Los Angeles, coupled atmosphere–ocean general circulation model (CGCM). The CGCM is shown to produce ENSO-like climate variability with reasonable frequency and amplitude. A multichannel singular spectrum analysis identifies the simulated ENSO cycle and permits examination of the associated evolution of atmospheric and oceanic states. During the cycle, the evolution of upper-ocean heat content in the tropical Pacific is characterized by a zonal oscillation between the western and eastern equatorial Pacific and a meridional oscillation between the equator and 10°N. The zonal oscillation is related to the amplification of the cycle, and the meridional oscillation is related to the transition between phases of the cycle. It is found that the north–south ocean heat content difference always reaches a threshold near the onset of a warm/cold event.

The three-dimensional evolution of ocean temperature anomalies in the tropical Pacific during the simulated ENSO cycle is characterized by four major features: 1) a build up in the subsurface of the western equatorial sector during the pre-onset stage, 2) a fast spread from the western subsurface to the eastern surface along the equator during the onset stage, 3) a zonal extension and amplification at the surface during the growth stage, and 4) a northward and downward spread during the decay stage.

Ocean temperature budget analyses show that the buildup of subsurface temperature anomalies is dominated by the vertical advection process in the western sector and the meridional advection process in the central sector. The former process is associated with vertical displacements of the thermocline, which is an important element of the delayed oscillator theory. The latter process is associated with a Sverdrup imbalance between trade wind and thermocline anomalies and is emphasized as the primary charge–discharge process by the recharge oscillator theory. It is argued that both processes play key roles in producing subsurface ocean memory for the phase transitions of the ENSO cycle.

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Jin-Yi Yu
and
Carlos R. Mechoso

Abstract

This paper contrasts the sea surface temperature (SST) and surface heat flux errors in the Tropical Pacific simulated by the University of California, Los Angeles, coupled atmosphere–ocean general circulation model (CGCM) and by its atmospheric component (AGCM) using prescribed SSTs. The usefulness of such a comparison is discussed in view of the sensitivities of the coupled system.

Off the equator, the CGCM simulates more realistic surface heat fluxes than the AGCM, except in the eastern Pacific south of the equator where the coupled model produces a spurious intertropical convergence zone. The AGCM errors are dominated by excessive latent heat flux, except in the stratus regions along the coasts of California and Peru where errors are dominated by excessive shortwave flux. The CGCM tends to balance the AGCM errors by either correctly decreasing the evaporation at the expense of cold SST biases or erroneously increasing the evaporation at the expense of warm SST biases.

At the equator, errors in simulated SSTs are amplified by the feedbacks of the coupled system. Over the western equatorial Pacific, the CGCM produces a cold SST bias that is a manifestation of a spuriously elongated cold tongue. The AGCM produces realistic values of surface heat flux. Over the cold tongue in the eastern equatorial Pacific, the CGCM simulates realistic annual variations in SST. In the simulation, however, the relationship between variations in SST and surface latent heat flux corresponds to a negative feedback, while in the observation it corresponds to a positive feedback. Such an erroneous feature of the CGCM is linked to deficiencies in the simulation of the cross-equatorial component of the surface wind. The reasons for the success in the simulation of SST in the equatorial cold tongue despite the erroneous surface heat flux are examined.

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Jin-Yi Yu
and
Carlos R. Mechoso

Abstract

The hypothesis that Peruvian stratocumulus play an important role on both the annual mean and annual variations of sea surface temperature (SST) in the eastern equatorial Pacific is examined. The problem is addressed by performing sensitivity experiments using the University of California, Los Angeles, coupled atmosphere–ocean GCM with different idealized temporal variations of stratocumulus in a region along the coast of Peru.

The results obtained are consistent with the notion that Peruvian stratocumulus are a key component of the interhemispherically asymmetric features that characterize the annual mean climate of the eastern equatorial Pacific, including the cold SSTs off Peru and the absence of a southern ITCZ. The principal new finding of this study is that the annual variations (i.e., deviations from the annual mean) of Peruvian stratocumulus are linked to the differences between the amplitude, duration, and westward propagation of the warm and cold phases of the equatorial cold tongue. In the model’s context, only if the prescribed annual variations of Peruvian stratocumulus have the same phase as the observed variations are those differences successfully captured.

The impact of Peruvian stratocumulus on equatorial SST involves “dynamical” and “thermal” effects. The former develop through an enhancement of the northerly component of the surface wind from the Peruvian coast to the equator. The thermal effects develop through the special relationships between SST and surface evaporation over the equatorial cold tongue, which contributes to extend the cold phase until the end of the year. A successful portrayal of this behavior requires a realistic simulation of the annual variations of surface wind over the equatorial cold tongue.

