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Zeng-Zhen Hu
,
Arun Kumar
,
Hong-Li Ren
,
Hui Wang
,
Michelle L’Heureux
, and
Fei-Fei Jin

Abstract

An interdecadal shift in the variability and mean state of the tropical Pacific Ocean is investigated within the context of changes in El Niño–Southern Oscillation (ENSO). Compared with 1979–99, the interannual variability in the tropical Pacific was significantly weaker in 2000–11, and this shift can be seen by coherent changes in both the tropical atmosphere and ocean. For example, the equatorial thermocline tilt became steeper during 2000–11, which was consistent with positive (negative) sea surface temperature anomalies, increased (decreased) precipitation, and enhanced (suppressed) convection in the western (central and eastern) tropical Pacific, which reflected an intensification of the Walker circulation.

The combination of a steeper thermocline slope with stronger surface trade winds is proposed to have hampered the eastward migration of the warm water along the equatorial Pacific. As a consequence, the variability of the warm water volume was reduced and thus ENSO amplitude also decreased. Sensitivity experiments with the Zebiak–Cane model confirm the link between thermocline slope, wind stress, and the amplitude of ENSO.

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Jianping Duan
,
Lun Li
,
Zhuguo Ma
,
Jan Esper
,
Ulf Büntgen
,
Elena Xoplaki
,
Dujuan Zhang
,
Lily Wang
,
Hong Yin
, and
Jürg Luterbacher

Abstract

Large volcanic eruptions may cause abrupt summer cooling over large parts of the globe. However, no comparable imprint has been found on the Tibetan Plateau (TP). Here, we introduce a 400-yr-long temperature-sensitive network of 17 tree-ring maximum latewood density sites from the TP that demonstrates that the effects of tropical eruptions on the TP are generally greater than those of extratropical eruptions. Moreover, we found that large tropical eruptions accompanied by subsequent El Niño events caused less summer cooling than those that occurred without El Niño association. Superposed epoch analysis (SEA) based on 27 events, including 14 tropical eruptions and 13 extratropical eruptions, shows that the summer cooling driven by extratropical eruptions is insignificant on the TP, while significant summer temperature decreases occur subsequent to tropical eruptions. Further analysis of the TP August–September temperature responses reveals a significant postvolcanic cooling only when no El Niño event occurred. However, there is no such cooling for all other situations, that is, tropical eruptions together with a subsequent El Niño event, as well as extratropical eruptions regardless of the occurrence of an El Niño event. The averaged August–September temperature deviation (T dev) following 10 large tropical eruptions without a subsequent El Niño event is up to −0.48° ± 0.19°C (with respect to the preceding 5-yr mean), whereas the temperature deviation following 4 large tropical eruptions with an El Niño association is approximately 0.23° ± 0.16°C. These results indicate a mitigation effect of El Niño events on the TP temperature response to large tropical eruptions. The possible mechanism is that El Niño events can weaken the Indian summer monsoon with a subsequent decrease in rainfall and cooling effect, which may lead to a relatively high temperature on the TP, one of the regions affected by the Indian summer monsoon.

Open access
Richard A. Frey
,
Steven A. Ackerman
,
Yinghui Liu
,
Kathleen I. Strabala
,
Hong Zhang
,
Jeffrey R. Key
, and
Xuangi Wang

Abstract

Significant improvements have been made to the Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer (MODIS) cloud mask (MOD35 and MYD35) for Collection 5 reprocessing and forward stream data production. Most of the modifications are realized for nighttime scenes where polar and oceanic regions will see marked improvement. For polar night scenes, two new spectral tests using the 7.2-μm water vapor absorption band have been added as well as updates to the 3.9–12- and 11–12-μm cloud tests. More non-MODIS ancillary input data have been added. Land and sea surface temperature maps provide crucial information for mid- and low-level cloud detection and lessen dependence on ocean brightness temperature variability tests. Sun-glint areas are also improved by use of sea surface temperatures to aid in resolving observations with conflicting cloud versus clear-sky signals, where visible and near-infrared (NIR) reflectances are high, but infrared brightness temperatures are relatively warm. Day and night Arctic cloud frequency results are compared to those created by the Advanced Very High Resolution Radiometer (AVHRR) Polar Pathfinder-Extended (APP-X) algorithm. Day versus night sea surface temperatures derived from MODIS radiances and using only the MODIS cloud mask for cloud screening are contrasted. Frequencies of cloud from sun-glint regions are shown as a function of sun-glint angle to gain a sense of cloud mask quality in those regions. Continuing validation activities are described in Part II of this paper.

