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Qin Zhang, Arun Kumar, Yan Xue, Wanqiu Wang, and Fei-Fei Jin

Abstract

Simulations from the National Centers for Environmental Prediction (NCEP) coupled model are analyzed to document and understand the behavior of the evolution of the El Niño–Southern Oscillation (ENSO) cycle. The analysis is of importance for two reasons: 1) the coupled model used in this study is also used operationally to provide model-based forecast guidance on a seasonal time scale, and therefore, an understanding of the ENSO mechanism in this particular coupled system could also lead to an understanding of possible biases in SST predictions; and 2) multiple theories for ENSO evolution have been proposed, and coupled model simulations are a useful test bed for understanding the relative importance of different ENSO mechanisms.

The analyses of coupled model simulations show that during the ENSO evolution the net surface heat flux acts as a damping mechanism for the mixed-layer temperature anomalies, and positive contribution from the advection terms to the ENSO evolution is dominated by the linear advective processes. The subsurface temperature–SST feedback, referred to as thermocline feedback in some theoretical literature, is found to be the primary positive feedback, whereas the advective feedback by anomalous zonal currents and the thermocline feedback are the primary sources responsible for the ENSO phase transition in the model simulation. The basic mechanisms for the model-simulated ENSO cycle are thus, to a large extent, consistent with those highlighted in the recharge oscillator. The atmospheric anticyclone (cyclone) over the western equatorial northern Pacific accompanied by a warm (cold) phase of the ENSO, as well as the oceanic Rossby waves outside of 15°S–15°N and the equatorial higher-order baroclinic modes, all appear to play minor roles in the model ENSO cycles.

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Jun Qin, Ailin Shi, Guoyu Ren, Zhenghong Chen, Yuda Yang, Xukai Zou, and Panfeng Zhang

Abstract

The White Crane Ridge (WCR) Rock Fish, now submerged under the backwater of the Three Gorges Reservoir in the Yangtze River, are affirmed as one of the earliest hydrologic observations ever made in any large river in the world. The usually in-water monument provides highly valuable historical records of severe droughts in the upper Yangtze over the last 1,200 years. This article updated the historical drought chronology previously developed based on the WCR inscriptions, which can be applied in assessment of extreme climatic and hydrological risks, and also made a preliminary analysis of changes of the severe drought frequency during the last thousand years in the upper Yangtze. The analysis shows that the severe droughts occurred more frequently during the Medieval Climate Anomaly (MCA), relatively less so during the Little Ice Age (LIA), and once again more often under the background of modern global warming. It was suggested that a generally warmer Euro-Asian continent during the MCA was in favor of the stronger East Asian summer monsoon, and the resulting less precipitation and more severe droughts of the Yangtze and the lower water level at the Three Gorges area on the centennial scale, and vice versa for the period of the LIA. The results would help in understanding the causes and mechanisms of the regional climate change and variability, and also in taking measures in the fields of the watershed management to cope with the long-term change in climatic and hydrologic droughts.

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Li-Chuan Chen, Huug van den Dool, Emily Becker, and Qin Zhang

Abstract

In this study, precipitation and temperature forecasts during El Niño–Southern Oscillation (ENSO) events are examined in six models in the North American Multimodel Ensemble (NMME), including the CFSv2, CanCM3, CanCM4, the Forecast-Oriented Low Ocean Resolution (FLOR) version of GFDL CM2.5, GEOS-5, and CCSM4 models, by comparing the model-based ENSO composites to the observed. The composite analysis is conducted using the 1982–2010 hindcasts for each of the six models with selected ENSO episodes based on the seasonal oceanic Niño index just prior to the date the forecasts were initiated. Two types of composites are constructed over the North American continent: one based on mean precipitation and temperature anomalies and the other based on their probability of occurrence in a tercile-based system. The composites apply to monthly mean conditions in November, December, January, February, and March as well as to the 5-month aggregates representing the winter conditions. For anomaly composites, the anomaly correlation coefficient and root-mean-square error against the observed composites are used for the evaluation. For probability composites, a new probability anomaly correlation measure and a root-mean probability score are developed for the assessment. All NMME models predict ENSO precipitation patterns well during wintertime; however, some models have large discrepancies between the model temperature composites and the observed. The fidelity is greater for the multimodel ensemble as well as for the 5-month aggregates. February tends to have higher scores than other winter months. For anomaly composites, most models perform slightly better in predicting El Niño patterns than La Niña patterns. For probability composites, all models have superior performance in predicting ENSO precipitation patterns than temperature patterns.

