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Rui Mei and Guiling Wang

Abstract

This study examines the land–atmosphere coupling strength during summer over subregions of the United States based on observations [Climate Prediction Center (CPC)–Variable Infiltration Capacity (VIC)], reanalysis data [North American Regional Reanalysis (NARR) and NCEP Climate Forecast System Reanalysis (CFSR)], and models [Community Atmosphere Model, version 3 (CAM3)–Community Land Model, version 3 (CLM3) and CAM4–CLM4]. The probability density function of conditioned correlation between soil moisture and subsequent precipitation or surface temperature during the years of large precipitation anomalies is used as a measure for the coupling strength. There are three major findings: 1) among the eight subregions (classified by land cover types), the transition zone Great Plains (and, to a lesser extent, the Midwest and Southeast) are identified as hot spots for strong land–atmosphere coupling; 2) soil moisture–precipitation coupling is weaker than soil moisture–surface temperature coupling; and 3) the coupling strength is stronger in observational and reanalysis products than in the models examined, especially in CAM4–CLM4. The conditioned correlation analysis also indicates that the coupling strength in CAM4–CLM4 is weaker than in CAM3–CLM3, which is further supported by Global Land–Atmosphere Coupling Experiments1 (GLACE1)-type experiments and attributed to changes in CAM rather than modifications in CLM. Contrary to suggestions in previous studies, CAM–CLM models do not seem to overestimate the land–atmosphere coupling strength.

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Rui Mei and Guiling Wang

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This study examines the impact of sea surface temperature (SST) and soil moisture on summer precipitation over two regions of the United States (the upper Mississippi River basin and the Great Plains) based on data from observation and observation-forced model simulations (in the case of soil moisture). Results from SST–precipitation correlation analysis show that spatially averaged SST of identified oceanic areas are better predictors than derived SST patterns from the EOF analysis and that both predictors are strongly associated with the Pacific Ocean. Results from conditioned soil moisture–precipitation correlation analysis show that the impact of soil moisture on precipitation differs between the outer-quartiles years (with summer precipitation amount in the first and fourth quartiles) and inner-quartiles years (with summer precipitation amount in the second and third quartiles), and also between the high- and low-skill SST years (categorized according to the skill of SST-based precipitation prediction). Specifically, the soil moisture–precipitation feedback is more likely to be positive and significant in the outer-quartiles years and in the years when the skill of precipitation prediction based on SST alone is low. This study indicates that soil moisture should be included as a useful predictor in precipitation prediction, and the resulting improvement in prediction skills will be especially substantial during years of large precipitation anomalies. It also demonstrates the complexity of the impact of SST and soil moisture on precipitation, and underlines the important complementary roles both SST and soil moisture play in determining precipitation.

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Rui Mei, Guiling Wang, and Huanghe Gu

Abstract

This study investigates the land–atmosphere coupling strength during summer over the United States using the Regional Climate Model version 4 (RegCM4)–Community Land Model version 3.5 (CLM3.5). First, a 10-yr simulation driven with reanalysis lateral boundary conditions (LBCs) is conducted to evaluate the model performance. The model is then used to quantify the land–atmosphere coupling strength, predictability, and added forecast skill (for precipitation and 2-m air temperature) attributed to realistic land surface initialization following the Global Land–Atmosphere Coupling Experiment (GLACE) approaches. Similar to previous GLACE results using global climate models (GCMs), GLACE-type experiments with RegCM4 identify the central United States as a region of strong land–atmosphere coupling, with soil moisture–temperature coupling being stronger than soil moisture–precipitation coupling, and confirm that realistic soil moisture initialization is more promising in improving temperature forecasts than precipitation forecasts. At a 1–15-day lead, the added forecast skill reflects predictability (or land–atmosphere coupling strength) indicating that that model can capture the realistic land–atmosphere coupling at a short time scale. However, at a 16–30-day lead, predictability cannot translate to added forecast skill, implying that the coupling at the longer time scale may not be represented well in the model. In addition, comparison of results from GLACE2-type experiments with RegCM4 driven by reanalysis LBCs and those driven by GCM LBCs suggest that the intrinsic land–atmosphere coupling strength within the regional model is the dominant factor for the added forecast skill at a 1–15-day lead, while the impact of LBCs from the GCM may play a dominant role in determining the signal of added forecast skill in the regional model at a 16–30-day lead. It demonstrates the complexities of using regional climate model for GLACE-type studies.

