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Li Li and Yaocun Zhang

Abstract

Observational analysis indicates that the East Asian jet stream consists of two separate branches: the East Asian subtropical jet (EASJ) and the East Asian polar front jet (EAPJ). The impacts of different intensity configurations of the EASJ and EAPJ on precipitation during the mei-yu season are investigated using the NCEP–NCAR Reanalysis Project (NNRP) dataset and daily gauge observations in East China. The intensity and location of precipitation are associated with different configurations of the EASJ and EAPJ. Precipitation intensity increases with intensification of the EASJ and EAPJ. The rainband is located to the north of the mei-yu region when the EASJ intensifies and the EAPJ weakens. Further analyses indicate that the intensity changes of the EASJ and EAPJ are linked to the cold and warm airmass activities. For cases with strong EASJ and EAPJ, both the warm-moist and cold air masses are active. When the warm-moist and cold air masses meet near 30°N, abundant precipitation occurs in the Yangtze-Huai River basin (YHRB). For cases with weak EASJ and EAPJ, both the cold and warm-moist air masses are inactive, and no significant precipitation occurs in the YHRB. For cases with strong EASJ and weak EAPJ, the warm-moist air mass moves northward while the cold air mass is weak. Precipitation concentrates to the north of YHRB. For cases with weak EASJ and strong EAPJ, cold air extends farther south while the warm-moist air mass is inactive. Precipitation occurs to the south of YHRB.

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Xiaosong Li and Jin Zhang

Abstract

The green vegetation fraction Fg, which represents the horizontal density of live vegetation, is an important parameter for the study of global energy, carbon, hydrological, and biogeochemical cycling. A common method of calculating Fg is to create a simple linear mixing model between two NDVI endmembers: bare soil NDVI, , and full vegetation NDVI, . However, many uncertainties exist for the determination of these parameters at large scales. The present study investigates how and determination can impact Fg calculations for all of China, based on different land-cover datasets, hyperspectral data, and soil type classification maps. The results show the following: 1) The regional ChinaCover dataset, with higher accuracy and more detailed classification, is preferable for calculating Fg in China, compared with the most commonly used MOD12Q1 dataset, although it would not lead to too much difference in values. 2) The soil NDVI from Hyperion datasets shows that soils have highly variable NDVI values (0.006–0.2), and 79.36% of the area studied has a much larger NDVI value than the commonly used value of 0.05. Therefore, the dynamic values with different soil types are much better for Fg calculation than the invariant value (0.05), which would yield a significant overestimation of Fg, especially for areas with low vegetation coverage. 3) A high-quality Fg dataset for China from 2000 to 2010 was established with and parameters based on MOD13Q1 250-m NDVI data.

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Feng Zhang and Jiangnan Li

Abstract

Though the single-layer solutions have been found for the δ-four-stream spherical harmonic expansion method (SHM) in radiative transfer, there is lack of a corresponding doubling–adding method (4SDA), which enables the calculation of radiative transfer through a vertically inhomogeneous atmosphere with multilayers. The doubling–adding method is based on Chandrasekhar's invariance principle, which was originally developed for discrete ordinates approximation. It is shown that the invariance principle can also be applied to SHM and δ-four-stream spherical harmonic expansion doubling–adding method (δ-4SDA) is proposed in this paper. The δ-4SDA method has been systematically compared to the δ-Eddington doubling–adding method (δ-2SDA), the δ-two-stream discrete ordinates doubling–adding method (δ-2DDA), and δ-four-stream discrete ordinates doubling–adding method (δ-4DDA). By applying δ-4SDA to a realistic atmospheric profile with gaseous transmission considered, it is found that the accuracy of δ-4SDA is superior to δ-2SDA or δ-2DDA, especially for the cloudy/aerosol conditions. It is shown that the relative errors of δ-4SDA are generally less than 1% in both heating rate and flux, while the relative errors of both δ-2SDA and δ-2DDA can be over 6%. Though δ-4DDA is slightly more accurate than δ-4SDA in heating rates, both of them are accurate enough to obtain the cloud-top solar heating. Here δ-4SDA is superior to δ-4DDA in computational efficiency. It is found that the error of aerosol radiative forcing can be up to 3 W m−2 by using δ-2SDA at the top of the atmosphere (TOA); such error is substantially reduced by applying δ-4SDA. In view of the overall accuracy and computational efficiency, δ-4SDA is suitable for application in climate models.

