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  • Author or Editor: Lance Leslie x
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Diandong Ren
and
Lance M. Leslie

Abstract

Factors affecting aviation fuel efficiency are thermal and propulsive efficiencies, and overall drag on aircraft. An along-the-route integration is made for all direct flights in a baseline year, 2010, under current and future atmospheric conditions obtained from 26 climate models under the representative concentration pathway (RCP) 8.5 scenario. Thermal efficiency and propulsive efficiency are affected differently, with the former decreasing by 0.38% and the latter increasing by 0.35%. Consequently, the overall engine efficiency decrease is merely <0.02%. Over the same period, the skin frictional drag increases ~3.5% from the increased air viscosity. This component is only 5.7% of the total drag, and the ~3.5% increase in air viscosity accounts for a 0.2% inefficiency in fuel consumption. A t test is performed for the multiple-model ensemble mean time series of fuel efficiency decrease for two 20-yr periods centered on years 2010 and 2090, respectively. The trend is found to be statistically significant (p value = 0.0017). The total decrease in aircraft fuel efficiency is equivalent to ~0.68 billion gallons of additional fuel annually, a qualitatively robust conclusion, but quantitatively there is a large interclimate model spread.

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Diandong Ren
,
Lance M. Leslie
, and
Mervyn J. Lynch

Abstract

Changes in storm-triggered landslide activity for Southern California in a future warming climate are estimated using an advanced, fully three-dimensional, process-based landslide model, the Scalable and Extensible Geofluid Modeling System for landslides (SEGMENT-Landslide). SEGMENT-Landslide is driven by extreme rainfall projections from the Geophysical Fluid Dynamics Laboratory High Resolution Atmospheric Model (GFDL-HIRAM). Landslide changes are derived from GFDL-HIRAM forcing for two periods: 1) the twentieth century (CNTRL) and 2) the twenty-first century under the moderate Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change Special Report on Emissions Scenarios A1B enhanced greenhouse gas emissions scenario (EGHG). Here, differences are calculated in landslide frequency and magnitude between the CNTRL and EGHG projections; kernel density estimation (KDE) is used to determine differences in projected landslide locations. This study also reveals that extreme precipitation events in Southern California are strongly correlated with several climate drivers and that GFDL-HIRAM simulates well the southern (relative to Aleutian synoptic systems) storm tracks in El Niño years and the rare (~27-yr recurrence period) hurricane-landfalling events. GFDL-HIRAM therefore can provide satisfactory projections of the geographical distribution, seasonal cycle, and interannual variability of future extreme precipitation events (>50 mm) that have possible landslide consequences for Southern California. Although relatively infrequent, extreme precipitation events contribute most of the annual total precipitation in Southern California. Two findings of this study have major implications for Southern California. First is a possible increase in landslide frequency and areal distribution during the twenty-first century. Second, the KDE reveals three clusters in both the CNTRL and EGHG model mean scarp positions, with a future eastward (inland) shift of ~0.5° and a northward shift of ~1°. These findings suggest that previously stable areas might become susceptible to storm-triggered landslides in the twenty-first century.

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Diandong Ren
,
David J. Karoly
, and
Lance M. Leslie

Abstract

The temperate glaciers in the greater Himalayas (GH) and the neighboring region contribute to the freshwater supply for almost one-half of the people on earth. Under global warming conditions, the GH glaciers may melt more rapidly than high-latitude glaciers, owing to the coincidence of the accumulation and ablation seasons in summer. Based on a first-order energy balance approach for glacier thermodynamics, the possible imposed additional melting rate was estimated from three climate simulations using the Geophysical Fluid Dynamics Laboratory Global Coupled Climate Model version 2.1 (GFDL-CM2.1), the Model for Interdisciplinary Research on Climate 3.2, high-resolution version (MIROC3.2-hires), and the Met Office’s Third Hadley Centre Coupled Ocean–Atmosphere General Circulation Model (HadCM3). The simulations were carried out under the Special Report on Emissions Scenarios (SRES) A1B scenario. For the 30-yr period of 2001–30, all three CGCMs indicate that the glacial regions most sensitive to regional warming are the Tianshan–Altai Mountains to the north and Hengduan Mountains to the south. A map of potential melting was produced and was used to calculate the glacier-melting speed, yielding an additional spatially averaged glacier depth reduction of approximately 2 m for the 2001–30 period for those areas located below 4000 m. Averaged over the entire GH region, the melting rate is accelerating at about 5 mm yr−2. The general circulation over the GH region was found to have clear multidecadal variability, with the 30-yr period of 2001–30 likely to be wetter than the previous 30-yr period of 1971–2000. Considering the possible trend in precipitation from snow to rain, the actual melting rates of the GH glaciers may even be larger than those obtained in this research.

