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Hui Li
,
Panmao Zhai
,
Yang Chen
, and
Er Lu

Abstract

In this study, cases of the East Asia–Pacific (EAP) teleconnection pattern not responsible for persistent precipitation processes in the Yangtze River valley (YRV) have been investigated. The results suggest that such a type of EAP pattern has some linkage with persistent precipitation processes in south China (SC) with the following properties: 1) in response to the negative SSTAs and anticyclone near the Philippines, the meridional energy propagates from the low latitudes over the north of the Philippines; 2) the western Pacific subtropical high (WPSH) then intensifies and extends westward; 3) a meridional triple structure of the EAP teleconnection pattern is established; 4) at the same time, the cyclonic circulation over northeastern China introduces cold and dry air to the lower latitudes, merging with the water vapor into SC and leading to heavy precipitation from the fringe of the WPSH, the South China Sea, and the Bay of Bengal and the combination of systems persists for at least 3 days, leading to the persistent precipitation processes in SC; and 5) compared with the EAP teleconnection responsible for the precipitation in YRV, the positions of the three centers in the mid- and low latitudes are more southerly located than the YRV EAP centers. Further study indicates that the ocean surface heat conditions in the areas near the Philippines seem to be important in affecting the EAP teleconnection pattern for persistent precipitation processes in SC. Finally, all of the cases with persistent precipitation in SC during 1961–2010 linked with the EAP pattern have been investigated; the results are consistent with the above conclusions.

Full access
Jing Sun
,
Kun Yang
,
Yan Yu
,
Hui Lu
, and
Yanluan Lin

Abstract

The Tibetan Plateau (TP) has become wetter and warmer during the past four decades, which leads to an adjustment in the surface energy budget, characterized by enhanced surface latent heat and weakened surface sensible heat. However, the impacts of these surface energy changes on climate are unclear. In this study, we investigate the atmospheric response to the altered surface energy budget in the monsoon season over the TP using regional climate simulations. The inhibited surface sensible heating weakens the thermal effect of the TP, which further suppresses low-level convergence and upper-level divergence, thereby weakening the water vapor flux convergence over the plateau. The weakening of low-level air humidity by this dynamical response exceeds the supply from the enhanced surface evaporation, causing decreased precipitation (decreasing more in the wet eastern plateau and less in the dry west). Further analyses show that the precipitation frequency increases mainly for light precipitation while decreasing for heavy precipitation. It is thus demonstrated that on the TP, land surface energy–atmosphere interactions can mitigate the rate of precipitation increase, suppress the increase in frequency of heavy precipitation, and weaken the east–west contrast in precipitation amount, through a dynamical mechanism. Overall, land–atmosphere interactions on the TP exert negative feedback to partially offset the accelerated plateau water cycle under a changing climate.

Free access
Kaighin A. McColl
,
Qing He
,
Hui Lu
, and
Dara Entekhabi

Abstract

Land–atmosphere feedbacks occurring on daily to weekly time scales can magnify the intensity and duration of extreme weather events, such as droughts, heat waves, and convective storms. For such feedbacks to occur, the coupled land–atmosphere system must exhibit sufficient memory of soil moisture anomalies associated with the extreme event. The soil moisture autocorrelation e-folding time scale has been used previously to estimate soil moisture memory. However, the theoretical basis for this metric (i.e., that the land water budget is reasonably approximated by a red noise process) does not apply at finer spatial and temporal resolutions relevant to modern satellite observations and models. In this study, two memory time scale metrics are introduced that are relevant to modern satellite observations and models: the “long-term memory” τ L and the “short-term memory” τ S . Short- and long-term surface soil moisture (SSM) memory time scales are spatially anticorrelated at global scales in both a model and satellite observations, suggesting hot spots of land–atmosphere coupling will be located in different regions, depending on the time scale of the feedback. Furthermore, the spatial anticorrelation between τ S and τ L demonstrates the importance of characterizing these memory time scales separately, rather than mixing them as in previous studies.

Open access
Xiaogang Ma
,
Kun Yang
,
Binbin Wang
,
Zhaoguo Li
,
Lazhu
,
Hui Lu
,
Xiangnan Yao
, and
Xin Chen

Abstract

Skin cooling, wherein the surface temperature of a water body T skin is lower than the temperature below the surface, is a widespread phenomenon. Previous studies have almost ignored this effect on the Tibetan Plateau (TP), despite the presence of thousands of lakes on the TP and the fact that extraordinary solar heating leads to very strong energy exchanges on the lake surfaces. This study utilizes in situ observations and MODIS-derived T skin data at Lake Nam Co, one of the largest lakes on the TP, to quantify the skin cooling effect. The observed nighttime skin cooling is approximately 0.52°C on average, with the maximum of about 1°C, during the lake water turnover period (from October to mid-November), which obviously surpasses reported values for oceans (less than 0.4°C). To understand the impact of the skin cooling on the lake thermal processes, a skin cooling parameterization is validated and incorporated into the WRF-lake model. Simulations with the updated model show that accounting for the skin cooling process systematically lowers sensible and latent heat fluxes by a few watts per square meter, which yields an increase in water temperature by 0.45°C at the end of December and may delay the onset of lake freeze. Finally, we show that the inclusion of the skin cooling process in a lake model needs simultaneous adjustment of the parameterization of heat/water vapor transfer.

