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C. Prabhakara, H. D. Chang, and A. T. C. Chang

Abstract

Nimbus 7 Scanning Multichannel Microwave Radiometer (SMMR) brightness temperature measurements in the 21 and 18 GHz channels are used to sense the precipitable water in the atmosphere over oceans. The difference in the brightness temperature (T 21T 18), both in the horizontal and vertical polarization, is found to be essentially a function of the precipitable water in the atmosphere. An equation, based on the physical considerations of the radiative transfer in the microwave region, is developed to relate the precipitable water to (T 21T 18). It is shown from theoretical calculations that the signal (T 21T 18) does not suffer severely from the noise introduced by variations in sea surface temperature, surface winds and liquid water content in non-raining clouds. The rms deviation between the estimated precipitable water from SMMR data and that given by the closely coincident ship radiosondes is about 0.25 g cm−2.

Global maps of precipitable water over oceans derived from SMMR data reveal several salient features associated with ocean currents and the large-scale general circulation in the atmosphere.

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C-P. Chang and R. T. Williams

Abstract

No abstract available.

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Alfred T. C. Chang and Long S. Chiu

Abstract

About 10 yr (July 1987–December 1997 with December 1987 missing) of oceanic monthly rainfall based on data taken by the Special Sensor Microwave/Imager (SSM/I) on board the Defense Meteorological Satellite Program satellites have been computed. The technique, based on the work of Wilheit et al., includes improved parameterization of the beam-filling correction, a refined land mask and sea ice filter. Monthly means are calculated for both 5° and 2.5° latitude–longitude boxes.

Monthly means over the latitude band of 50°N–50°S and error statistics are presented. The time-averaged rain rate is 3.09 mm day−1 (std dev of 0.15 mm day−1) with an error of 38.0% (std dev of 3.0%) for the 5° monthly means over the 10-yr period. These statistics compare favorably with 3.00 mm day−1 (std dev of 0.19 mm day−1) and 46.7% (std dev of 3.4%) computed from the 2.5° monthly means for the period January 1992–December 1994. Examination of the different rain rate categories shows no distinct discontinuity, except for months with a large number of missing SSM/I data.

An independent estimate of the error using observations from two satellites shows an error of 31% (std dev of 2.7%), consistent with the 38% estimated using (a.m. and p.m.) data from one satellite alone. Error estimates (31%) based on the 5° means by averaging four neighboring 2.5° boxes are larger than those (23%) estimated by assuming the means for these neighboring boxes are independent, thus suggesting spatial dependence of the 2.5° means.

Multiple regression analyses show that the error varies inversely as the square root of the number of samples but exhibits a somewhat weaker dependence on the mean rain rate. Regression analyses show a power law dependence of −0.255 to −0.265 on the rain rate for the 5° monthly means using data from a single satellite and a dependence of −0.366 for the 5° monthly means and −0.337 for the 2.5° monthly means based on two satellite measurements. The latter estimate is consistent with that obtained by Bell et al. using a different rainfall retrieval technique.

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C-P. Chang and George T-J. Chen

Abstract

The earliest onset of the Asian summer monsoon occurs in early to middle May over the South China Sea. This onset is signified by the development of low-level westerlies and leads to heavy convective rainfall over southern China (pre-Mei-Yu). In June, low-level westerly surges over the northern South China Sea are associated with the Mei-Yu rainfall system in the Yangtze region and southern Japan. In this work, the ECMWF data for 1981–86 are used to study the tropical circulations associated with the development of low-level westerlies during both events.

Composites of horizontal wind, geopotential height, moisture, and vertical velocity during six May onsets and nine June surges, respectively, indicate that both events occur with the approach of a midlatitude trough–front system. The possible triggering of the South China Sea summer monsoon onset by the midlatitude system may explain why the South China Sea onset occurs prior to other regions of the Asian monsoon. During boreal spring, this is the only Asian monscon region where midlatitude fronts can move into the Tropics without having to overcome significant terrain barriers.

Following the two events, opposite teleconnection-like patterns develop in the Tropics in both hemispheres. During the May onsets, the arrival of the midlatitude trough/front appears to lead to a southwestward extension of a cyclogenesis zone into the equatorial Indian Ocean. Along this zone, cyclonic vortices develop over.the Andaman Sea, the Bay of Bengal, and perhaps the southern equatorial Indian Ocean, and increased deep convection is indicated by the OLR composites. During the June surges, a pair of anticyclones develop straddling the equator at the longitudes of Indochina. This anticyclonic couplet is associated with decreased deep convection and propagates westward to dominate the flow changes over.the Bay of Bengal and the southern Indian Ocean. The steady 4–5 m s−1 westward speed and near-perfect symmetry with respect to the equator indicate the possibility of an equatorial Rossby wave generation in conjunction with the June westerly surges in the northern South China Sea.

