Search Results

You are looking at 31 - 39 of 39 items for

  • Author or Editor: Brant Liebmann x
  • Refine by Access: Content accessible to me x
Clear All Modify Search
Jia-Lin Lin
,
Toshiaki Shinoda
,
Brant Liebmann
,
Taotao Qian
,
Weiqing Han
,
Paul Roundy
,
Jiayu Zhou
, and
Yangxing Zheng

Abstract

This study evaluates the intraseasonal variability associated with summer precipitation over South America in 14 coupled general circulation models (GCMs) participating in the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) Fourth Assessment Report (AR4). Eight years of each model’s twentieth-century climate simulation are analyzed. Two dominant intraseasonal bands associated with summer precipitation over South America are focused on: the 40- and the 22-day band. The results show that in the southern summer (November–April), most of the models underestimate seasonal mean precipitation over central-east Brazil, northeast Brazil, and the South Atlantic convergence zone (SACZ), while the Atlantic intertropical convergence zone (ITCZ) is shifted southward of its observed position. Most of the models capture both the 40- and 22-day band around Uruguay, but with less frequent active episodes than observed. The models also tend to underestimate the total intraseasonal (10–90 day), the 40-, and the 22-day band variances. For the 40-day band, 10 of the 14 models simulate to some extent the 3-cell pattern around South America, and 6 models reproduce its teleconnection with precipitation in the south-central Pacific, but only 1 model simulates the teleconnection with the MJO in the equatorial Pacific, and only 3 models capture its northward propagation from 50° to 32°S. For the 7 models with three-dimensional data available, only 1 model reproduces well the deep baroclinic vertical structure of the 40-day band. For the 22-day band, only 6 of the 14 models capture its northward propagation from the SACZ to the Atlantic ITCZ. It is found that models with some form of moisture convective trigger tend to produce large variances for the intraseasonal bands.

Full access
Brant Liebmann
,
George N. Kiladis
,
Leila M. V. Carvalho
,
Charles Jones
,
Carolina S. Vera
,
Ileana Bladé
, and
Dave Allured

Abstract

Convectively coupled Kelvin waves over the South American continent are examined through the use of temporal and spatial filtering of reanalysis, satellite, and gridded rainfall data. They are most prominent from November to April, the season analyzed herein. The following two types of events are isolated: those that result from preexisting Kelvin waves over the eastern Pacific Ocean propagating into the continent, and those that apparently originate over Amazonia, forced by disturbances propagating equatorward from central and southern South America.

The events with precursors in the Pacific are mainly upper-level disturbances, with almost no signal at the surface. Those events with precursors over South America, on the other hand, originate as upper-level synoptic wave trains that pass over the continent and resemble the “cold surges” documented by Garreaud and Wallace. As the wave train propagates over the Andes, it induces a southerly low-level wind that advects cold air to the north. Precipitation associated with a cold front reaches the equator a few days later and subsequently propagates eastward with the characteristics of a Kelvin wave. The structures of those waves originating over the Pacific are quite similar to those originating over South America as they propagate to eastern South America and into the Atlantic.

South America Kelvin waves that originate over neither the Pacific nor the midlatitudes of South America can also be identified. In a composite sense, these form over the eastern slope of the Andes Mountains, close to the equator. There are also cases of cold surges that reach the equator yet do not form Kelvin waves.

The interannual variability of the Pacific-originating events is related to sea surface temperatures in the central–eastern Pacific Ocean. When equatorial oceanic conditions are warm, there tends to be an increase in the number of disturbances that reach South America from the Pacific.

Full access
Brant Liebmann
,
Carolina S. Vera
,
Leila M. V. Carvalho
,
Inés A. Camilloni
,
Martin P. Hoerling
,
Dave Allured
,
Vicente R. Barros
,
Julián Báez
, and
Mario Bidegain

Abstract

Seasonal linear trends of precipitation from South American station data, which have been averaged onto grids, are examined, with emphasis on the central continent. In the period 1976–99, the largest trend south of 20°S occurs during the January–March season, is positive, and is centered over southern Brazil. From 1948 to 1975 the trend is also positive, but with less than half the slope. The trend is not due to a systematic change in the timing of the rainy season, which almost always starts before January and usually ends after March, but rather results from an increase in the percent of rainy days, and an increase in the rainy day average. The dynamic causes of the trend are not obvious. It does not appear to be accounted for by an increase in synoptic wave activity in the region. The precipitation trend is related to a positive sea surface temperature trend in the nearby Atlantic Ocean, but apparently not causally. The trend in the Atlantic seems to result from a decrease in mechanical stirring and coastal upwelling associated with a decrease in the strength of the western edge of the circulation associated with the South Atlantic high.

