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Chuanfeng Zhao
,
Liping Liu
,
Qianqian Wang
,
Yanmei Qiu
,
Wei Wang
,
Yang Wang
, and
Tianyi Fan

Abstract

This study describes the microphysical properties of high ice clouds (with bases above 5 km) using ground-based millimeter cloud radar cirrus-mode observations over the Naqu site of the Tibetan Plateau (TP) during a short period from 6 to 31 July 2014. Empirical regression equations are applied for the cloud retrievals in which the parameters are given on the basis of a review of existing literature. The results show a unimodal distribution for the cloud ice effective radius r e and ice water content with maximum frequencies around 36 μm and 0.001 g m−3, respectively. Analysis shows that clouds with high ice r e are more likely to occur at times from late afternoon until nighttime. The clouds with large (small) r e mainly occur at low (high) heights and are likely orographic cumulus or stratocumulus (thin cirrus). Further analysis indicates that ice r e decreases with increasing height and shows strong positive relationships between ice r e (μm) and depth h (m), with a regression equation of r e = 35.45 + 0.0023h + (1.7 × 10−7)h 2. A good relationship between ice r e and temperature T (°C) is found, r e = 44.65 + 0.1438T, which could serve as a baseline for retrieval of characteristic ice r e properties over the TP.

Full access
Xiaoxiong Lu
,
Qinglan Li
,
Wei Zhao
,
Aiguo Xiao
,
Guangxin Li
, and
Zifeng Yu

Abstract

Based on daily meteorological observation data in South China (SC) from 1967 to 2018, the spatiotemporal characteristics of the precipitation in SC over the past 52 years were studied. Only 8% of the stations showed a significant increase in annual rainfall, and there was no significant negative trend at any weather stations at a confidence level of 90%. Monthly rainfall showed the most significant decreasing and increasing trends in April and November, respectively. During the entire flooding season from April to September, the monthly rainfall at the weather stations in the coastal areas showed almost no significant change. The annual rainfall gradually decreased toward the inland area with the central and coastal areas of Guangdong Province as the high-value rainfall center. By using the empirical orthogonal function decomposition method, it was found that the two main monthly rainfall modes had strong annual signals. The first modal spatial distribution was basically consistent with the average annual rainfall distribution. Based on the environmental background analysis, it was found that during the flooding season the main water vapor to SC was transported by the East Asian summer monsoon and the Indian summer monsoon. In late autumn and winter, the prevailing wind from northeastern China could not bring much water vapor to SC and led to little precipitation in these two seasons. The spatial distribution of precipitation in SC during summer was more consistent with the moisture flux divergence distribution of the bottom layer from 925 to 1000 hPa rather than that of the layer from 700 to 1000 hPa.

Open access
Shuyi S. Chen
,
James F. Price
,
Wei Zhao
,
Mark A. Donelan
, and
Edward J. Walsh
Full access
Zhiwei Zhang
,
Xincheng Zhang
,
Bo Qiu
,
Wei Zhao
,
Chun Zhou
,
Xiaodong Huang
, and
Jiwei Tian

Abstract

Although observational efforts have been made to detect submesoscale currents (submesoscales) in regions with deep mixed layers and/or strong mesoscale kinetic energy (KE), there have been no long-term submesoscale observations in subtropical gyres, which are characterized by moderate values of both mixed layer depths and mesoscale KE. To explore submesoscale dynamics in this oceanic regime, two nested mesoscale- and submesoscale-resolving mooring arrays were deployed in the northwestern Pacific subtropical countercurrent region during 2017–19. Based on the 2 years of data, submesoscales featuring order one Rossby numbers, large vertical velocities (with magnitude of 10–50 m day−1) and vertical heat flux, and strong ageostrophic KE are revealed in the upper 150 m. Although most of the submesoscales are surface intensified, they are found to penetrate far beneath the mixed layer. They are most energetic during strong mesoscale strain periods in the winter–spring season but are generally weak in the summer–autumn season. Energetics analysis suggests that the submesoscales receive KE from potential energy release but lose a portion of it through inverse cascade. Because this KE sink is smaller than the source term, a forward cascade must occur to balance the submesoscale KE budget, for which symmetric instability may be a candidate mechanism. By synthesizing observations and theories, we argue that the submesoscales are generated through a combination of baroclinic instability in the upper mixed and transitional layers and mesoscale strain-induced frontogenesis, among which the former should play a more dominant role in their final generation stage.

