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Guihua Wang, Chunzai Wang, and Rui Xin Huang

Abstract

Based on the Simple Ocean Data Assimilation (SODA) dataset and three types of Sverdrup streamfunction, an interdecadal variability of the eastward current in the middle South China Sea (SCS) during summer is identified. Both the pattern and strength of the summer Asian monsoon wind stress curl over the SCS contribute to the interdecadal variability of this current. From 1960 to 1979, the monsoon intensified and the zero wind stress curl line shifted southward. Both the core of positive wind stress curl in the northern SCS and the negative curl in the southern SCS moved southward and thus induced a southward shift of both the southern anticyclonic and northern cyclonic gyres, resulting in a southward displacement of the eastward current associated with these two gyres. In the meantime, the southern (northern) SCS anticyclonic (cyclonic) ocean gyre weakened (strengthened) and therefore also induced the southward shift of the eastward current near the intergyre boundary. In contrast, the eastward current shifted northward from 1980 to 1998 because the monsoon relaxed and the zero wind stress curl line shifted northward. After 1998, the eastward jet moved southward again as the zero wind stress curl line shifted southward and the SCS monsoon strengthened. The eastward current identified from the baroclinic streamfunction moved about 1.7° more southward than that from the barotropic streamfunction, indicating that the meridional position of the eastward current is depth dependent.

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Rui Wang, Yunfei Fu, Tao Xian, Fengjiao Chen, Renmin Yuan, Rui Li, and Guosheng Liu

Abstract

Variations and trends of atmospheric precipitable water (APW) are examined using radiosonde data from Integrated Global Radiosonde Archive (IGRA) and China Meteorological Administration (CMA) from 1995 to 2012 in mainland China. The spatial distribution of the climatological mean APW shows that APW gradually decreases from the southern to the northern regions of mainland China. The seasonal mean pattern of APW shows clear regional difference, except for higher APW in summer (June–August) and lower APW in winter (December–February). Four regions show significantly downward trends in APW. Moreover, the trends of APW calculated using reanalysis datasets are consistent with the results of radiosonde data. Furthermore, the relationship between APW and the general circulation is investigated. The summer East Asian monsoon intensity and El Niño events show positive correlations with APW, whereas the North Atlantic Oscillation shows negative correlation with APW. The downward trend of APW is in accordance with the downward trend of mean column temperature (1000–300 hPa) at most stations, which suggests that decreasing mean column temperature results in decreasing APW in mainland China. Additionally, statistical analysis has revealed the regional trends in APW are not consistent with the regional trends in precipitation, implying that not all the variation of precipitation can be explained by APW.

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Guihua Wang, Shang-Ping Xie, Rui Xin Huang, and Changlin Chen

Abstract

The subsurface ocean response to anthropogenic climate forcing remains poorly characterized. From the Coupled Model Intercomparison Project (CMIP), a robust response of the lower thermocline is identified, where the warming is considerably weaker in the subtropics than in the tropics and high latitudes. The lower thermocline change is inversely proportional to the thermocline depth in the present climatology. Ocean general circulation model (OGCM) experiments show that sea surface warming is the dominant forcing for the subtropical gyre change in contrast to natural variability for which wind dominates, and the ocean response is insensitive to the spatial pattern of surface warming. An analysis based on a ventilated thermocline model shows that the pattern of the lower thermocline change can be interpreted in terms of the dynamic response to the strengthened stratification and downward heat mixing. Consequently, the subtropical gyres become intensified at the surface but weakened in the lower thermcline, consistent with results from CMIP experiments.

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Xiao-Yi Yang, Rui Xin Huang, and Dong Xiao Wang

Abstract

Using 40-yr ECMWF Re-Analysis (ERA-40) data and in situ observations, the positive trend of Southern Ocean surface wind stress during two recent decades is detected, and its close linkage with spring Antarctic ozone depletion is established. The spring Antarctic ozone depletion affects the Southern Hemisphere lower-stratospheric circulation in late spring/early summer. The positive feedback involves the strengthening and cooling of the polar vortex, the enhancement of meridional temperature gradients and the meridional and vertical potential vorticity gradients, the acceleration of the circumpolar westerlies, and the reduction of the upward wave flux. This feedback loop, together with the ozone-related photochemical interaction, leads to the upward tendency of lower-stratospheric zonal wind in austral summer. In addition, the stratosphere–troposphere coupling, facilitated by ozone-related dynamics and the Southern Annular Mode, cooperates to relay the zonal wind anomalies to the upper troposphere. The wave–mean flow interaction and the meridional circulation work together in the form of the Southern Annular Mode, which transfers anomalous wind signals downward to the surface, triggering a striking strengthening of surface wind stress over the Southern Ocean.

