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Yan Yu, Michael Notaro, Fuyao Wang, Jiafu Mao, Xiaoying Shi, and Yaxing Wei

Abstract

Generalized equilibrium feedback assessment (GEFA) is a potentially valuable multivariate statistical tool for extracting vegetation feedbacks to the atmosphere in either observations or coupled Earth system models. The reliability of GEFA at capturing the terrestrial impacts on regional climate is demonstrated here using the National Center for Atmospheric Research Community Earth System Model (CESM), with focus on North Africa. The feedback is assessed statistically by applying GEFA to output from a fully coupled control run. To reduce the sampling error caused by short data records, the traditional or full GEFA is refined through stepwise GEFA by dropping unimportant forcings. Two ensembles of dynamical experiments are developed for the Sahel or West African monsoon region against which GEFA-based vegetation feedbacks are evaluated. In these dynamical experiments, regional leaf area index (LAI) is modified either alone or in conjunction with soil moisture, with the latter runs motivated by strong regional soil moisture–LAI coupling. Stepwise GEFA boasts higher consistency between statistically and dynamically assessed atmospheric responses to land surface anomalies than full GEFA, especially with short data records. GEFA-based atmospheric responses are more consistent with the coupled soil moisture–LAI experiments, indicating that GEFA is assessing the combined impacts of coupled vegetation and soil moisture. Both the statistical and dynamical assessments reveal a negative vegetation–rainfall feedback in the Sahel associated with an atmospheric stability mechanism in CESM versus a weaker positive feedback in the West African monsoon region associated with a moisture recycling mechanism in CESM.

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Wei Gu, Lin Wang, Zeng-Zhen Hu, Kaiming Hu, and Yong Li

Abstract

The first rainy season (FRS), also known as the presummer rainy season, is the first standing stage of the East Asian summer monsoon when over 40% of the annual precipitation is received over South China. Based on the start and end dates of the FRS defined by the China Meteorological Administration, this study investigates the interannual variations of the FRS precipitation over South China and its mechanism with daily mean data. The length and start/end date of the FRS vary year to year, and the average length of the FRS is 90 days, spanning from 6 April to 4 July. Composite analyses reveal that the years with abundant FRS precipitation over South China feature weakened anticyclonic wind shear over the Indochina Peninsula in the upper troposphere, southwestward shift of the western Pacific subtropical high, and anticyclonic wind anomalies over the South China Sea in the lower troposphere. The lower-tropospheric southwesterly wind anomalies are especially important because they help to enhance warm advection and water vapor transport toward South China, increase the lower tropospheric convective instability, and shape the pattern of the anomalous ascent over South China. It is further proposed that a local positive feedback between circulation and precipitation exists in this process. The variability of the FRS precipitation can be well explained by a zonal sea surface temperature (SST) dipole in the tropical Pacific and the associated Matsuno–Gill-type Rossby wave response over the western North Pacific. The interannual variability of both the SST dipole and the FRS precipitation over South China is weakened after the year 2000.

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Hainan Gong, Lin Wang, Wen Chen, Renguang Wu, Ke Wei, and Xuefeng Cui

Abstract

In this paper the model outputs from the Coupled Model Intercomparison Project (CMIP) phase 5 (CMIP5) are used to examine the climatology and interannual variability of the East Asian winter monsoon (EAWM). The multimodel ensemble (MME) is able to reproduce reasonably well the circulation features of the EAWM. The simulated surface air temperature still suffers from a cold bias over East Asia, but this bias is reduced compared with CMIP phase 3 models. The intermodel spread is relatively small for the large-scale circulations, but is large for the lower-tropospheric meridional wind and precipitation along the East Asian coast. The interannual variability of the EAWM-related circulations can be captured by most of the models. A general bias is that the simulated variability is slightly weaker than in the observations. Based on a selected dynamic EAWM index, the patterns of the EAWM-related anomalies are well reproduced in MME although the simulated anomalies are slightly weaker than the observations. One general bias is that the northeasterly anomalies over East Asia cannot be captured to the south of 30°N. This bias may arise both from the inadequacies of the EAWM index and from the ability of models to capture the EAWM-related tropical–extratropical interactions. The ENSO–EAWM relationship is then evaluated and about half of the models can successfully capture the observed ENSO–EAWM relationship, including the significant negative correlation between Niño-3.4 and EAWM indices and the anomalous anticyclone (or cyclone) over the northwestern Pacific. The success of these models is attributed to the reasonable simulation of both ENSO’s spatial structure and its strength of interannual variability.

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Guoxing Chen, Wei-Chyung Wang, Lijun Tao, Huang-Hsiung Hsu, Chia-Ying Tu, and Chao-Tzuen Cheng

Abstract

This study used both observations and global climate model simulations to investigate the characteristics of winter extreme snowfall events along the coast (the Interstate 95 corridor) of the northeast United States where several mega-cities are located. Observational analyses indicate that, during 1980–2015, 110 events occurred when four coastal cities—Boston, New York City, Philadelphia, and Washington, D.C.—had either individually or collectively experienced daily snowfall exceeding the local 95th percentile thresholds. Boston had the most events, with a total of 69, followed by 40, 36, and 30 (moving southward) in the other three cities. The associated circulations at 200 and 850 hPa were categorized via K-means clustering. The resulting three composite circulations are characterized by the strength and location of the jet at 200 hPa and the coupled low pressure system at 850 hPa: a strong jet overlying the cities coupled with an inland trough, a weak and slightly southward shifted jet coupled with a cyclone at the coast, and a weak jet stream situated to the south of the cities coupled with a cyclone over the coastal oceans. Comparative analyses were also conducted using the GFDL High Resolution Atmospheric Model (HiRAM) simulation of the same period. Although the simulated extreme events do not provide one-to-one correspondence with observations, the characteristics nevertheless show consistency notably in total number of occurrences, intraseasonal and multiple-year variations, snow spatial coverage, and the associated circulation patterns. Possible future change in extreme snow events was also explored utilizing the HiRAM RCP8.5 (2075–2100) simulation. The analyses suggest that a warming global climate tends to decrease the extreme snowfall events but increase extreme rainfall events.

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