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Zhao Jing, Ping Chang, Steven F. DiMarco, and Lixin Wu

Abstract

Moored ADCP data collected in the northern Gulf of Mexico are analyzed to examine near-inertial internal waves and their contribution to subthermocline diapycnal mixing based on a finescale parameterization of deep ocean mixing. The focus of the study is on the impact of near-inertial internal waves generated by an extreme weather event—that is, Hurricane Katrina—and by month-to-month variation in weather patterns on the diapycnal mixing. The inferred subthermocline diapycnal mixing exhibits pronounced elevation in the wake of Katrina. Both the increased near-inertial (0.8–1.8f, where f is the Coriolis frequency) and superinertial (>1.8f) shear variances contribute to the elevated diapycnal mixing, but the former plays a more dominant role. The intense wind work on near-inertial motions by the hurricane is largely responsible for the energetic near-inertial shear variance. Energy transfer from near-inertial to superinertial internal waves, however, appears to play an important role in elevating the superinertial shear variance. The inferred subthermocline diapycnal mixing in the region also exhibits significant month-to-month variation with the estimated diffusivity in January 2006 about 3 times the values in November and December 2005. The subseasonal change in the diapycnal mixing mainly results from the subseasonal variation of the near-inertial wind work that causes intensification of the near-inertial shear in January 2006.

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Zhao Jing, Ping Chang, S. F. DiMarco, and Lixin Wu

Abstract

A long-term mooring array deployed in the northern Gulf of Mexico is used to analyze energy exchange between internal waves and low-frequency flows. In the subthermocline (245–450 m), there is a noticeable net energy transfer from low-frequency flows, defined as having a period longer than six inertial periods, to internal waves. The magnitude of energy transfer rate depends on the Okubo–Weiss parameter of low-frequency flows. A permanent energy exchange occurs only when the Okubo–Weiss parameter is positive. The near-inertial internal waves (NIWs) make major contribution to the energy exchange owing to their energetic wave stress and relatively stronger interaction with low-frequency flows compared to the high-frequency internal waves. There is some evidence that the permanent energy exchange between low-frequency flows and NIWs is attributed to the partial realization of the wave capture mechanism. In the periods favoring the occurrence of the wave capture mechanism, the horizontal propagation direction of NIWs becomes anisotropic and exhibits evident tendency toward that predicted from the wave capture mechanism, leading to pronounced energy transfer from low-frequency flows to NIWs.

Open access
L. Xia, F. Zhao, Y. Ma, Z. W. Sun, X. Y. Shen, and K. B. Mao

Abstract

Cirrus clouds play an important role in the global radiation budget balance. However, the existing MODIS and Visible Infrared Imaging Radiometer Suite (VIIRS) cirrus cloud test algorithms struggle to provide accurate cirrus cloud information for the Tibetan Plateau region. In this study, the 1.38-μm cirrus cloud test was improved by adding 11-μm brightness temperature and a multiday average land surface temperature test. An algorithm sensitivity analysis indicated that the proposed algorithm lowered the threshold of the existing 1.38-μm algorithm to 0.005 in the winter and did not produce any observable misclassifications. Compared to the existing 1.38-μm cirrus test algorithm, the accuracy validation indicated that the improved algorithm detected 31.7% more cirrus clouds than the existing VIIRS 1.38-μm cirrus test and yielded 14% fewer misclassifications than the MODIS 1.38-μm cirrus test.

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Catherine M. Naud, Jeyavinoth Jeyaratnam, James F. Booth, Ming Zhao, and Andrew Gettelman

ABSTRACT

Using a high-spatial- and high-temporal-resolution precipitation dataset, Integrated Multi-satellite Retrievals for GPM (IMERG), extratropical cyclone precipitation is evaluated in two reanalyses and two climate models. Based on cyclone-centered composites, all four models overestimate precipitation in the western subsiding and dry side of the cyclones, and underestimate the precipitation in the eastern ascending and moist side. By decomposing the composites into frequency of occurrence and intensity (mean precipitation rate when precipitating), the analysis reveals a tendency for all four models to overestimate frequency and underestimate intensity, with the former issue dominating in the western half and the latter in the eastern half of the cyclones. Differences in frequency are strongly dependent on cyclone environmental moisture, while the differences in intensity are strongly impacted by the strength of ascent within the cyclone. There are some uncertainties associated with the observations: IMERG might underreport frozen precipitation and possibly exaggerate rates in vigorously ascending regions. Nevertheless, the analysis suggests that all models produce extratropical cyclone precipitation too often and too lightly. These biases have consequences when evaluating the changes in precipitation characteristics with changes in cyclone properties: the models disagree on the magnitude of the change in precipitation intensity with a change in environmental moisture and in precipitation frequency with a change in cyclone strength. This complicates accurate predictions of precipitation changes in a changing climate.

