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Chongran Zhang
,
Jing Zhang
, and
Qigang Wu

Abstract

Enhanced surface melt over the ice shelves of the Antarctic Peninsula (AP) is one of the precursors to their collapse, which can be proceeded by accelerated ground glacier flow and increased contribution to sea level rise. With the collapse of Larsen A and B and the major 2017 calving event from Larsen C, whether Larsen C is bound for a similar fate has received increasing attention. Here, the interannual variation of regional circulation over the AP region is studied using the empirical orthogonal function (EOF)/principal component (PC) analysis on the sea level pressure of ERA5. The EOF modes capture the variations of depth, location, and extent of Amundsen Sea low and Weddell Sea low in each season. Statistically significant positive correlations exist between Larsen C surface temperature and the PC time series of EOF mode 1 in winter and spring through northerly/northwesterly wind anomalies west of the AP. The PC time series of EOF mode 2 is negatively correlated with Larsen C surface temperature in autumn and summer and surface melt in summer, all due to southerly wind anomalies east of the AP. Surface energy budget analysis associated with EOF mode 2 shows that downwelling longwave radiation over Larsen C has negative statistically significant correlations with EOF mode 2 and is the major atmospheric forcing regulating the variation of Larsen C surface melt. Positively enhanced EOF mode 2 since 2004 is responsible for the recent cooling and decline of surface melt over Larsen C.

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Steve T. Stegall
and
Jing Zhang

Abstract

Wind field climatology, changes, and extremes at ~32-km resolution were analyzed for the Chukchi–Beaufort Seas and Alaska North Slope region using 3-hourly North American Regional Reanalysis (NARR) from 1979 to 2009. The monthly average wind speeds show a clear seasonal cycle with a minimum of 2–4 m s−1 in May and a maximum up to 9 m s−1 in October. The 95th percentile winds show a similar seasonality with a maximum up to 15 m s−1 in October. The 31-yr domain averaged 3-hourly wind speeds display a clear diurnal cycle over land and sea ice areas during the warm seasons. Weaker radiation during winter and larger heat capacity over open water reduce the diurnal signal in the wind field diurnal variations. There were increasing trends of areal averaged monthly mean and 95th percentile wind speeds for July through November. The strongest increase in the areal averaged 95th percentile wind speeds occurred in October from 7 m s−1 in 1979 to 10.5 m s−1 in 2009. The frequency of extreme wind events (speed above the 95th percentile winds) shows an increasing trend in all months, with the greatest increase occurring in October, showing 8% more extreme wind events in 2009 comparing to 1979. The prevailing wind direction was northeast with a frequency of 40%–60% for most of the year. The frequency for southwest and northwest winds was small (<20%) except for two anomalous areas along the Brooks Range in Alaska and the Chukotka Mountains in easternmost Russia where the frequency has increased to 35%–50% during the cold season months.

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Qigang Wu
,
Jing Zhang
,
Xiangdong Zhang
, and
Wei Tao

Abstract

The Beaufort Sea high (BSH) plays an important role in forcing Arctic sea ice and the Beaufort Gyre. This study examines the variability and long-term trends of atmospheric circulation over the Chukchi and Beaufort Seas using the ECMWF Interim Re-Analysis (ERA-Interim) for the period 1979–2012. Because of the mobility of the BSH through the year, EOF analysis is applied to the sea level pressure (SLP) field in order to investigate the principal patterns of BSH variability. In each season, the three leading EOF modes explain nearly 90% of the total variance and reflect a strengthened or weakened BSH centered over the western Arctic Ocean (EOF1), a north–south dipole-like SLP anomaly (EOF2), and a west–east dipole-like SLP anomaly (EOF3), respectively. These three EOF modes offer distinct influences on local climate in each season and have different connections with the large-scale climate variability modes in winter. In particular, the second principal component (PC2) associated with EOF2 in the autumn exhibits a tendency toward high-index polarity significant at the 5% level, and is related to strongly reduced sea ice extent.

