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Chunlüe Zhou
,
Junhong Wang
,
Aiguo Dai
, and
Peter W. Thorne

Abstract

This study develops an innovative approach to homogenize discontinuities in both mean and variance in global subdaily radiosonde temperature data from 1958 to 2018. First, temperature natural variations and changes are estimated using reanalyses and removed from the radiosonde data to construct monthly and daily difference series. A penalized maximal F test and an improved Kolmogorov–Smirnov test are then applied to the monthly and daily difference series to detect spurious shifts in the mean and variance, respectively. About 60% (40%) of the changepoints appear in the mean (variance), and ~56% of them are confirmed by available metadata. The changepoints display a country-dependent pattern likely due to changes in national radiosonde networks. Mean segment length is 7.2 (14.6) years for the mean (variance)-based detection. A mean (quantile)-matching method using up to 5 years of data from two adjacent mean (variance)-based segments is used to adjust the earlier segments relative to the latest segment. The homogenized series is obtained by adding the two homogenized difference series back to the subtracted reference series. The homogenized data exhibit more spatially coherent trends and temporally consistent variations than the raw data, and lack the spurious tropospheric cooling over North China and Mongolia seen in several reanalyses and raw datasets. The homogenized data clearly show a warming maximum around 300 hPa over 30°S–30°N, consistent with model simulations, in contrast to the raw data. The results suggest that spurious changes are numerous and significant in the radiosonde records and our method can greatly improve their homogeneity.

Open access
Dehai Luo
,
Yao Yao
,
Aiguo Dai
,
Ian Simmonds
, and
Linhao Zhong

Abstract

In Part I of this study, it was shown that the Eurasian cold anomalies related to Arctic warming depend strongly on the quasi stationarity and persistence of the Ural blocking (UB). The analysis here revealed that under weak mean westerly wind (MWW) and vertical shear (VS) (quasi barotropic) conditions with weak synoptic-scale eddies and a large planetary wave anomaly, the growth of UB is slow and its amplitude is small. For this case, a quasi-stationary and persistent UB is seen. However, under strong MWW and VS (quasi baroclinic) conditions, synoptic-scale eddies are stronger and the growth of UB is rapid; the resulting UB is less persistent and has large amplitude. In this case, a marked retrogression of the UB is observed.

The dynamical mechanism behind the dependence of the movement and persistence of UB upon the background conditions is further examined using a nonlinear multiscale model. The results show that when the blocking has large amplitude under quasi-baroclinic conditions, the blocking-induced westward displacement greatly exceeds the strong mean zonal-wind-induced eastward movement and hence generates a marked retrogression of the blocking. By contrast, under quasi-barotropic conditions because the UB amplitude is relatively small the blocking-induced westward movement is less distinct, giving rise to a quasi-stationary and persistent blocking. It is further shown that the strong mid–high-latitude North Atlantic mean zonal wind is the quasi-barotropic condition that suppresses UB’s retrogression and thus is conducive to the quasi stationarity and persistence of the UB. The model results show that the blocking duration is longer when the mean zonal wind in the blocking region or eddy strength is weaker.

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Dehai Luo
,
Yao Yao
,
Aiguo Dai
, and
Steven B. Feldstein
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Yao Yao
,
Dehai Luo
,
Aiguo Dai
, and
Steven B. Feldstein

Abstract

A recent study revealed that cold winter outbreaks over the Middle East and southeastern Europe are caused mainly by the northeast–southwest (NE–SW) tilting of European blocking (EB) associated with the positive-phase North Atlantic Oscillation (NAO+). Here, the North Atlantic conditions are examined that determine the EB tilting direction, defined as being perpendicular to the dipole anomaly orientation. Using daily reanalysis data, the NAO+ events are classified into strong (SJN) and weak (WJN) North Atlantic jet types. A composite analysis shows that the EB is generally stronger and located more westward and southward during SJN events than during WJN events. During SJN events, the NAO+ and EB dipoles exhibit NE–SW tilting, which leads to strong cold advection and large negative temperature anomalies over the Middle East and southeastern Europe. In contrast, northwest–southeast (NW–SE) tilting without strong negative temperature anomalies over the Middle East is seen during WJN events.

A nonlinear multiscale interaction model is modified to investigate the physical mechanism through which the North Atlantic jet (NAJ) affects EB with the NAO+ event. It is shown that, when the NAJ is stronger, an amplified EB event forms because of enhanced NAO+ energy dispersion. For a strong (weak) NAJ, the EB tends to occur in a relatively low-latitude (high latitude) region because of the suppressive (favorable) role of intensified (reduced) zonal wind in high latitudes. It exhibits NE–SW (NW–SE) tilting because the blocking region corresponds to negative-over-positive (opposite) zonal wind anomalies. The results suggest that the NAJ can modulate the tilting direction of EB, leading to different effects over the Middle East.

