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Yubao Liu, Da-Lin Zhang, and M. K. Yau

Abstract

Despite considerable research, understanding of the temporal evolution of the inner-core structures of hurricanes is very limited owing to the lack of continuous high-resolution observational data of a storm. In this study, the results of a 72-h explicit simulation of Hurricane Andrew (1992) with a grid size of 6 km are examined to explore the inner-core axisymmetric and asymmetric structures of the storm during its rapid deepening stage. Based on the simulation, a conceptual model of the axisymmetric structures of the storm is proposed. Most of the proposed structures confirm previous observations. The main ingredients include a main inflow (outflow) in the boundary layer (upper troposphere) with little radial flow in between, a divergent slantwise ascent in the eyewall, a penetrative dry downdraft at the inner edge of the eyewall, and a general weak subsiding motion in the eye with typical warming/drying above an inversion located near an altitude of about 2–3 km. The storm deepens as the axes of these features contract.

It is found that the inversion divides the eye of the hurricane vertically into two parts, with a deep layer of warm/dry air above and a shallow pool of warm/moist air below. The air aloft descends at an average rate of 5 cm s−1 and has a residency time of several days. In contrast, the warm/moist pool consists of air from the main inflow and penetrative downdrafts, offset somewhat by the air streaming in a returning outflow into the eyewall in the lowest 2 km; it is subject to the influence of the upward heat and moisture fluxes over the underlying warm ocean. The warm/moist pool appears to play an important role in supplying high-θ e air for deep convective development in the eyewall. The penetrative downdraft is dry and originates from the return inflow in the upper troposphere, and it is driven by sublimative/evaporative cooling under the influence of the (asymmetric) radial inflow of dry/cold air in the midtroposphere. It penetrates to the bottom of the eye (azimuthally downshear with a width often greater than 100 km) in a radially narrow zone along the slantwise inner edge of the eyewall.

It is further shown that all the meteorological fields are highly asymmetric. Whereas the storm-scale flow features a source–sink couplet in the boundary layer and dual gyres aloft, the inner-core structures exhibit alternative radial inflow and outflow and a series of inhomogeneous updrafts and downdrafts. All the fields tilt more or less with height radially outward and azimuthally downshear. Furthermore, pronounced fluctuations of air motion are found in both the eye and the eyewall. Sometimes, a deep layer of upward motion appears at the center of the eye. All these features contribute to the trochoidal oscillation of the storm track and movement. The main steering appears to be located at the midtroposphere (∼4.5 km) and the deep-layer mean winds represent well the movement of the hurricane.

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Peiqiang Xu, Lin Wang, Wen Chen, Juan Feng, and Yuyun Liu

Abstract

The Pacific–Japan (PJ) pattern, also known as the East Asia–Pacific pattern, is a teleconnection that significantly influences the East Asian summer climate on various time scales. Based on several reanalysis and observational datasets, this study suggests that the PJ pattern has experienced a distinct three-dimensional structural change in the late 1990s. Compared with those during 1979–98, the PJ pattern shifts eastward by approximately 20° during 1999–2015, and the intensity of its barotropic structure in the extratropics weakens significantly. As a result, its influences on the summer rainfall along the mei-yu band are weakened after the late 1990s. These observed changes can be attributed to three reasons. First, the location where the PJ pattern is excited shifts eastward. Second, the easterly shear of the background wind is very weak around the source region of the PJ pattern after the late 1990s, which prevents the convection-induced baroclinic mode from converting into barotropic mode and thereby from propagating into the extratropics. Third, the PJ pattern–induced rainfall anomalies are weak along the mei-yu band after the late 1990s. As a result, their feedbacks to the PJ pattern become weak and play a considerably reduced role in maintaining the structure of the PJ pattern in the midlatitudes. In contrast, the eddy energy conversion from the basic flow efficiently maintains the PJ pattern before and after the late 1990s and thereby contributes little to the observed change.

