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Guixing Chen
,
Weiming Sha
,
Toshiki Iwasaki
, and
Zhiping Wen

Abstract

Moist convection occurred repeatedly in the midnight-to-morning hours of 11–16 June 1998 and yielded excessive rainfall in a narrow latitudinal corridor over East Asia, causing severe flood. Numerical experiments and composite analyses of a 5-day period are performed to examine the mechanisms governing nocturnal convection. Both simulations and observations show that a train of MCSs concurrently developed along a quasi-stationary mei-yu front and coincided with the impact of a monsoon surge on a frontogenetic zone at night. This process was regulated primarily by a nocturnal low-level jet (NLLJ) in the southwesterly monsoon that formed over southern China and extended to central China. In particular, the NLLJ acted as a mechanism of moisture transport over the plains. At its northern terminus, the NLLJ led to a zonal band of elevated conditionally unstable air where strong low-level ascent overcame small convective inhibition, triggering new convection in three preferred plains. An analysis of convective instability shows that the low-tropospheric intrusion of moist monsoon air generated CAPE of ~1000 J kg−1 prior to convection initiation, whereas free-atmospheric forcing was much weaker. The NLLJ-related horizontal advection accounted for most of the instability precondition at 100–175 J kg−1 h−1. At the convective stage, instability generation by the upward transport of moisture increased to ~100 J kg−1 h−1, suggesting that ascending inflow caused feedback in convection growth. The convection dissipated in late morning with decaying NLLJ and moisture at elevated layers. It is concluded that the diurnally varying summer monsoon acted as an effective discharge of available moist energy from southern to central China, generating the morning-peak heavy rainfall corridor.

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Wenxin Zeng
,
Guixing Chen
,
Yu Du
, and
Zhiping Wen

Abstract

A succession of MCSs developed during the last week of October 2016 and produced extreme heavy rainfall in central China. The event underwent an evident shift from a mei-yu-like warm scenario to an autumn cold scenario. Diurnal cycles of rainfall and low-level winds may be modulated by the shifting of large-scale atmospheric conditions. We conducted observational analyses and numerical experiments to examine how large-scale circulations influenced rainfall systems through diurnally varying processes. The results show that, in the first half (warm) period of the event, intense rainfall mostly occurred in eastern-central China with an early morning peak. It was closely related to a nocturnal southwesterly low-level jet (NLLJ) on the flank of the western Pacific subtropical high. The NLLJ formed near midnight in southern China where ageostrophic wind rotated clockwise due to Blackadar’s inertial oscillation. The NLLJ extended downstream to central China during the predawn hours due to the horizontal advection of momentum. Both the formation and extension of the NLLJ were supported by an enhanced subtropical high that provided relatively warm conditions with surface heating for boundary layer inertial oscillation and strong background southwesterly winds for momentum transport. The NLLJ induced MCSs at its northern terminus where the low-level ascent, moisture flux convergence, and convective instability were enhanced during the predawn hours. In the second half period with an intrusion of cold air, the diurnal amplitude of low-level winds became small under relatively cold and cloudy conditions. Moderate rainfall tended to occur in western-central China with a peak after midnight, most likely due to frontogenetic processes, upslope lifting, and nighttime cloud-top cooling.

Free access
Juncong Li
,
Zhiping Wen
,
Xiuzhen Li
, and
Yuanyuan Guo

Abstract

Interdecadal variations of the relationship between El Niño–Southern Oscillation (ENSO) and the Indo-China Peninsula (ICP) surface air temperature (SAT) in winter are investigated in the study. Generally, there exists a positive correlation between them during 1958–2015 because the ENSO-induced anomalous western North Pacific anticyclone (WNPAC) is conducive to pronounced temperature advection anomalies over the ICP. However, such correlation is unstable in time, having experienced a high-to-low transition around the mid-1970s and a recovery since the early 1990s. This oscillating relationship is owing to the anomalous WNPAC intensity in different decades. During the epoch of high correlation, the anomalous WNPAC and associated southwesterly winds over the ICP are stronger, which brings amounts of warm temperature advection and markedly heats the ICP. In contrast, a weaker WNPAC anomaly and insignificant ICP SAT anomalies are the circumstances for the epoch of low correlation. It is also found that substantial southwesterly wind anomalies over the ICP related to the anomalous WNPAC occur only when large sea surface temperature (SST) anomalies over the northwest Indian Ocean (NWIO) coincide with ENSO (viz., when the ENSO–NWIO SST connection is strong). The NWIO SST anomalies are capable of driving favorable atmospheric circulation that effectively alters ICP SAT and efficiently modulates the ENSO–ICP SAT correlation, which is further supported by numerical simulations utilizing the Community Atmospheric Model, version 4 (CAM4). This paper emphasizes the non-stationarity of the ENSO–ICP SAT relationship and also uncovers the underlying modulation factors, which has important implications for the seasonal prediction of the ICP temperature.

