Search Results

You are looking at 1 - 10 of 12 items for :

  • Author or Editor: Minghua Zhang x
  • Journal of the Atmospheric Sciences x
  • Refine by Access: All Content x
Clear All Modify Search
Minghua Zhang
and
Qingcun Zeng

Abstract

The evolution processes of small disturbances in an arbitrary basic flow can be expressed as a combination of spectral functions of the discrete spectra and continuous spectrum of a model that bear distinctly different evolutionary characteristics. Using the linearized barotropic quasigeostrophic vorticity model, this study formulates the discrete spectral solution into a form that is consistent with traditional normal modes in time and space, and the continuous spectral solution into a form with the continuum covering the range between minimum and maximum zonal angular velocities. An estimation of the bounds of the spectral points is derived to complement those derived from integral constraints. A theorem is given to describe the possible number of discrete spectral points away from the continuum.

The theoretical analysis is then used to aid the numerical identification and interpretation of discrete and continuous spectra of the model with realistic atmospheric basic zonal flows. It is shown that neutral spectral points correspond to either ultralong waves with global meridional coverage or synoptic-scale waves in low latitudes. The unstable spectral points correspond to localized waves with developing or decaying timescales longer than 2 weeks. Structures of spectral function of the continuum are also presented and discussed. They are shown to restrict on one side to the critical latitude and on the other side to the jet core under certain conditions.

Full access
Minghua Zhang
and
Marvin A. Geller

Abstract

The growth of waves and the generation of potential energy in wave-CISK require unstable waves to tilt with height oppositely to their direction of propagation. This makes the structures and instability properties of these waves very sensitive to the presence of vertical shear in the basic flow. Equatorial Kelvin and Rossby-gravity waves have opposite phase tilt with height to what they have in the stratosphere, and their growth is selectively favored by basic flows with westward vertical shear and eastward vertical shear, respectively. Similar calculations are also made for gravity waves and Rossby waves. It is shown that eastward vertical shear of the basic flow promotes CISK for westward propagating Rossby-gravity, Rossby, and gravity waves and suppresses CISK for eastward propagating Kelvin and gravity waves, while westward shear of the basic flow has the reverse effects.

Full access
Marvin A. Geller
,
Xuelong Zhou
, and
Minghua Zhang

Abstract

Observations and model results indicate that the quasi-biennial oscillation (QBO) modulation of stratospheric water vapor results from two causes. Dynamical redistribution of water vapor from the QBO-induced mean meridional circulation dominates the observed variability in the middle and upper stratosphere. In the lower stratosphere, the QBO water vapor variability is dominated by a “tape recorder” that results from the dehydration signal accompanying the QBO variation of the tropical cold point tropopause. It is suggested that another low frequency tape recorder exists due to ENSO modulations of the tropical tropopause, but insufficiently long observations of stratospheric water vapor exist to identify this in the observations.

Full access
Kuan-Man Xu
,
Anning Cheng
, and
Minghua Zhang

Abstract

This study investigates the physical mechanisms of the low cloud feedback through cloud-resolving simulations of cloud-radiative equilibrium response to an increase in sea surface temperature (SST). Six pairs of perturbed and control simulations are performed to represent different regimes of low clouds in the subtropical region by specifying SST differences (ΔSST) in the range of 4 and 14 K between the warm tropical and cool subtropical regions. The SST is uniformly increased by 2 K in the perturbed set of simulations. Equilibrium states are characterized by cumulus and stratocumulus cloud regimes with variable thicknesses and vertical extents for the range of specified ΔSSTs, with the perturbed set of simulations having higher cloud bases and tops and larger geometric thicknesses. The cloud feedback effect is negative for this ΔSST range (−0.68 to −5.22 W m−2 K−1) while the clear-sky feedback effect is mostly negative (−1.45 to 0.35 W m−2 K−1). The clear-sky feedback effect contributes greatly to the climate sensitivity parameter for the cumulus cloud regime whereas the cloud feedback effect dominates for the stratocumulus regime. The increase of liquid water path (LWP) and cloud optical depth is related to the increase of cloud thickness and liquid water content with SST. The rates of change in surface latent heat flux are much higher than those of saturation water vapor pressure in the cumulus simulations. The increase in surface latent heat flux is the primary mechanism for the large change of cloud physical properties with +2 K SST, which leads to the negative cloud feedback effects. The changes in cloud fraction also contribute to the negative cloud feedback effects in the cumulus regime. Comparison of these results with prior modeling studies is also discussed.