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Qiong Wu
,
Hong-Qing Wang
,
Yi-Zhou Zhuang
,
Yin-Jing Lin
,
Yan Zhang
, and
Sai-Sai Ding

Abstract

Three infrared (IR) indicators were included in this study: the 10.8-μm brightness temperature (BT10.8), the BT difference between 12.0 and 10.8 μm (BTD12.0–10.8), and the BT difference between 6.7 and 10.8 μm (BTD6.7–10.8). Correlations among these IR indicators were investigated using MTSAT-1R images for summer 2007 over East Asia. Temporal, spatial, and numerical frequency distributions were used to represent the correlations. The results showed that large BTD12.0–10.8 values can be observed in the growth of cumulus congestus and associated with the boundary of different terrain where convection was more likely to generate and develop. The results also showed that numerical correlation between any two IR indicators could be expressed by two-dimensional histograms (HT2D). Because of differences in the tropopause heights and in the temperature and water vapor fields, the shapes of the HT2Ds varied with latitude and the type of underlying surface. After carefully analyzing the correlations among the IR indicators, a conceptual model of the convection life cycle was constructed according to these HT2Ds. A new cloud convection index (CCI) was defined with the combination of BTD12.0–10.8 and BTD6.7–10.8 on the basis of the conceptual model. The preliminary test results demonstrated that CCI could effectively identify convective clouds. CCI value and its time trend could reflect the growth or decline of convective clouds.

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Shi-Xin Wang
,
Hong-Chao Zuo
,
Fen Sun
,
Li-Yang Wu
,
Yixing Yin
, and
Jing-Jia Luo

Abstract

Dynamics of the East Asian spring rainband are investigated with a reanalysis dataset and station observations. Here, it is revealed that the rainband is anchored by external forcings. The midtropospheric jet core stays quasi-stationary around Japan. It has two branches in its entry region, which originate from the south and north flanks of the Tibetan Plateau and then run northeastward and southeastward, respectively. The southern branch advects warm air from the Tibetan–Hengduan Plateau northeastward, forming a rainband over southern China through causing adiabatic ascent motion and triggering diabatic feedback. The rainband is much stronger in spring than in autumn due to the stronger diabatic heating over the Tibetan–Hengduan Plateau, a more southward-displaced midtropospheric jet, and the resulting stronger warm advection over southern China. The northern jet branch forms a zonally elongated cold advection belt, which reaches a maximum around northern China, and then weakens and extends eastward to east of Japan. The westerly jet also steers strong disturbance activities roughly collocated with the cold advection belt via baroclinic instability. The high disturbance activities belt causes large cumulative warm advection (CWA) through drastically increasing extremely warm advection days on its eastern and south flanks, where weak cold advection prevails. CWA is more essential for monthly/seasonally rainfall than conventionally used time-average temperature advection because it is shown that strengthened warm advection can increase rainfall through positive diabatic feedback, while cold advection cannot cause negative rainfall. Thus, the rainband is collocated with the large CWA belt instead of the warm advection south of it. This rainband is jointed to the rainband over southern China, forming the long southwest–northeast-oriented East Asian spring rainband. Increasing moisture slightly displaces the rainband southeastward.

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Xugeng Cheng
,
Jane Liu
,
Tianliang Zhao
,
Xiaoning Xie
,
Zhixiong Chen
,
Zhengguo Shi
,
Xinzhou Li
,
Hong Wang
,
Mengmiao Yang
, and
Nanjun Tang

Abstract

The Tibetan Plateau (TP) with a large landmass serves as an obstacle that hinders westerly flows and alters climate downwind. Here, we investigate the TP influence on the magnitude and spatial distribution of wintertime fine particulate matter (PM2.5) concentrations downwind and associated underlying mechanisms. Based on simulations using an Earth system model, we show that the removal of the TP would reduce surface PM2.5 concentrations by −30.4% in the Sichuan basin (SC) and by −12.4% in the North China Plain (NCP), but increase the concentrations by 18.1% in eastern China (EC), suggesting that the TP could naturally intensify PM2.5 pollution in SC and NCP. If the TP were absent, more meridional circulations would turn into zonal ones and the East Asian winter monsoon would become weaker. There would be less precipitation and lower humidity over SC and EC in the south, while the opposite occurs over NCP in the north. Consequently, the changes in circulations would result in a net outflow of PM2.5 from SC and NCP, but a net inflow of PM2.5 to EC. In response to the spatial changes in precipitation, wet deposition would decrease in SC and EC but increase in NCP. PM2.5 production would reduce in SC and EC but amplify in NCP, following the changes in humidity. In magnitude, the changes in transport and wet deposition would be dominant in SC and NCP, while in EC, transport, wet deposition, and chemical production would be equally important. This study illustrates significant and heterogeneous impacts of the TP on air quality downwind.