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Yu Zhao
and
Jin-Yi Yu

Abstract

During 2013–16 and 2018–22, marine heatwaves (MHWs) occurred in the North Pacific, exhibiting similar extensive coverage, lengthy duration, and significant intensity but with different warming centers. The warming center of the 2013–16 event was in the Gulf of Alaska (GOA), while the 2018–22 event had warming centers in both the GOA and the coast of Japan (COJ). Our observational analysis indicates that these two events can be considered as two MHW variants induced by a basinwide MHW conditioning mode in the North Pacific. Both variants were driven thermodynamically by atmospheric wave trains propagating from the tropical Pacific to the North Pacific, within the conditioning mode. The origin and propagating path of these wave trains play a crucial role in determining the specific type of MHW variant. When a stronger wave train originates from the tropical central (western) Pacific, it leads to the GOA (COJ) variant. The cross-basin nature of the wave trains enables the two MHW variants to be accompanied by a tripolar pattern of sea surface temperature anomalies in the North Atlantic but with opposite phases. The association of these two MHW variants with the Atlantic Ocean also manifests in the decadal variations of their occurrence. Both variants tend to occur more frequently during the positive phase of the Atlantic multidecadal oscillation but less so during the negative phase. This study underscores the importance of cross-basin associations between the North Pacific and North Atlantic in shaping the dynamics of North Pacific MHWs.

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Yong-Fu Lin
and
Jin-Yi Yu

Abstract

This study explores the key differences between single-year (SY) and multiyear (MY) El Niño properties and examines their relative importance in causing the diverse evolution of El Niño. Using a CESM1 simulation, observation/reanalysis data, and pacemaker coupled model experiments, the study suggests that the Indian Ocean plays a crucial role in distinguishing between the two types of El Niño evolution through subtropical ENSO dynamics. These dynamics can produce MY El Niño events if the climatological northeasterly trade winds are weakened or even reversed over the subtropical Pacific when El Niño peaks. However, El Niño and the positive Indian Ocean dipole (IOD) it typically induces both strengthen the climatological northeasterly trades, preventing the subtropical Pacific dynamics from producing MY events. MY events can occur if the El Niño fails to induce a positive IOD, which is more likely when the El Niño is weak or of the central Pacific type. Additionally, this study finds that such a weak correlation between El Niño and the IOD occurs during decades when the Atlantic multidecadal oscillation (AMO) is in its positive phase. Statistical analyses and pacemaker coupled model experiments confirm that the positive AMO phase increases the likelihood of these conditions, resulting in a higher frequency of MY El Niño events.

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Jason E. Nachamkin
and
Yi Jin

Abstract

When consulting a forecast, users often ask some variant of the following questions: Will an event of interest occur? If so, when will it occur? How long will it last? How intense will it be? Standard verification measures often do not directly communicate the ability of a forecast to answer these questions. Instead, quantitative scores typically address them indirectly or in some combined form. A more direct performance measure grew from what started as a project for a high-school intern. The challenge was to evaluate aspects of forecast quality from a set of convection-allowing (1.67 km) precipitation forecasts over Florida. Although the output was highly detailed, evaluation became manageable by simply adding a series of static landmarks with range rings and radials. Using the “targets” as a guide, the student and the two authors successfully obtained quantitative estimates of model tendencies that had heretofore only been reported anecdotally. What follows is a description of the method as well as the results from the analysis. It is hoped that this work will stimulate a broader discussion about how to extract performance information from very complex forecasts and present that information in terms that humans can readily perceive.

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Qing Yun Zhao
and
Yi Jin

Major damage caused by hurricanes occurs over land during and after landfall. Accurate predictions of winds and precipitation in and around hurricanes at or near landfall are therefore of vital importance for hurricane preparation and damage mitigation, yet they continue to present a challenge for the hurricane research and numerical weather prediction (NWP) communities. This is, in part, due to rapid changes in hurricane intensity and structure during landfall associated with multiscale dynamical and physical interactions in the hurricane core regions and outer spiral rainbands, and also associated with sudden changes of surface conditions.

In this study, we demonstrate the capability of improving predictions of hurricane intensity and structures near landfall by assimilating high-resolution, three-dimensional observations from land-based radars in the landfall regions into a mesoscale NWP model. The landfall of Hurricane Isabel on the east coast of the United States in 2003 is the focus of this study. Observations of Doppler radial velocity and reflectivity from five Doppler radars in the landfall region were collected and assimilated into the Navy's Coupled Ocean-Atmosphere Mesoscale Prediction System in a variational data assimilation framework. Four cycles of hourly radar reflectivity data assimilation effectively correct the overprediction of hydrometeor fields by the model, and move the maximum reflectivity regions to the observed locations. Better hurricane structures, including increased maximum wind speed, a tighter inner core, and better organized outer rainbands, are obtained by the radar radial velocity assimilation. Much-improved forecasts of 24-h accumulated precipitation during and after hurricane landfall have also been achieved by the radar data assimilation. The positive results from this study indicate the potential for improving hurricane intensity and structure forecasts by assimilating radar observations into NWP models.