Further, the authors have detected significant anticyclonic trends among surface wind fields associated with a strengthened BSH during summer and autumn, but significant cyclonic trends associated with a weakened BSH during early midwinter, consistent with significant trends in SLP gradients between western Arctic Ocean and the adjoining landmass. Comparison with forced trends of surface winds from various simulations from the IPCC Fifth Assessement Report (AR5) indicates that summertime changes in atmospheric circulation cannot be explained by natural external forcing or lower boundary forcings and may instead be attributable to external anthropogenic forcing.

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Jing Wang
,
Shouwen Zhang
,
Hua Jiang
, and
Dongliang Yuan

Abstract

The Indian Ocean basin (IOB) mode is the dominant mode of the interannual sea surface temperature (SST) variability in the Indian Ocean, with the Indian Ocean dipole (IOD) as the second mode. An IOB event normally occurs after an El Niño or a concurrent IOD–El Niño event, the dynamics of which are traditionally believed as forced by ENSO through the Walker circulation anomalies over the tropical Indian Ocean. A strong IOB in 2020 took place after the strongest 2019 IOD on record but independent of El Niño, which challenges the traditional atmospheric bridge dynamics of the IOB event. In this study, the dynamics of the 2020 IOB event are investigated using the numerical seasonal climate prediction system of the National Marine Environmental Forecasting Center of China. It is found that the initialization of the Indian Ocean subsurface temperature during the 2019 IOD event has led to the outburst of the 2020 IOB event successfully, the dynamics of which are the propagation and the western boundary reflection of the equatorial and off-equatorial Rossby waves, inducing heat content recharge over the tropical Indian Ocean upper thermocline. In comparison, experiments of SST initialization over the tropical Indian Ocean, with the subsurface temperature in a climatological state, were unable to reproduce the onset of the 2020 IOB event, suggesting that the local air–sea interaction within the Indian Ocean basin is of secondary importance. The numerical experiments suggest that the thermocline ocean wave dynamics play an important role in forcing the IOB event. The revealed thermocline dynamics are potentially useful in climate prediction associated with IOB events.

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Jing Duan
,
Yuanlong Li
,
Lei Zhang
, and
Fan Wang

Abstract

Interannual variabilities of sea level and upper-ocean gyre circulation of the western tropical Pacific Ocean (WTPO) have been predominantly attributed to El Niño–Southern Oscillation (ENSO). The results of the present study put forward important modulation effects by the Indian Ocean dipole (IOD) mode. The observed sea level in the WTPO shows significant instantaneous and lagged correlations (around −0.60 and 0.40, respectively) with the IOD mode index (DMI). A composite of 14 “independent” IOD events for 1958–2017 shows negative sea level anomalies (SLAs) of 4–7 cm in the WTPO during positive IOD events and positive SLAs of 6–8 cm in the following year that are opposite in sign to the El Niño effect. The IOD impacts are reproduced by large-ensemble simulations of a climate model that generate respectively 430 and 519 positive and negative independent IOD events. A positive IOD induces westerly winds over the western and central tropical Pacific and causes negative SLAs through Ekman upwelling, and it facilitates the establishment of a La Niña condition in the following year that involves enhanced Pacific trade winds and causes positive SLAs in the WTPO. Ocean model experiments confirm that the IOD affects the WTPO sea level mainly through modulating the tropical Pacific winds. Variability of the Indonesian Throughflow (ITF) induced by IOD winds has a relatively weak effect on the WTPO. The IOD’s impacts on the major upper-ocean currents are also considerable, causing anomalies of 1–4 Sv (1 Sv ≡ 106 m3 s−1) in the South Equatorial Current (SEC) and North Equatorial Countercurrent (NECC) volume transports.