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Lei Zhang and Tim Li

Abstract

How sea surface temperature (SST) changes under global warming is critical for future climate projection because SST change affects atmospheric circulation and rainfall. Robust features derived from 17 models of phase 5 of the Coupled Model Intercomparison Project (CMIP5) include a much greater warming in high latitudes than in the tropics, an El Niño–like warming over the tropical Pacific and Atlantic, and a dipole pattern in the Indian Ocean. However, the physical mechanism responsible for formation of such warming patterns remains open.

A simple theoretical model is constructed to reveal the cause of the future warming patterns. The result shows that a much greater polar, rather than tropical, warming depends primarily on present-day mean SST and surface latent heat flux fields, and atmospheric longwave radiation feedback associated with cloud change further enhances this warming contrast. In the tropics, an El Niño–like warming over the Pacific and Atlantic arises from a similar process, while cloud feedback resulting from different cloud regimes between east and west ocean basins also plays a role. A dipole warming over the equatorial Indian Ocean is a response to weakened Walker circulation in the tropical Pacific.

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Yunying Li and Minghua Zhang

Abstract

Cumulus (Cu) from shallow convection is one of the dominant cloud types over the Tibetan Plateau (TP) in the summer according to CloudSatCALIPSO observations. Its thermodynamic effects on the atmospheric environment and impacts on the large-scale atmospheric circulation are studied in this paper using the Community Atmospheric Model, version 5.3 (CAM5.3). It is found that the model can reasonably simulate the unique distribution of diabatic heating and Cu over the TP. Shallow convection provides the dominant diabatic heating and drying to the lower and middle atmosphere over the TP. A sensitivity experiment indicates that without Cu over the TP, large-scale condensation and stratiform clouds would increase dramatically, which induces enhanced low-level wind and moisture convergence toward the TP, resulting in significantly enhanced monsoon circulation with remote impact on the areas far beyond the TP. Cu therefore acts as a safety valve to modulate the atmospheric environment that prevents the formation of superclusters of stratiform clouds and precipitation over the TP.

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Yunying Li and Minghua Zhang

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Cumulus (Cu) can transport heat and water vapor from the boundary layer to the free atmosphere, leading to the redistribution of heat and moist energy in the lower atmosphere. This paper uses the fine-resolution CloudSat–CALIPSO product to characterize Cu over the Tibetan Plateau (TP). It is found that Cu is one of the dominant cloud types over the TP in the northern summer. The Cu event frequency, defined as Cu occurring within 50-km segments, is 54% over the TP in the summer, which is much larger over the TP than in its surrounding regions. The surface wind vector converging at the central TP and the topographic forcing provide the necessary moisture and dynamical lifting of convection over the TP. The structure of the atmospheric moist static energy shows that the thermodynamical environment over the northern TP can be characterized as having weak instability, a shallow layer of instability, and lower altitudes for the level of free convection. The diurnal variation of Cu with frequency peaks during the daytime confirms the surface thermodynamic control on Cu formation over the TP. This study offers insights into how surface heat is transported to the free troposphere over the TP and provides an observational test of climate models in simulating shallow convection over the TP.

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Mingxin Li, Qinghong Zhang, and Fuqing Zhang

Abstract

Based on a comprehensive collection of hail observations and the NCEP–NCAR reanalyses from 1960 to 2012, the long-term trends of hail day frequency in mainland China and the associated changes in atmospheric circulation patterns were analyzed. There was no detectable trend in hail frequency from 1960 to the early 1980s, but a significant decreasing trend was apparent in later periods throughout most of China and in particular over the Tibetan Plateau from the early 1980s and over northern and northwestern China from the early 1990s. Hail frequency in southern China did not decrease as significantly as in other regions over the last couple of decades. An objective classification method, the obliquely rotated T-mode principal component technique, was used to investigate atmospheric circulation patterns. It was found that 51.85% of the hail days occurred during two major circulation types, both of which were associated with cold frontal systems in northern China. More specifically, the synoptic trough in East Asia, signified by the meridional circulation at 850 hPa, became considerably weaker after 1990. This change in the synoptic pattern is consistent with a weakening trend in the East Asian summer monsoon, the primary dynamic forcing of moisture transport that contributes to the generation of severe convection in northern China. The long-term variability of hail day frequency over the Tibetan Plateau was more strongly correlated with the change in mean freezing-level height (FLH) than the strength of the East Asian monsoon.