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Xianan Jiang, Ángel F. Adames, Ming Zhao, Duane Waliser, and Eric Maloney

Abstract

The Madden–Julian oscillation (MJO) exhibits pronounced seasonality. While it is largely characterized by equatorially eastward propagation during the boreal winter, MJO convection undergoes marked poleward movement over the Asian monsoon region during summer, producing a significant modulation of monsoon rainfall. In classical MJO theories that seek to interpret the distinct seasonality in MJO propagation features, the role of equatorial wave dynamics has been emphasized for its eastward propagation, whereas coupling between MJO convection and the mean monsoon flow is considered essential for its northward propagation. In this study, a unified physical framework based on the moisture mode theory, is offered to explain the seasonality in MJO propagation. Moistening and drying caused by horizontal advection of the lower-tropospheric mean moisture by MJO winds, which was recently found to be critical for the eastward propagation of the winter MJO, is also shown to play a dominant role in operating the northward propagation of the summer MJO. The seasonal variations in the mean moisture pattern largely shape the distinct MJO propagation in different seasons. The critical role of the seasonally varying climatological distribution of moisture for the MJO propagation is further supported by the close association between model skill in representing the MJO propagation and skill at producing the lower-tropospheric mean moisture pattern. This study thus pinpoints an important direction for climate model development for improved MJO representation during all seasons.

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Shaohua Chen, Haikun Zhao, Graciela B. Raga, and Philip J. Klotzbach

Abstract

This study highlights the distinct modulation of May–October tropical cyclones (TCs) in the western North Pacific (WNP), eastern North Pacific (ENP), and North Atlantic (NATL) Ocean basins by tropical transbasin variability (TBV) and ENSO. The pure TBV significantly modulates total TC counts in all three basins, with more TCs in the WNP and ENP and fewer TCs in the NATL during warm TBV years and fewer TCs in the WNP and ENP and more TCs in the NATL during cold TBV years. By contrast, the pure ENSO signal shows no impact on total TC count over any of the three basins. These results are consistent with changes in large-scale factors associated with TBV and ENSO. Low-level relative vorticity (VOR) is an important driver of WNP TC genesis frequency, with broad agreement between the observed spatial distribution of TC genesis and TBV/ENSO-associated VOR anomalies. TBV significantly affects ENP TC frequency as a result of changes in basinwide vertical wind shear and sea surface temperatures, whereas the modulation in TC frequency by ENSO is primarily caused by a north–south dipole modulation of large-scale atmospheric and oceanic factors. The pure TBV-related low-level VOR changes appear to be the most important factor modulating NATL TC frequency. Changes in large-scale factors compare well with the budget of synoptic-scale eddy kinetic energy. Possible physical processes associated with pure TBV and pure ENSO that modulate TC frequency are further discussed. This study contributes to the understanding of TC interannual variability and could thus be helpful for seasonal TC forecasting.

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Sen Zhao, Malte F. Stuecker, Fei-Fei Jin, Juan Feng, Hong-Li Ren, Wenjun Zhang, and Jianping Li

Abstract

This study assesses the predictive skill of eight North American Multimodel Ensemble (NMME) models in predicting the Indian Ocean dipole (IOD). We find that the forecasted ensemble-mean IOD–El Niño–Southern Oscillation (ENSO) relationship deteriorates away from the observed relationship with increasing lead time, which might be one reason that limits the IOD predictive skill in coupled models. We are able to improve the IOD predictive skill using a recently developed stochastic dynamical model (SDM) forced by forecasted ENSO conditions. The results are consistent with the previous result that operational IOD predictability beyond persistence at lead times beyond one season is mostly controlled by ENSO predictability and the signal-to-noise ratio of the Indo-Pacific climate system. The multimodel ensemble (MME) investigated here is found to be of superior skill compared to each individual model at most lead times. Importantly, the skill of the SDM IOD predictions forced with forecasted ENSO conditions were either similar or better than those of the MME IOD forecasts. Moreover, the SDM forced with observed ENSO conditions exhibits significantly higher IOD prediction skill than the MME at longer lead times, suggesting the large potential skill increase that could be achieved by improving operational ENSO forecasts. We find that both cold and warm biases of the predicted Niño-3.4 index may cause false alarms of negative and positive IOD events, respectively, in NMME models. Many false alarms for IOD forecasts at lead times longer than one season in the original forecasts disappear or are significantly reduced in the SDM forced by forecasted ENSO conditions.

