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  • Author or Editor: Wei Yan x
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Qing Yan, Ting Wei, and Zhongshi Zhang

Abstract

Simulations of past warm climate provide an opportunity to better understand how the climate system may respond to increased greenhouse gas emissions. Using the ~25-km-resolution Community Atmosphere Model, version 4 (CAM4), we examine climate change over China in the Late Pliocene warm period (3.264–3.025 Ma) and further explore the influences of different sea surface temperature (SST) forcings and model horizontal resolutions. Initial evaluation shows that the high-resolution CAM4 performs well in capturing the climatological distribution of present-day temperature, precipitation, and low-level monsoon circulations over China. Based on the standard Pliocene Research, Interpretation and Synoptic Mapping (version 4; PRISM4) boundary conditions, CAM4 predicts an increase of annual mean temperature by ~0.5°C over China in the Late Pliocene relative to the preindustrial era, with the greatest warming in northwest China but cooling in southwest China. Enhanced annual mean precipitation is observed in the Late Pliocene over most of China except for northwest China where precipitation is decreased. The East Asian summer (winter) monsoon is intensified (weakened) in the Late Pliocene as suggested by geological evidence, which is attributed to the enhanced (reduced) land–sea thermal contrast. The East Asian monsoon domain exhibits a northwestward expansion in the Late Pliocene, especially over the Tibetan Plateau. Additionally, our results indicate that the modeled climate change is sensitive to the Late Pliocene SST forcings and model resolution. Particularly, different SST forcings [PRISM4-based vs Pliocene Model Intercomparison Project (PlioMIP)-based SSTs] affect the modeled phase change of summer monsoon and the associated precipitation change, while model resolution (~25 vs 400 km) mainly impacts precipitation change.

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Di Tian, Wenjie Dong, Xiaodong Yan, Jieming Chou, Shili Yang, Ting Wei, Han Zhang, Yan Guo, Xiaohang Wen, and Zhiyong Yang

Abstract

Global warming as quantified by surface air temperature has been shown to be approximately linearly related to cumulative emissions of CO2. Here, a coupled state-of-the-art Earth system model with an interactive carbon cycle (BNU-ESM) was used to investigate whether this proportionality extends to the complex Earth system model and to examine the climate system responses to different emission pathways with a common emission budget of man-made CO2. These new simulations show that, relative to the lower emissions earlier and higher emissions later (LH) scenario, the amount of carbon sequestration by the land and the ocean will be larger and Earth will experience earlier warming of climate under the higher emissions earlier and lower emissions later (HL) scenario. The processes within the atmosphere, land, and cryosphere, which are highly sensitive to climate, show a relatively linear relationship to cumulative CO2 emissions and will attain similar states under both scenarios, mainly because of the negative feedback between the radiative forcing and ocean heat uptake. However, the processes with larger internal inertias depend on both the CO2 emissions scenarios and the emission budget, such as ocean warming and sea level rise.

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YUE WU, XIAO-TONG ZHENG, QI-WEI SUN, YU ZHANG, YAN DU, and LIN LIU

Abstract

Ocean salinity plays a crucial role in the upper ocean stratification and local marine ecosystem. This study reveals that ocean salinity presents notable decadal variability in upper 200 meters over the southeast Indian Ocean (SEIO). Previous studies linked this salinity variability with precipitation anomalies over the Indo-Pacific region modulated by the tropical Pacific decadal variability. Here we conduct a quantitative salinity budget analysis and show that, in contrast, oceanic advection, especially the anomalous meridional advection, plays a dominant role in modulating the SEIO salinity on the decadal timescale. The anomalous meridional advection is mainly associated with a zonal dipole pattern of sea level anomaly (SLA) in the South Indian Ocean (SIO). Specifically, positive and negative SLAs in the east and west of the SIO correspond to anomalous southward oceanic current, which transports much fresher seawater from the warm pool into the SEIO and thereby decreases the local upper ocean salinity, and vice versa. Further investigation reveals that the local anomalous wind stress curl associated with tropical Pacific forcing is responsible for generating the sea level dipole pattern via oceanic Rossby wave adjustment on decadal timescale. This study highlights that the local ocean-atmosphere dynamical adjustment is critical for the decadal salinity variability in the SEIO.