Full access
Yunchao Yang
,
Xiaodong Huang
,
Wei Zhao
,
Chun Zhou
,
Siwei Huang
,
Zhiwei Zhang
, and
Jiwei Tian

Abstract

The complex behaviors of internal solitary waves (ISWs) in the Andaman Sea were revealed using data collected over a nearly 22-month-long observation period completed by two moorings. Emanating from the submarine ridges northwest of Sumatra Island and south of Car Nicobar, two types of ISWs, referred to as S- and C-ISWs, respectively, were identified in the measurements, and S-ISWs were generally found to be stronger than C-ISWs. The observed S- and C-ISWs frequently appeared as multiwave packets, accounting for 87% and 43% of their observed episodes, respectively. The simultaneous measurements collected by the two moorings featured evident variability along the S-ISW crests, with the average wave amplitude in the northern portion being 36% larger than that in the southern portion. The analyses of the arrival times revealed that the S-ISWs in the northern portion occurred more frequently and arrived more irregularly than those in the southern portion. Moreover, the temporal variability of ISWs drastically differed on monthly and seasonal time scales, characterized by relatively stronger S-ISWs in spring and autumn. Over the interannual time scale, the temporal variations in ISWs were generally subtle. The monthly-to-annual variations of ISWs could be mostly explained by the variability in stratification, which could be modulated by the monsoons, the winds in equatorial Indian Ocean, and the mesoscale eddies in the Andaman Sea. From careful analyses preformed based on the long-term measurements, we argued that the observed ISWs were likely generated via internal tide release mechanism and their generation processes were obviously modulated by background circulations.

Open access
Jianing Li
,
Qingxuan Yang
,
Hui Sun
,
Shuwen Zhang
,
Lingling Xie
,
Qingye Wang
,
Wei Zhao
, and
Jiwei Tian

Abstract

This study focuses on the statistical features of dissipation flux coefficient Γ in the upper South China Sea (SCS). Based on the microscale measurements collected at 158 stations in the upper SCS and derived dissipation rates of turbulent kinetic energy and temperature variance ε and χT , via a modified method, we estimate Γ and analyze its spatiotemporal variation in an energetic and a quiescent region. We show that Γ is highly variable, which scatters over three orders of magnitude from 10−2 to 101 in both regions. Ιn the energetic region, Γ is slightly greater than in the quiescent region; their median values are 0.23 and 0.17, respectively. Vertically, Γ presents a clear increasing tendency with depth in both regions, though the increasing rate is greater in the energetic region than in the quiescent region. In the upper SCS, Γ positively depends on the buoyancy Reynolds number Re b and negatively depends on the ratio of the Ozmidov scale to the Thorpe scale R OT and is scaled as Γ Re b 1 / 2 R OT 4 / 3 , which holds for both regions. The vertical decreasing of R OT is observed, which yields parameterization of R OT = 10−0.002 z ; this parameterization improves the performance of the Thorpe-scale method by reducing at least 50% of the bias between the observed and parameterized ε. These results shed new light on the spatiotemporal variability and modulating mechanism of Γ in the upper ocean.

Significance Statement

The great global ocean conveyor is maintained by vertical mixing. Turbulent kinetic energy released by local internal wave breaking goes into two parts: one part is used to furnish this vertical mixing, and the rest is dissipated into irreversible heat. The ratio of these two parts is termed as the dissipation flux coefficient and is usually treated as a constant. Our measurements suggest that this coefficient is highly spatiotemporally variable. Specific relationships are obtained when scaling this coefficient with other parameters, and mechanisms modulating this coefficient are also explored. This study sheds light on how much turbulent kinetic energy contributes to elevating the potential energy and its associated influences not only in marginal seas but also in open oceans.

Free access
Zhongbin Sun
,
Zhiwei Zhang
,
Bo Qiu
,
Chun Zhou
,
Wei Zhao
, and
Jiwei Tian

Abstract

A train of subsurface mesoscale eddies (SMEs) consisting of two cyclones and two anticyclones was observed in the northeastern South China Sea (NESCS) in 2015 by a mooring array. In contrast to the widely reported surface-intensified eddies, the SMEs had weak surface signals but showed maximum velocity at ∼370 m with a magnitude of 17.2 cm s−1. The SMEs generally propagated westward with a speed of ∼4.3 cm s−1, which resulted in a distinct ∼120-day-period oscillations in the moored time series. Based on the concurrent velocity, temperature, and salinity from the mooring array, three-dimensional structures of the SMEs were constructed, which were then used to quantify water mass transports induced by them. The results revealed that all these SMEs were vertically tilted with an influence depth exceeding 1000 m. Water mass analysis suggested that the cyclonic and anticyclonic SMEs trapped the northwest Pacific water and the NESCS local water, respectively. The cyclones transported 1.00 ± 0.25 Sv (1 Sv ≡ 106 m3 s−1) North Pacific Intermediate Water westward into the NESCS during the 2-yr observation period, accounting for 61.7% of the observed volume transport through the Luzon Strait between 25.8 and 27.4σ 0. Furthermore, it also showed that both the trapping and stirring effects of the SMEs induced an eastward heat transport across the Luzon Strait, but the role of the former was much more important than the latter. The present results suggested that the SMEs near the Luzon Strait may provide a novel route for the intermediate-layer water exchange between the NESCS and Pacific.

