Search Results

You are looking at 1 - 10 of 24 items for :

  • Author or Editor: Li Zhang x
  • Journal of the Atmospheric Sciences x
  • Refine by Access: All Content x
Clear All Modify Search
Feng Zhang and Jiangnan Li

Abstract

Though the single-layer solutions have been found for the δ-four-stream spherical harmonic expansion method (SHM) in radiative transfer, there is lack of a corresponding doubling–adding method (4SDA), which enables the calculation of radiative transfer through a vertically inhomogeneous atmosphere with multilayers. The doubling–adding method is based on Chandrasekhar's invariance principle, which was originally developed for discrete ordinates approximation. It is shown that the invariance principle can also be applied to SHM and δ-four-stream spherical harmonic expansion doubling–adding method (δ-4SDA) is proposed in this paper. The δ-4SDA method has been systematically compared to the δ-Eddington doubling–adding method (δ-2SDA), the δ-two-stream discrete ordinates doubling–adding method (δ-2DDA), and δ-four-stream discrete ordinates doubling–adding method (δ-4DDA). By applying δ-4SDA to a realistic atmospheric profile with gaseous transmission considered, it is found that the accuracy of δ-4SDA is superior to δ-2SDA or δ-2DDA, especially for the cloudy/aerosol conditions. It is shown that the relative errors of δ-4SDA are generally less than 1% in both heating rate and flux, while the relative errors of both δ-2SDA and δ-2DDA can be over 6%. Though δ-4DDA is slightly more accurate than δ-4SDA in heating rates, both of them are accurate enough to obtain the cloud-top solar heating. Here δ-4SDA is superior to δ-4DDA in computational efficiency. It is found that the error of aerosol radiative forcing can be up to 3 W m−2 by using δ-2SDA at the top of the atmosphere (TOA); such error is substantially reduced by applying δ-4SDA. In view of the overall accuracy and computational efficiency, δ-4SDA is suitable for application in climate models.

Full access
Jiangnan Li, Petr Chylek, and Feng Zhang

Abstract

The physical characteristics of extratropical cyclones are investigated based on nonequilibrium thermodynamics. Nonequilibrium thermodynamics, using entropy as its main tool, has been widely used in many scientific fields. The entropy balance equation contains two parts: the internal entropy production corresponds to dissipation and the external entropy production corresponds to boundary entropy supply. It is shown that dissipation is always present in a cyclone and the dissipation center is not always coincident with the low-pressure center, especially for incipient cyclones. The different components of internal entropy production correspond to different dissipation processes. Usually the thermal dissipation due to turbulent vertical diffusion and convection lags geographically the dynamic dissipation due to wind stress. At the incipient stage, the dissipation is mainly thermal in nature. A concept of temperature shear is introduced as the result of thermal dissipation. The temperature shear provides a useful diagnostic for extratropical cyclone identification. The boundary entropy supply and the entropy advection are also strongly associated with cyclones. The entropy advection is generally positive (negative) in the leading (trailing) part of a cyclone. A regional study in the western Pacific clearly demonstrates that the surface entropy flux and temperature shear are the most reliable early signals of cyclones in the cyclogenesis stage.

Full access
Ying Zhang, Zhanqing Li, and Andreas Macke

Abstract

This study investigates and accounts for the influence of various ice cloud parameters on the retrieval of the surface solar radiation budget (SSRB) from reflected flux at the top of the atmosphere (TOA). The optical properties of ice clouds depend on ice crystal shape, size distribution, water content, and the vertical profiles of geometric and microphysical structure. As a result, the relationship between the SSRB and TOA-reflected flux for an ice cloud atmosphere is more complex and differs from that for water cloud and cloudless atmospheres. The sensitivities of the relationship between the SSRB and TOA-reflected flux are examined with respect to various ice cloud parameters. Uncertainties in the retrieval of the SSRB due to inadequate knowledge of various ice cloud parameters are evaluated thoroughly. The uncertainty study is concerned with both pure ice clouds and multiphase clouds (ice cloud above water cloud). According to the magnitudes of errors in the SSRB retrieval caused by different input variables, parameterized correction terms were introduced. If the input variables are known accurately, errors in the retrieval of the SSRB under a wide range of ice cloud conditions are expected to diminish substantially, to less than 10 W m−2 for 91% of the simulated ice cloud cases. In comparison, the same accuracy may be attained for only 19% of the retrievals for the same ice cloud cases using the retrieval algorithm designed for non-ice-cloud conditions.