Open access
Ming Feng
,
Yongliang Duan
,
Susan Wijffels
,
Je-Yuan Hsu
,
Chao Li
,
Huiwu Wang
,
Yang Yang
,
Hong Shen
,
Jianjun Liu
,
Chunlin Ning
, and
Weidong Yu
Full access
Yaohui Li
,
Xing Yuan
,
Hongsheng Zhang
,
Runyuan Wang
,
Chenghai Wang
,
Xianhong Meng
,
Zhiqiang Zhang
,
Shanshan Wang
,
Yang Yang
,
Bo Han
,
Kai Zhang
,
Xiaoping Wang
,
Hong Zhao
,
Guangsheng Zhou
,
Qiang Zhang
,
Qing He
,
Ni Guo
,
Wei Hou
,
Cunjie Zhang
,
Guoju Xiao
,
Xuying Sun
,
Ping Yue
,
Sha Sha
,
Heling Wang
,
Tiejun Zhang
,
Jinsong Wang
, and
Yubi Yao

Abstract

A major experimental drought research project entitled “Mechanisms and Early Warning of Drought Disasters over Northern China” (DroughtEX_China) was launched by the Ministry of Science and Technology of China in 2015. The objective of DroughtEX_China is to investigate drought disaster mechanisms and provide early-warning information via multisource observations and multiscale modeling. Since the implementation of DroughtEX_China, a comprehensive V-shape in situ observation network has been established to integrate different observational experiment systems for different landscapes, including crops in northern China. In this article, we introduce the experimental area, observational network configuration, ground- and air-based observing/testing facilities, implementation scheme, and data management procedures and sharing policy. The preliminary observational and numerical experimental results show that the following are important processes for understanding and modeling drought disasters over arid and semiarid regions: 1) the soil water vapor–heat interactions that affect surface soil moisture variability, 2) the effect of intermittent turbulence on boundary layer energy exchange, 3) the drought–albedo feedback, and 4) the transition from stomatal to nonstomatal control of plant photosynthesis with increasing drought severity. A prototype of a drought monitoring and forecasting system developed from coupled hydroclimate prediction models and an integrated multisource drought information platform is also briefly introduced. DroughtEX_China lasted for four years (i.e., 2015–18) and its implementation now provides regional drought monitoring and forecasting, risk assessment information, and a multisource data-sharing platform for drought adaptation over northern China, contributing to the global drought information system (GDIS).

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Bin Yong
,
Liliang Ren
,
Yang Hong
,
Jonathan J. Gourley
,
Xi Chen
,
Jinwei Dong
,
Weiguang Wang
,
Yan Shen
, and
Jill Hardy

Abstract

Hydrological processes in most semiarid regions on Earth have been changing under the impacts of climate change, human activities, or combinations of the two. This paper first presents a trend analysis of the spatiotemporal changes in water resources and then diagnoses their underlying atmospheric and socioeconomic causes over 10 catchments in the Laoha basin, a typical semiarid zone of northeast China. The impacts of climate variability and human activities on streamflow change were quantitatively evaluated by the VIC (Variable Infiltration Capacity) model. First, results indicate that six out of the 10 studied catchments have statistically significant downward trends in annual streamflow; however, there is no significant change of annual precipitation for all catchments. Two abrupt changes of annual streamflow at 1979 and 1998 are identified for the four largest catchments. Second, the Laoha basin generally experienced three evident dry–wet pattern switches during the past 50 years. Furthermore, this basin is currently suffering from unprecedented water shortages. Large-scale climate variability has affected the local natural hydrologic system. Third, quantitative evaluation shows human activities were the main driving factors for the streamflow reduction with contributions of approximately 90% for the whole basin. A significant increase in irrigated area, which inevitably resulted in tremendous agricultural water consumption, is the foremost culprit contributing to the dramatic runoff reduction, especially at midstream and downstream of the Laoha basin. This study is expected to enable policymakers and stakeholders to make well-informed, short-term practice decisions and better plan long-term water resource and ecoenvironment management strategies.

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N. Carr
,
P.-E. Kirstetter
,
Y. Hong
,
J. J. Gourley
,
M. Schwaller
,
W. Petersen
,
Nai-Yu Wang
,
Ralph R. Ferraro
, and
Xianwu Xue

Abstract

Characterization of the error associated with quantitative precipitation estimates (QPEs) from spaceborne passive microwave (PMW) sensors is important for a variety of applications ranging from flood forecasting to climate monitoring. This study evaluates the joint influence of precipitation and surface characteristics on the error structure of NASA’s Tropical Rainfall Measurement Mission (TRMM) Microwave Imager (TMI) surface QPE product (2A12). TMI precipitation products are compared with high-resolution reference precipitation products obtained from the NOAA/NSSL ground radar–based Multi-Radar Multi-Sensor (MRMS) system. Surface characteristics were represented via a surface classification dataset derived from NASA’s Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer (MODIS). This study assesses the ability of 2A12 to detect, classify, and quantify precipitation at its native resolution for the 2011 warm season (March–September) over the southern continental United States. Decreased algorithm performance is apparent over dry and sparsely vegetated regions, a probable result of the surface radiation signal mimicking the scattering signature associated with frozen hydrometeors. Algorithm performance is also shown to be positively correlated with precipitation coverage over the sensor footprint. The algorithm also performs better in pure stratiform and convective precipitation events, compared to events containing a mixture of stratiform and convective precipitation within the footprint. This possibly results from the high spatial gradients of precipitation associated with these events and an underrepresentation of such cases in the retrieval database. The methodology and framework developed herein apply more generally to precipitation estimates from other passive microwave sensors on board low-Earth-orbiting satellites and specifically could be used to evaluate PMW sensors associated with the recently launched Global Precipitation Measurement (GPM) mission.

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