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Yubao Liu, Da-Lin Zhang, and M. K. Yau

Abstract

In this study, the inner-core structures of Hurricane Andrew (1992) are explicitly simulated using an improved version of the Penn State–NCAR nonhydrostatic, two-way interactive, movable, triply nested grid mesoscale model (MM5). A modified Betts–Miller cumulus parameterization scheme and an explicit microphysics scheme were used simultaneously to simulate the evolution of the larger-scale flows over the coarser-mesh domains. The intense storm itself is explicitly resolved over the finest-mesh domain using a grid size of 6 km and an explicit microphysics package containing prognostic equations for cloud water, ice, rainwater, snow, and graupel. The model is initialized with the National Centers for Environmental Prediction analysis enhanced by a modified moisture field. A model-generated tropical-storm-like vortex was also incorporated. A 72-h integration was made, which covers the stages from the storm’s initial deepening to a near–category 5 hurricane intensity and the landfall over Florida.

As verified against various observations and the best analysis, the model captures reasonably well the evolution and inner-core structures of the storm. In particular, the model reproduces the track, the explosive deepening rate (>1.5 hPa h−1), the minimum surface pressure of 919 hPa preceding landfall, the strong surface wind (>65 m s−1) near the shoreline, as well as the ring of maximum winds, the eye, the eyewall, the spiral rainbands, and other cloud features. Of particular significance is that many simulated kinematics, thermodynamics, and precipitation structures in the core regions compare favorably to previous observations of hurricanes.

The results suggest that it may be possible to predict reasonably the track, intensity, and inner-core structures of hurricanes from the tropical synoptic conditions if high grid resolution, realistic model physics, and proper initial vortices (depth, size, and intensity) in relation to their larger-scale conditions (e.g., SST, moisture content, and vertical shear in the lower troposphere) are incorporated.

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Hong-Bo Liu, Jing Yang, Da-Lin Zhang, and Bin Wang

Abstract

During the mei-yu season of the summer of 2003, the Yangtze and Huai River basin (YHRB) encountered anomalously heavy rainfall, and the northern YHRB (nYHRB) suffered a severe flood because of five continuous extreme rainfall events. A spectral analysis of daily rainfall data over YHRB reveals two dominant frequency modes: one peak on day 14 and the other on day 4 (i.e., the quasi-biweekly and synoptic-scale mode, respectively). Results indicate that the two scales of disturbances contributed southwesterly and northeasterly anomalies, respectively, to the mei-yu frontal convergence over the southern YHRB (sYHRB) at the peak wet phase. An analysis of bandpass-filtered circulations shows that the lower and upper regions of the troposphere were fully coupled at the quasi-biweekly scale, and a lower-level cyclonic anomaly over sYHRB was phase locked with an anticyclonic anomaly over the Philippines. At the synoptic scale, the strong northeasterly components of an anticyclonic anomaly with a deep cold and dry layer helped generate the heavy rainfall over sYHRB. Results also indicate the passages of five synoptic-scale disturbances during the nYHRB rainfall. Like the sYHRB rainfall, these disturbances originated from the periodical generations of cyclonic and anticyclonic anomalies at the downstream of the Tibetan Plateau. The nYHRB rainfalls were generated as these disturbances moved northeastward under the influence of monsoonal flows and higher-latitude eastward-propagating Rossby wave trains. It is concluded that the sYHRB heavy rainfall resulted from the superposition of quasi-biweekly and synoptic-scale disturbances, whereas the intermittent passages of five synoptic-scale disturbances led to the flooding rainfall over nYHRB.

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Yuh-Lang Lin, Shu-Hua Chen, and Liping Liu

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A series of idealized numerical experiments and vorticity budget analyses is performed to examine several mechanisms proposed in previous studies to help understand the orographic influence on track deflection over a mesoscale mountain range. When an idealized tropical cyclone (TC) is embedded in a uniform, easterly flow and passes over a mountain with a moderate Froude number, it is deflected to the south upstream, moves over the mountain anticyclonically, and then resumes its westward movement. The vorticity budget analysis indicates that the TC movement can be predicted by the maximum vorticity tendency (VT). The orographic effects on the above TC track deflection are explained by the following: 1) Upstream of the mountain, the easterly basic flow is decelerated as a result of orographic blocking that causes the flow to become subgeostrophic, which advects the TC to the southwest, analogous to the advection of a point vortex embedded in a flow. The VT is primarily dominated by the horizontal vorticity advection. 2) The TC passes over the mountain anticyclonically, mainly steered by the orographically generated high pressure. This makes the TC move southwestward (northwestward) over the upslope (lee slope). The VT is mainly contributed by the horizontal vorticity advection with additional contributions from vorticity stretching and the residual term (which includes friction and subgrid turbulence mixing). 3) Over the lee slope and downstream of the mountain, the northwestward movement is enhanced by asymmetric diabatic heating, making the turning more abrupt. 4) Far downstream of the mountain, the VT is mainly contributed by the horizontal vorticity advection.

