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Xinrong Wu, Wei Li, Guijun Han, Shaoqing Zhang, and Xidong Wang

Abstract

While fixed covariance localization can greatly increase the reliability of the background error covariance in filtering by suppressing the long-distance spurious correlations evaluated by a finite ensemble, it may degrade the assimilation quality in an ensemble Kalman filter (EnKF) as a result of restricted longwave information. Tuning an optimal cutoff distance is usually very expensive and time consuming, especially for a general circulation model (GCM). Here the authors present an approach to compensate the demerit in fixed localization. At each analysis step, after the standard EnKF is done, a multiple-scale analysis technique is used to extract longwave information from the observational residual (referred to the EnKF ensemble mean). Within a biased twin-experiment framework consisting of a global barotropical spectral model and an idealized observing system, the performance of the new method is examined. Compared to a standard EnKF, the hybrid method is superior when an overly small/large cutoff distance is used, and it has less dependence on cutoff distance. The new scheme is also able to improve short-term weather forecasts, especially when an overly large cutoff distance is used. Sensitivity studies show that caution should be taken when the new scheme is applied to a dense observing system with an overly small cutoff distance in filtering. In addition, the new scheme has a nearly equivalent computational cost to the standard EnKF; thus, it is particularly suitable for GCM applications.

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Lunche Wang, Wei Gong, Yingying Ma, and Miao Zhang

Abstract

Net primary productivity (NPP) is an important component of the carbon cycle and a key indicator of ecosystem performance. The aim of this study is to construct a more accurate regional vegetation NPP estimation model and explore the relationship between NPP and climatic factors (air temperature, rainfall, sunshine hours, relative humidity, air pressure, global radiation, and surface net radiation). As a key variable in NPP modeling, photosynthetically active radiation (PAR) was obtained by finding a linear relationship between PAR and horizontal direct radiation, scattered radiation, and net radiation with high accuracy. The fraction of absorbed photosynthetically active radiation (FPAR) was estimated by enhanced vegetation index (EVI) instead of the widely used normalized difference vegetation index (NDVI). Stress factors of temperature/humidity for different types of vegetation were also considered in the simulation of light use efficiencies (LUE). The authors used EVI datasets of Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer (MODIS) from 2001 to 2011 and geographic information techniques to reveal NPP variations in Wuhan. Time lagged serial correlation analysis was employed to study the delayed and continuous effects of climatic factors on NPP. The results showed that the authors’ improved model can simulate vegetation NPP in Wuhan effectively, and it may be adopted or used in other regions of the world that need to be further tested. The results indicated that air temperature and air pressure contributed significantly to the interannual changes of plant NPP while rainfall and global radiation were major climatic factors influencing seasonal NPP variations. A significant positive 32-day lagged correlation was observed between seasonal variation of NPP and rainfall (P < 0.01); the influence of changing climate on NPP lasted for 64 days. The impact of air pressure, global radiation, and net radiation on NPP persisted for 48 days, while the effects of sunshine hours and air temperature on NPP only lasted for 16 and 32 days, respectively.

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Chia-Chi Wang, Chia Chou, and Wei-Liang Lee

Abstract

The effects of moisture on the intertropical convergence zone (ITCZ) over the eastern Pacific on the synoptic time scale are investigated using an intermediate complexity atmospheric circulation model, the quasi-equilibrium tropical circulation model (QTCM1), on an aquaplanet.

The dry simulation shows results consistent with those of simple dynamic models, except that a slightly stronger heating rate is needed owing to different model designs. In the moist simulations, the most important result is the formation of a tail southwest of a vortex during and after the ITCZ breakdown. This tail may extend zonally more than 60° longitude and last for more than two weeks in an idealized simulation. In the eastern North Pacific, this phenomenon is often observed in cases that involve easterly waves. In a sense, the formation of the tail suggests a possible mechanism that forms an ITCZ efficiently.

This study shows that the surface convergent flow induced by a disturbance initializes a positive wind–evaporation feedback that forms the tail. In the tail, the most important energy source is surface evaporation, and the latent heat is nicely balanced by an adiabatic cooling of the ascending motion. In other words, the energy is redistributed vertically by vertical energy convergence.

The lifespan of the tail is controlled by the propagation of tropical waves that modify the surface wind pattern, leading to a decrease in surface wind speed and corresponding surface fluxes. It may explain the absence of the tail in some of the events in the real atmosphere.

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Zhe Li, Huiwen Xue, Jen-Ping Chen, and Wei-Chyung Wang

Abstract

This study investigates the effects of meteorological conditions and aerosols on marine stratocumulus in the southeastern Pacific using the Weather Research and Forecasting (WRF) Model. Two regimes with different temperature and moisture conditions in the finest model domain are investigated. The western regime is around 87°–79°W, while the eastern regime is around 79°–71°W. In both regimes, cloud fraction, liquid water path (LWP), cloud thickness, and precipitation show significant diurnal cycles. Cloud fraction can be 0.83 during the night and down to 0.29 during the day in the western regime. The diurnal cycles in the eastern regime have smaller amplitudes but are still very strong. Stratocumulus properties also differ in the two regimes. Compared to the western regime, the eastern regime has lower temperature, higher relative humidity, and a more coupled boundary layer, leading to higher cloud fraction (by 0.11) and lower cloud-base height. The eastern regime also has lower inversion height that causes lower cloud-top height and thinner clouds and, hence, lower LWP and less precipitation.