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Lizhi Tao, Xinguang He, and Rui Wang

Abstract

In this study, a hybrid least squares support vector machine (HLSSVM) model is presented for effectively forecasting monthly precipitation. The hybrid method is designed by incorporating the empirical mode decomposition (EMD) for data preprocessing, partial information (PI) algorithm for input identification, and differential evolution (DE) for model parameter optimization into least squares support vector machine (LSSVM). The HLSSVM model is examined by forecasting monthly precipitation at 138 rain gauge stations in the Yangtze River basin and compared with the LSSVM and LSSVM–DE. The LSSVM–DE is built by combining the LSSVM and DE. Two statistical measures, Nash–Sutcliffe efficiency (NSE) and relative absolute error (RAE), are employed to evaluate the performance of the models. The comparison of results shows that the LSSVM–DE gets a superior performance to LSSVM, and the HLSSVM provides the best performance among the three models for monthly precipitation forecasts. Meanwhile, it is also observed that all the models exhibit significant spatial variability in forecast performance. The prediction is most skillful in the western and northwestern regions of the basin. In contrast, the prediction skill in the eastern and southeastern regions is generally low, which shows a strong relationship with the randomness of precipitation. Compared to LSSVM and LSSVM–DE, the proposed HLSSVM model gives a more significant improvement for most of the stations in the eastern and southeastern regions with higher randomness.

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Rui Wang, Xin Yan, Zhenguo Niu, and Wei Chen

Abstract

Water surface temperature is a direct indication of climate change. However, it is not clear how China’s inland waters have responded to climate change in the past using a consistent method on a national scale. In this study, we used Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer (MODIS) data from 2000 to 2015 to study the temporal and spatial variation characteristics of water surface temperature in China using the wavelet transform method. The results showed the following: 1) the freezing date of China inland water has shown a significant delaying trend during the past 16 years with an average rate of −1.5 days yr−1; 2) the shift of the 0°C isotherm position of surface water across China has clear seasonal changes, which first moved eastward about 25° and northward about 15°, and then gradually moved back after the year 2009; 3) during the past 16 years, the 0°C isotherm of China’s surface water has gradually moved north by about 0.09° in the latitude direction and east by about 1° in the longitude direction; and 4) the interannual variation of water surface temperature in 17 lakes of China showed a similar fluctuation trend that increased before 2010, and then decreased. The El Niño and La Niña around 2010 could have impacts on the turning point of the annual variation of water surface temperature. This study validated the response of China’s inland surface water to global climate change and improved the understanding of the wetland environment’s response to climate change.

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Di Liu, Guiling Wang, Rui Mei, Zhongbo Yu, and Huanghe Gu