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Panfeng Zhang, Guoyu Ren, Yan Xu, Xiaolan L. Wang, Yun Qin, Xiubao Sun, and Yuyu Ren

Abstract

This paper presents an analysis of changes in global land extreme temperature indices (1951–2015) based on the new global land surface daily air temperature dataset recently developed by the China Meteorological Administration (CMA). The linear trends of the gridpoint time series and global land mean time series were calculated by using a Mann–Kendall method that accounts for the lag-1 autocorrelation in the time series of annual extreme temperature indices. The results, which are generally consistent with previous studies, showed that the global land average annual and seasonal mean extreme temperature indices series all experienced significant long-term changes associated with warming, with cold threshold indices (frost days, icing days, cold nights, and cold days) decreasing, warm threshold indices (summer days, tropical nights, and warm days) increasing, and all absolute indices (TXx, TXn, TNx, and TNn) also increasing, over the last 65 years. The extreme temperature indices series based on daily minimum temperatures generally had a stronger and more significant trend than those based on daily maximum temperatures. The strongest warming occurred after the mid-1970s, and a few extreme temperature indices showed no significant trend over the period from 1951 to the mid-1970s. Most parts of the global land experienced significant warming trends over the period 1951–2015 as a whole, and the largest trends appeared in mid- to high latitudes of the Eurasian continent.

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Huug van den Dool, Emily Becker, Li-Chuan Chen, and Qin Zhang

Abstract

An ordinary regression of predicted versus observed probabilities is presented as a direct and simple procedure for minimizing the Brier score (BS) and improving the attributes diagram. The main example applies to seasonal prediction of extratropical sea surface temperature by a global coupled numerical model. In connection with this calibration procedure, the probability anomaly correlation (PAC) is developed. This emphasizes the exact analogy of PAC and minimizing BS to the widely used anomaly correlation (AC) and minimizing mean squared error in physical units.

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Qingyun Zhao, Fuqing Zhang, Teddy Holt, Craig H. Bishop, and Qin Xu

Abstract

An ensemble Kalman filter (EnKF) has been adopted and implemented at the Naval Research Laboratory (NRL) for mesoscale and storm-scale data assimilation to study the impact of ensemble assimilation of high-resolution observations, including those from Doppler radars, on storm prediction. The system has been improved during its implementation at NRL to further enhance its capability of assimilating various types of meteorological data. A parallel algorithm was also developed to increase the system’s computational efficiency on multiprocessor computers. The EnKF has been integrated into the NRL mesoscale data assimilation system and extensively tested to ensure that the system works appropriately with new observational data stream and forecast systems. An innovative procedure was developed to evaluate the impact of assimilated observations on ensemble analyses with no need to exclude any observations for independent validation (as required by the conventional evaluation based on data-denying experiments). The procedure was employed in this study to examine the impacts of ensemble size and localization on data assimilation and the results reveal a very interesting relationship between the ensemble size and the localization length scale. All the tests conducted in this study demonstrate the capabilities of the EnKF as a research tool for mesoscale and storm-scale data assimilation with potential operational applications.

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Wenmin Qin, Lunche Wang, Ming Zhang, Zigeng Niu, Ming Luo, Aiwen Lin, and Bo Hu

Abstract

Photosynthetically active radiation (PAR) is a key factor for vegetation growth and climate change. Different types of PAR models, including four physically based models and eight artificial intelligence (AI) models, were proposed for predicting daily PAR. Multiyear daily meteorological parameters observed at 29 Chinese Ecosystem Research Network (CERN) stations and 2474 Chinese Meteorological Administration (CMA) stations across China were used for testing, validating, and comparing the above models. The optimized back propagation (BP) neural network based on the mind evolutionary algorithm (MEA-BP) was the model with highest accuracy and strongest robustness. The correlation coefficient R, mean absolute bias error (MAE), and RMSE for MEA-BP were 0.986, 0.302 MJ m−2 day−1 and 0.393 MJ m−2 day−1, respectively. Then, a high-density PAR dataset was constructed for the first time using the MEA-BP model at 2474 CMA stations of China. A quality control process and homogenization test (using RHtestsV4) for the PAR dataset were further conducted. This high-density PAR dataset would benefit many climate and ecological studies.