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Esther D. Mullens
,
Lance M. Leslie
, and
Peter J. Lamb

Abstract

Ice storms are an infrequent but significant hazard in the U.S southern Great Plains. Common synoptic profiles for freezing precipitation reveal advection of low-level warm moist air from the Gulf of Mexico (GOM), above a shallow Arctic air mass ahead of a midlevel trough. Because the GOM is the proximal basin and major moisture source, this study investigates impacts of varying GOM sea surface temperature (SST) on the thermodynamic evolution of a winter storm that occurred during 28–30 January 2010, with particular emphasis on the modulation of freezing precipitation. A high-resolution, nested ARW sensitivity study with a 3.3-km inner domain is performed, using six representations of GOM SST, including control, climatological mean, uniform ±2°C from control, and physically constrained upper- and lower-bound basin-average anomalies from a 30-yr dataset. The simulations reveal discernable impacts of SST on the warm-layer inversion, precipitation intensity, and low-level dynamics. Whereas total precipitation for the storm increased monotonically with SST, the freezing-precipitation response was more varied and nonlinear, with the greatest accumulation decreases occurring for the coolest SST perturbation, particularly at moderate precipitation rates. Enhanced precipitation and warm-layer intensity promoted by warmer SST were offset for the highest perturbations by deepening of the weak 850-hPa low circulation and faster eastward progression associated with enhanced baroclinicity and diabatic generation of potential vorticity. Air-parcel trajectories terminating within the freezing-precipitation region were examined to identify airmass sources and modification. These results suggest that GOM SST can affect the severity of concurrent ice-storm events in the southern Great Plains, with warmer basin SST potentially exacerbating the risk of damaging ice accumulations.

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Ashton Robinson Cook
,
Lance M. Leslie
,
David B. Parsons
, and
Joseph T. Schaefer

Abstract

In recent years, the potential of seasonal outlooks for tornadoes has attracted the attention of researchers. Previous studies on this topic have focused mainly on the influence of global circulation patterns [e.g., El Niño–Southern Oscillation (ENSO), North Atlantic Oscillation, or Pacific decadal oscillation] on spring tornadoes. However, these studies have yielded conflicting results of the roles of these climate drivers on tornado intensity and frequency. The present study seeks to establish linkages between ENSO and tornado outbreaks over the United States during winter and early spring. These linkages are established in two ways: 1) statistically, by relating raw counts of tornadoes in outbreaks (defined as six or more tornadoes in a 24-h period in the United States east of the Rocky Mountains), and their destructive potential, to sea surface temperature anomalies observed in the Niño-3.4 region, and 2) qualitatively, by relating ENSO to shifts in synoptic-scale atmospheric phenomena that contribute to tornado outbreaks. The latter approach is critical for interpreting the statistical relationships, thereby avoiding the deficiencies in a few of the previous studies that did not provide physical explanations relating ENSO to shifts in tornado activity. The results suggest that shifts in tornado occurrence are clearly related to ENSO. In particular, La Niña conditions consistently foster more frequent and intense tornado activity in comparison with El Niño, particularly at higher latitudes. Furthermore, it is found that tornado activity changes are tied not only to the location and intensity of the subtropical jet during individual outbreaks but also to the positions of surface cyclones, low-level jet streams, and instability axes.

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