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Jiamin Wang, Xiaodan Guan, Yuping Guan, Kaiwei Zhu, Rui Shi, Xiangning Kong, and Shuyang Guo

Abstract

As a result of global warming, the lengths of the four seasons, which are always taken as constant values, have experienced significant variations with rising temperature. Such changes play different roles with regard to regional climate change, with the most significant effect on drylands. To guarantee local crop yields and preserve ecosystems, identification of the changes of the four seasons in drylands is important. Our results show that, relative to humid lands, changing trends in lengths of spring, summer, and autumn were particularly enhanced in drylands of the Northern Hemisphere midlatitudes during 1951–2020. In this period, summer length has increased by 0.51 days per year, while spring and autumn lengths have both contracted by 0.14 days per year. However, the enhanced changes in drylands did not appear in winter length. The winter has shortened by 0.23 days per year in drylands. Such changes of spring, summer, and autumn in drylands are dominated by internal variability over the entire study period, with a stronger external forcing effect on drylands than on humid lands. In drylands, the external forcing contributed to the lengths of spring, summer, and autumn by 30.1%, 42.2%, and 29.4%, respectively. The external forcing has become an increasingly important component since 1990, with the ability to dominate all seasons in drylands after 2010. Nevertheless, only 1 of the 16 models from phase 6 of the Coupled Model Intercomparison Project (CMIP6) used in this study can capture the enhanced changes in the lengths of spring, summer, and autumn in drylands. Further investigation on the local effects of changes in seasons on agriculture and ecosystem would be needed, especially for the fragile regions.

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Rui Mao, Dao-Yi Gong, Tianbao Zhao, Wenshan Wang, and Jing Yang

Abstract

High relative humidity (HRH) is defined as a relative humidity of at least 80%, which is often associated with the occurrence of cloud layers. Thus, the frequency of HRH and its changes in the troposphere may be related to the occurrence frequency of cloud layers and their changes. In this study, trends in the frequency of HRH (defined as days with relative humidity ≥80%) over China from the surface to the midtroposphere (≥400 hPa) from 1979 to 2012 were analyzed using a homogenized humidity dataset for spring (March–May), summer (June–August), autumn (September–November), and winter (December–February). The results for the ground level indicate decreasing trends at most stations in southeastern China in spring and in northern China in summer. In the lower troposphere (850 and 700 hPa), most stations over China exhibit positive trends in summer, autumn, and winter. For the midtroposphere (500–400 hPa), increasing trends dominate over China in spring, summer, and autumn. Finally, six reanalysis datasets, the NCEP–NCAR, NCEP–DOE, CFSR, ERA-Interim, MERRA, and JRA-55 datasets, were compared with the observed increasing trends in HRH frequency in the low-to-middle troposphere. Similar increasing trends in HRH frequency in the reanalysis datasets and the homogenized humidity data are observed in certain seasons and for certain regions. These results are consistent with the increasing low-to-middle cloud amounts in recent decades.

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Kang Xu, Rui Xin Huang, Weiqiang Wang, Congwen Zhu, and Riyu Lu

Abstract

The interannual fluctuations of the equatorial thermocline are usually associated with El Niño activity, but the linkage between the thermocline modes and El Niño is still under debate. In the present study, a mode function decomposition method is applied to the equatorial Pacific thermocline, and the results show that the first two dominant modes (M1 and M2) identify two distinct characteristics of the equatorial Pacific thermocline. The M1 reflects a basinwide zonally tilted thermocline related to the eastern Pacific (EP) El Niño, with shoaling (deepening) in the western (eastern) equatorial Pacific. The M2 represents the central Pacific (CP) El Niño, characterized by a V-shaped equatorial Pacific thermocline (i.e., deep in the central equatorial Pacific and shallow on both the western and eastern boundaries). Furthermore, both modes are stable and significant on the interannual time scale, and manifest as the major feature of the thermocline fluctuations associated with the two types of El Niño events. As good proxies of EP and CP El Niño events, thermocline-based indices clearly reveal the inherent characteristics of subsurface ocean responses during the evolution of El Niño events, which are characterized by the remarkable zonal eastward propagation of equatorial subsurface ocean temperature anomalies, particularly during the CP El Niño. Further analysis of the mixed layer heat budget suggests that the air–sea interactions determine the establishment and development stages of the CP El Niño, while the thermocline feedback is vital for its further development. These results highlight the key influence of equatorial Pacific thermocline fluctuations in conjunction with the air–sea interactions, on the CP El Niño.

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