Full access
Brant Liebmann
,
Suzana J. Camargo
,
Anji Seth
,
José A. Marengo
,
Leila M. V. Carvalho
,
Dave Allured
,
Rong Fu
, and
Carolina S. Vera

Abstract

Rainfall in South America as simulated by a 24-ensemble member of the ECHAM 4.5 atmospheric general circulation model is compared and contrasted with observations (in areas in which data are available) for the period 1976–2001. Emphasis is placed on determining the onset and end of the rainy season, from which its length and rain rate are determined.

It is shown that over large parts of the domain the onset and ending dates are well simulated by the model, with biases of less than 10 days. There is a tendency for model onset to occur early and ending to occur late, resulting in a simulated rainy season that is on average too long in many areas. The model wet season rain rate also tends to be larger than observed.

To estimate the relative importance of errors in wet season length and rain rate in determining biases in the annual total, adjusted totals are computed by substituting both the observed climatological wet season length and rate for those of the model. Problems in the rain rate generally are more important than problems in the length.

The wet season length and rain rate also contribute substantially to interannual variations in the annual total. These quantities are almost independent, and it is argued that they are each associated with different mechanisms.

The observed onset dates almost always lie within the range of onset of the ensemble members, even in the areas with a large model onset bias. In some areas, though, the model does not perform well. In southern Brazil the model ensemble average onset always occurs in summer, whereas the observations show that winter is often the wettest period. Individual members, however, do occasionally show a winter rainfall peak. In southern Northeast Brazil the model has a more distinct rainy season than is observed. In the northwest Amazon the model annual cycle is shifted relative to that observed, resulting in a model bias.

No interannual relationship between model and observed onset dates is expected unless onset in the model and observations has a mutual relationship with SST anomalies. In part of the near-equatorial Amazon, there does exist an interannual relationship between onset dates. Previous studies have shown that in this area there is a relationship between SST anomalies and variations in seasonal total rainfall.

Full access
Brant Liebmann
,
George N. Kiladis
,
Dave Allured
,
Carolina S. Vera
,
Charles Jones
,
Leila M. V. Carvalho
,
Ileana Bladé
, and
Paula L. M. Gonzáles

Abstract

The mechanisms resulting in large daily rainfall events in Northeast Brazil are analyzed using data filtering to exclude periods longer than 30 days. Composites of circulation fields that include all independent events do not reveal any obvious forcing mechanisms as multiple patterns contribute to Northeast Brazil precipitation variability. To isolate coherent patterns, subsets of events are selected based on anomalies that precede the Northeast Brazil precipitation events at different locations. The results indicate that at 10°S, 40°W, the area of lowest annual rainfall in Brazil, precipitation occurs mainly in association with trailing midlatitude synoptic wave trains originating in either hemisphere. Closer to the equator at 5°S, 37.5°W, an additional convection precursor is found to the west, with a spatial structure consistent with that of a Kelvin wave. Although these two sites are located within only several hundred kilometers of each other and the midlatitude patterns that induce precipitation appear to be quite similar, the dates on which large precipitation anomalies occur at each location are almost entirely independent, pointing to separate forcing mechanisms.

Full access
Brant Liebmann
,
Ileana Bladé
,
George N. Kiladis
,
Leila M. V. Carvalho
,
Gabriel B. Senay
,
Dave Allured
,
Stephanie Leroux
, and
Chris Funk

Abstract

A precipitation climatology of Africa is documented using 12 years of satellite-derived daily data from the Global Precipitation Climatology Project (GPCP). The focus is on examining spatial variations in the annual cycle and describing characteristics of the wet season(s) using a consistent, objective, and well-tested methodology. Onset is defined as occurring when daily precipitation consistently exceeds its local annual daily average and ends when precipitation systematically drops below that value. Wet season length, rate, and total are then determined. Much of Africa is characterized by a single summer wet season, with a well-defined onset and end, during which most precipitation falls. Exceptions to the single wet season regime occur mostly near the equator, where two wet periods are usually separated by a period of relatively modest precipitation. Another particularly interesting region is the semiarid to arid eastern Horn of Africa, where there are two short wet seasons separated by nearly dry periods. Chiefly, the summer monsoon spreads poleward from near the equator in both hemispheres, although in southern Africa the wet season progresses northwestward from the southeast coast. Composites relative to onset are constructed for selected points in West Africa and in the eastern Horn of Africa. In each case, onset is often preceded by the arrival of an eastward-propagating precipitation disturbance. Comparisons are made with the satellite-based Tropical Rainfall Measuring Mission (TRMM) and gauge-based Famine Early Warning System (FEWS NET) datasets. GPCP estimates are generally higher than TRMM in the wettest parts of Africa, but the timing of the annual cycle and average onset dates are largely consistent.

