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W. Y. Lin
and
M. H. Zhang

Abstract

Cloud climatology and the cloud radiative forcing at the top of the atmosphere (TOA) simulated by the NCAR Community Atmospheric Model (CAM2) are compared with satellite observations of cloud amount from the International Satellite Cloud Climatology Project (ISCCP) and cloud forcing data from the Earth Radiation Budget Experiment (ERBE). The comparison is facilitated by using an ISCCP simulator in the model as a run-time diagnostic package. The results show that in both winter and summer seasons, the model substantially underestimated total cloud amount in the storm tracks and in the subtropical dry regions of the two hemispheres, and it overestimated total cloud amount in the tropical convection centers. The model, however, simulates reasonable cloud radiative forcing at the TOA at different latitudes.

The differences of cloud vertical structures and their optical properties are analyzed between the model and the data for three regions selected to represent the storm tracks: the convective Tropics and the subtropical subsidence regions. Major cloud biases are identified as follows: the model overestimated high thin cirrus, high-top optically thick clouds, and low-top optically thick clouds, while it significantly underestimated middle- and low-top clouds with intermediate and small optical thickness. These multiple cloud biases compensate for each other to produce reasonable cloud forcing in the following way: for the longwave cloud forcing, excessive high clouds compensate for significantly deficient middle and low clouds; for the shortwave cloud forcing, excessive optically thick clouds offset significantly deficient optically intermediate and thin clouds. Possible causes of model biases are discussed.

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H. Zhang
and
C. S. Frederiksen

Abstract

Using a version of the Australian Bureau of Meteorology Research Centre (BMRC) atmospheric general circulation model, this study investigates the model's sensitivity to different soil moisture initial conditions in its dynamically extended seasonal forecasts of June–August 1998 climate anomalies, with focus on the south and northeast China regions where severe floods occurred. The authors' primary aim is to understand the model's responses to different soil moisture initial conditions in terms of the physical and dynamical processes involved. Due to a lack of observed global soil moisture data, the efficacy of using soil moisture anomalies derived from the NCEP–NCAR reanalysis is assessed. Results show that by imposing soil moisture percentile anomalies derived from the reanalysis data into the BMRC model initial condition, the regional features of the model's simulation of seasonal precipitation and temperature anomalies are modulated. Further analyses reveal that the impacts of soil moisture conditions on the model's surface temperature forecasts are mainly from localized interactions between land surface and the overlying atmosphere. In contrast, the model's sensitivity in its forecasts of rainfall anomalies is mainly due to the nonlocal impacts of the soil moisture conditions. Over the monsoon-dominated east Asian region, the contribution from local water recycling, through surface evaporation, to the model simulation of precipitation is limited. Rather, it is the horizontal moisture transport by the regional atmospheric circulation that is the dominant factor in controlling the model rainfall. The influence of different soil moisture conditions on the model forecasts of rainfall anomalies is the result of the response of regional circulation to the anomalous soil moisture condition imposed. Results from the BMRC model sensitivity study support similar findings from other model studies that have appeared in recent years and emphasize the importance of improving the land surface data assimilation and soil hydrological processes in dynamically extended GCM seasonal forecasts.

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S. Abhik
,
Harry H. Hendon
, and
Chidong Zhang

Abstract

The Madden–Julian oscillation (MJO) is often observed to weaken or sometimes completely decay as its convective anomaly moves from the Indian Ocean over to the Maritime Continent (MC), which is known as the MC barrier effect on the MJO. This barrier effect is often exaggerated in numerical models. Using 23 years of the retrospective intraseasonal forecast from two coupled model systems with useful MJO prediction skills, we show that the predictive skill of the real-time multivariate MJO (RMM) index for the continuously propagating MJO events across the MC region is higher than for the blocked MJO events. The greater prediction skill is not related to the higher initial RMM amplitude for the continuous MJO events. Rather the higher skill arises from the more persistent behavior of the propagating MJO events as the convective anomaly moves through the MC region into the western Pacific. The potential predictability is similar for both types of MJO events, suggesting the forecast models hardly differentiate the two types of MJO events in prediction; they only maintain higher RMM magnitudes of the continuously propagating events. The global reanalysis dataset indicates that the blocked events are often associated with persistent higher surface pressures over colder sea surface temperatures in the central Pacific, suggesting the large-scale environment plays a role in promoting or inhibiting the MJO propagation across the MC region. Caveats in the models to reproduce the observed MJO events are also discussed.