Full access
Youtong Zheng, Haipeng Zhang, and Zhanqing Li

Abstract

Surface latent heat flux (LHF) has been considered as the determinant driver of the stratocumulus-to-cumulus transition (SCT). The distinct signature of the LHF in driving the SCT, however, has not been found in observations. This motivates us to ask, How determinant is the LHF to SCT? To answer this question, we conduct large-eddy simulations in a Lagrangian setup in which the sea surface temperature increases over time to mimic a low-level cold-air advection. To isolate the role of LHF, we conduct a mechanism-denial experiment in which the LHF adjustment is turned off. The simulations confirm the indispensable roles of LHF in sustaining (although not initiating) the boundary layer decoupling (first stage of SCT) and driving the cloud regime transition (second stage of SCT). However, using theoretical arguments and LES results, we show that decoupling can happen without the need for LHF to increase as long as the capping inversion is weak enough to ensure high entrainment efficiency. The high entrainment efficiency alone cannot sustain the decoupled state without the help of LHF adjustment, leading to the recoupling of the boundary layer that eventually becomes cloud-free. Interestingly, the stratocumulus sheet is sustained longer without LHF adjustment. The mechanisms underlying the findings are explained from the perspectives of cloud-layer budgets of energy (first stage) and liquid water path (second stage).

Restricted access
Peng Lu, Hua Zhang, and Jiangnan Li

Abstract

A new scheme of water cloud optical properties is proposed for correlated k-distribution (CKD) models, in which the correlation in spectral distributions between the gaseous absorption coefficient and cloud optical properties is maintained. This is an extension of the CKD method from gas to cloud by dealing with the gas absorption coefficient and cloud optical properties in the same way.

Compared to the results of line-by-line benchmark calculations, the band-mean cloud optical property scheme can overestimate cloud solar heating rate, with a relative error over 30% in general. Also, the error in the flux at the top of the atmosphere can be up to 20 W m−2 at a solar zenith angle of 0°. However, the error is considerably reduced by applying the new proposed CKD cloud scheme. The physical explanation of the large error for the band-mean cloud scheme is the absence of a spectral correlation between the gaseous absorption coefficient and the cloud optical properties. The overestimation of the solar heating rate at the cloud-top layer could affect the moisture circulation and limit the growth of cloud. It is found that the error in the longwave cooling rate caused by the band-mean cloud scheme is very small. In the infrared, the local thermal emission strongly affects the spectral distribution of the radiative flux, which makes the correlation between the gaseous absorption coefficient and cloud optical properties very weak. Therefore, there is no obvious advantage in emphasizing the spectral correlation between gas and cloud.

Full access
Tim Li, Bin Wang, C-P. Chang, and Yongsheng Zhang

Abstract

Four fundamental differences of air–sea interactions between the tropical Pacific and Indian Oceans are identified based on observational analyses and physical reasoning. The first difference is represented by the strong contrast of a zonal cloud–SST phase relationship between the warm and cool oceans. The in-phase cloud–SST relationship in the warm oceans leads to a strong negative feedback, while a significant phase difference in the cold tongue leads to a much weaker thermodynamic damping. The second difference arises from the reversal of the basic-state zonal wind and the tilting of the ocean thermocline, which leads to distinctive effects of ocean waves. The third difference lies in the existence of the Asian monsoon and its interaction with the adjacent oceans. The fourth difference is that the southeast Indian Ocean is a region where a positive atmosphere–ocean thermodynamic feedback exists in boreal summer.

A conceptual coupled atmosphere–ocean model was constructed aimed to understand the origin of the Indian Ocean dipole–zonal mode (IODM). In the model, various positive and negative air–sea feedback processes were considered. Among them were the cloud–radiation–SST feedback, the evaporation–SST–wind feedback, the thermocline–SST feedback, and the monsoon–ocean feedback. Numerical results indicate that the IODM is a dynamically coupled atmosphere–ocean mode whose instability depends on the annual cycle of the basic state. It tends to develop rapidly in boreal summer but decay in boreal winter. As a result, the IODM has a distinctive evolution characteristic compared to the El Niño. Sensitivity experiments suggest that the IODM is a weakly damped oscillator in the absence of external forcing, owing to a strong negative cloud–SST feedback and a deep mean thermocline in the equatorial Indian Ocean.

A thermodynamic air–sea (TAS) feedback arises from the interaction between an anomalous atmospheric anticyclone and a cold SST anomaly (SSTA) off Sumatra. Because of its dependence on the basic-state wind, the nature of this TAS feedback is season dependent. A positive feedback occurs only in northern summer when the southeasterly flow is pronounced. It becomes a negative feedback in northern winter when the northwesterly wind is pronounced. The phase locking of the IODM can be, to a large extent, explained by this seasonal-dependent TAS feedback. The biennial tendency of the IODM is attributed to the monsoon–ocean feedback and the remote El Niño forcing that has a quasi-biennial component.

In the presence of realistic Niño-3 SSTA forcing, the model is capable of simulating IODM events during the last 50 yr that are associated with the El Niño, indicating that ENSO is one of triggering mechanisms. The failure of simulation of the 1961 and 1994 events suggests that other types of climate forcings in addition to the ENSO must play a role in triggering an IODM event.

Full access
Feng Zhang, Zhongping Shen, Jiangnan Li, Xiuji Zhou, and Leiming Ma

Abstract

Although single-layer solutions have been obtained for the δ-four-stream discrete ordinates method (DOM) in radiative transfer, a four-stream doubling–adding method (4DA) is lacking, which enables us to calculate the radiative transfer through a vertically inhomogeneous atmosphere with multiple layers. In this work, based on the Chandrasekhar invariance principle, an analytical method of δ-4DA is proposed.

