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Anthony D. Del Genio, Yonghua Chen, Daehyun Kim, and Mao-Sung Yao
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Shiyuan Zhong, Ju Li, C. David Whiteman, Xindi Bian, and Wenqing Yao

Abstract

The climatology of high wind events in the Owens Valley, California, a deep valley located just east of the southern Sierra Nevada, is described using data from six automated weather stations distributed along the valley axis in combination with the North American Regional Reanalysis dataset. Potential mechanisms for the development of strong winds in the valley are examined.

Contrary to the common belief that strong winds in the Owens Valley are westerly downslope windstorms that develop on the eastern slope of the Sierra Nevada, strong westerly winds are rare in the valley. Instead, strong winds are highly bidirectional, blowing either up (northward) or down (southward) the valley axis. High wind events are most frequent in spring and early fall and they occur more often during daytime than during nighttime, with a peak frequency in the afternoon. Unlike thermally driven valley winds that blow up valley during daytime and down valley during nighttime, strong winds may blow in either direction regardless of the time of the day. The southerly up-valley winds appear most often in the afternoon, a time when there is a weak minimum of northerly down-valley winds, indicating that strong wind events are modulated by local along-valley thermal forcing.

Several mechanisms, including downward momentum transfer, forced channeling, and pressure-driven channeling all play a role in the development of southerly high wind events. These events are typically accompanied by strong south-southwesterly synoptic winds ahead of an upper-level trough off the California coast. The northerly high wind events, which typically occur when winds aloft are from the northwest ahead of an approaching upper-level ridge, are predominantly caused by the passage of a cold front when fast-moving cold air behind the surface front undercuts and displaces the warmer air in the valley. Forced channeling by the sidewalls of the relatively narrow valley aligns the wind direction with the valley axis and enhances the wind speeds.

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Lei Wang, Zhi-Jun Yao, Li-Guang Jiang, Rui Wang, Shan-Shan Wu, and Zhao-Fei Liu

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The spatiotemporal changes in 21 indices of extreme temperature and precipitation for the Mongolian Plateau from 1951 to 2012 were investigated on the basis of daily temperature and precipitation data from 70 meteorological stations. Changes in catastrophic events, such as droughts, floods, and snowstorms, were also investigated for the same period. The correlations between catastrophic events and the extreme indices were examined. The results show that the Mongolian Plateau experienced an asymmetric warming trend. Both the cold extremes and warm extremes showed greater warming at night than in the daytime. The spatial changes in significant trends showed a good homogeneity and consistency in Inner Mongolia. Changes in the precipitation extremes were not as obvious as those in the temperature extremes. The spatial distributions in changes of precipitation extremes were complex. A decreasing trend was shown for total precipitation from west to east as based on the spatial distribution of decadal trends. Drought was the most serious extreme disaster, and prolonged drought for longer than 3 yr occurred about every 7–11 yr. An increasing trend in the disaster area was apparent for flood events from 1951 to 2012. A decreasing trend was observed for the maximum depth of snowfall from 1951 to 2012, with a decreased average maximum depth of 10 mm from the 1990s.

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Jing Gao, V. Masson-Delmotte, T. Yao, L. Tian, C. Risi, and G. Hoffmann

Abstract

Measurements of precipitation isotopic composition have been conducted on a daily basis for 1 yr at Bomi, in the southeast Tibetan Plateau, an area affected by the interaction of the southwest monsoon, the westerlies, and Tibetan high pressure systems, as well as at Lhasa, situated west of Bomi. The measured isotope signals are analyzed both on an event basis and on a seasonal scale using available meteorological information and airmass trajectories. The processes driving daily and seasonal isotopic variability are investigated using multidecadal climate simulations forced by twentieth-century boundary conditions and conducted with two different isotopic atmospheric general circulation models [the isotopic version of the Laboratoire de Météorologie Dynamique GCM (LMDZiso) and the ECHAM4iso model]. Both models use specific nudging techniques to mimic observed atmospheric circulation fields. The models simulate a wet and cold bias on the Tibetan Plateau together with a dry bias in its southern part. A zoomed LMDZ simulation conducted with ~50-km local spatial resolution dramatically improves the simulation of isotopic compositions of precipitation on the Tibetan Plateau. Simulated water isotope fields are compared with new data and with previous observations, and regional differences in moisture origins are analyzed using back-trajectories. Here, the focus is on relationships between the water isotopes and climate variables on an event and seasonal scale and in terms of spatial and altitudinal isotopic gradients. Enhancing the spatial resolution is crucial for improving the simulation of the precipitation isotopic composition.