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This paper focuses on diagnosing the strength of soil moisture–atmosphere coupling at subseasonal to seasonal time scales over Asia using two different approaches: the conditional correlation approach [applied to the Global Land Data Assimilation System (GLDAS) data, the Climate Forecast System Reanalysis (CFSR) data, and output from the regional climate model, version 4 (RegCM4)] and the Global Land–Atmosphere Coupling Experiment (GLACE) approach applied to the RegCM4. The conditional correlation indicators derived from the model output and the two observational/reanalysis datasets agree fairly well with each other in the spatial pattern of the land–atmosphere coupling signal, although the signal in CFSR data is stronger and spatially more extensive than the GLDAS data and the RegCM4 output. Based on the impact of soil moisture on 2-m air temperature, the land–atmosphere coupling hotspots common to all three data sources include the Indochina region in spring and summer, the India region in summer and fall, and north-northeastern China and southwestern Siberia in summer. For precipitation, all data sources produce a weak and spatially scattered signal, indicating the lack of any strong coupling between soil moisture and precipitation, for both precipitation amount and frequency. Both the GLACE approach and the conditional correlation approach (applied to all three data sources) identify evaporation and evaporative fraction as important links for the coupling between soil moisture and precipitation/temperature. Results on soil moisture–temperature coupling strength from the GLACE-type experiment using RegCM4 are in good agreement with those from the conditional correlation analysis applied to output from the same model, despite substantial differences between the two approaches in the terrestrial segment of the land–atmosphere coupling.

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Xuejin Wang, Baoqing Zhang, Feng Li, Xiang Li, Xuliang Li, Yibo Wang, Rui Shao, Jie Tian, and Chansheng He

Abstract

From 1998 to the present, the Chinese government has implemented numerous large-scale ecological programs to restore ecosystems and improve environmental protection in the agro-pastoral ecotone of northern China (APENC). However, it remains unclear how vegetation restoration modulates intraregional moisture cycles and changes regional water balance. To fill this gap, we first investigated the variation in precipitation (P) from the China Meteorological Forcing Dataset and evapotranspiration (ET) estimated using the Priestley–Taylor Jet Propulsion Laboratory model under two scenarios: dynamic vegetation (DV) and no dynamic vegetation (no-DV). We then used the dynamic recycling model to analyze the changes in precipitation recycling ratio (PRR). Finally, we examined how vegetation restoration modulates intraregional moisture recycling to change the regional water cycle in APENC. Results indicate P increased at an average rate of 4.42 mm yr−2 from 1995 to 2015. ET with DV exhibited a significant increase at a rate of 1.57, 3.58, 1.53, and 1.84 mm yr−2 in the four subregions, respectively, compared with no-DV, and the annual mean PRR values were 10.15%, 9.30%, 11.01%, and 12.76% in the four subregions, and significant increasing trends were found in the APENC during 1995–2015. Further analysis of regional moisture recycling shows that vegetation restoration does not increase local P directly, but has an indirect effect by enhancing moisture recycling process to produce more P by increasing PRR. Our findings show that large-scale ecological restoration programs have a positive effect on local moisture cycle and precipitation.

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Xing Chen, Mukesh Kumar, Rui Wang, Adam Winstral, and Danny Marks

Abstract

Previous studies have shown that gauge-observed daily streamflow peak times (DPTs) during spring snowmelt can exhibit distinct temporal shifts through the season. These shifts have been attributed to three processes: 1) melt flux translation through the snowpack or percolation, 2) surface and subsurface flow of melt from the base of snowpacks to streams, and 3) translation of water flux in the streams to stream gauging stations. The goal of this study is to evaluate and quantify how these processes affect observed DPTs variations at the Reynolds Mountain East (RME) research catchment in southwest Idaho, United States. To accomplish this goal, DPTs were simulated for the RME catchment over a period of 25 water years using a modified snowmelt model, iSnobal, and a hydrology model, the Penn State Integrated Hydrologic Model (PIHM). The influence of each controlling process was then evaluated by simulating the DPT with and without the process under consideration. Both intra- and interseasonal variability in DPTs were evaluated. Results indicate that the magnitude of DPTs is dominantly influenced by subsurface flow, whereas the temporal shifts within a season are primarily controlled by percolation through snow. In addition to the three processes previously identified in the literature, processes governing the snowpack ripening time are identified as additionally influencing DPT variability. Results also indicate that the relative dominance of each control varies through the melt season and between wet and dry years. The results could be used for supporting DPTs prediction efforts and for prioritization of observables for DPT determination.

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