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Sicheng He, Jing Yang, Qing Bao, Lei Wang, and Bin Wang

Abstract

Realistic reproduction of historical extreme precipitation has been challenging for both reanalysis and global climate model (GCM) simulations. This work assessed the fidelities of the combined gridded observational datasets, reanalysis datasets, and GCMs [CMIP5 and the Chinese Academy of Sciences Flexible Global Ocean–Atmospheric Land System Model–Finite-Volume Atmospheric Model, version 2 (FGOALS-f2)] in representing extreme precipitation over East China. The assessment used 552 stations’ rain gauge data as ground truth and focused on the probability distribution function of daily precipitation and spatial structure of extreme precipitation days. The TRMM observation displays similar rainfall intensity–frequency distributions as the stations. However, three combined gridded observational datasets, four reanalysis datasets, and most of the CMIP5 models cannot capture extreme precipitation exceeding 150 mm day−1, and all underestimate extreme precipitation frequency. The observed spatial distribution of extreme precipitation exhibits two maximum centers, located over the lower-middle reach of Yangtze River basin and the deep South China region, respectively. Combined gridded observations and JRA-55 capture these two centers, but ERA-Interim, MERRA, and CFSR and almost all CMIP5 models fail to capture them. The percentage of extreme rainfall in the total rainfall amount is generally underestimated by 25%–75% in all CMIP5 models. Higher-resolution models tend to have better performance, and physical parameterization may be crucial for simulating correct extreme precipitation. The performances are significantly improved in the newly released FGOALS-f2 as a result of increased resolution and a more realistic simulation of moisture and heating profiles. This work pinpoints the common biases in the combined gridded observational datasets and reanalysis datasets and helps to improve models’ simulation of extreme precipitation, which is critically important for reliable projection of future changes in extreme precipitation.

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Ziqian Zhong, Bin He, Lanlan Guo, and Yafeng Zhang

Abstract

A topic of ongoing debate on the application of PDSI is whether to use the original version of the PDSI or a self-calibrating form, as well as which method to use for calculating potential evapotranspiration (PET). In this study, the performances of four forms of the PDSI, including the original PDSI based on the Penman–Monteith method for calculating PET (ETp), the PDSI based on the crop reference evapotranspiration method for calculating PET (ET0), the self-calibrating PDSI (scPDSI) based on ETp, and the scPDSI based on ET0, were evaluated in China using the normalized difference vegetation index (NDVI), modeled soil moisture anomalies (SMA), and the terrestrial water storage deficit index (WSDI). The interannual variations of all forms of PDSI agreed well with each other and presented a weak increasing trend, suggesting a climate wetting in China from 1961 to 2013. PDSI-ET0 correlated more closely with NDVI anomalies, SMA, and WSDI than did PDSI-ETp in northern China, especially in northeastern China, while PDSI-ETp correlated more closely with SMA and WSDI in southern China. PDSI-ET0 performed better than PDSI-ETp in regions where the annual average rainfall is between 350 and 750 mm yr−1. The spatial comparability of scPDSI was better than that of PDSI, while the PDSI correlated more closely with NDVI anomalies, SMA, and WSDI than did scPDSI in most regions of China. Knowledge from this study provides important information for the choice of PDSI forms when it is applied for different practices.

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Yafeng Zhang, Bin He, Lanlan Guo, and Daochen Liu

Abstract

A time lag exists between precipitation P falling and being converted into terrestrial water. The responses of terrestrial water storage (TWS) and its individual components to P over the global scale, which are vital for understanding the interactions and mechanisms between climatic variables and hydrological components, are not well constrained. In this study, relying on land surface models, we isolate five component storage anomalies from TWS anomalies (TWSA) derived from the Gravity Recovery and Climate Experiment mission (GRACE): canopy water storage anomalies (CWSA), surface water storage anomalies (SWSA), snow water equivalent anomalies (SWEA), soil moisture storage anomalies (SMSA), and groundwater storage anomalies (GWSA). The responses of TWSA and of the individual components of TWSA to P are then evaluated over 168 global basins. The lag between TWSA and P is quantified by calculating the correlation coefficients between GRACE-based TWSA and P for different time lags, then identifying the lag (measured in months) corresponding to the maximum correlation coefficient. A multivariate regression model is used to explore the relationship between climatic and basin characteristics and the lag between TWSA and P. Results show that the spatial distribution of TWSA trend presents a similar global pattern to that of P for the period January 2004–December 2013. TWSA is positively related to P over basins but with lags of variable duration. The lags are shorter in the low- and midlatitude basins (1–2 months) than those in the high-latitude basins (6–9 months). The spatial patterns of the maximum correlations and the corresponding lags between individual components of the TWSA and P are consistent with those of the GRACE-based analysis, except for SWEA (3–8 months) and CWSA (0 months). The lags between GWSA, SMSA, and SWSA to P can be arranged as GWSA > SMSA ≥ SWSA. Regression analysis results show that the lags between TWSA and P are related to the mean temperature, mean precipitation, mean latitude, mean longitude, mean elevation, and mean slope.