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Jeng-Lin Tsai, Ben-Jei Tsuang, Po-Sheng Lu, Ming-Hwi Yao, and Yuan Shen

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Many meteorological and air-quality models require land characteristics as inputs. A field experiment was conducted to study the surface energy budget of a rice paddy in Taiwan. During the day, the energy balance ratio measured by an eddy covariance (EC) system was found to be 95% after considering the photosynthetic and local advected heat fluxes. The observations by the EC system suggest that the Bowen ratio was about 0.18 during the daytime. The EC system also measured the daytime absorbed carbon dioxide flux. The equivalent photosynthetic energy flux was about 1% of the net solar radiation. A reference table describing the land characteristics of rice paddies for use in meteorological and air-quality models is listed that shows that the albedo and the Bowen ratio measured over rice paddies were lower than those listed in many state-of-the-art models. This study proposes simulating latent heat flux by assigning proper values for canopy resistance rather than by assigning constant values for Bowen ratio or surface moisture availability. The diurnal pattern of the canopy resistance of the rice paddy was found to be “U” shaped. Daytime canopy resistance was observed to be 87 s m−1, and a high canopy resistance (∼900 s m−1) should be assigned during nighttime periods.

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Shizuo Liu, Qigang Wu, Lin Wang, Steven R. Schroeder, Yang Zhang, Yonghong Yao, and Haibo Hu

Abstract

Northern Hemisphere (NH) snow cover extent (SCE) has diminished in spring and early summer since the 1960s. Historical simulations from phase 5 of the Coupled Model Intercomparison Project (CMIP5) estimated about half as much NH SCE reduction as observed, and thus underestimated the associated climate responses. This study investigates atmospheric responses to realistic decreasing snow anomalies using multiple ensemble transient integrations of climate models forced by observed light and heavy NH snow cover years, specifically satellite-based observations of NH SCE and snow water equivalent from March to August in 1990 (light snow) and 1985 (heavy snow), as a proxy for the trend. The primary atmospheric responses to March–August NH snow reduction are decreased soil moisture, increased surface air temperature, general tropospheric warming in the extratropics and the Arctic, increased geopotential heights, and weakening of the midlatitude jet stream and eddy kinetic energy. The localized response is maintained by persistent increased diabatic heating due to reduced snow anomalies and resulting soil moisture drying, and the remote atmospheric response results partly from horizontal propagation of stationary Rossby wave energy and also from a transient eddy feedback mechanism. In summer, atmospheric responses are significant in both the Arctic and the tropics and are mostly induced by contemporaneous snow forcing, but also by the summer soil moisture dry anomaly associated with early snow melting.

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Chao Liu, Bin Yao, Vijay Natraj, Fuzhong Weng, Tianhao Le, Run-Lie Shia, and Yuk L. Yung

Abstract

With the increasing use of satellite and ground-based high-spectral-resolution (HSR) measurements for weather and climate applications, accurate and efficient radiative transfer (RT) models have become essential for accurate atmospheric retrievals, for instrument calibration, and to provide benchmark RT solutions. This study develops a spectral data compression (SDCOMP) RT model to simulate HSR radiances in both solar and infrared spectral regions. The SDCOMP approach “compresses” the spectral data in the optical property and radiance domains, utilizing principal component analysis (PCA) twice to alleviate the computational burden. First, an optical-property-based PCA is performed for a given atmospheric scenario (atmospheric, trace gas, and aerosol profiles) to simulate relatively low-spectral-resolution radiances at a small number of representative wavelengths. Second, by using precalculated principal components from an accurate radiance dataset computed for a large number of atmospheric scenarios, a radiance-based PCA is carried out to extend the low-spectral-resolution results to desired HSR results at all wavelengths. This procedure ensures both that individual monochromatic RT calculations are efficiently performed and that the number of such computations is optimized. SDCOMP is approximately three orders of magnitude faster than numerically exact RT calculations. The resulting monochromatic radiance has relative errors less than 0.2% in the solar region and brightness temperature differences less than 0.1 K for over 95% of the cases in the infrared region. The efficiency and accuracy of SDCOMP not only make it useful for analysis of HSR measurements, but also hint at the potential for utilizing this model to perform RT simulations in mesoscale numerical weather and general circulation models.