Free access
Jianqi Sun
,
Jing Ming
,
Mengqi Zhang
, and
Shui Yu

Abstract

In June 2017, south China suffered from intense rainfall that broke the record spanning the previous 70 years. In this study, the large-scale circulations associated with the south China June rainfall are analyzed. The results show that the anomalous Pacific–Japan (PJ) pattern is a direct influence on south China June rainfall or East Asian early summer rainfall. In addition, the Australian high was the strongest in June 2017 during the past 70 years, which can increase the equatorward flow to northern Australia and activate convection over the Maritime Continent. Enhanced convection over the Maritime Continent can further enhance local meridional circulation along East Asia, engendering downward motion over the tropical western North Pacific and enhancing the western Pacific subtropical high (WPSH) and upward motion over south China, which increases the rainfall therein. In addition, a strong wave train pattern associated with North Atlantic air–sea interaction was observed in June 2017 at Northern Hemispheric mid- to high latitudes; it originated from the North Atlantic and propagated eastward to East Asia, resulting in an anomalous anticyclone over the Mongolian–Baikal Lake region. This anomalous anticyclone produced strong northerly winds over East Asia that encountered the southerly associated with the WPSH over south China, thereby favoring intense rainfall over the region. Case studies of June 2017 and climate research based on data during 1979–2017 and 1948–2017 indicate that the extremities of the atmospheric circulation over south Europe and Australian high and their coupling with the PJ pattern could be responsible for the record-breaking south China rainfall in June 2017.

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Shuyun Zhao
,
Hua Zhang
,
Zhili Wang
, and
Xianwen Jing

Abstract

The comprehensive effects of anthropogenic aerosols (sulfate, black carbon, and organic carbon) on terrestrial aridity were simulated using an aerosol–climate coupled model system. The results showed that the increase in total anthropogenic aerosols in the atmosphere from 1850 to 2010 had caused global land annual mean precipitation to decrease by about 0.19 (0.18, 0.21) mm day−1, where the uncertainty range of the change (minimum, maximum) is given in parentheses following the mean change, and reference evapotranspiration ET0 (representing evapotranspiration ability) to decrease by about 0.33 (0.31, 0.35) mm day−1. The increase in anthropogenic aerosols in the atmosphere from 1850 to 2010 had caused land annual mean terrestrial aridity to decrease by about 3.0% (2.7%, 3.6%). The areal extent of global total arid and semiarid areas had reduced due to the increase in total anthropogenic aerosols in the atmosphere from preindustrial times. However, it was found that the increase in anthropogenic aerosols in the atmosphere had enhanced the terrestrial aridity and thus resulted in an expansion of arid and semiarid areas over East and South Asia. The projected decrease in anthropogenic aerosols in the atmosphere from 2010 to 2100 will increase global land annual mean precipitation by about 0.15 (0.13, 0.16) mm day−1 and ET0 by about 0.26 (0.25, 0.28) mm day−1, thereby producing a net increase in terrestrial aridity of about 2.8% (2.1%, 3.6%) and an expansion of global total arid and semiarid areas.

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Yuanlong Li
,
Weiqing Han
,
Fan Wang
,
Lei Zhang
, and
Jing Duan

Abstract

Multi-time-scale variabilities of the Indian Ocean (IO) temperature over 0–700 m are revisited from the perspective of vertical structure. Analysis of historical data for 1955–2018 identifies two dominant types of vertical structures that account for respectively 70.5% and 21.2% of the total variance on interannual-to-interdecadal time scales with the linear trend and seasonal cycle removed. The leading type manifests as vertically coherent warming/cooling with the maximal amplitude at ~100 m and exhibits evident interdecadal variations. The second type shows a vertical dipole structure between the surface (0–60 m) and subsurface (60–400 m) layers and interannual-to-decadal fluctuations. Ocean model experiments were performed to gain insights into underlying processes. The vertically coherent, basinwide warming/cooling of the IO on an interdecadal time scale is caused by changes of the Indonesian Throughflow (ITF) controlled by Pacific climate and anomalous surface heat fluxes partly originating from external forcing. Enhanced changes in the subtropical southern IO arise from positive air–sea feedback among sea surface temperature, winds, turbulent heat flux, cloud cover, and shortwave radiation. Regarding dipole-type variability, the basinwide surface warming is induced by surface heat flux forcing, and the subsurface cooling occurs only in the eastern IO. The cooling in the southeast IO is generated by the weakened ITF, whereas that in the northeast IO is caused by equatorial easterly winds through upwelling oceanic waves. Both El Niño–Southern Oscillation (ENSO) and IO dipole (IOD) events are favorable for the generation of such vertical dipole anomalies.