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Fei Liu, Tim Li, Hui Wang, Li Deng, and Yuanwen Zhang

Abstract

The authors investigate the effects of El Niño and La Niña on the intraseasonal oscillation (ISO) in the boreal summer (May–October) over the western North Pacific (WNP). It is found that during El Niño summers, the ISO is dominated by a higher-frequency oscillation with a period of around 20–40 days, whereas during La Niña summers the ISO is dominated by a lower-frequency period of around 40–70 days. The former is characterized by northwestward-propagating convection anomalies in the WNP, and the latter is characterized by northward- and eastward-propagating convective signals over the tropical Indian Ocean/Maritime Continent. The possible mechanisms through which El Niño–Southern Oscillation (ENSO)-induced background mean state changes influence the ISO behavior are examined through idealized numerical experiments. It is found that enhanced (weakened) mean moisture and easterly (westerly) vertical wind shear in the WNP during El Niño (La Niña) are the main causes of the strengthened (weakened) 20–40-day northwestward-propagating ISO mode, whereas the 40–70-day ISO initiated from the Indian Ocean can only affect the WNP during La Niña years because the dry (moist) background moisture near the Maritime Continent during El Niño (La Niña) suppresses (enhances) the ISO over the Maritime Continent, and the ISO propagates less over the Maritime Continent during El Niño years than in La Niña years.

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Yaxin Zhang, Mengxi Wu, Delong Li, Yonggang Liu, and Shuangcheng Li

Abstract

The teleconnection between the summer (June–August) Palmer drought severity index (PDSI) in China and seasonal global sea surface temperatures (SSTs) is investigated at both spatial and temporal scales during 1901–2012. Three pairs of coupled spatial patterns for China’s PDSI and global SST anomalies are identified using the singular value decomposition (SVD) method. With a combination of ensemble empirical mode decomposition (EEMD) and multiple linear regression (MLR) analysis, it is found that the first mode, the sea ice loss–global warming pattern, causes wetness over north and northeastern China and drying over Inner Mongolia. The North Pacific Current (NPC) mode shows that a warmer NPC corresponds to a wetter summer over eastern China and a drier one over the Tibetan Plateau. Both NPC and Pacific decadal oscillation (PDO) affect moisture variability in northern China and over the Tibetan Plateau, with the NPC mode more important in the centennial scale, while the PDO mode is more important in the multidecadal scale.

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Zhigang Yao, Jun Li, Jinlong Li, and Hong Zhang

Abstract

An accurate land surface emissivity (LSE) is critical for the retrieval of atmospheric temperature and moisture profiles along with land surface temperature from hyperspectral infrared (IR) sounder radiances; it is also critical to assimilating IR radiances in numerical weather prediction models over land. To investigate the impact of different LSE datasets on Atmospheric Infrared Sounder (AIRS) sounding retrievals, experiments are conducted by using a one-dimensional variational (1DVAR) retrieval algorithm. Sounding retrievals using constant LSE, the LSE dataset from the Infrared Atmospheric Sounding Interferometer (IASI), and the baseline fit dataset from the Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer (MODIS) are performed. AIRS observations over northern Africa on 1–7 January and 1–7 July 2007 are used in the experiments. From the limited regional comparisons presented here, it is revealed that the LSE from the IASI obtained the best agreement between the retrieval results and the ECMWF reanalysis, whereas the constant LSE gets the worst results when the emissivities are fixed in the retrieval process. The results also confirm that the simultaneous retrieval of atmospheric profile and surface parameters could reduce the dependence of soundings on the LSE choice and finally improve sounding accuracy when the emissivities are adjusted in the iterative retrieval. In addition, emissivity angle dependence is investigated with AIRS radiance measurements. The retrieved emissivity spectra from AIRS over the ocean reveal weak angle dependence, which is consistent with that from an ocean emissivity model. This result demonstrates the reliability of the 1DVAR simultaneous algorithm for emissivity retrieval from hyperspectral IR radiance measurements.

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