Open access
H. Zhang
,
A. Henderson-Sellers
, and
K. McGuffie

Abstract

This is the second in a pair of papers in which the possible impacts of tropical deforestation are examined using a version of the NCAR CCM1. The emphasis in this paper is on the influence of tropical deforestation on the large-scale climate system. This influence is explored through the examination of the regional moisture budget and through an analysis of the Hadley and Walker circulations. Modification of the model surface parameters to simulate tropical deforestation produces significant modifications of both Hadley and Walker circulations, which result in changes distant from the, region of deforestation. A mechanism for propagation to middle and high latitudes of disturbances arising from tropical deforestation is proposed based on Rossby wave propagation mechanisms. These mechanisms, which have also been associated with the extratropical influences of ENSO events, provide a pathway for the dispersion of the tropical disturbances to high latitudes.

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H. Zhang
,
A. Henderson-Sellers
, and
K. McGuffie

Abstract

The potential impacts of deforestation in the humid Tropics are examined using a version of the National Center for Atmospheric Research's CCM1 coupled with the Biosphere-Atmosphere Transfer Scheme package. Tropical deforestation in South America, Africa, and Southeast Asia is studied using the results from an 11-yr deforestation experiment and a 25-yr control integration. It is found that the local-scale impact (here defined as within the area deforested) varies greatly between the three deforested regions due to the differing controls on the local atmospheric circulation: the Southeast Asian monsoon is much less sensitive to deforestation than the low-level flow over South America. The analysis of the changes in cloud radiative forcing suggests that reduction in cloud amount can significantly mitigate the imposed increases in surface albedo. The importance of water recycling by the forest canopy is stressed in the simulation of local precipitation changes. Correlation analysis of the changes resulting from the deforestation has been used to determine the nature of the processes that follow from the removal of the forest canopy and to suggest the important processes. The role of large-scale dynamics is explored in a companion paper.

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Xingchao Chen
,
Fuqing Zhang
, and
James H. Ruppert Jr.

Abstract

The influence of the boreal summer intraseasonal oscillation (BSISO) on the diurnal cycle of coastal rainfall over south China during the mei-yu (heavy rainfall) season is investigated using the OLR-based Madden–Julian oscillation index (OMI), satellite rainfall data, and atmospheric reanalysis. Results show that the mei-yu season coastal rainfall is enhanced during the BSISO phase 1 (convectively active phase over the western Indian Ocean), with 25% greater rainfall than the climatological regional mean. Rainfall is suppressed during the BSISO phases 4 and 5 (convectively active phase in the Bay of Bengal and South China Sea), with negative rainfall anomalies of 39% and 46%, respectively. During phase 1, the rainfall enhancement is mostly over the inland region during the afternoon, while there is little diurnal variability of the rainfall anomaly offshore. During phases 4 and 5, the rainfall suppression is considerably stronger over the offshore region in the morning, whereas stronger rainfall suppression occurs inland during the afternoon. In phase 8, positive rainfall anomalies are found over the offshore region with a peak from the morning to the early afternoon, whereas negative rainfall anomalies are found over the inland region with the strongest suppression in the late afternoon. Analysis of phase composites and horizontal moisture advection shows that the diurnal variation of rainfall anomalies over the south China coastal area during different BSISO phases can be interpreted as the interaction between the large-scale anomalous moisture advection and the local land and sea breeze circulations.

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A. Henderson-Sellers
,
K. McGuffie
, and
H. Zhang

Abstract

This paper examines changes in isotopic abundances for 18O and deuterium in precipitation over the Amazon basin based on data in the Global Network on Isotopes in Precipitation (GNIP) database from the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA)/WMO. The analysis is conducted in the context of recent changes (and anticipated future changes) to the land surface hydrology as a result of tropical deforestation. Statistically significant temporal changes (1965–90) in selected stable isotopic signatures in the Amazon have been compared with global climate model (GCM) predictions revealing notable differences. For example, the wet season deuterium excess differences between Belem and Manaus, Brazil, are consistent with recent GCM simulations only if there has been a relative increase in evaporation from nonfractionating water sources over this period. No significant change in dry season isotopic characteristics is found despite earlier predictions that land-use change signals would be found. Results of GCM simulations of Amazonian deforestation suggest that the recent stable isotope record is more consistent with the predicted effects of greenhouse warming possibly combined with forest removal than with the predicted effects of deforestation alone.