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Danqing Huang
,
Aiguo Dai
,
Jian Zhu
,
Yaocun Zhang
, and
Xueyuan Kuang

Abstract

Global-mean surface temperature has experienced fast warming during 1985–98 but stabilized during 1999–2013, especially in boreal winter. Climate changes over East Asia between the two warming periods and the associated mechanisms have not been fully understood. Analyses of observation and reanalysis data show that winter precipitation has decreased (increased) over southern (northeastern) China from 1985–98 to 1999–2013. Winds at 300 hPa over East Asia strengthened during 1999–2013 around 30°–47.5°N but weakened to the north and south of it. This change pattern caused the East Asian polar front jet (EAPJ) and the East Asian subtropical jet (EASJ) to shift, respectively, equatorward and poleward during 1999–2013. Associated with these jet displacements, the Siberian high enhanced and the East Asian trough shifted westward. The enhanced Siberian high strengthened the East Asian winter monsoon and weakened southwesterly winds over the South China Sea, leading to precipitation decreases over southern China. The westward shift of the East Asian trough enhanced convergence and precipitation over northeastern China. A combination of a negative phase of the interdecadal Pacific oscillation and a positive phase of the Atlantic multidecadal oscillation during 1999–2013 resulted in significant tropospheric warming over the low and high latitudes and cooling over the midlatitudes of East Asia. These changes enhanced the meridional temperature gradient and thus westerlies over the region between the two jets but weakened them to the south and north of it, thereby contributing to the wind change patterns and the jet displacements.

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Zhihong Jiang
,
Fei Huo
,
Hongyun Ma
,
Jie Song
, and
Aiguo Dai

Abstract

Impacts of urbanization and anthropogenic aerosols in China on the East Asian summer monsoon (EASM) are investigated using version 5.1 of the Community Atmosphere Model (CAM5.1) by comparing simulations with and without incorporating urban land cover and/or anthropogenic aerosol emissions. Results show that the increase of urban land cover causes large surface warming and an urban frictional drag, both leading to a northeasterly wind anomaly in the lower troposphere over eastern China (EC). This weakens the southerly winds associated with the EASM and causes a convergence anomaly in southern China (SC) with increased ascent, latent heating, and cloudiness. The enhanced latent heating reinforces surface convergence and upper-level divergence over SC, leading to more northward advection in the upper level into northern China (NC) and descending between 30° and 50°N over East Asia. Cloudiness reduction, adiabatic heating, and warm advection over NC all enhance the urban heating there, together causing anomalous tropospheric warming at those latitudes over East Asia. Anthropogenic aerosols cause widespread cooling at the surface and in the troposphere over EC, which decreases the summer land–ocean thermal contrast, leading to a weakened EASM circulation with reduced moisture transport to NC. This results in wetter and drier conditions over SC and NC, respectively. When both the urbanization and anthropogenic aerosols are included in the model, aerosols’ cooling is partially offset by the urban heating, and their joint effect on the circulation is dominated by the aerosols’ effect with a reduced magnitude. In the combined experiment, surface and tropospheric temperatures are also altered by the decrease (increase) in cloudiness over NC (SC) with most of the cooling confined to SC, which further weakens the EASM circulation.

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Bo Dong
,
Aiguo Dai
,
Mathias Vuille
, and
Oliver Elison Timm

Abstract

Remote influences of ENSO are known to vary with different phases of the interdecadal Pacific oscillation (IPO). Here, observational and reanalysis data from 1920 to 2014 are analyzed to present a global synthesis of the IPO’s modulation on ENSO teleconnections, followed by a modeling investigation. Regressions of surface air temperature T, precipitation P, and atmospheric circulations upon IPO and ENSO indices reveal substantial differences between ENSO and IPO teleconnections to regional T and P in terms of spatial pattern, magnitude, and seasonality. The IPO’s modulation on ENSO teleconnections asymmetrically varies with both IPO and ENSO phases. For a given ENSO phase, IPO’s modulations are not symmetric between its two phases; for a given IPO SST anomaly, its influence depends on whether it is superimposed on El Niño, La Niña, or neutral ENSO. The IPO modulations are linked to the atmospheric response to tropical SST anomalies, manifested in the local Hadley circulation and the local Walker circulation at low latitudes and the Rossby wave train in the extratropics, including the Pacific–North American (PNA) pattern in the Northern Hemisphere. A set of numerical experiments using CAM5 forced with different combinations of the IPO- and ENSO-related SSTs further shows that the asymmetric modulation arises from the nonlinear Clausius–Clapeyron relation, so that the atmospheric circulation response to the same IPO-induced SST departure is larger during a warm rather than a cold ENSO phase, and the response to a warm IPO state is larger than that to a cold IPO state. The asymmetry depends primarily on the tropical Pacific mean state and tropical SST anomalies and secondarily on extratropical SST anomalies.

