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Fahimeh Sarmadi
,
Yi Huang
,
Steven T. Siems
, and
Michael J. Manton

Abstract

The relationship between orographic precipitation, low-level thermodynamic stability, and the synoptic meteorology is explored for the Snowy Mountains of southeast Australia. A 21-yr dataset (May–October, 1995–2015) of upper-air soundings from an upwind site is used to define synoptic indicators and the low-level stability. A K-means clustering algorithm was employed to classify the daily meteorology into four synoptic classes. The initial classification, based only on six synoptic indicators, distinctly defines both the surface precipitation and the low-level stability by class. Consistent with theory, the wet classes are found to have weak low-level stability, and the dry classes have strong low-level stability. By including low-level stability as an additional input variable to the clustering method, statistically significant correlations were found between the precipitation and the low-level stability within each of the four classes. An examination of the joint PDF reveals a highly nonlinear relationship; heavy rain was associated with very weak low-level stability, and conversely, strong low-level stability was associated with very little precipitation. Building on these historical relationships, model output statistics (MOS) from a moderate resolution (12-km spatial resolution) operational forecast were used to develop stepwise regression models designed to improve the 24-h forecast of precipitation over the Snowy Mountains. A single regression model for all days was found to reduce the RMSE by 7% and the bias by 75%. A class-based regression model was found to reduce the overall RMSE by 30% and the bias by 85%.

Full access
Chuanhao Wu
,
Pat J.-F. Yeh
,
Yi-Ying Chen
,
Bill X. Hu
, and
Guoru Huang

Abstract

Anthropogenic forcing is anticipated to increase the magnitude and frequency of precipitation-induced extremes such as the increase in drought risks. However, the model-projected future changes in global droughts remain largely uncertain, particularly in the context of the Paris Agreement targets. Here, by using the standardized precipitation index (SPI), we present a multiscale global assessment of the precipitation-driven meteorological drought characteristics at the 1.5° and 2°C warming levels based on 28 CMIP5 global climate models (GCMs) under three representative concentration pathways scenarios (RCP2.6, RCP4.5, and RCP8.5). The results show large uncertainties in the timing reaching 1.5° and 2°C warming and the changes in drought characteristics among GCMs, especially at longer time scales and under higher RCP scenarios. The multi-GCM ensemble mean projects a general increase in drought frequency (Df) and area (Da) over North America, Europe, and northern Asia at both 1.5° and 2°C of global warming. The additional 0.5°C warming from 1.5° to 2°C is expected to result in a trend toward wetter climatic conditions for most global regions (e.g., North America, Europe, northern Asia, and northern Africa) due to the continuing increase in precipitation under the more intensified 2°C warming. In contrast, the increase in Df is projected only in some parts of southwest Asia, South America, southern Africa, and Australia. Our results highlight the need to consider multiple GCMs in drought projection studies under the context of the Paris Agreement targets to account for large model-dependent uncertainties.

Free access
Zhixia Wang
,
Shengzhi Huang
,
Qiang Huang
,
Weili Duan
,
Guoyong Leng
,
Yi Guo
,
Xudong Zheng
,
Mingqiu Nie
,
Zhiming Han
,
Haixia Dong
, and
Jian Peng

