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R. W. Higgins, Y. Yao, E. S. Yarosh, J. E. Janowiak, and K. C. Mo

Abstract

The influence of the Great Plains low-level jet (LLJ) on summertime precipitation and moisture transport over the central United States is examined in observations and in assimilated datasets recently produced by the NCEP/NCAR and the NASA/DAO. Intercomparisons between the assimilated datasets and comparisons with station observations of precipitation, winds, and specific humidity are used to evaluate the limitations of the assimilated products for studying the diurnal cycle of rainfall and the Great Plains LLJ. The winds from the reanalyses are used to diagnose the impact of the LLJ on observed nocturnal precipitation and moisture transport over a multisummer (JJA 1985–89) period. The impact of the LLJ on the overall moisture budget of the central United States is also examined.

An inspection of the diurnal cycle of precipitation in gridded hourly station observations for 1963–93 reveals a well-defined nocturnal maximum over the Great Plains region during the spring and summer months consistent with earlier observational studies. During summer in excess of 25% more precipitation falls during the nighttime hours than during the daytime hours over a large portion of the Great Plains, with a commensurate decrease in the percentage amount of nocturnal precipitation along the Gulf Coast. Inspection of the nighttime precipitation by month shows that the maximum in precipitation along the Gulf Coast slowly shifts northward from the lower Mississippi Valley to the upper Midwest during the late spring and summer months and then back again during the fall.

Both reanalyses produce a Great Plains LLJ with a structure, diurnal cycle, and frequency of occurrence that compares favorably to hourly wind profiler data. Composites of observed nighttime rainfall during LLJ events show a fundamentally different pattern in the distribution of precipitation compared to nonjet events. Overall, LLJ events are associated with enhanced precipitation over the north central United States and Great Plains and decreased precipitation along the Gulf Coast and East Coast; nonjet events are associated with much weaker anomalies that are generally in the opposite sense. Inspection of the LLJ composites for each month shows a gradual shift of the region of enhanced precipitation from the northern tier of states toward the south and east in a manner consistent with the anomalous moisture transport. LLJ-related precipitation is found to be associated most closely with the strongest, least frequent LLJ events.

The moisture transport in the reanalyses compares favorably to radiosonde data, although significant regional differences exist, particularly along the Gulf Coast during summer. The diurnal cycle of the low-level moisture transport is well resolved in the reanalyses with the largest and most extensive anomalies being those associated with the nocturnal inland flow of the Great Plains LLJ. Examination of the impact of the LLJ on the nighttime moisture transport shows a coherent evolution from May to August with a gradual increase in the anomalous westerly transport over the southeastern United States, consistent with the evolution of the precipitation patterns. The impact of the LLJ on the overall moisture budget during summer is considerable with low-level inflow from the Gulf of Mexico increasing by more than 45%, on average, over nocturnal mean values.

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Dong-Peng Guo, Peng Zhao, Ren-Tai Yao, Yun-Peng Li, Ji-Min Hu, and Dan Fan

Abstract

In this paper, the kε renormalization group (RNG) turbulence model is used to simulate the flow and dispersion of pollutants emitted from a source at the top of a cubic building under neutral and stable atmospheric stratifications, the results of which were compared with corresponding wind tunnel experiment results. When atmosphere stratification is stable, the separation zones on the sides and at the top of a building are relatively smaller than those under neutral conditions, and the effect of the building in the horizontal direction is stronger than that in the vertical direction. The variation in turbulent kinetic energy under stable conditions is significantly lower than that under neutral conditions. The effect of atmospheric stratification on the turbulent kinetic energy becomes gradually more prominent with increased distance. When atmosphere conditions are stable, the vertical distribution of the plume is smaller than that of neutral conditions, but the lateral spread and near-ground concentration are slightly larger than those of neutral conditions, mainly because stable atmospheric stratification suppresses the vertical motions of airflow and increases the horizontal spread of the plume.

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George Tselioudis, Anthony D. DelGenio, William Kovari Jr., and Mao-Sung Yao

Abstract

A current-climate simulation of the Goddard Institute for Space Studies (GISS) GCM, which includes interactive cloud optical properties that depend on the predicted cloud water content, is analyzed to document the variations of low cloud optical thickness with temperature in the model atmosphere. It is found that low cloud optical thickness decreases with temperature in the warm subtropical and tropical latitudes and increases with temperature in the cold midlatitude regions. This behavior is in agreement with the results of two observational studies that analyzed satellite data from the International Satellite Cloud Climatology Project and Special Sensor Microwave/Imager datasets. The increase of low cloud optical thickness with temperature in the midlatitudes is due to vertical extent and cloud water increases, whereas the decrease with temperature in the warm latitudes is due to decreases in cloud water content and happens despite increases in cloud vertical extent. The cloud processes that produce the cloud property changes in the model also vary with latitude. In the midlatitude regions relative-humidity-induced increases of cloud vertical extent with temperature dominate, whereas in the Tropics increases in cloud-top entrainment and precipitation with temperature produce decreases of cloud water content, whose effect on optical thickness outweighs the effect of entrainment-induced increases of cloud vertical extent with temperature. Doubled-CO2 simulations with the GISS GCM suggest that even though low cloud optical thickness changes have little effect on the global climate sensitivity of the model, they redistribute the temperature change and reduce the high-latitude amplification of the greenhouse warming. It is also found that the current-climate variations of low cloud optical thickness with temperature reproduce qualitatively but overestimate quantitatively the changes in optical thickness with climate warming.