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Long S. Chiu and Alfred T. C. Chang

Abstract

The climatology of oceanic rain column height derived from 12 years (July 1987–June 1999) of Special Sensor Microwave Imager (SSM/I) data is presented. The estimation procedure is based on a technique developed by Wilheit et al. In the annual mean, the SSM/I-derived oceanic rain height shows a maximum of about 4.7 km in the Tropics and decreases toward the high latitudes to less than 3.5 km at 50°. Interannual variations exhibit seasonal dependency and show maxima of about 200–300 m in the oceanic dry zones and in the midlatitude storm track regions. The rain heights estimated from the morning passes of the SSM/I are lower than those computed from the afternoon passes by about 60 m in the Tropics but are higher north of 40°N. This small difference cannot change the conclusion about the morning maximum in rain rate. The nonsystematic error increases with decreasing rain column height and is estimated to be about 120 m for rain heights of 4–5 km and 200 m at 3.5 km. Comparison with the height of the 0°C isotherm derived from the Goddard Laboratory for Atmospheres general circulation model (GCM) results shows a mean zonal low bias (SSM/I lower than GCM freezing height) of about 200 m in the Tropics. Outside the Tropics, the SSM/I rain column heights are much higher, reaching a difference of 2 km at 50°N. The small bias in the Tropics is consistent with the notion that the melting layer extends over hundreds of meters below the freezing level. Outside the Tropics, the sampling of the SSM/I rain height and the inclusion of nonraining observations in GCM calculations may contribute to the large discrepancy. The freezing height is interpreted as the columnar water content and found to be consistent with columnar water vapor maps retrieved from SSM/I data.

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C-P. Chang and T. M. Piwowar

Abstract

The linear boundary layer solution which includes the effect of temporal acceleration is used to parameterize the CISK (Conditional Instability of the Second Kind) mechanism of tropical waves. By simplifying the first law to a statement of balance between adiabatic cooling and diabatic heating, which is usually valid for weak tropical motions, the model is formulated as a one-level primitive equation expressed at the top of the boundary layer and is solved numerically for its eigenvalues. The growth rates are generally scale-independent and are fairly small. The presence of a quasi-Stokes boundary layer near the equator and a transition zone between this layer and a quasi-Ekman layer poleward seems important only in the wave structures but not the growth rates.

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Alfred T. C. Chang, Long S. Chiu, and Thomas T. Wilheit

Abstract

Global averages and random errors associated with the monthly oceanic rain rates derived from the Special Sensor Microwave/Imager (SSM/I) data using the technique developed by Wilheit et al. are computed. Accounting for the beam-filling bias, a global annual average rain rate of 1.26 m is computed. The error estimation scheme is based on the existence of independent (morning and afternoon) estimates of the monthly mean. Calculations show overall random errors of about 50%–60% for each 5° × 5° box. The results are insensitive to different sampling strategy (odd and even days of the month). Comparison of the SSM/I estimates with raingage data collected at the Pacific atoll stations showed a low bias of about 8%, a correlation of 0.7, and an rms difference of 55%.

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Thomas T. Wilheit, Alfred T. C. Chang, and Long S. Chiu

Abstract

An algorithm for the estimation of monthly rain totals for 5° cells over the oceans from histograms of SSM/I brightness temperatures has been developed. Them are three novel features to this algorithm. First, it uses knowledge of the form of the rainfall intensity probability density function to augment the measurements. Second, a linear combination of the 19.35 and 22.235 GHz channels has been employed to reduce the impact of variability of water vapor. Third, an objective technique has been developed to estimate the rain layer thickness from the 19.35- and 22.235-GHz brightness temperature histograms. Comparison with climatologies and the GATE radar observations suggest that the estimates are reasonable in spite of not having a beam-filling correction. By-products of the retrievals indicate that the SSM/I instrument noise level and calibration stability am quite good.

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Awdhesh K. Sharma, Alfred T. C. Chang, and Thomas T. Wilheit

Abstract

A study of differences between the morning and evening monthly rainfall for 5° × 5° cells over the oceans from the SSM/I data has been conducted. The monthly rainfalls are estimated from the technique given by Wilheit et al. The difference between the morning and evening monthly rainfall arises due to the various random errors involved in the retrieval process, the sampling error in the observations, and the diurnal component of oceanic rainfall. The diurnal component is weak but clearly visible when averaged over large areas and for long time periods. The analysis shows that morning rainfall is consistently greater than evening rainfall. The Northern Hemisphere seems to have a larger diurnal variation than does the Southern Hemisphere. The maximum ratio between the morning and evening monthly rainfall is 1.7 while 1.2 is the more typical value.

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L. C. Chou, C-P. Chang, and R. T. Williams

Abstract

A two-dimensional frontal model was used to study the structure and behavior of the Mei-Yu front over East Asia. The Mei-Yu front is characterized by mixed midlatitude-baroclinic and tropical-convective properties, with frequent occurrence of a low-level jet (LLJ) that is highly correlated with heavy convective rainfall.

The quasi-steady state responses to a large-scale stretching deformation forcing were obtained by integrating the perturbation equations from an initial state of seasonal-mean zonal flow. Two major sets of experiments were conducted to simulate different midlatitude and subtropical conditions. The midlatitude front extends deeply into the upper troposphere with a strong poleward tilt, whereas the subtropical front is confined to the lower troposphere with less tilt, in good agreement with observations. Along the sloping front, slantwise updrafts develop with a multiband structure. This updraft is more evident in the subtropical cases and in the more moist midlatitude cases.

For the subtropical cases, concurrent development of upper-level easterlies and low-level westerlies equatorward of the front is observed. The low-level westerly maximum at z=3–4 km resembles a LLJ, whose intensity increases when more moisture is included. The concurrent development suggests that the LIJ may be the result of a thermally direct secondary circulation that resembles a “reversed Hadley” cell. This circulation is revealed by a meridional–vertical streamfunction, with a strong lower branch return flow coinciding with the development of a LLJ in the more moist, subtropical cases. The Coriolis torque of the meridional circulation can develop and maintain the upper easterlies and the LLJ. Importance of cumulus convection and especially a slant-wise structure in developing the reversed Hadley cell and the LLJ is suggested.

These conclusions are consistent with the observed intense convection and heavy rainfall in the Mei-Yu front, and a sinking region south of the Baiu front as revealed by Matsumoto's moisture analysis.

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