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Wei Gong and Wei-Chyung Wang

Abstract

This is the second part of a study investigating the 1991 severe precipitation event over the Yangtze–Huai River valley (YHRV) in China using both observations and regional model simulations. While Part I reported on the Mei-yu front and its association with large-scale circulation, this study documents the biases associated with the treatment of the lateral boundary in the regional model. Two aspects of the biases were studied: the driving field, which provides large-scale boundary forcing, and the coupling scheme, which specifies how the forcing is adopted by the model. The former bias is defined as model uncertainty because it is not related to the model itself, while the latter bias (as well as those biases attributed to other sources) is referred to as model error. These two aspects were examined by analyzing the regional model simulations of the 1991 summer severe precipitation event over YHRV using different driving fields (ECMWF–TOGA objective analysis, ECMWF reanalysis, and NCEP–NCAR reanalysis) and coupling scheme (distribution function of the nudging coefficient and width of the buffer zone). Spectral analysis was also used to study the frequency distribution of the bias.

The analyses suggest that the 200-hPa winds, 500-hPa geopotential height, and 850-hPa winds and water vapor mixing ratio, which have dominant influences on Mei-yu evolution, are sensitive to large-scale boundary forcing. In particular the 500-hPa geopotential height, and 850-hPa water vapor mixing ratio near the Tibetan Plateau and over the western Pacific Oceans are highly dependent on the driving field. On the other hand, the water vapor in the lower troposphere, wind at all levels, and precipitation pattern are much more affected by the treatment of nudging in the coupling scheme. It is interesting to find that the two commonly used coupling schemes, the lateral boundary coupling and the spectral coupling, provide similar large-scale information to the simulation domain when the former scheme used a wider buffer zone and stronger nudging coefficient. Systematical model errors, existing in the north of the simulation domain, are caused by the overprediction of low-level inversion stratiform clouds.

The analyses further indicate that the model mesoscale signal is not significantly influenced by the different treatments of the nudging procedure. However, it is also shown that the model performance, especially the monthly mean precipitation and its spatial pattern, is substantially improved with the increase of buffer zone width and nudging coefficient.

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Wei-Chyung Wang, Wei Gong, and Helin Wei

Abstract

The summer Mei-yu event over eastern China, which is strongly influenced by large-scale circulation, is an important aspect of East Asian climate; for example, the Mei-yu frequently brings heavy precipitation to the Yangtze–Huai River valley (YHRV). Both observations and a regional model were used to study the Mei-yu front and its relation to large-scale circulation during the summer of 1991 when severe floods occurred over YHRV. This study has two parts: the first part, presented here, analyzes the association between heavy Mei-yu precipitation and relevant large-scale circulation, while the second part, documented by W. Gong and W.-C. Wang, examines the model biases associated with the treatment of lateral boundary conditions (the objective analyses and coupling schemes) used as the driving fields for the regional model.

Observations indicate that the Mei-yu season in 1991 spans 18 May–14 July, making it the longest Mei-yu period during the last 40 yr. The heavy precipitation over YHRV is found to be intimately related to the western Pacific subtropical high, upper-tropospheric westerly jet at midlatitudes, and lower-tropospheric southwest wind and moisture flux. The regional model simulates reasonably well the regional mean surface air temperature and precipitation, in particular the precipitation evolution and its association with the large-scale circulation throughout the Mei-yu season. However, the model simulates smaller precipitation intensity, which is due partly to the colder and drier model atmosphere resulting from excessive low-level clouds and the simplified land surface process scheme used in the present study.

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Wei-Chyung Wang, Wei Gong, Wen-Shung Kau, Cheng-Ta Chen, Huang-Hsiung Hsu, and Chia-Hsiu Tu

Abstract

Observations indicate that the East Asian summer monsoon (EASM) exhibits distinctive characteristics of large cloud amounts with associated heavy and persistent rainfall, although short breaks for clear sky usually occur. Consequently, the effects of cloud–radiation interactions can play an important role in the general circulation of the atmosphere and, thus, the evolution of the EASM. In this note, as a first step toward studying the topic, the 5-yr (January 1985–December 1989) Earth Radiation Budget Experiment (ERBE) dataset is used to show the spatial and temporal patterns of both shortwave (SW) and longwave (LW) cloud radiative forcing (CRF) at the top of the atmosphere over east China, and to compare the observed features with Atmospheric Model Intercomparison Project-II (AMIP-II) simulations with the University at Albany, State University of New York (SUNYA) Community Climate Model 3 (CCM3) and the ECHAM4 general circulation models.

The observations indicate that the net CRF provides a cooling effect to the atmosphere–surface climate system, dominated by the SW CRF cooling (albedo effect) with partial compensation from the LW CRF warming (greenhouse effect). The SW CRF shows a strong seasonal cycle, and its peak magnitude is particularly large, ∼110 W m−2, for south China and the Yangtze–Huai River valley (YHRV) during May and June, while the LW CRF is about 50 W m−2 for the same months with a weak dependence on the latitudes and seasons. These characteristics are in sharp contrast to the Northern Hemispheric zonal means of the same latitude bands and seasons, thus implying a unique role for cloud–radiation interaction in east China. Both model simulations show similar observed characteristics, although biases exist. For example, in May, the ECHAM4 underestimates the SW CRF while the SUNYA CCM3 simulates a significantly larger value, both attributed to the respective biases in the simulated total cloud cover. Model-to-observation comparisons of the association between total cloud cover and SW CRF, and between high cloud cover and LW CRF, are also presented and their differences are discussed. Finally, the SUNYA CCM3 biases in the CRF and its relevance to the model cloud biases are discussed in the context of model cold and dry biases in climate simulations.

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Hainan Gong, Lin Wang, Wen Chen, Renguang Wu, Ke Wei, and Xuefeng Cui

Abstract

In this paper the model outputs from the Coupled Model Intercomparison Project (CMIP) phase 5 (CMIP5) are used to examine the climatology and interannual variability of the East Asian winter monsoon (EAWM). The multimodel ensemble (MME) is able to reproduce reasonably well the circulation features of the EAWM. The simulated surface air temperature still suffers from a cold bias over East Asia, but this bias is reduced compared with CMIP phase 3 models. The intermodel spread is relatively small for the large-scale circulations, but is large for the lower-tropospheric meridional wind and precipitation along the East Asian coast. The interannual variability of the EAWM-related circulations can be captured by most of the models. A general bias is that the simulated variability is slightly weaker than in the observations. Based on a selected dynamic EAWM index, the patterns of the EAWM-related anomalies are well reproduced in MME although the simulated anomalies are slightly weaker than the observations. One general bias is that the northeasterly anomalies over East Asia cannot be captured to the south of 30°N. This bias may arise both from the inadequacies of the EAWM index and from the ability of models to capture the EAWM-related tropical–extratropical interactions. The ENSO–EAWM relationship is then evaluated and about half of the models can successfully capture the observed ENSO–EAWM relationship, including the significant negative correlation between Niño-3.4 and EAWM indices and the anomalous anticyclone (or cyclone) over the northwestern Pacific. The success of these models is attributed to the reasonable simulation of both ENSO’s spatial structure and its strength of interannual variability.

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