Significance Statement

Skin cooling is a widespread phenomenon for a water surface, and its intensity depends on the energy flux exchange of the water surface. The Tibetan Plateau possesses the presence of thousands of lakes, but early studies have ignored the skin cooling effect. We found that the nighttime skin cooling magnitude during the lake water turnover period in this region obviously exceeds reported values for oceans, due to the strong surface energy exchange in the Tibetan Plateau. Neglecting the skin cooling process may lead to systematic overestimation of turbulent heat fluxes and underestimation of water temperature. We highlight that accounting for this skin cooling process is crucial to select appropriate parameterization schemes for heat/water vapor transfer in lake thermal process modeling.

Restricted access
Ming Ying
,
Wei Zhang
,
Hui Yu
,
Xiaoqin Lu
,
Jingxian Feng
,
Yongxiang Fan
,
Yongti Zhu
, and
Dequan Chen

Abstract

The China Meteorological Administration (CMA)’s tropical cyclone (TC) database includes not only the best-track dataset but also TC-induced wind and precipitation data. This article summarizes the characteristics and key technical details of the CMA TC database. In addition to the best-track data, other phenomena that occurred with the TCs are also recorded in the dataset, such as the subcenters, extratropical transitions, outer-range severe winds associated with TCs over the South China Sea, and coastal severe winds associated with TCs landfalling in China. These data provide additional information for researchers. The TC-induced wind and precipitation data, which map the distribution of severe wind and rainfall, are also helpful for investigating the impacts of TCs. The study also considers the changing reliability of the various data sources used since the database was created and the potential causes of temporal and spatial inhomogeneities within the datasets. Because of the greater number of observations available for analysis, the CMA TC database is likely to be more accurate and complete over the offshore and land areas of China than over the open ocean. Temporal inhomogeneities were induced primarily by changes to the nature and quality of the input data, such as the development of a weather observation network in China and the use of satellite image analysis to replace the original aircraft reconnaissance data. Furthermore, technical and factitious changes, such as to the wind–pressure relationship and the satellite-derived current intensity (CI) number–intensity conversion, also led to inhomogeneities within the datasets.

Full access
Xu Yuan
,
Kun Yang
,
Hui Lu
,
Jing Sun
,
Yan Wang
,
Yubo Liu
, and
Qiuhong Tang

Abstract

The Southeast Tibetan Plateau (SETP) is a major region where many low-latitude glaciers are located, with spring precipitation being a major input of the glacier mass balance. This study shows that early spring precipitation has decreased significantly since 1999, which is attributed to declined moisture contribution from the far-field sources (west of 70°E) induced by the weakened subtropical westerlies. The possible physical mechanism underlying this change has also been revealed. It is found that snow-cover extent (SCE) in March reduced in midlatitude Eurasia after 1999; meanwhile, strong solar radiation during this month may have exacerbated snow melting through snow albedo–radiation interactions. These two processes led to warming and caused a strong anticyclone over midlatitude Eurasia that weakened the subtropical westerlies near 30°N. This decadal change in the subtropical westerlies led to a decrease in moisture transport upstream. As a result, the windward slopes of large terrain along the latitudinal belt near 30°N received less precipitation, and the decrease in SETP precipitation was part of this change. A further analysis shows that the positive correlation between the westerlies and precipitation has weakened since 1999.

Significance Statement

The purpose of this study is to reveal the decreased early spring precipitation and explore its possible physical mechanism in the Southeast Tibetan Plateau (SETP), which is crucial to understand the shrinkage of the local glacier. Our results indicate that the reduction of snow cover in midlatitude Eurasia since 1999 and the strong solar radiation in March contributed to the weakening subtropical westerlies, which further resulted in the decreasing precipitation in the SETP and other windward slopes of large terrain along the latitudinal 30°N belt in Eurasia.

Free access
Jinghua Chen
,
Xiaoqing Wu
,
Yan Yin
,
Chunsong Lu
,
Hui Xiao
,
Qian Huang
, and
Liping Deng

ABSTRACT

The influence of surface heat fluxes on the generation and development of cloud and precipitation and its relative importance to the large-scale circulation patterns are investigated via cloud-resolving model (CRM) simulations over the Tibetan Plateau (TP) during boreal summer. Over the lowland (e.g., along the middle and lower reaches of the Yangtze River), the dynamical and thermal properties of the atmosphere take more responsibility than the surface heat fluxes for the triggering of heavy rainfall events. However, the surface thermal driving force is a necessary criterion for the triggering of heavy rainfall in the eastern and western TP (ETP and WTP). Strong surface heat fluxes can trigger shallow convections in the TP. Furthermore, moisture that is mainly transported from the southern tropical ocean has a greater influence on the heavy rainfall events of the WTP than those of the ETP. Cloud microphysical processes are substantially less active and heavy rainfall cannot be produced when surface heat fluxes are weakened by half in magnitude over the TP. In addition, surface heating effects are largely responsible for the high occurrence frequency of convection during the afternoon, and the cloud tops of convective systems show a positive relationship with the intensity of surface heat fluxes.