Cloud microphysical properties are very sensitive to aerosols in both regimes. Increasing aerosols greatly increase cloud number concentration, decrease cloud effective radius, and suppress precipitation. Cloud macrophysical properties (cloud fraction, LWP) are not sensitive to aerosols in either regime, most notably in the eastern regime where precipitation amount is less. The changes in cloud fraction and LWP caused by changes in aerosol concentrations are smaller than the changes in the diurnal cycle and the spatial variability between the two regimes.

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Wei-Yu Chang, Jothiram Vivekanandan, and Tai-Chi Chen Wang

Abstract

A variational algorithm for estimating measurement error covariance and the attenuation of X-band polarimetric radar measurements is described. It concurrently uses both the differential reflectivity Z DR and propagation phase ΦDP. The majority of the current attenuation estimation techniques use only ΦDP. A few of the ΦDP-based methods use Z DR as a constraint for verifying estimated attenuation. In this paper, a detailed observing system simulation experiment was used for evaluating the performance of the variational algorithm. The results were compared with a single-coefficient ΦDP-based method. Retrieved attenuation from the variational method is more accurate than the results from a single coefficient ΦDP-based method. Moreover, the variational method is less sensitive to measurement noise in radar observations. The variational method requires an accurate description of error covariance matrices. Relative weights between measurements and background values (i.e., mean value based on long-term DSD measurements in the variational method) are determined by their respective error covariances. Instead of using ad hoc values, error covariance matrices of background and radar measurement are statistically estimated and their spatial characteristics are studied. The estimated error covariance shows higher values in convective regions than in stratiform regions, as expected. The practical utility of the variational attenuation correction method is demonstrated using radar field measurements from the Taiwan Experimental Atmospheric Mobile-Radar (TEAM-R) during 2008’s Southwest Monsoon Experiment/Terrain-Influenced Monsoon Rainfall Experiment (SoWMEX/TiMREX). The accuracy of attenuation-corrected X-band radar measurements is evaluated by comparing them with collocated S-band radar measurements.

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Wei-Chyung Wang, Joseph P. Pinto, and Yuk Ling Yung

Abstract

Using a one-dimensional radiative-convective model, we perform a sensitivity study of the effect of ozone depletion in the stratosphere on the surface temperature. There could be a cooling of the surface temperature by ∼0.2 K due to chlorofluoromethane-induced ozone depletion at steady state (assuming 1973 release rates). This cooling reduces significantly the greenhouse effect due to the presence of chlorofluoromethanes. Carbon tetrafluoride has a strong ν3 band at 7.8 μm, and the atmospheric greenhouse effect is shown to be 0.07 and 0.12 K (ppbv)−1 with and without taking into account overlap with CH4 and N2O bands. At concentration higher than l ppbv, absorption by the ν3 band starts to saturate and the greenhouse effect becomes less efficient.

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Guoxing Chen, Wei-Chyung Wang, and Jen-Ping Chen

Abstract

Atmosphere–ocean general circulation models tend to underestimate the solar radiative forcing by stratocumulus over the southeast Pacific, contributing to a warm sea surface temperature (SST) bias. The underestimation may be caused by biases in either macro- or micro- (or both) physical properties of clouds. This study used the WRF Model (incorporated with a physics-based two-moment cloud microphysical scheme) together with the 2008 Variability of the American Monsoon Systems Ocean–Cloud–Atmosphere–Land Study (VOCALS) field observations to investigate the effects of anthropogenic aerosols on the stratocumulus properties and their subsequent effects on the surface radiation balance. The effects were studied by comparing two cases: a control case with the anthropogenic aerosols and a sensitivity case without the anthropogenic aerosols. Results show that the control case produced cloud properties comparable with the measurements by aircraft and that aerosol–cloud microphysical interactions play an important role in regulating solar cloud radiative forcing. As expected, the anthropogenic aerosols increase the cloud droplet number and decrease the cloud droplet size, resulting in an enhancement of solar cloud radiative forcing and a reduction in solar radiation reaching the sea surface, up to a maximum of about 30 W m−2 near the coast. Results also show that aerosol–cloud microphysics–radiation interactions are sensitive to cloud fraction, thus highlighting the role of cloud diurnal variation in studying the cloud–radiation interactions. Analysis of the high-resolution (3 km) model simulations reveals that there exists an inherent scale dependence of aerosol–cloud–radiation interactions, with coarser horizontal resolution yielding a weaker variability.