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Fuyao Wang, Yan Yu, Michael Notaro, Jiafu Mao, Xiaoying Shi, and Yaxing Wei

Abstract

This study advances the practicality and stability of the traditional multivariate statistical method, generalized equilibrium feedback assessment (GEFA), for decomposing the key oceanic drivers of regional atmospheric variability, especially when available data records are short. An advanced stepwise GEFA methodology is introduced, in which unimportant forcings within the forcing matrix are eliminated through stepwise selection. Method validation of stepwise GEFA is performed using the CESM, with a focused application to northern and tropical Africa (NTA). First, a statistical assessment of the atmospheric response to each primary oceanic forcing is carried out by applying stepwise GEFA to a fully coupled control run. Then, a dynamical assessment of the atmospheric response to individual oceanic forcings is performed through ensemble experiments by imposing sea surface temperature anomalies over focal ocean basins. Finally, to quantify the reliability of stepwise GEFA, the statistical assessment is evaluated against the dynamical assessment in terms of four metrics: the percentage of grid cells with consistent response sign, the spatial correlation of atmospheric response patterns, the area-averaged seasonal cycle of response magnitude, and consistency in associated mechanisms between assessments. In CESM, tropical modes, namely El Niño–Southern Oscillation and the tropical Indian Ocean Basin, tropical Indian Ocean dipole, and tropical Atlantic Niño modes, are the dominant oceanic controls of NTA climate. In complementary studies, stepwise GEFA is validated in terms of isolating terrestrial forcings on the atmosphere, and observed oceanic and terrestrial drivers of NTA climate are extracted to establish an observational benchmark for subsequent coupled model evaluation and development of process-based weights for regional climate projections.

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Yan Yu, Michael Notaro, Fuyao Wang, Jiafu Mao, Xiaoying Shi, and Yaxing Wei

Abstract

Generalized equilibrium feedback assessment (GEFA) is a potentially valuable multivariate statistical tool for extracting vegetation feedbacks to the atmosphere in either observations or coupled Earth system models. The reliability of GEFA at capturing the terrestrial impacts on regional climate is demonstrated here using the National Center for Atmospheric Research Community Earth System Model (CESM), with focus on North Africa. The feedback is assessed statistically by applying GEFA to output from a fully coupled control run. To reduce the sampling error caused by short data records, the traditional or full GEFA is refined through stepwise GEFA by dropping unimportant forcings. Two ensembles of dynamical experiments are developed for the Sahel or West African monsoon region against which GEFA-based vegetation feedbacks are evaluated. In these dynamical experiments, regional leaf area index (LAI) is modified either alone or in conjunction with soil moisture, with the latter runs motivated by strong regional soil moisture–LAI coupling. Stepwise GEFA boasts higher consistency between statistically and dynamically assessed atmospheric responses to land surface anomalies than full GEFA, especially with short data records. GEFA-based atmospheric responses are more consistent with the coupled soil moisture–LAI experiments, indicating that GEFA is assessing the combined impacts of coupled vegetation and soil moisture. Both the statistical and dynamical assessments reveal a negative vegetation–rainfall feedback in the Sahel associated with an atmospheric stability mechanism in CESM versus a weaker positive feedback in the West African monsoon region associated with a moisture recycling mechanism in CESM.

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Shasha Shang, Gaofeng Zhu, Jianhui Wei, Yan Li, Kun Zhang, Ruolin Li, Joël Arnault, Zhenyu Zhang, Patrick Laux, Qianya Yang, Ningpeng Dong, Lu Gao, and Harald Kunstmann

Abstract

Precipitation in the Three-River Headwater (TRH) region has undergone significant changes as a result of global warming, which can affect water resources in downstream regions of Asia. However, the underlying mechanisms of the precipitation variability during the cold season (October to April), are still not fully understood. In this study, the daily China gridded precipitation product of CN05.1 as well as the NCEP-NCAR reanalysis are used to investigate the characteristics of the cold season precipitation variability over the TRH region and associated atmospheric mechanisms. The cold season precipitation shows an increasing trend (5.5 mm decade-1) from 1961 to 2014, with a dry-to-wet shift in around the late 1980s. The results indicate that the increased precipitation is associated with the enhanced easterly anomalies over the Tibetan Plateau (TP) and enhanced southeasterly water vapor transport. The enhanced Walker circulations, caused by the gradients of sea surface temperature between the equatorial central-eastern Pacific and Indo-western Pacific in tropical oceans, resulted in strengthened easterly anomalies over the TP and the westward expansion of the anticyclone in the western North Pacific. Meanwhile, the changed Walker circulation is accompanied by a strengthened local Hadley circulation which leads to enhanced meridional water vapor transport from tropical oceans and the South China Sea toward the TRH region. Furthermore, the strengthened East Asia Subtropical Westerly jet may contribute to the enhanced divergence at upper level and anomalous ascending motion above the TRH region leading to more precipitation.

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