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Yuan Zhao
,
Zhiping Wen
,
Xiuzhen Li
,
Ruidan Chen
, and
Guixing Chen

Abstract

This study reveals a close relation between the Mascarene high (MH), atmospheric transient eddies (hereafter transient eddies or eddies for short), and the sea surface temperature (SST) front over the southern Indian Ocean in austral winter. Climatologically, the subpolar westerly jet couples well with transient eddies via eddy–mean flow interaction and the anticyclonic vorticity to its north helps with anchoring the MH. On the interannual time scale, the MH exhibits a dominant meridional variation accompanied by intensity variability. When the MH moves poleward and intensifies, positive quasi-barotropic geopotential height anomalies associated with a warm temperature feature the southern flank of MH. As a result of the modified mean temperature gradient, the subpolar jet and transient eddies’ activity are enhanced near the jet exit; in contrast, the subtropical westerly jet and eddies are weakened over the jet entrance, mainly via the baroclinic energy conversion. As feedback, the anomalous transient eddies can trigger the poleward shift of MH by diverging the extended Eliassen–Palm (E-P) flux from subpolar to subtropical region and thus the intensification of subpolar jet and weakness of subtropical jet. Such positive feedback between the meridional variation of MH and transient eddies could be attributed to the underlying SST anomalies. Early SST warming appears over the southwestern Indian Ocean 3 months prior and shifts the Agulhas SST front poleward. The poleward Agulhas SST front could further induce a southward displacement of the activity of transient eddies by changing the low-level atmospheric baroclinicity. Hence, the SST anomalies over the southern Indian Ocean may trigger the meridional variation of MH via the positive eddies–mean flow feedback.

Restricted access
Ruijie Zhang
,
Buwen Dong
,
Zhiping Wen
,
Yuanyuan Guo
, and
Xiaodan Chen

Abstract

Air–sea coupling system in the southwestern Indian Ocean (SWIO; 35°–55°S, 40°–75°E) exhibits predominant multidecadal variability that is the strongest during austral summer. It is characterized by an equivalent barotropic atmospheric high (low) pressure over warm (cold) sea surface temperature (SST) anomalies and a poleward (equatorward) shift of the westerlies during the positive (negative) phase. In this study, physical processes of this multidecadal variability are investigated by using observations/reanalysis and CMIP6 model simulations. Results suggest that the multidecadal fluctuation can be explained by the modulation of the Atlantic meridional overturning circulation (AMOC) and the local air–sea positive feedback in the SWIO. In both observations/reanalysis and CMIP6 model simulations, the AMOC fluctuation presents a significantly negative correlation with the multidecadal SST variation in the SWIO when the AMOC is leading by about a decade. The mechanisms are that the preceding AMOC variation can cause an interhemispheric dipolar pattern of SST anomalies in the Atlantic Ocean. Subsequently, the SST anomalies in the midlatitudes of the South Atlantic can propagate to the SWIO by the oceanic Rossby wave under the influence of the Antarctic Circumpolar Current (ACC). Once the SST anomalies reach the SWIO, these SST anomalies in the oceanic front can affect the baroclinicity in the lower troposphere to influence the synoptic transient eddy and then cause the atmospheric circulation anomaly via the eddy–mean flow interaction. Subsequently, the anomalous atmospheric circulation over the SWIO can significantly strengthen the SST anomalies through modifying the oceanic meridional temperature advection and latent and sensible heat flux.

Open access
Zesheng Chen
,
Yan Du
,
Zhiping Wen
,
Renguang Wu
, and
Shang-Ping Xie

Abstract

The south tropical Indian Ocean (TIO) warms following a strong El Niño, affecting Indo-Pacific climate in early boreal summer. While much attention has been given to the southwest TIO where the mean thermocline is shallow, this study focuses on the subsequent warming in the southeast TIO, where the mean sea surface temperature (SST) is high and deep convection is strong in early summer. The southeast TIO warming induces an anomalous meridional circulation with descending (ascending) motion over the northeast (southeast) TIO. It further anchors a “C-shaped” surface wind anomaly pattern with easterlies (westerlies) in the northeast (southeast) TIO, causing a persistent northeast TIO warming via wind–evaporation–SST feedback. The southeast TIO warming lags the southwest TIO warming by about one season. Ocean wave dynamics play a key role in linking the southwest and southeast TIO warming. South of the equator, the El Niño–forced oceanic Rossby waves, which contribute to the southwest TIO warming, are reflected as eastward-propagating oceanic Kelvin waves along the equator on the western boundary. The Kelvin waves subsequently depress the thermocline and develop the southeast TIO warming.

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Yuanyuan Guo
,
Mingfang Ting
,
Zhiping Wen
, and
Dong Eun Lee

Abstract

A neural-network-based cluster technique, the so-called self-organizing map (SOM), was performed to extract distinct sea surface temperature (SST) anomaly patterns during boreal winter. The SOM technique has advantages in nonlinear feature extraction compared to the commonly used empirical orthogonal function analysis and is widely used in meteorology. The eight distinguishable SOM patterns so identified represent three La Niña–like patterns, two near-normal patterns, and three El Niño–like patterns. These patterns show the varied amplitude and location of the SST anomalies associated with El Niño and La Niña, such as the central Pacific (CP) and eastern Pacific (EP) El Niño. The impact of each distinctive SOM pattern on winter-mean surface temperature and precipitation changes over North America was examined. Based on composite maps with observational data, each SOM pattern corresponds to a distinguishable spatial structure of temperature and precipitation anomaly over North America, which seems to result from differing wave train patterns, extending from the tropics to mid–high latitudes induced by longitudinally shifted tropical heating. The corresponding teleconnection as represented by the National Center for Atmospheric Research Community Atmospheric Model, version 4 (CAM4), was compared with the observational results. It was found that the 16-member ensemble average of the CAM4 experiments with prescribed SST can reproduce the observed atmospheric circulation responses to the different SST SOM patterns, which suggests that the circulation differences are largely SST driven rather than due to internal atmospheric variability.