Full access
Leila M. V. Carvalho
,
Charles Jones
,
Adolfo N. D. Posadas
,
Roberto Quiroz
,
Bodo Bookhagen
, and
Brant Liebmann

Abstract

The South American monsoon system (SAMS) is the most important climatic feature in South America and is characterized by pronounced seasonality in precipitation during the austral summer. This study compares several statistical properties of daily gridded precipitation from different data (1998–2008): 1) Physical Sciences Division (PSD), Earth System Research Laboratory [1.0° and 2.5° latitude (lat)/longitude (lon)]; 2) Global Precipitation Climatology Project (GPCP; 1° lat/lon); 3) Climate Prediction Center (CPC) unified gauge (CPC-uni) (0.5° lat/lon); 4) NCEP Climate Forecast System Reanalysis (CFSR) (0.5° lat/lon); 5) NASA Modern-Era Retrospective Analysis for Research and Applications (MERRA) reanalysis (0.5° lat/0.3° lon); and 6) Tropical Rainfall Measuring Mission (TRMM) 3B42 V6 data (0.25° lat/lon). The same statistical analyses are applied to data in 1) a common 2.5° lat/lon grid and 2) in the original resolutions of the datasets.

All datasets consistently represent the large-scale patterns of the SAMS. The onset, demise, and duration of SAMS are consistent among PSD, GPCP, CPC-uni, and TRMM datasets, whereas CFSR and MERRA seem to have problems in capturing the correct timing of SAMS. Spectral analyses show that intraseasonal variance is somewhat similar in the six datasets. Moreover, differences in spatial patterns of mean precipitation are small among PSD, GPCP, CPC-uni, and TRMM data, while some discrepancies are found in CFSR and MERRA relative to the other datasets. Fitting of gamma frequency distributions to daily precipitation shows differences in the parameters that characterize the shape, scale, and tails of the frequency distributions. This suggests that significant uncertainties exist in the characterization of extreme precipitation, an issue that is highly important in the context of climate variability and change in South America.

Full access
Brant Liebmann
,
Martin P. Hoerling
,
Chris Funk
,
Ileana Bladé
,
Randall M. Dole
,
Dave Allured
,
Xiaowei Quan
,
Philip Pegion
, and
Jon K. Eischeid

Abstract

Observations and sea surface temperature (SST)-forced ECHAM5 simulations are examined to study the seasonal cycle of eastern Africa rainfall and its SST sensitivity during 1979–2012, focusing on interannual variability and trends. The eastern Horn is drier than the rest of equatorial Africa, with two distinct wet seasons, and whereas the October–December wet season has become wetter, the March–May season has become drier.

The climatological rainfall in simulations driven by observed SSTs captures this bimodal regime. The simulated trends also qualitatively reproduce the opposite-sign changes in the two rainy seasons, suggesting that SST forcing has played an important role in the observed changes. The consistency between the sign of 1979–2012 trends and interannual SST–precipitation correlations is exploited to identify the most likely locations of SST forcing of precipitation trends in the model, and conceivably also in nature. Results indicate that the observed March–May drying since 1979 is due to sensitivity to an increased zonal gradient in SST between Indonesia and the central Pacific. In contrast, the October–December precipitation increase is mostly due to western Indian Ocean warming.

The recent upward trend in the October–December wet season is rather weak, however, and its statistical significance is compromised by strong year-to-year fluctuations. October–December eastern Horn rain variability is strongly associated with El Niño–Southern Oscillation and Indian Ocean dipole phenomena on interannual scales, in both model and observations. The interannual October–December correlation between the ensemble-average and observed Horn rainfall 0.87. By comparison, interannual March–May Horn precipitation is only weakly constrained by SST anomalies.

Full access
Brant Liebmann
,
Ileana Bladé
,
Chris Funk
,
Dave Allured
,
Xiao-Wei Quan
,
Martin Hoerling
,
Andrew Hoell
,
Pete Peterson
, and
Wassila M. Thiaw

Abstract

The 1981–2014 climatology and variability of the March–May eastern Horn of Africa boreal spring wet season are examined using precipitation, upper- and lower-level winds, low-level specific humidity, and convective available potential energy (CAPE), with the aim of better understanding the establishment of the wet season and the cause of the recent observed decline. At 850 mb, the development of the wet season is characterized by increasing specific humidity and winds that veer from northeasterly in February to southerly in June and advect moisture into the region, in agreement with an earlier study. Equally important, however, is a substantial weakening of the 200-mb climatological easterly winds in March. Likewise, the shutdown of the wet season coincides with the return of strong easterly winds in June. Similar changes are seen in the daily evolution of specific humidity and 200-mb wind when composited relative to the interannual wet season onset and end, with the easterlies decreasing (increasing) several days prior to the start (end) of the wet season. The 1981–2014 decrease in March–May precipitation has also coincided with an increase in 200-mb easterly winds, with no attendant change in specific humidity, leading to the conclusion that, while high values of specific humidity are an important ingredient of the wet season, the recent observed precipitation decline has resulted mostly from a strengthening of the 200-mb easterlies. This change in the easterly winds appears to be related to an increase in convection over the Indonesian region and in the associated outflow from that enhanced heat source.

Full access