Abstract

In the propagation from meteorological to hydrological drought, there are time-lag and step-abrupt effects, quantified in terms of propagation time and threshold, which play an important role in hydrological drought early warning. However, seasonal drought propagation time and threshold and their dynamics as well as the corresponding driving mechanism remain unknown in a changing environment. To this end, the standardized precipitation index (SPI) and standardized runoff index (SRI) were used respectively to characterize meteorological and hydrological droughts and to determine the optimal propagation time. Then, a seasonal drought propagation framework based on Bayesian network was proposed for calculating the drought propagation threshold with SPI. Finally, the seasonal dynamics and preliminary attribution of propagation characteristics were investigated based on the random forest model and correlation analysis. The results show that 1) relatively short propagation time (less than 9 months) and large propagation threshold (from −3.18 to −1.19) can be observed in the Toxkan River basins (subbasin II), especially for spring, showing low drought resistance; 2) drought propagation time shows an extended trend in most seasons, while the drought propagation threshold displays an increasing trend in autumn and winter in the Aksu River basin (subbasins I–II), and the opposite characteristics in the Hotan and Yarkant River basins (subbasins III–V); and 3) the impacts of precipitation, temperature, potential evapotranspiration, and soil moisture on drought propagation dynamics are inconsistent across subbasins and seasons, noting that reservoirs serve as a buffer to regulate the propagation from meteorological to hydrological droughts. The findings of this study can provide scientific guidelines for watershed hydrological drought early warning and risk management.

Significance Statement

The aim of this study is to better understand how the delayed and step-abrupt effects of propagation from meteorological drought to hydrological drought can be characterized through propagation time and threshold. These response indicators determine the resistance of a catchment to hydrological droughts and meteorological droughts. They can help water resources management agencies to mitigate hydrological droughts by taking measures such as water storage, increasing revenue, and reducing expenditure. The findings of this study can provide scientific guidelines for watershed hydrological drought early warning and risk management.

Free access
Hong-Yi Li
,
L. Ruby Leung
,
Augusto Getirana
,
Maoyi Huang
,
Huan Wu
,
Yubin Xu
,
Jiali Guo
, and
Nathalie Voisin

Abstract

Accurately simulating hydrological processes such as streamflow is important in land surface modeling because they can influence other land surface processes, such as carbon cycle dynamics, through various interaction pathways. This study aims to evaluate the global application of a recently developed Model for Scale Adaptive River Transport (MOSART) coupled with the Community Land Model, version 4 (CLM4). To support the global implementation of MOSART, a comprehensive global hydrography dataset has been derived at multiple resolutions from different sources. The simulated runoff fields are first evaluated against the composite runoff map from the Global Runoff Data Centre (GRDC). The simulated streamflow is then shown to reproduce reasonably well the observed daily and monthly streamflow at over 1600 of the world’s major river stations in terms of annual, seasonal, and daily flow statistics. The impacts of model structure complexity are evaluated, and results show that the spatial and temporal variability of river velocity simulated by MOSART is necessary for capturing streamflow seasonality and annual maximum flood. Other sources of the simulation bias include uncertainties in the atmospheric forcing, as revealed by simulations driven by four different climate datasets, and human influences, based on a classification framework that quantifies the impact levels of large dams on the streamflow worldwide.

Full access
Luis Ackermann
,
Yi Huang
,
Steven Siems
,
Michael Manton
,
Francisco Lang
,
Thomas Chubb
,
Andrew Peace
,
Johanna Speirs
,
Kenyon Suzanne
,
Alain Protat
, and
Simon P. Alexander

Abstract

Understanding the key dynamical and microphysical mechanisms driving precipitation in the Snowy Mountains region of southeast Australia, including the role of orography, can help improve precipitation forecasts, which is of great value for efficient water management. An intensive observation campaign was carried out during the 2018 austral winter, providing a comprehensive range of ground-based observations across the Snowy Mountains. We used data from three vertically pointing rain radars, cloud radar, a PARSIVEL disdrometer, and a network of 76 pluviometers. The observations reveal that all of the precipitation events were associated with cold front passages. About half accumulated during the frontal passage associated with deep, fully glaciated cloud tops, while the rest occurred in the postfrontal environment and were associated with clouds with supercooled liquid water (SLW) tops. About three-quarters of the accumulated precipitation was observed under blocked conditions, likely associated with blocked stratiform orographic enhancement. Specifically, more than a third of the precipitation resulted from moist cloudless air being lifted over stagnant air, upwind from the barrier, creating SLW-top clouds. These SLW clouds then produced stratiform precipitation mostly over the upwind slopes and mountain tops, with hydrometeors reaching the mountain tops mostly as rimed snow. Two precipitation events were studied in detail, which showed that during unblocked conditions, orographic convection invigoration and unblocked stratiform enhancement were the two main mechanisms driving the precipitation, with the latter being more prevalent after the frontal passage. During these events, ice particle growth was likely dominated by vapor deposition and aggregation during the frontal periods, while riming dominated during the postfrontal periods.