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Kewei Lyu
,
Jin-Yi Yu
, and
Houk Paek

Abstract

The Atlantic multidecadal oscillation (AMO) has been shown to be capable of exerting significant influences on the Pacific climate. In this study, the authors analyze reanalysis datasets and conduct forced and coupled experiments with an atmospheric general circulation model (AGCM) to explain why the winter North Pacific subtropical high strengthens and expands northwestward during the positive phase of the AMO. The results show that the tropical Atlantic warming associated with the positive AMO phase leads to a westward displacement of the Pacific Walker circulation and a cooling of the tropical Pacific Ocean, thereby inducing anomalous descending motion over the central tropical Pacific. The descending motion then excites a stationary Rossby wave pattern that extends northward to produce a nearly barotropic anticyclone over the North Pacific. A diagnosis based on the quasigeostrophic vertical velocity equation reveals that the stationary wave pattern also results in enhanced subsidence over the northeastern Pacific via the anomalous advections of vorticity and temperature. The anomalous barotropic anticyclone and the enhanced subsidence are the two mechanisms that increase the sea level pressure over the North Pacific. The latter mechanism occurs to the southeast of the former one and thus is more influential in the subtropical high region. Both mechanisms can be produced in forced and coupled AGCMs but are displaced northward as a result of stationary wave patterns that differ from those observed. This explains why the model-simulated North Pacific sea level pressure responses to the AMO tend to be biased northward.

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Pengfei Tuo
,
Jin-Yi Yu
, and
Jianyu Hu

Abstract

This study finds that the correlation between El Niño–Southern Oscillation (ENSO) and the activity of mesoscale oceanic eddies in the South China Sea (SCS) changed around 2004. The mesoscale eddy number determined from satellite altimetry observations using a geometry of the velocity vector method was significantly and negatively correlated with the Niño-3.4 index before 2004, but the correlation weakened and became insignificant afterward. Further analyses reveal that the ENSO–eddy relation is controlled by two major wind stress forcing mechanisms: one directly related to ENSO and the other indirectly related to ENSO through its subtropical precursor—the Pacific meridional modes (PMMs). Both mechanisms induce wind stress curl variations over the SCS that link ENSO to SCS eddy activities. While the direct ENSO mechanism always induces a negative ENSO–eddy correlation through the Walker circulation, the indirect mechanism is dominated by the northern PMM (nPMM), resulting in a negative ENSO–eddy correlation before 2004, and by the southern PMM (sPMM) after 2004, resulting in a positive ENSO–eddy correlation. As a result, the direct and indirect mechanisms enhance each other to produce a significant ENSO–eddy relation before 2004, but they cancel each other out, resulting in a weak ENSO–eddy relation afterward. The relative strengths of the northern and southern PMMs are the key to determining the ENSO–eddy relation and may be related to a phase change of the interdecadal Pacific oscillation.

Open access
Hao Jin
,
Melinda S. Peng
,
Yi Jin
, and
James D. Doyle

Abstract

A series of experiments have been conducted using the Coupled Ocean–Atmosphere Mesoscale Prediction System–Tropical Cyclone (COAMPS-TC) to assess the impact of horizontal resolution on hurricane intensity prediction for 10 Atlantic storms during the 2005 and 2007 hurricane seasons. The results of this study from the Hurricane Katrina (2005) simulations indicate that the hurricane intensity and structure are very sensitive to the horizontal grid spacing (9 and 3 km) and underscore the need for cloud microphysics to capture the structure, especially for strong storms with small-diameter eyes and large pressure gradients. The high resolution simulates stronger vertical motions, a more distinct upper-level warm core, stronger upper-level outflow, and greater finescale structure associated with deep convection, including spiral rainbands and the secondary circulation. A vortex Rossby wave (VRW) spectrum analysis is performed on the simulated 10-m winds and the NOAA/Hurricane Research Division (HRD) Real-Time Hurricane Wind Analysis System (H*Wind) to evaluate the impact of horizontal resolution. The degree to which the VRWs are adequately resolved near the TC inner core is addressed and the associated resolvable wave energy is explored at different grid resolutions. The fine resolution is necessary to resolve higher-wavenumber modes of VRWs to preserve more wave energy and, hence, to attain a more detailed eyewall structure. The wind–pressure relationship from the high-resolution simulations is in better agreement with the observations than are the coarse-resolution simulations for the strong storms. Two case studies are analyzed and overall the statistical analyses indicate that high resolution is beneficial for TC intensity and structure forecasts, while it has little impact on track forecasts.

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