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Wei Wu, Zhiping Wen, Renguang Wu, and Tongmei Wang

Abstract

In the present study, monthly mean objectively analyzed air–sea fluxes (OAFlux) and NCEP–Department of Energy (DOE) reanalysis datasets are employed to investigate air–sea interaction over the subtropical North Pacific during the El Niño–Southern Oscillation (ENSO) transition phase. A coupled low-frequency mode is identified, for which surface net heat flux and atmospheric circulation changes are strongly coupled during the ENSO transition phase. This mode features anomalous cooling (warming) and low-level anomalous cyclonic (anticyclonic) circulation over the subtropical North Pacific. When this mode is prominent, the atmospheric circulation anomalies lead to SST cooling (warming) through surface heat flux anomalies associated with increases (decreases) in the sea–air temperature and humidity differences induced by anomalous cold (warm) advection. In turn, positive heat flux anomalies induce more surface heating, and the SST cooling (warming) causes less (more) deep convective heating. The anomalous surface heating and deep convective heating contribute significantly to anomalous circulation through the thermal adaptation mechanism (adaptation of atmospheric circulation to vertical differential heating). This positive feedback favors the maintenance of these anomalous winds over the subtropical North Pacific.

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Yaru Guo, Yuanlong Li, Fan Wang, and Yuntao Wei

Abstract

Ningaloo Niño—the interannually occurring warming episode in the southeast Indian Ocean (SEIO)—has strong signatures in ocean temperature and circulation and exerts profound impacts on regional climate and marine biosystems. Analysis of observational data and eddy-resolving regional ocean model simulations reveals that the Ningaloo Niño/Niña can also induce pronounced variability in ocean salinity, causing large-scale sea surface salinity (SSS) freshening of 0.15–0.20 psu in the SEIO during its warm phase. Model experiments are performed to understand the underlying processes. This SSS freshening is mutually caused by the increased local precipitation (~68%) and enhanced freshwater transport of the Indonesian Throughflow (ITF; ~28%) during Ningaloo Niño events. The effects of other processes, such as local winds and evaporation, are secondary (~18%). The ITF enhances the southward freshwater advection near the eastern boundary, which is critical in causing the strong freshening (>0.20 psu) near the Western Australian coast. Owing to the strong modulation effect of the ITF, SSS near the coast bears a higher correlation with El Niño–Southern Oscillation (0.57, 0.77, and 0.70 with the Niño-3, Niño-4, and Niño-3.4 indices, respectively) than sea surface temperature (−0.27, −0.42, and −0.35) during 1993–2016. Yet, an idealized model experiment with artificial damping for salinity anomaly indicates that ocean salinity has limited impact on ocean near-surface stratification and thus minimal feedback effect on the warming of Ningaloo Niño.

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Arthur N. Samel, Wei-Chyung Wang, and Xin-Zhong Liang

Abstract

Yearly variations in the observed initial and final dates of heavy, persistent monsoon rainband precipitation across China are quantified. The development of a semiobjective analysis that identifies these values also makes it possible to calculate annual rainband duration and total rainfall. Relationships between total rainband precipitation and the Eurasian circulation are then determined. This research is designed such that observed rainband characteristics can be used in future investigations to evaluate GCM simulations.

Normalized daily precipitation time series are analyzed between 1951 and 1990 for 85 observation stations to develop criteria that describe general rainband characteristics throughout China. Rainfall is defined to be “heavy” if the daily value at a given location is greater than 1.5% of the annual mean total. Heavy precipitation is then shown to be “persistent” and is thus identified with the rainband when the 1.5% threshold is exceeded at least 6 times in a 25-day period. Finally, rainband initial (final) dates are defined to immediately follow (precede) a minimum period of 5 consecutive days with no measurable precipitation. A semiobjective analysis based on the above definitions and rainband climatology is then applied to the time series to determine annual initial and final dates.

Analysis application produces results that closely correspond to the systematic pattern observed across China, where the rainband arrives in the south during May, advances to the Yangtze River valley in June, and then to the north in July. Rainband duration (i.e., final − initial + 1) is approximately 30–40 days while total rainfall decreases from south to north. A significant positive correlation is found between total rainfall and duration interannual variability, where increased rainband precipitation corresponds to initial (final) dates that are anomalously early (late). No clear trends are identified except over north China, where both duration and total rainfall decrease substantially after 1967.

The Eurasian sea level pressure and 500-hPa height fields are then correlated with total rainfall over south China, the Yangtze River valley, and north China to identify statistically significant relationships. Results indicate that precipitation amount is influenced by the interaction of several circulation features. Total rainfall increases over south China when the surface Siberian high ridges to the south and is overrun by warm moist air aloft. Yangtze River valley precipitation intensifies when westward expansion of the subtropical high along with strengthening of the Siberian high and monsoon low cause moisture advection, upward motion, and the thermal gradient along the Mei-Yu front to increase. North China total rainfall increases in response to intense heating over the landmass, westward ridging of the subtropical high, and greater moisture transport over the region.

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