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Anthony D. Del Genio, Yonghua Chen, Daehyun Kim, and Mao-Sung Yao
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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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Xiaoxin Yang, Tandong Yao, Wulin Yang, Baiqing Xu, You He, and Dongmei Qu

Abstract

The onset of the Asian summer monsoon is noticeably controversial, spatially and temporally. The stable oxygen isotope δ 18O in precipitation has long been used to trace water vapor source, particularly to capture the summer monsoon precipitation signal. The abrupt decrease of precipitation δ 18O in the Asian summer monsoon region closely corresponds to the summer monsoon onset. Two stations have therefore been set up at Guangzhou and Lulang in the East Asian summer monsoon domain to clarify the summer monsoon onset dates. Event-based precipitation δ 18O during 2007/08 is much lower at Lulang than at Guangzhou and is attributable mainly to the altitude effect offset by different isotopic compositions in marine moisture sources. The earlier appearance of low δ 18Owt at Lulang than at Guangzhou confirms the earlier summer monsoon onset in the Bay of Bengal. Isotopically identified summer monsoon evolutions from precipitation δ 18O at both stations are verifiable with NCEP–NCAR reanalysis data, indicating that precipitation δ 18O offers an alternative approach to studying the summer monsoon circulation from precipitation δ 18O.

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Qiang Wang, Lili Zeng, Jian Li, Ju Chen, Yunkai He, Jinglong Yao, Dongxiao Wang, and Weidong Zhou

Abstract

Cross-shelf flow induced by mesoscale eddies has been investigated in the northern South China Sea (NSCS) using velocity observations from Long Ranger ADCP moorings. Mesoscale eddies influenced the three mooring stations during almost all the observation period. Four quadrants have been defined with the mooring location as the origin, and it is found that warm (cold) mesoscale eddies induce onshore (offshore) movement in the eastern two quadrants and offshore (onshore) movement in the western two quadrants. When an eddy propagates past a mooring station, net cross-shelf flow at the mooring station can be induced by asymmetry in the horizontal and vertical structure of the eddy and by its evolution. As an eddy propagates westward, its shape changes continually and the vertical modes also transform from high to lower modes, which contributes to the net cross-shelf flow. Based on the quasigeostrophic potential vorticity equation, it is confirmed that the net cross-shelf flow is mainly induced by the eddy evolution and suppressed by nonlinear effect. Because of dispersion characteristics of the mesoscale eddy, barotropic mode will restructure at the baroclinic mode area after separating from the baroclinic mode, which will be enhanced by topography slope.

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Anthony D. Del Genio, Jingbo Wu, Audrey B. Wolf, Yonghua Chen, Mao-Sung Yao, and Daehyun Kim

Abstract

Two recent activities offer an opportunity to test general circulation model (GCM) convection and its interaction with large-scale dynamics for observed Madden–Julian oscillation (MJO) events. This study evaluates the sensitivity of the Goddard Institute for Space Studies (GISS) GCM to entrainment, rain evaporation, downdrafts, and cold pools. Single Column Model versions that restrict weakly entraining convection produce the most realistic dependence of convection depth on column water vapor (CWV) during the Atmospheric Radiation Measurement MJO Investigation Experiment at Gan Island. Differences among models are primarily at intermediate CWV where the transition from shallow to deeper convection occurs. GCM 20-day hindcasts during the Year of Tropical Convection that best capture the shallow–deep transition also produce strong MJOs, with significant predictability compared to Tropical Rainfall Measuring Mission data. The dry anomaly east of the disturbance on hindcast day 1 is a good predictor of MJO onset and evolution. Initial CWV there is near the shallow–deep transition point, implicating premature onset of deep convection as a predictor of a poor MJO simulation. Convection weakly moistens the dry region in good MJO simulations in the first week; weakening of large-scale subsidence over this time may also affect MJO onset. Longwave radiation anomalies are weakest in the worst model version, consistent with previous analyses of cloud/moisture greenhouse enhancement as the primary MJO energy source. The authors’ results suggest that both cloud-/moisture-radiative interactions and convection–moisture sensitivity are required to produce a successful MJO simulation.

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Xudong Liang, Yanxin Xie, Jinfang Yin, Yi Luo, Dan Yao, and Feng Li

Abstract

Dealiasing is a common procedure in radar radial velocity quality control. Generally, there are two dealiasing steps: a continuity check and a reference check. In this paper, a modified version that uses azimuthal variance of radial velocity is introduced based on the integrating velocity–azimuth process (IVAP) method, referred to as the V-IVAP method. The new method can retrieve the averaged winds within a local area instead of averaged wind within a full range circle by the velocity–azimuth display (VAD) or the modified VAD method. The V-IVAP method is insensitive to the alias of the velocity, and provides a better way to produce reference velocities for a reference check. Instead of a continuity check, we use the IVAP method for a fine reference check because of its high-frequency filtering function. Then a dealiasing procedure with two steps of reference check is developed. The performance of the automatic dealiasing procedure is demonstrated by retrieving the wind field of a tornado. Using the dealiased radar velocities, the retrieved winds reveal a clear mesoscale vortex. A test based on radar network observations also has shown that the two-step dealiasing procedure based on V-IVAP and IVAP methods is reliable.

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