Full access
Jialin Lin
,
Brian Mapes
,
Minghua Zhang
, and
Matthew Newman

Abstract

The observed profile of heating through the troposphere in the Madden–Julian oscillation (MJO) is found to be very top heavy: more so than seasonal-mean heating and systematically more so than all of the seven models for which intraseasonal heating anomaly profiles have been published. Consistently, the Tropical Rainfall Measuring Mission (TRMM) precipitation radar shows that stratiform precipitation (known to heat the upper troposphere and cool the lower troposphere) contributes more to intraseasonal rainfall variations than it does to seasonal-mean rainfall. Stratiform rainfall anomalies lag convective rainfall anomalies by a few days. Reasons for this lag apparently include increased wind shear and middle–upper tropospheric humidity, which also lag convective (and total) rainfall by a few days.

A distinct rearward tilt is seen in anomalous heating time–height sections, in both the strong December 1992 MJO event observed by the Tropical Ocean Global Atmosphere Coupled Ocean–Atmosphere Response Experiment (TOGA COARE) and a composite MJO constructed from multiyear datasets. Interpretation is aided by a formal partitioning of the COARE heating section into convective, stratiform, and radiative components. The tilted structure after the maximum surface rainfall appears to be largely contributed by latent and radiative heating in enhanced stratiform anvils. However, the tilt of anomalous heating ahead of maximum rainfall is seen within the convective component, suggesting a change from shallower to deeper convective heating as the wet phase of the MJO approached the longitude of the observations.

Full access
Jia-Lin Lin
,
Minghua Zhang
, and
Brian Mapes

Abstract

Linear, dissipative models with resting base states are sometimes used in theoretical studies of the Madden–Julian oscillation (MJO). Linear mechanical damping in such models ranges from nonexistent to strong, since an observational basis for its source and strength has been lacking. This study examines the zonal momentum budget of a composite MJO over the equatorial western Pacific region, constructed using filtering and regression techniques from 15 yr (1979–93) of daily global reanalysis data. Two different reanalyses (NCEP–NCAR and ERA-15) give qualitatively similar results for all major terms, including the budget residual, whose structure is consistent with its interpretation as eddy momentum flux convergence (EMFC) in convection.

The results show that the MJO is a highly viscous oscillation, with a 3–5-day equivalent linear damping time scale, in the upper as well as lower troposphere. Upper-level damping is mainly in the form of large-scale advection terms, which are linear in MJO amplitude but involve horizontal and vertical background flow. Specifically, the leading terms are the advection of time-mean zonal shear by MJO vertical motion anomalies and advection of MJO wind anomalies by time-mean ascent. This upper-level damping in the western Pacific is mostly confined between 10°N and 10°S. In contrast, zonal wind damping in the lower troposphere involves EMFC (budget residual) and zonal mean linear meridional advection.

Stated another way, the strong upper-level damping necessitates upper-level geopotential height gradients to maintain the observed zonal wind anomalies over the time scales implied by the MJO’s low frequency. The existence of the background flow thus tends to shift MJO temperature perturbations westward so that the warm anomaly ahead (east) of the convective center is shifted back into the convection. This shifting effect is fully realized only for anomalies with a period much longer than the 3–5-day damping time.

Full access
Weixing Shen
,
Marvin A. Geller
, and
Minghua Zhang

Abstract

This paper investigates the effects of vertical shear of the mean zonal flow on CISK waves in a spherical geometry. A linearized primitive equation model, including mean zonal flow, on a sphere is designed to generalize the previous results about the effects of the vertical shear of the mean zonal flow on the excitation of fast tropical waves with periods shorter than 20 days.

In the case of linear CISK heating, the eastward propagating Kelvin waves are most unstable when the vertical shear of the mean zonal flow is easterly with height, and the westward propagating gravity waves (not mixed Rossby–gravity waves) are preferentially excited when the vertical shear of the mean zonal flow is westerly. The vertical structure of these unstable waves is in agreement with the previous results. In the troposphere, both the temperature and vertical velocity fields of the unstable waves tilt backward with height, and the tilt is smaller for the vertical velocity field than for the temperature field. In contrast, forward phase tilts are found above the troposphere, consistent with upward propagation of wave energy.

In the case of positive-only (nonlinear) CISK heating, antisymmetric waves (with zonal wind antisymmetric about the equator) are suppressed, and an eastward propagating symmetric nondispersive wave packet with negligible meridional wind is excited. This unstable wave packet not only has zonally asymmetric structure but also has a change of zonal scale with height. Unlike in the linear case, the vertical shear of the mean zonal flow is unable to excite westward propagating gravity waves, but it does affect the instability of the wave packet in the same way as in the linear heating case. As was found for a single wave in the linear heating case, the unstable wave packet is shown to have a backward phase tilt with height in the troposphere. However, the effect of the vertical shear of the mean zonal flow on the wave packet works not by changing its phase tilt but by changing its zonal scale.