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P. L. Houtekamer, Bin He, and Herschel L. Mitchell

Abstract

Since mid-February 2013, the ensemble Kalman filter (EnKF) in operation at the Canadian Meteorological Centre (CMC) has been using a 600 × 300 global horizontal grid and 74 vertical levels. This yields 5.4 × 107 model coordinates. The EnKF has 192 members and uses seven time levels, spaced 1 h apart, for the time interpolation in the 6-h assimilation window. It follows that over 7 × 1010 values are required to specify an ensemble of trial field trajectories. This paper focuses on numerical and computational aspects of the EnKF. In response to the increasing computational challenge posed by the ever more ambitious configurations, an ever larger fraction of the EnKF software system has gradually been parallelized over the past decade. In a strong scaling experiment, the way in which the execution time decreases as larger numbers of processes are used is investigated. In fact, using a substantial fraction of one of the CMC's computers, very short execution times are achieved. As it would thus appear that the CMC's computers can handle more demanding configurations, weak scaling experiments are also performed. Here, both the size of the problem and the number of processes are simultaneously increased. The parallel algorithm responds well to an increase in either the number of ensemble members or the number of model coordinates. A substantial increase (by an order of magnitude) in the number of assimilated observations would, however, be more problematic. Thus, to the extent that this depends on computational aspects, it appears that the meteorological quality of the Canadian operational EnKF can be further improved.

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Mark Buehner, P. L. Houtekamer, Cecilien Charette, Herschel L. Mitchell, and Bin He

Abstract

An intercomparison of the Environment Canada variational and ensemble Kalman filter (EnKF) data assimilation systems is presented in the context of global deterministic NWP. In an EnKF experiment having the same spatial resolution as the inner loop in the four-dimensional variational data assimilation system (4D-Var), the mean of each analysis ensemble is used to initialize the higher-resolution deterministic forecasts. Five different variational data assimilation experiments are also conducted. These include both 4D-Var and 3D-Var (with first guess at appropriate time) experiments using either (i) prescribed background-error covariances similar to those used operationally, which are static in time and include horizontally homogeneous and isotropic correlations; or (ii) flow-dependent covariances computed from the EnKF background ensembles with spatial covariance localization applied. The fifth variational data assimilation experiment is a new approach called the Ensemble-4D-Var (En-4D-Var). This approach uses 4D flow-dependent background-error covariances estimated from EnKF ensembles to produce a 4D analysis without the need for tangent-linear or adjoint versions of the forecast model. In this first part of a two-part paper, results from a series of idealized assimilation experiments are presented. In these experiments, only a single observation or vertical profile of observations is assimilated to explore the impact of various fundamental differences among the EnKF and the various variational data assimilation approaches considered. In particular, differences in the application of covariance localization in the EnKF and variational approaches are shown to have a significant impact on the assimilation of satellite radiance observations. The results also demonstrate that 4D-Var and the EnKF can both produce similar 4D background-error covariances within a 6-h assimilation window. In the second part, results from medium-range deterministic forecasts for the study period of February 2007 are presented for the EnKF and the five variational data assimilation approaches considered.

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Mark Buehner, P. L. Houtekamer, Cecilien Charette, Herschel L. Mitchell, and Bin He

Abstract

An intercomparison of the Environment Canada variational and ensemble Kalman filter (EnKF) data assimilation systems is presented in the context of producing global deterministic numerical weather forecasts. Five different variational data assimilation approaches are considered including four-dimensional variational data assimilation (4D-Var) and three-dimensional variational data assimilation (3D-Var) with first guess at the appropriate time (3D-FGAT). Also included among these is a new approach, called Ensemble-4D-Var (En-4D-Var), that uses 4D ensemble background-error covariances from the EnKF. A description of the experimental configurations and results from single-observation experiments are presented in the first part of this two-part paper. The present paper focuses on results from medium-range deterministic forecasts initialized with analyses from the EnKF and the five variational data assimilation approaches for the period of February 2007. All experiments assimilate exactly the same full set of meteorological observations and use the same configuration of the forecast model to produce global deterministic medium-range forecasts.