When applying δ-4DA to an idealized medium with specified optical properties, the reflection, transmission, and absorption are the same if the medium is treated as either a single layer or dividing it into multiple layers. This indicates that δ-4DA is able to solve the multilayer connection properly in a radiative transfer process. In addition, the δ-4DA method has been systematically compared with the δ-two-stream doubling–adding method (δ-2DA) in the solar spectrum. For a realistic atmospheric profile with gaseous transmission considered, it is found that the accuracy of δ-4DA is superior to that of δ-2DA in most of cases, especially for the cloudy sky. The relative errors of δ-4DA are generally less than 1% in both the heating rate and flux, while the relative errors of δ-2DA can be as high as 6%.

Full access
J. Li, C. L. Curry, Z. Sun, and F. Zhang

Abstract

This paper focuses on two shortcomings of radiative transfer codes commonly used in climate models. The first aspect concerns the partitioning of solar versus infrared spectral energy. In most climate models, the solar spectrum comprises wavelengths less than 4 μm with all incoming solar energy deposited in that range. In reality, however, the solar spectrum extends into the infrared, with about 12 W m−2 in the 4–1000-μm range. In this paper a simple method is proposed wherein the longwave radiative transfer equation with solar energy input is solved. In comparison with the traditional method, the new solution results in more solar energy absorbed in the atmosphere and less at the surface.

As mentioned in a recent intercomparison of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change Fourth Assessment Report (IPCC AR4) and line-by-line (LBL) radiation models, most climate model radiation schemes neglect shortwave absorption by methane. However, the shortwave radiative forcing at the surface due to CH4 since the preindustrial period is estimated to exceed that due to CO2. The authors show that the CH4 shortwave effect can be included in a correlated k-distribution model, with the additional flux being accurately simulated in comparison with LBL models.

Ten-year GCM simulations are presented, showing the detailed climatic effect of these changes in radiation treatment. It is demonstrated that the inclusion of solar flux in the infrared range produces a significant amount of extra warming in the atmosphere, specifically (i) in the tropical stratosphere where the warming can exceed 1 K day−1, and (ii) near the tropical tropopause layer. Additional GCM simulations show that inclusion of CH4 in the shortwave calculations also produces a warming of the atmosphere and a consequent reduction of the upward flux at the top of the atmosphere.

Full access
Min Wen, Tim Li, Renhe Zhang, and Yanjun Qi

Abstract

The structure and evolution features of the quasi-biweekly (10–20 day) oscillation (QBWO) in boreal spring over the tropical Indian Ocean (IO) are investigated using 27-yr daily outgoing longwave radiation (OLR) and the National Centers for Environment Prediction–National Center for Atmospheric Research (NCEP–NCAR) reanalysis data. It is found that a convective disturbance is initiated over the western IO and moves slowly eastward. After passing the central IO, it abruptly jumps into the eastern IO. Meanwhile, the preexisting suppressed convective anomaly in the eastern IO moves poleward in the form of double-cell Rossby gyres. The analysis of vertical circulation shows that a few days prior to the onset of local convection in the eastern equatorial IO an ascending motion appears in the boundary layer.

Based on the diagnosis of the zonal momentum equation, a possible boundary layer–triggering mechanism over the eastern equatorial IO is proposed. The cause of the boundary layer convergence and vertical motion is attributed to the free-atmospheric divergence in association with the development of the barotropic wind. It is the downward transport of the background mean easterly momentum by perturbation vertical motion during the suppressed convective phase of the QBWO that leads to the generation of a barotropic easterly—the latter of which further causes the free-atmospheric divergence and, thus, the boundary layer convergence. The result suggests that the local process, rather than the eastward propagation of the disturbance from the western IO, is essential for the phase transition of the QBWO convection over the eastern equatorial IO.

Full access
Yanzhen Chi, Fuqing Zhang, Wei Li, Jinhai He, and Zhaoyong Guan

Abstract

Using the daily outgoing longwave radiation (OLR), the pentad Climate Prediction Center Merged Analysis of Precipitation (CMAP), and the 6-h Climate Forecast System Reanalysis (CFSR) dataset from 1979 to 2010, a composite analysis along with space–time wave filtering is performed to examine the linkage between the Madden–Julian oscillation (MJO) and the onset of the East Asian subtropical summer monsoon (EASSM) (over 20°–30°N, 110°–120°E). The onset of the EASSM is shown to be best characterized by the reversal of the mean meridional wind shear related to the rapid reestablishment of the South Asian high (SAH) over the southern Indochinese Peninsula in the upper troposphere. The mean date of EASMM onset is near the end of April, which is about a month earlier than the typical onset of the East Asian summer monsoon. Further analysis indicates that the onset of the EASSM and the reestablishment of SAH are often associated with the arrival of the wet phase of the tropical MJO over the central and eastern Indian Ocean.

Full access