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Aiguo Dai
,
Taotao Qian
,
Kevin E. Trenberth
, and
John D. Milliman

Abstract

A new dataset of historical monthly streamflow at the farthest downstream stations for the world’s 925 largest ocean-reaching rivers has been created for community use. Available new gauge records are added to a network of gauges that covers ∼80 × 106 km2 or ∼80% of global ocean-draining land areas and accounts for about 73% of global total runoff. For most of the large rivers, the record for 1948–2004 is fairly complete. Data gaps in the records are filled through linear regression using streamflow simulated by a land surface model [Community Land Model, version 3 (CLM3)] forced with observed precipitation and other atmospheric forcings that are significantly (and often strongly) correlated with the observed streamflow for most rivers. Compared with previous studies, the new dataset has improved homogeneity and enables more reliable assessments of decadal and long-term changes in continental freshwater discharge into the oceans. The model-simulated runoff ratio over drainage areas with and without gauge records is used to estimate the contribution from the areas not monitored by the gauges in deriving the total discharge into the global oceans.

Results reveal large variations in yearly streamflow for most of the world’s large rivers and for continental discharge, but only about one-third of the top 200 rivers (including the Congo, Mississippi, Yenisey, Paraná, Ganges, Columbia, Uruguay, and Niger) show statistically significant trends during 1948–2004, with the rivers having downward trends (45) outnumbering those with upward trends (19). The interannual variations are correlated with the El Niño–Southern Oscillation (ENSO) events for discharge into the Atlantic, Pacific, Indian, and global ocean as a whole. For ocean basins other than the Arctic, and for the global ocean as a whole, the discharge data show small or downward trends, which are statistically significant for the Pacific (−9.4 km3 yr−1). Precipitation is a major driver for the discharge trends and large interannual-to-decadal variations. Comparisons with the CLM3 simulation suggest that direct human influence on annual streamflow is likely small compared with climatic forcing during 1948–2004 for most of the world’s major rivers. For the Arctic drainage areas, upward trends in streamflow are not accompanied by increasing precipitation, especially over Siberia, based on available data, although recent surface warming and associated downward trends in snow cover and soil ice content over the northern high latitudes contribute to increased runoff in these regions. The results are qualitatively consistent with climate model projections but contradict an earlier report of increasing continental runoff during the recent decades based on limited records.

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Adam H. Monahan
,
Yanping He
,
Norman McFarlane
, and
Aiguo Dai

Abstract

The probability density function (pdf) of land surface wind speeds is characterized using a global network of observations. Daytime surface wind speeds are shown to be broadly consistent with the Weibull distribution, while nighttime surface wind speeds are generally more positively skewed than the corresponding Weibull distribution (particularly in summer). In the midlatitudes, these strongly positive skewnesses are shown to be generally associated with conditions of strong surface stability and weak lower-tropospheric wind shear. Long-term tower observations from Cabauw, the Netherlands, and Los Alamos, New Mexico, demonstrate that lower-tropospheric wind speeds become more positively skewed than the corresponding Weibull distribution only in the shallow (~50 m) nocturnal boundary layer. This skewness is associated with two populations of nighttime winds: (i) strongly stably stratified with strong wind shear and (ii) weakly stably or unstably stratified with weak wind shear. Using an idealized two-layer model of the boundary layer momentum budget, it is shown that the observed variability of the daytime and nighttime surface wind speeds can be accounted for through a stochastic representation of intermittent turbulent mixing at the nocturnal boundary layer inversion.

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Dehai Luo
,
Yao Yao
,
Aiguo Dai
, and
Steven B. Feldstein

Abstract

In this study, the atmospheric conditions for the December 2013 Middle East snowstorm are examined from a case study perspective and by performing a composite analysis of extreme winter events from 1950 to 2013 using reanalysis data. It is revealed that this snowstorm arises from the occurrence of an omega (Ω)-type European blocking (EB) with a strong downstream trough that is associated with a southward-displaced positive-phase North Atlantic Oscillation (NAO+) event. In the anomaly field, the EB exhibits a northeast–southwest (NE–SW)-tilted dipole structure. The Ω-type EB transports cold air into the Middle East and produces snowfall within the trough over the Middle East.

The composite analysis shows that the location of cold temperatures depends strongly on the tilting direction and strength of the EB dipole anomaly. The NE–SW [northwest–southeast (NW–SE)]-tilted EB dipole occurs with a southward (northward)-displaced NAO+ event. The NE–SW-tilted EB dipole anomaly is associated with an arching-type low-frequency wave train that spans the North Atlantic, Europe, and the Middle East. This tilting has the most favorable structure for cold air outbreaks over the Middle East and southeastern Europe because this tilting leads to an intense downstream trough over this region. In contrast, a NW–SE-tilted EB dipole anomaly leads to cold temperatures over northwestern Africa and southwestern Europe. The analyses herein also suggest that a strong jet over the North Atlantic may be a precursor for a southward-displaced NAO+ event that is usually associated with an Ω-type EB with a NE–SW-tilted dipole in the anomaly height field that favors a cold air outbreak over the Middle East.

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