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Andrea I. Flossmann, Michael Manton, Ali Abshaev, Roelof Bruintjes, Masataka Murakami, Thara Prabhakaran, and Zhanyu Yao

Abstract

This paper provides a summary of the assessment report of the World Meteorological Organization (WMO) Expert Team on Weather Modification that discusses recent progress on precipitation enhancement research. The progress has been underpinned by advances in our understanding of cloud processes and interactions between clouds and their environment, which, in turn, have been enabled by substantial developments in technical capabilities to both observe and simulate clouds from the microphysical to the mesoscale. We focus on the two cloud types most commonly seeded in the past: winter orographic cloud systems and convective cloud systems. A key issue for cloud seeding is the extension from cloud-scale research to water catchment–scale impacts on precipitation on the ground. Consequently, the requirements for the design, implementation, and evaluation of a catchment-scale precipitation enhancement campaign are discussed. The paper concludes by indicating the most important gaps in our knowledge. Some recommendations regarding the most urgent research topics are given to stimulate further research.

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Ruiyang Ma, Dong Zheng, Yijun Zhang, Wen Yao, Wenjuan Zhang, and Deqing Cuomu

Abstract

Herein, we compared data on the spatiotemporal distribution of lightning activity obtained from the World Wide Lightning Location Network (WWLLN) with that from the Lightning Imaging Sensor (LIS). The WWLLN and LIS both suggest intense lightning activity over the central and southeastern Tibetan Plateau (TP) during May–September. Meanwhile, the WWLLN indicates relatively weak lightning activity over the northeastern TP, where the LIS suggests very intense lightning activity, and it also indicates a high-density lightning center over the southwestern TP that is not suggested by the LIS. Furthermore, the WWLLN lightning peaks in August in terms of monthly variation and in late August in terms of 10-day variation, unlike the corresponding LIS lightning peaks of July and late June, respectively. Other observation data were also introduced into the comparison. The blackbody temperature (TBB) data from the Fengyun-2E geostationary satellite (as a proxy of deep convection) and thunderstorm-day data support the spatial distribution of the WWLLN lightning more. Meanwhile, for seasonal variation, the TBB data are more analogous to the LIS data, whereas the cloud-to-ground (CG) lightning data from a local CG lightning location system are closer to the WWLLN data. It is speculated that the different WWLLN and LIS observation modes may cause their data to represent different dominant types of lightning, thereby leading to differences in the spatiotemporal distributions of their data. The results may further imply that there exist regional differences and seasonal variations in the electrical properties of thunderstorms over the TP.

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Chundi Hu, Qigang Wu, Song Yang, Yonghong Yao, Duo Chan, Zhenning Li, and Kaiqiang Deng

Abstract

In this study, the authors apply a lagged maximum covariance analysis (MCA) to capture the cross-seasonal coupled patterns between the Southern Ocean sea surface temperature (SOSST) and extratropical 500-hPa geopotential height anomalies in the Southern Hemisphere, from which Niño-3.4 signals and their linear trends are removed to a certain extent. Statistically significant results show that the dominant feature of ocean–atmosphere interaction is likely the effect of atmosphere on SOSST anomalies, with a peak occurring when the atmosphere leads the SOSST by 1 month.

However, the most eye-capturing phenomenon is that the austral autumn atmospheric signal, characterized by a negatively polarized Antarctic Oscillation (AAO), is significantly related to the gradual evolution of preceding SOSST anomalies, suggesting that the SOSST anomalies tend to exert an effect on the Southern Hemisphere atmospheric circulation. A regression analysis based on SOSST anomaly centers confirms these features. It is also demonstrated that the gradual evolution of changes in SOSST is mainly driven by internal atmospheric variability via surface turbulent heat flux associated with cold or warm advection and that the atmospheric circulation experiences a change from a typical positive AAO to a negative phase in this process. These findings indicate that such a long lead cross-seasonal covariance could contribute to a successful prediction of AAO-related atmospheric circulation in austral autumn from the perspective of SOSST anomalies, with lead times up to 6–7 months.

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