Full access
Courtney Schumacher
,
Minghua H. Zhang
, and
Paul E. Ciesielski

Abstract

Heating profiles calculated from sounding networks and other observations during three Tropical Rainfall Measuring Mission (TRMM) field campaigns [the Kwajalein Experiment (KWAJEX), TRMM Large-Scale Biosphere–Atmosphere Experiment in Amazonia (LBA), and South China Sea Monsoon Experiment (SCSMEX)] show distinct geographical differences between oceanic, continental, and monsoon regimes. Differing cloud types (both precipitating and nonprecipitating) play an important role in determining the total diabatic heating profile. Variations in the vertical structure of the apparent heat source, Q 1, can be related to the diurnal cycle, large-scale forcings such as atmospheric waves, and rain thresholds at each location. For example, TRMM-LBA, which occurred in the Brazilian Amazon, had mostly deep convection during the day while KWAJEX, which occurred in the western portion of the Pacific intertropical convergence zone, had more shallow and moderately deep daytime convection. Therefore, the afternoon height of maximum heating was more bottom heavy (i.e., heating below 600 hPa) during KWAJEX compared to TRMM-LBA. More organized convective systems with extensive stratiform rain areas and upper-level cloud decks tended to occur in the early and late morning hours during TRMM-LBA and KWAJEX, respectively, thereby causing Q 1 profiles to be top heavy (i.e., maxima from 600 to 400 hPa) at those times. SCSMEX, which occurred in the South China Sea during the monsoon season, had top-heavy daytime and nighttime heating profiles suggesting that mesoscale convective systems occurred throughout the diurnal cycle, although more precipitation and upper-level cloud in the afternoon caused the daytime heating maximum to be larger. A tendency toward bottom- and top-heavy heating profile variations is also associated with the different cloud types that occurred before and after the passage of easterly wave troughs during KWAJEX, the easterly and westerly regimes during TRMM-LBA, and the monsoon onset and postonset active periods during SCSMEX. Rain thresholds based on heavy, moderate, and light/no-rain amounts can further differentiate top-heavy heating, bottom-heavy heating, and tropospheric cooling. These budget studies suggest that model calculations and satellite retrievals of Q 1 must account for a large number of factors in order to accurately determine the vertical structure of diabatic heating associated with tropical cloud systems.

Full access
Marvin A. Geller
,
Weixing Shen
,
Minghua Zhang
, and
Wei-Wu Tan

Abstract

One-dimensional calculations are carried out for the time evolution of the equatorial lower stratospheric mean zonal wind forced by time-varying equatorial Kelvin and mixed Rossby–gravity waves. If the time variation of the wave momentum forcing is given by a steady forcing plus a sinusoidal modulation, a tendency toward phase locking between the period of the wave forcing’s modulation and the period of the resulting mean wind oscillation is found in some cases, depending on the period and magnitude of the wave forcing as well as the phase difference between variations of the easterly and westerly momentum fluxes. Regime diagrams are shown to make these dependences clearer. If the wave forcings are irregularly modulated, the resulting time variation of the wind oscillation shows no resemblance to the imposed time variation of the wave forcing. These simple calculations are used to indicate that for nonlinear phenomena, such as the quasi-biennial oscillation (QBO), one cannot conclude that a lack of correlation between two data records means that these are physically unrelated. When the equatorial wave momentum fluxes are modulated according to the eastern Pacific sea surface temperatures, the simulated time variation of the QBO period sometimes (depending on the phase relation between the easterly and westerly time-varying fluxes) shows a great resemblance to the observations. This suggests that easterly and westerly momentum fluxes into the equatorial lower stratosphere are related to SST variations.

Full access
Xiping Zeng
,
Wei-Kuo Tao
,
Toshihisa Matsui
,
Shaocheng Xie
,
Stephen Lang
,
Minghua Zhang
,
David O’C Starr
, and
Xiaowen Li

Abstract

The ice crystal enhancement (IE) factor, defined as the ratio of the ice crystal to ice nuclei (IN) number concentrations for any particular cloud condition, is needed to quantify the contribution of changes in IN to global warming. However, the ensemble characteristics of IE are still unclear. In this paper, a representation of the IE factor is incorporated into a three-ice-category microphysical scheme for use in long-term cloud-resolving model (CRM) simulations. Model results are compared with remote sensing observations, which suggest that, absent a physically based consideration of how IE comes about, the IE factor in tropical clouds is about 103 times larger than that in midlatitudinal ones. This significant difference in IE between the tropics and middle latitudes is consistent with the observation of stronger entrainment and detrainment in the tropics. In addition, the difference also suggests that cloud microphysical parameterizations depend on spatial resolution (or subgrid turbulence parameterizations within CRMs).

Full access