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Richard J. Greatbatch and Ping-ping Rong

Abstract

Northern Hemisphere summer (July–August) data from the NCEP–NCAR and ECMWF 40-yr Re-Analysis (ERA-40) reanalyses are compared with each other and with Trenberth's sea level pressure (SLP) dataset. Discrepancies in SLP and 500 hPa are mostly confined to a band connecting North Africa and Asia. In the NCEP–NCAR reanalysis, there is a negative offset in SLP over North Africa and Asia prior to the late 1960s, together with a similar problem in 500-hPa height, and in Trenberth's data there is a negative offset in SLP over Asia prior to the early 1990s. Both these offsets magnify the linear trend from 1958 to 2002 over North Africa and Asia in the NCEP–NCAR and Trenberth datasets. On the other hand, the interannual variability in the three datasets is highly correlated during the periods between these offsets. Compared to SLP and 500-hPa height, there is a more extensive area of discrepancy in 2-m temperature that extends eastward from North Africa across the subtropics into the Pacific, with an additional area of discrepancy over the Arctic and parts of the American continent. At 500 and 100 hPa, the biggest differences in the temperature time series are found in the Tropics, with a marked jump being evident in the late 1970s in the NCEP–NCAR, but not in the ERA-40, reanalysis that is almost certainly associated with the introduction of satellite data. On the other hand, all three datasets agree well over Europe. The summer North Atlantic Oscillation (NAO), defined here as the first EOF of summer mean SLP over the Euro-Atlantic sector, agrees well between the different datasets. The results indicate that the upward trend in the summer index in the 1960s is part of a longer-period interdecadal cycle, with relatively high index values also being found during the 1930s. The running cross correlation between the central England temperature record and the summer NAO shows a strong correlation throughout the last half of the twentieth century, but much reduced correlation in the early part of the twentieth century. It is not clear whether the change in correlation is real, or a data artifact, a topic that requires further research.

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Justin Sheffield, Suzana J. Camargo, Rong Fu, Qi Hu, Xianan Jiang, Nathaniel Johnson, Kristopher B. Karnauskas, Seon Tae Kim, Jim Kinter, Sanjiv Kumar, Baird Langenbrunner, Eric Maloney, Annarita Mariotti, Joyce E. Meyerson, J. David Neelin, Sumant Nigam, Zaitao Pan, Alfredo Ruiz-Barradas, Richard Seager, Yolande L. Serra, De-Zheng Sun, Chunzai Wang, Shang-Ping Xie, Jin-Yi Yu, Tao Zhang, and Ming Zhao

Abstract

This is the second part of a three-part paper on North American climate in phase 5 of the Coupled Model Intercomparison Project (CMIP5) that evaluates the twentieth-century simulations of intraseasonal to multidecadal variability and teleconnections with North American climate. Overall, the multimodel ensemble does reasonably well at reproducing observed variability in several aspects, but it does less well at capturing observed teleconnections, with implications for future projections examined in part three of this paper. In terms of intraseasonal variability, almost half of the models examined can reproduce observed variability in the eastern Pacific and most models capture the midsummer drought over Central America. The multimodel mean replicates the density of traveling tropical synoptic-scale disturbances but with large spread among the models. On the other hand, the coarse resolution of the models means that tropical cyclone frequencies are underpredicted in the Atlantic and eastern North Pacific. The frequency and mean amplitude of ENSO are generally well reproduced, although teleconnections with North American climate are widely varying among models and only a few models can reproduce the east and central Pacific types of ENSO and connections with U.S. winter temperatures. The models capture the spatial pattern of Pacific decadal oscillation (PDO) variability and its influence on continental temperature and West Coast precipitation but less well for the wintertime precipitation. The spatial representation of the Atlantic multidecadal oscillation (AMO) is reasonable, but the magnitude of SST anomalies and teleconnections are poorly reproduced. Multidecadal trends such as the warming hole over the central–southeastern United States and precipitation increases are not replicated by the models, suggesting that observed changes are linked to natural variability.

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Eric D. Maloney, Suzana J. Camargo, Edmund Chang, Brian Colle, Rong Fu, Kerrie L. Geil, Qi Hu, Xianan Jiang, Nathaniel Johnson, Kristopher B. Karnauskas, James Kinter, Benjamin Kirtman, Sanjiv Kumar, Baird Langenbrunner, Kelly Lombardo, Lindsey N. Long, Annarita Mariotti, Joyce E. Meyerson, Kingtse C. Mo, J. David Neelin, Zaitao Pan, Richard Seager, Yolande Serra, Anji Seth, Justin Sheffield, Julienne Stroeve, Jeanne Thibeault, Shang-Ping Xie, Chunzai Wang, Bruce Wyman, and Ming Zhao

Abstract

In part III of a three-part study on North American climate in phase 5 of the Coupled Model Intercomparison Project (CMIP5) models, the authors examine projections of twenty-first-century climate in the representative concentration pathway 8.5 (RCP8.5) emission experiments. This paper summarizes and synthesizes results from several coordinated studies by the authors. Aspects of North American climate change that are examined include changes in continental-scale temperature and the hydrologic cycle, extremes events, and storm tracks, as well as regional manifestations of these climate variables. The authors also examine changes in the eastern North Pacific and North Atlantic tropical cyclone activity and North American intraseasonal to decadal variability, including changes in teleconnections to other regions of the globe. Projected changes are generally consistent with those previously published for CMIP3, although CMIP5 model projections differ importantly from those of CMIP3 in some aspects, including CMIP5 model agreement on increased central California precipitation. The paper also highlights uncertainties and limitations based on current results as priorities for further research. Although many projected changes in North American climate are consistent across CMIP5 models, substantial intermodel disagreement exists in other aspects. Areas of disagreement include projections of changes in snow water equivalent on a regional basis, summer Arctic sea ice extent, the magnitude and sign of regional precipitation changes, extreme heat events across the northern United States, and Atlantic and east Pacific tropical cyclone activity.

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