Full access
Zhuoqi He
,
Renguang Wu
,
Weiqiang Wang
,
Zhiping Wen
, and
Dongxiao Wang

Abstract

The present study employs six surface heat flux datasets and three ocean assimilation products to assess the relative contributions of surface heat fluxes and oceanic processes to the sea surface temperature (SST) change in the tropical oceans. Large differences are identified in the major terms of the heat budget equation. The largest discrepancies among different datasets appear in the contribution of vertical advection. The heat budget is nearly balanced in the shortwave-radiation- and horizontal-advection-dominant cases but not balanced in some of the latent-heat-flux- and vertical-advection-dominant cases. The contributions of surface heat fluxes and ocean advections to the SST tendency display remarkable seasonal and regional dependence. The contribution of surface heat fluxes covers a large geographical area. The oceanic processes dominate the SST tendency in the near-equatorial regions with large values but small spatial scales. In the Pacific and Atlantic Oceans, the SST tendency is governed by the dynamic and thermodynamic processes, respectively, while a wide variety of processes contribute to the SST tendency in the Indian Ocean. Several regions have been selected to illustrate the dominant contributions of individual terms to the SST tendency in different seasons. The seasonality and regionality of the interannual air–sea relationship indicate a physical connection with the mean state.

Full access
Yuanyuan Guo
,
Zhiping Wen
,
Renguang Wu
,
Riyu Lu
, and
Zesheng Chen

Abstract

The leading mode of boreal winter precipitation variability over the tropical Pacific for the period 1980–2010 shows a west–east dipole pattern with one center over the western North Pacific (WNP) and Maritime Continent and the other center over the equatorial central Pacific (CP). Observational evidence shows that the variability of the East Asian upper-tropospheric subtropical westerly jet (EAJ) has a significant correlation with precipitation anomalies over the WNP and CP and that tropical precipitation anomalies over WNP and CP have a distinct influence on the variation of the EAJ. A series of numerical experiments based on a linear baroclinic model are performed to confirm the influence of the heating anomalies associated with precipitation perturbations over the WNP and CP on the EAJ. The results of numerical experiments indicate that a heat source over the WNP can excite a northward-propagating Rossby wave train in the upper troposphere over East Asia and facilitate a poleward eddy momentum flux. It results in the acceleration of the westerlies between 30° and 45°N, which favors a northward displacement of the EAJ. The response induced by a heat sink over the CP features a zonal easterly band between 25° and 40°N, suggesting that the response to heat sink associated with negative precipitation anomalies over the CP may weaken the EAJ. A strengthened relationship was found between tropical Pacific precipitation and the EAJ since 1979. The modeling results suggest that the shift of mean states might be responsible for the strengthened EAJ–rainfall relationship after 1979.

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Wenxin Zeng
,
Guixing Chen
,
Lanqiang Bai
,
Qian Liu
, and
Zhiping Wen

Abstract

Multiscale processes from synoptic disturbances to diurnal cycles during the record-breaking heavy rainfall in summer 2020 were examined in this study. The heavy rainfall consisted of eight episodes, each lasting about 5 days, and were associated with two types of synoptic disturbances. The type-1 episodes featured a northwestward extending western Pacific subtropical high (WPSH), while the type-2 episodes had approaching midlatitude troughs with southward retreat in the WPSH. Each heavy rainfall episode had 2–3 occurrences of nocturnal low-level jets (NLLJs), in close association with intense rainfall in the early morning. The NLLJs formed partly due to the geostrophic wind by increased pressure gradients under both types of synoptic disturbances. The NLLJs were also driven by the ageostrophic wind that veered to maximum southerlies at late night due to the boundary layer inertial oscillation. The diurnal amplitudes of low-level southerlies increased remarkably after the onset of type-1 episodes, in which the extending WPSH provided strong daytime heating from solar radiation. By contrast, the wind diurnal amplitudes were less changed after the onset of type-2 episodes. The NLLJs strengthened the mesoscale low-level ascent, net moisture flux convergence, and convective instability in elevated warm moist air, which led to the upscale growth of MCSs at the northern terminus of the LLJ after midnight. The MCSs-induced mei-yu rainband was reestablished in Central China during the type-1 episodes with the increased diurnal variations. The findings highlight that the regional diurnal cycles of low-level winds in response to synoptic disturbances can strongly regulate mesoscale convective activities in a downscaling manner, and thus produce heavy rainfall.

Open access