The quality of forecasts in the short (medium) range obtained by using the EnKF ensemble mean analysis is slightly degraded (improved) in the extratropics relative to using the 4D-Var analysis with background-error covariances similar to those used operationally. The use of the EnKF flow-dependent error covariances in the variational system (4D-Var or 3D-FGAT) leads to large (modest) forecast improvements in the southern extratropics (tropics) as compared with using covariances similar to the operational system (a gain of up to 9 h at day 5). The En-4D-Var approach leads to (i) either improved or similar forecast quality when compared with the 4D-Var experiment similar to the currently operational system, (ii) slightly worse forecast quality when compared with the 4D-Var experiment with EnKF error covariances, and (iii) generally similar forecast quality when compared with the EnKF experiment.

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Ming-Yang He, Hong-Bo Liu, Bin Wang, and Da-Lin Zhang

Abstract

In this study, the three-dimensional structures and diurnal evolution of a typical low-level jet (LLJ) with a maximum speed of 24 m s−1 occurring in the 850–800-hPa layer are examined using both large-scale analysis and a high-resolution model simulation. The LLJ occurred on the eastern foothills of the Yun-Gui Plateau in south China from 1400 LST 29 June to 1400 LST 30 June 2003. The effects of surface radiative heating, topography, and latent heat release on the development of the LLJ case are also studied. Results show that a western Pacific Ocean subtropical high and a low pressure system on the respective southeast and northwest sides of the LLJ provide a favorable large-scale mean pressure pattern for the LLJ development. The LLJ reaches its peak intensity at 850 hPa near 0200 LST with wind directions veering from southerly before sunset to southwesterly at midnight. A hodograph at the LLJ core shows a complete diurnal cycle of the horizontal wind with a radius of 5.5 m s−1. It is found that in an LLJ coordinates system the along-LLJ geostrophic component regulates the distribution and 65% of the intensity of LLJ, whereas the ageostrophic component contributes to the clockwise rotation, thus leading to the formation and weakening of the LLJ during night- and daytime, respectively. Numerical sensitivity experiments confirm the surface radiative heating as the key factor in determining the formation of the nocturnal LLJ. The existence of the Yun-Gui Plateau, and the downstream condensational heating along the mei-yu front play secondary roles in the LLJ formation.

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Yongli He, Jianping Huang, Herman Henry Shugart, Xiaodan Guan, Bin Wang, and Kailiang Yu

Abstract

Siberia has experienced a pronounced warming over the past several decades, which has induced an increase in the extent of evergreen conifer forest. However, the potential slowing of the trend of increasing surface air temperature (SAT) has produced intense debate since the late 1990s. During this warming hiatus, the Siberian region experienced a significant cooling during the winter season around 10 times that of the Northern Hemisphere (NH) as a whole. This potentially stresses evergreen conifer forests because cooler winters can cause cold-temperature damage and, hence, increase the mortality of young evergreen conifer forests. In this study, the response of Siberian forest composition during the warming hiatus was investigated using satellite observations coupled with model simulations. Observations indicated that from 2001 to 2012, the apparent area of evergreen conifer forest has increased by 10%, while that of the deciduous conifer forest has decreased by 40%. The transition from deciduous to evergreen conifer forest usually occurs through mixed forest or woody savannas as a buffer. To verify the response of evergreen conifer forest, model experiments were performed using an individual-based forest model. Hysteresis of forest change seen in the model simulations indicates that changes in forest composition dynamics under temperature oscillations induced by internal climate variability may not reverse this composition change. As a result, the evergreen conifer forest expansion under climate warming is expected to be a continuing process despite the occurrence of a warming hiatus, exerting far-reaching implications for climate-change-induced albedo shifts in the Siberian forest.

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P. L. Houtekamer, Bin He, Dominik Jacques, Ron McTaggart-Cowan, Leo Separovic, Paul A. Vaillancourt, Ayrton Zadra, and Xingxiu Deng

Abstract

An important step in an ensemble Kalman filter (EnKF) algorithm is the integration of an ensemble of short-range forecasts with a numerical weather prediction (NWP) model. A multiphysics approach is used in the Canadian global EnKF system. This paper explores whether the many integrations with different versions of the model physics can be used to obtain more accurate and more reliable probability distributions for the model parameters. Some model parameters have a continuous range of possible values. Other parameters are categorical and act as switches between different parameterizations. In an evolutionary algorithm, the member configurations that contribute most to the quality of the ensemble are duplicated, while adding a small perturbation, at the expense of configurations that perform poorly. The evolutionary algorithm is being used in the migration of the EnKF to a new version of the Canadian NWP model with upgraded physics. The quality of configurations is measured with both a deterministic and an ensemble score, using the observations assimilated in the EnKF system. When using the ensemble score in the evaluation, the algorithm is shown to be able to converge to non-Gaussian distributions. However, for several model parameters, there is not enough information to arrive at improved distributions. The optimized system features slight reductions in biases for radiance measurements that are sensitive to humidity. Modest improvements are also seen in medium-range ensemble forecasts.

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