Free access
Jing Huang
,
Yang Zhang
,
Xiu-Qun Yang
,
Xuejuan Ren
, and
Haibo Hu

Abstract

An oceanic frontal zone is a confluent region of warm and cool ocean currents, characterized by a strong meridional gradient of sea surface temperature (SST). High-resolution SST observations show that the wintertime North Pacific exhibits a unique double-oceanic-front structure, with a subtropical frontal zone (STFZ) and a subarctic frontal zone (SAFZ), whose impacts on the weather and climate over the East Asia–North Pacific–North American region need further investigation. In this study, we conduct groups of multiyear and ensemble simulations using a WRF high-resolution regional climate model, through which the different impacts of the STFZ and SAFZ on the wintertime atmospheric circulations are identified and compared. Our multiyear simulations show that the STFZ, although with weaker intensity, exerts evident and consistent impacts on the storm track and westerly jet in the North Pacific by enhancing and elongating the eddy activity, zonal wind, and Aleutian low. The SAFZ exhibits coherent impacts on the low-level atmospheric baroclinicity and storm track; however, its impacts on the upper-level storm track and atmospheric circulations are divergent, exhibiting strong year-by-year difference. Our study suggests that the SAFZ’s impacts on the atmospheric circulations strongly depend on the background mean state, which contributes to the divergent impacts of the SAFZ. Furthermore, our results highlight the role of diabatic heating for the above different impacts of the STFZ and SAFZ on the atmosphere. We argue that the much deeper diabatic heating induced by the STFZ, via affecting the baroclinicity through the whole troposphere, can exert consistent influence on eddy activities and atmospheric circulations.

Open access
Jing Ma
,
Shang-Ping Xie
,
Haiming Xu
,
Jiuwei Zhao
, and
Leying Zhang

Abstract

Using the ensemble hindcasts of the European Centre for Medium-Range Weather Forecasts (ECMWF) coupled model for the period of 1980–2005, spatiotemporal evolution in the covariability of sea surface temperature (SST) and low-level winds in the ensemble mean and spread over the tropical Atlantic is investigated with the month-reliant singular value decomposition (SVD) method, which treats the variables in a given monthly sequence as one time step. The leading mode of the ensemble mean represents a coevolution of SST and winds over the tropical Atlantic associated with a phase transition of El Niño from the peak to decay phase, while the second mode is related to a phase transition from El Niño to La Niña, indicating a precursory role of the north tropical Atlantic (NTA) SST warming in La Niña development. The leading mode of ensemble spread in SST and winds further illustrates that an NTA SST anomaly acts as a precursor for El Niño–Southern Oscillation (ENSO). A north-tropical pathway for the delayed effect of the NTA SST anomaly on the subsequent ENSO event is identified; the NTA SST warming induces the subtropical northeast Pacific SST cooling through the modulation of a zonal–vertical circulation, setting off a North Pacific meridional mode (NPMM). The coupled SST–wind anomalies migrate southwestward to the central equatorial Pacific and eventually amplify into a La Niña event in the following months due to the equatorial Bjerknes feedback. Ensemble spread greatly increases the sample size and affords insights into the interbasin interactions between the tropical Atlantic and Pacific, as demonstrated here in the NTA SST impact on ENSO.

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