Open access
Catherine M. Naud, James F. Booth, Jeyavinoth Jeyaratnam, Leo J. Donner, Charles J. Seman, Ming Zhao, Huan Guo, and Yi Ming

Abstract

The clouds in Southern Hemisphere extratropical cyclones generated by the GFDL climate model are analyzed against MODIS, CloudSat, and CALIPSO cloud and precipitation observations. Two model versions are used: one is a developmental version of “AM4,” a model GFDL that will utilize for CMIP6, and the other is the same model with a different parameterization of moist convection. Both model versions predict a realistic top-of-atmosphere cloud cover in the southern oceans, within 5% of the observations. However, an examination of cloud cover transects in extratropical cyclones reveals a tendency in the models to overestimate high-level clouds (by differing amounts) and underestimate cloud cover at low levels (again by differing amounts), especially in the post–cold frontal (PCF) region, when compared with observations. In focusing only on the models, it is seen that their differences in high and midlevel clouds are consistent with their differences in convective activity and relative humidity (RH), but the same is not true for the PCF region. In this region, RH is higher in the model with less cloud fraction. These seemingly contradictory cloud and RH differences can be explained by differences in the cloud-parameterization tuning parameters that ensure radiative balance. In the PCF region, the model cloud differences are smaller than either of the model biases with respect to observations, suggesting that other physics changes are needed to address the bias. The process-oriented analysis used to assess these model differences will soon be automated and shared.

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Allison A. Wing, Suzana J. Camargo, Adam H. Sobel, Daehyun Kim, Yumin Moon, Hiroyuki Murakami, Kevin A. Reed, Gabriel A. Vecchi, Michael F. Wehner, Colin Zarzycki, and Ming Zhao

Abstract

Tropical cyclone intensification processes are explored in six high-resolution climate models. The analysis framework employs process-oriented diagnostics that focus on how convection, moisture, clouds, and related processes are coupled. These diagnostics include budgets of column moist static energy and the spatial variance of column moist static energy, where the column integral is performed between fixed pressure levels. The latter allows for the quantification of the different feedback processes responsible for the amplification of moist static energy anomalies associated with the organization of convection and cyclone spinup, including surface flux feedbacks and cloud-radiative feedbacks. Tropical cyclones (TCs) are tracked in the climate model simulations and the analysis is applied along the individual tracks and composited over many TCs. Two methods of compositing are employed: a composite over all TC snapshots in a given intensity range, and a composite over all TC snapshots at the same stage in the TC life cycle (same time relative to the time of lifetime maximum intensity for each storm). The radiative feedback contributes to TC development in all models, especially in storms of weaker intensity or earlier stages of development. Notably, the surface flux feedback is stronger in models that simulate more intense TCs. This indicates that the representation of the interaction between spatially varying surface fluxes and the developing TC is responsible for at least part of the intermodel spread in TC simulation.

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Maarten C. Buijsman, Joseph K. Ansong, Brian K. Arbic, James G. Richman, Jay F. Shriver, Patrick G. Timko, Alan J. Wallcraft, Caitlin B. Whalen, and ZhongXiang Zhao

Abstract

The effects of a parameterized linear internal wave drag on the semidiurnal barotropic and baroclinic energetics of a realistically forced, three-dimensional global ocean model are analyzed. Although the main purpose of the parameterization is to improve the surface tides, it also influences the internal tides. The relatively coarse resolution of the model of ~8 km only permits the generation and propagation of the first three vertical modes. Hence, this wave drag parameterization represents the energy conversion to and the subsequent breaking of the unresolved high modes. The total tidal energy input and the spatial distribution of the barotropic energy loss agree with the Ocean Topography Experiment (TOPEX)/Poseidon (TPXO) tidal inversion model. The wave drag overestimates the high-mode conversion at ocean ridges as measured against regional high-resolution models. The wave drag also damps the low-mode internal tides as they propagate away from their generation sites. Hence, it can be considered a scattering parameterization, causing more than 50% of the deep-water dissipation of the internal tides. In the near field, most of the baroclinic dissipation is attributed to viscous and numerical dissipation. The far-field decay of the simulated internal tides is in agreement with satellite altimetry and falls within the broad range of Argo-inferred dissipation rates. In the simulation, about 12% of the semidiurnal internal tide energy generated in deep water reaches the continental margins.

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