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Harry H. Hendon
,
Chidong Zhang
, and
John D. Glick

Abstract

Interannual variability of the Madden–Julian oscillation (MJO), the dominant mode of intraseasonal variability in the Tropics, is investigated during the extended austral summer season November–March, which is when the MJO is most prominent. Indexes of the level of MJO activity are developed using outgoing longwave radiation and zonal wind analyses at 850 mb for 1974–98. Based on these indexes, interannual variations in the level of MJO activity are found to be primarily associated with changes in the number of discrete MJO events each year and with changes in the intensity of intraseasonal convection across the Indian and western Pacific Oceans, where the MJO is normally prominent. An eastward shift of MJO activity east of the date line does occur during El Niño events. However, the overall level of MJO activity is found to be uncorrelated with El Niño, except during exceptional warm events when MJO activity is diminished. The level of MJO activity is shown to be weakly related to sea surface temperature anomalies in the equatorial Indian and western Pacific Oceans, but the weak correlations imply that much of the year-to-year variability of the MJO is internally generated, independent of any slowly varying boundary forcing. Such year-to-year variations of the intensity of the MJO are, however, associated with changes in the distribution of seasonal mean convection across the tropical Indian and western Pacific Oceans. This interannual variation of convection unrelated to SST variability may thus act as a limit to seasonal predictions that rely heavily on equatorial Pacific SST anomalies.

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M. H. Zhang
,
R. D. Cess
, and
S. C. Xie

Abstract

Satellite measurements from January 1985 to December 1989 show that warmer tropical oceans as a whole are associated with less longwave greenhouse effect of clouds and less cloud reflection of solar radiation to the space. The regression slopes of longwave and shortwave cloud radiative forcings against sea surface temperatures averaged from 30°N to 30°S are about −3 and 2 W m−2 K−1, respectively. Relationships of cloud forcings and sea surface temperatures are analyzed for regions with different sizes. As has been reported in previous studies, the magnitude of area-averaged cloud radiative forcing for both longwave and shortwave radiations increases with sea surface temperatures in the equatorial eastern Pacific and is insensitive to sea surface temperatures over the tropical Pacific basin. Yet, when the region extends beyond the tropical Pacific, the magnitude decreases with sea surface temperatures. This phenomenon is shown to relate to changes in clouds over the tropical Indian Ocean and Atlantic, where sea surface temperatures increased but clouds decreased during the 1987 El Niño event. Relevance of the results to other climate changes is discussed.

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Wei Zhang
,
H.-F. Graf
,
Yee Leung
, and
Michael Herzog

Abstract

This study examines whether there exist significant differences in tropical cyclone (TC) landfall between central Pacific (CP) El Niño, eastern Pacific (EP) El Niño, and La Niña during the peak TC season (June–October) and how and to what extent CP El Niño influences TC landfall over East Asia for the period 1961–2009. The peak TC season is subdivided into summer [June–August (JJA)] and autumn [September–October (SO)]. The results are summarized as follows: (i) during the summer of CP El Niño years, TCs are more likely to make landfall over East Asia because of a strong easterly steering flow anomaly induced by the westward shift of the subtropical high and northward-shifted TC genesis. In particular, TCs have a greater probability of making landfall over Japan and Korea during the summer of CP El Niño years. (ii) In the autumn of CP El Niño years, TC landfall in most areas of East Asia, especially Indochina, the Malay Peninsula, and the Philippines, is likely to be suppressed because the large-scale circulation resembles that of EP El Niño years. (iii) During the whole peak TC season [June–October (JJASO)] of CP El Niño years, TCs are more likely to make landfall over Japan and Korea. TC landfall in East Asia as a whole has an insignificant association with CP El Niño during the peak TC season. In addition, more (less) TCs are likely to make landfall in China, Indochina, the Malay Peninsula, and the Philippines during the peak TC season of La Niña (EP El Niño) years.

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