Full access
Zhihua He
,
Long Yang
,
Fuqiang Tian
,
Guangheng Ni
,
Aizhong Hou
, and
Hui Lu

Abstract

The aim of this study is to evaluate the accuracy of daily rainfall estimates based on the GPM level-3 final product derived from the IMERG algorithm (abbreviated as IMERG) and TRMM 3B42, version 7 (abbreviated as 3B42), in the upper Mekong River basin, a mountainous region in southwestern China. High-density rain gauges provide exceptional resources for ground validation of satellite rainfall estimates over this region. The performance of the two satellite rainfall products is evaluated during two rainy seasons (May–October) over the period 2014–15, as well as their applications in hydrological simulations. Results indicate that 1) IMERG systematically reduces the bias value in rainfall estimates at the gridbox scale and presents a greater ability to capture rainfall variability at the local domain scale compared with 3B42; 2) IMERG improves the ability to capture rain events with moderate intensities and presents higher capability in detecting occurrences of extreme rain events, but significantly overestimates the amounts of these extreme events; and 3) IMERG generally produces comparable daily streamflow simulations to 3B42 and tends to outperform 3B42 in driving hydrological simulations when calibrating model parameters using each rainfall input. This study provides an early evaluation of the IMERG rainfall product over a mountainous region. The findings indicate the potential of the IMERG product in overestimating extreme rain events, which could serve as the basis for further improvement of IMERG rainfall retrieval algorithms. The hydrological evaluations described here could shed light on the emerging application of retrospectively generated IMERG products back to the TRMM era.

Full access
Jing Sun
,
Yingying Chen
,
Kun Yang
,
Hui Lu
,
Long Zhao
, and
Donghai Zheng

Abstract

In the central-eastern Tibetan Plateau (TP) there is abundant organic matter in topsoils, which plays a crucial role in determining soil hydraulic properties that need to be properly described in land surface models. Limited soil parameterizations consider the impacts of soil organic matter (SOM), but they still show poor performance in the TP. A dedicated field campaign is therefore conducted by taking undisturbed soil samples in the central TP to obtain in situ soil hydraulic parameters and to advance SOM parameterizations. The observed findings are twofold: 1) The SOM pore-size distribution parameter, derived from measured soil water retention curves, has been demonstrated to be much underestimated in previous studies. 2) SOM saturated hydraulic conductivity is overestimated. Accordingly, a new soil hydraulic parameterization is established by modifying a commonly used one based on observations, which is then evaluated by incorporating it into Noah-MP. Compared with the original ones, the new parameterization significantly improves surface soil liquid water simulations at stations with high surface SOM content, especially in the warm season. A further application with the revised Noah-MP indicates that SOM can enhance sensible heat flux but decrease evaporation and subsurface soil temperature in the warm season and tends to have a much weak effect in the cold season. This study provides insights into the role of SOM in modulating soil state and surface energy budget. Note that, however, there are many other factors at play and the new parameterization is not necessarily applicable beyond the TP.

Full access
Lu Yi
,
Chen Peiyan
,
Yu Hui
,
Fang Pingzhi
,
Gong Ting
,
Wang Xiaodong
, and
Song Shengnan

Abstract

Inland flooding and mudslides from tropical cyclone (TC) rainstorms are among the most destructive natural hazards in China, resulting in considerable direct economic losses and large numbers of fatalities. In this paper, a TC precipitation model (TCPM) is improved by incorporating the effects of complex terrain through a set of new parameters (e.g., slope, roughness, and attenuation distance) for a more accurate assessment of TC rainfall hazards in China. Moreover, by introducing parameterized spiral rainbands, the model could more accurately capture the intensity of extreme precipitation. The model comprehensively considers dynamic and thermodynamic precipitation factors and is adept at capturing the climate characteristics of TC precipitation and the probability distribution of extreme TC precipitation in China. The model is verified by providing two comparisons. One is analysis including detailed results of three typical TC cases, and the other uses empirical cumulative distribution functions for extreme observations and simulations of historical landfalling TCs in China during the period 1960–2018. The comparisons reveal that the TCPM shows impressive performance for strong TCs with heavy precipitation within 200–300 km of the TC center. Moreover, both the modeled extreme hourly and total TC precipitation probability distributions are consistent with the observations. However, the model needs to be further improved for TCs with dispersive or long-distance precipitation.

Significance Statement

In this paper, an optimized and physics-based model for the simulation of tropical cyclone precipitation is described and used to estimate the risk of TC rainfall hazards in China. The work is innovative in that it considers the effect of complex terrain from three perspectives, including slope, roughness, and attenuation distance. The simulations demonstrated that the model is adept at capturing the main climate characteristics of TC precipitation and the probability distribution of extreme TC precipitation in China, which is simple to run several hundred thousand times, with bright application prospects in catastrophe risk assessment.

Free access