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Chang-Jiang Zhang, Jin-Fang Qian, Lei-Ming Ma, and Xiao-Qin Lu

Abstract

An objective technique is presented to estimate tropical cyclone intensity using the relevance vector machine (RVM) and deviation angle distribution inhomogeneity (DADI) based on infrared satellite images of the northwest Pacific Ocean basin from China’s FY-2C geostationary satellite. Using this technique, structures of a deviation-angle gradient co-occurrence matrix, which include 15 statistical parameters nonlinearly related to tropical cyclone intensity, were derived from infrared satellite imagery. RVM was then used to relate these statistical parameters to tropical cyclone intensity. Twenty-two tropical cyclones occurred in the northwest Pacific during 2005–09 and were selected to verify the performance of the proposed technique. The results show that, in comparison with the traditional linear regression method, the proposed technique can significantly improve the accuracy of tropical cyclone intensity estimation. The average absolute error of intensity estimation using the linear regression method is between 15 and 29 m s−1. Compared to the linear regression method, the average absolute error of the intensity estimation using RVM is between 3 and 10 m s−1.

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Jerome D. Fast, Rob K. Newsom, K. Jerry Allwine, Qin Xu, Pengfei Zhang, Jeffrey Copeland, and Juanzhen Sun

Abstract

Two entirely different methods for retrieving 3D fields of horizontal winds from Next Generation Weather Radar (NEXRAD) radial velocities have been evaluated using radar wind profiler measurements to determine whether routine wind retrievals would be useful for atmospheric dispersion model applications. The first method uses a physical algorithm based on four-dimensional variational data assimilation, and the second simpler method uses a statistical technique based on an analytic formulation of the background error covariance. Both methods can be run in near–real time, but the simpler method was executed about 2.5 times as fast as the four-dimensional variational method. The observed multiday and diurnal variations in wind speed and direction were reproduced by both methods below ∼1.5 km above the ground in the vicinity of Oklahoma City, Oklahoma, during July 2003. However, wind retrievals overestimated the strength of the nighttime low-level jet by as much as 65%. The wind speeds and directions obtained from both methods were usually similar when compared with profiler measurements, and neither method outperformed the other statistically. Within a dispersion model framework, the 3D wind fields and transport patterns were often better represented when the wind retrievals were included along with operational data. Despite uncertainties in the wind speed and direction obtained from the wind retrievals that are higher than those from remote sensing radar wind profilers, the inclusion of the wind retrievals is likely to produce more realistic temporal variations in the winds aloft than would be obtained by interpolation using the available radiosondes, especially during rapidly changing synoptic- and mesoscale conditions.

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Kyong-Hwan Seo, Wanqiu Wang, Jon Gottschalck, Qin Zhang, Jae-Kyung E. Schemm, Wayne R. Higgins, and Arun Kumar

Abstract

This work examines the performance of Madden–Julian oscillation (MJO) forecasts from NCEP’s coupled and uncoupled general circulation models (GCMs) and statistical models. The forecast skill from these methods is evaluated in near–real time. Using a projection of El Niño–Southern Oscillation (ENSO)-removed variables onto the principal patterns of MJO convection and upper- and lower-level circulations, MJO-related signals in the dynamical model forecasts are extracted. The operational NCEP atmosphere–ocean fully coupled Climate Forecast System (CFS) model has useful skill (>0.5 correlation) out to ∼15 days when the initial MJO convection is located over the Indian Ocean. The skill of the CFS hindcast dataset for the period from 1995 to 2004 is nearly comparable to that from a lagged multiple linear regression model, which uses information from the previous five pentads of the leading two principal components (PCs). In contrast, the real-time analysis for the MJO forecast skill for the period from January 2005 to February 2006 using the lagged multiple linear regression model is reduced to ∼10–12 days. However, the operational CFS forecast for this period is skillful out to ∼17 days for the winter season, implying that the coupled dynamical forecast has some usefulness in predicting the MJO compared to the statistical model.

It is shown that the coupled CFS model consistently, but only slightly, outperforms the uncoupled atmospheric model (by one to two days), indicating that only limited improvement is gained from the inclusion of the coupled air–sea interaction in the MJO forecast in this model. This slight improvement may be the result of the existence of a propagation barrier around the Maritime Continent and the far western Pacific in the NCEP Global Forecast System (GFS) and CFS models, as shown in several previous studies. This work also suggests that the higher horizontal resolution and finer initial data might contribute to improving the forecast skill, presumably as a result of an enhanced representation of the Maritime Continent region.

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