Full access
Xing Xu
,
Wei Zhao
,
Xiaodong Huang
,
Qianwen Hu
,
Shoude Guan
,
Chun Zhou
, and
Jiwei Tian

Abstract

Near-inertial waves (NIWs) trapped in a propagating anticyclonic eddy (AE) are investigated along the eddy path at three areas spanning 660 km by using two mooring arrays and a cruise transect. In the upstream area, the reconstructed three-dimensional structure reveals that NIWs are concentrated within the eddy core with wave current amplitudes exceeding 0.2 m s−1; vertically, due to the critical layer effect caused by eddy baroclinicity, NIWs are trapped at depths around 200 and 315 m with frequencies estimated to be ω 1 ≈ 0.918f and ω 2 ≈ 0.985f, respectively. After the AE propagates southwestward for hundreds of kilometers, the NIWs of frequency ω 1 are still detectable inside the AE, while NIWs of frequency ω 2 are absent because of the equatorward migration of the AE on a beta plane. Meanwhile, the wave kinetic energy downstream is trapped closer to the eddy center in radial direction, with the wave amplitude decaying roughly in a Gaussian form along the eddy radius, and becomes more homogeneous in the azimuthal direction, showing a more regular trapping form in the three-dimensional view. Investigation on wind shows that trapped NIWs are likely to be generated by a typhoon but less affected by the wind during the eddy passage time. By an energy analysis, we find that enhanced wave dissipation near the critical layer is roughly balanced by the energy transfer from mean flows, and therefore the trapped wave kinetic energy is largely conserved during the long-distance migration.

Free access
Xiaojiang Zhang
,
Xiaodong Huang
,
Yunchao Yang
,
Wei Zhao
,
Huizan Wang
,
Chunxin Yuan
, and
Jiwei Tian

Abstract

The high-resolution mooring observations reported here reveal a cascade process from internal solitary waves (ISWs) to turbulent mixing via high-frequency internal waves near the maximum local buoyancy frequency (near-N waves) in the deep water of the northern South China Sea (SCS). Riding on the parent ISW, near-N waves with a peak frequency of 20 cph emerged at the trough of the ISW and extended to the rear face of the ISW. Most of the near-N waves occurred around the thermocline, where the isothermal displacements induced by the near-N waves were largest with an amplitude of 12 m. The energy of near-N waves was 5% of that of the parent ISW, and instability investigations showed that due to the strong shear, Ri in the region of strong near-N waves was less than 1/4, suggesting that the near-N waves were unstable and might dissipate rapidly. Simulations based on the Korteweg–de Vries (KdV)–Burgers equation reproduced the formation of observed near-N waves due to the energy cascade from ISWs. Our observational results demonstrate a new energy cascade route from ISWs to turbulence in the deep water, deepening the understanding of the energy dissipation process of ISWs and their roles in the enhanced mixing in the northern SCS.

Open access
Wenbo Lu
,
Chun Zhou
,
Wei Zhao
,
Cunjie Zhang
,
Tao Geng
, and
Xin Xiao

Abstract

At 26.5°N in the North Atlantic, a continuous transbasin observational array has been established since 2004 to detect the strength of the Atlantic meridional overturning circulation. The observational record shows that the subtropical Atlantic meridional overturning circulation has weakened by 2.5 ± 1.5 Sv (as mean ± 95% interval; 1 Sv ≡ 106 m3 s−1) since 2008 compared to the initial 4-yr average. Strengthening of the upper southward geostrophic transport (with a 2.6 ± 1.6 Sv southward increase) derived from thermal wind dominates this Atlantic meridional overturning circulation decline. We decompose the geostrophic transport into its temperature and salinity components to compare their contributions to the transport variability. The contributions of temperature and salinity components to the southward geostrophic transport strengthening are 1.0 ± 2.5 and 1.6 ± 1.3 Sv, respectively. The variation of salinity component is significant at the 95% confidence level, while the temperature component’s variation is not. This result highlights the vital role that salinity plays in the subtropical Atlantic meridional overturning circulation variability, which has been overlooked in previous studies. We further analyze the geostrophic transport variations and their temperature and salinity components arising from different water masses, which shows that a warming signal in Labrador Sea Water and a freshening signal in Nordic Sea Water are two prominent sources of the geostrophic transport increase. Comparison of the temperature and salinity records of the 26.5°N array with the upstream records from repeated hydrographic sections across the Labrador Sea suggests that these thermohaline signals may be exported from the subpolar Atlantic via the deep western boundary current.

Free access