Full access
Tzu-Ying Yang
,
Cho-Ying Huang
,
Jehn-Yih Juang
,
Yi-Ying Chen
,
Chao-Tzuen Cheng
, and
Min-Hui Lo

Abstract

Fog plays a vital role in maintaining ecosystems in montane cloud forests. In these forests, a large amount of water on the surface of leaves and canopy (hereafter canopy water) evaporates during the morning. This biophysical process plays a critical factor in regulating afternoon fog formation. Recent studies have found that alterations in precipitation, temperature, humidity, and CO2 concentrations associated with future climate changes may affect terrestrial hydroclimatology, but the responses in cloud forests remain unclear. Utilizing numerical experiments with the Community Land Model, we explored changes in surface evaporative fluxes in Chi-Lan Mountain cloud forests in northeastern Taiwan under the RCP8.5 scenario with changes in the aforementioned various atmospheric variables. The results showed that increased rainfall intensity in climate change runs decreased the accumulation of canopy water, while larger water vapor concentrations led to more nighttime condensation on leaves. Elevated CO2 concentrations did not greatly impact canopy water amounts, but photosynthesis was enhanced, while transpiration was reduced and contributed to decreased latent heat fluxes, implying the importance of forest plant physiology in modulating land evaporative fluxes. Evapotranspiration decreased in Chi-Lan due to multiple combined factors, in contrast to the expected intensification in the global water cycle under global warming. The study, however, is restricted to an offline land surface model without land–atmosphere interactions and the interactions with adjacent grids, which deserves further analyses for the water cycle changes in the montane cloud forest regions.

Open access
Rong-Yu Gu
,
Min-Hui Lo
,
Chi-Ya Liao
,
Yi-Shin Jang
,
Jehn-Yih Juang
,
Cho-Ying Huang
,
Shih-Chieh Chang
,
Cheng-I Hsieh
,
Yi-Ying Chen
,
Housen Chu
, and
Kuang-Yu Chang

Abstract

Hydroclimate in the montane cloud forest (MCF) regions is unique for its frequent fog occurrence and abundant water interception by tree canopies. Latent heat (LH) flux, the energy flux associated with evapotranspiration (ET), plays an essential role in modulating energy and hydrological cycles. However, how LH flux is partitioned between transpiration (stomatal evaporation) and evaporation (nonstomatal evaporation) and how it impacts local hydroclimate remain unclear. In this study, we investigated how fog modulates the energy and hydrological cycles of MCF by using a combination of in situ observations and model simulations. We compared LH flux and associated micrometeorological conditions at two eddy-covariance sites—Chi-Lan (CL), an MCF, and Lien-Hua-Chih (LHC), a noncloud forest in Taiwan. The comparison between the two sites reveals an asymmetric LH flux with an early peak at 0900 local time in CL as opposed to LHC, where LH flux peaks at noon. The early peak of LH flux and its evaporative cooling dampen the increase in near-surface temperature during the morning hours in CL. The relatively small diurnal temperature range, abundant moisture brought by the valley wind, and local ET result in frequent afternoon fog formation. Fog water is then intercepted by the canopy, sustaining moist conditions throughout the night. To further illustrate this hydrological feedback, we used a land surface model to simulate how varying canopy water interception can affect surface energy and moisture budgets. Our study highlights the unique hydroclimatological cycle in the MCF and, specifically, the inseparable relationship between the canopy and near-surface meteorology during the diurnal cycle.

Open access