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Mengrong Ding, Pengfei Lin, Hailong Liu, and Fei Chai

Abstract

The authors study the long-term behaviors of eddy activity in the northeastern Pacific (NEP) and the dynamic mechanism behind them, using the third version of the mesoscale eddy trajectory dataset released by Chelton and Schlax as well as other observation and reanalysis datasets. Both the eddy kinetic energy (EKE) and eddy occurrence number (EON) present prominent increases, with interannual and decadal variabilities northeast of the Hawaiian–Emperor seamounts. The increasing EON is mainly due to the prolongation of eddy lifetimes associated with eddy intensification, particularly for anticyclonic eddies (AEs). The prolongation of eddy lifetimes results from weakened surface winds. The enhanced anticyclonic wind stress curl (WSC) injects more energy into the AEs in the study domain, providing a more suitable environment for their growth. The decadal climate modes, such as the Pacific decadal oscillation (PDO) and the North Pacific Gyre Oscillation (NPGO), may also modulate eddy activity in the NEP by exerting fluctuations in the surface wind system.

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Da-Lin Zhang, Yubao Liu, and M. K. Yau

Abstract

In this study, the vertical force balance in the inner-core region is examined, through the analysis of vertical momentum budgets, using a high-resolution, explicit simulation of Hurricane Andrew (1992). Three-dimensional buoyancy- and dynamically induced perturbation pressures are then obtained to gain insight into the processes leading to the subsidence warming in the eye and the vertical lifting in the eyewall in the absence of positive buoyancy.

It is found from the force balance budgets that vertical acceleration in the eyewall is a small difference among the perturbation pressure gradient force (PGF), buoyancy, and water loading. The azimuthally averaged eyewall convection is found to be conditionally stable but slantwise unstable with little positive buoyancy. It is the PGF that is responsible for the upward acceleration of high-θ e air in the eyewall. It is found that the vertical motion and acceleration in the eyewall are highly asymmetric and closely related to the azimuthal distribution of radial flows in conjunction with large thermal and moisture contrasts across the eyewall. For example, the radially incoming air aloft is cool and dry and tends to suppress updrafts or induce downdrafts. On the other hand, the outgoing flows are positively buoyant and tend to ascend in the eyewall unless evaporative cooling dominates. It is also found that the water loading effect has to be included into the hydrostatic equation in estimating the pressure or height field in the eyewall.

The perturbation pressure inversions show that a large portion of surface perturbation pressures is caused by the moist-adiabatic warming in the eyewall and the subsidence warming in the eye. However, the associated buoyancy-induced PGF is mostly offset by the buoyancy force, and their net effect is similar in magnitude but opposite in sign to the dynamically induced PGF. Of importance is that the dynamically induced PGF points downward in the eye to account for the maintenance of the general descent. But it points upward in the outer portion of the eyewall, particularly in the north semicircle, to facilitate the lifting of high-θ e air in the lower troposphere. Furthermore, this dynamic force is dominated by the radial shear of tangential winds. Based on this finding, a new theoretical explanation, different from previously reported, is advanced for the relationship among the subsidence warming in the eye, and the rotation and vertical wind shear in the eyewall.

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Da-Lin Zhang, Yubao Liu, and M. K. Yau

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Although considerable progress has been made in understanding the development of hurricanes, our knowledge of their three-dimensional structures of latent heat release and inner-core thermodynamics remains limited. In this study, the inner-core budgets of potential temperature (θ), moisture (q), and equivalent potential temperature (θe) are examined using a high-resolution (Δx = 6 km), nonhydrostatic, fully explicit simulation of Hurricane Andrew (1992) during its mature or intensifying stage.

It is found that the heat energy is dominated by latent heat release in the eyewall, sublimative–evaporative cooling near the eye–eyewall interface, and the upward surface fluxes of sensible and latent heat from the underlying warm ocean. The latent heating (θ) rates in the eyewall range from less than 10°C h–1 to greater than 100°C h–1, depending upon whether latent heat is released in radial inflow or outflow regions. The latent heating rates decrease inward in the inflow regions and become negative near the eye–eyewall interface. It is shown that the radial θ advective cooling in the inflow regions accounts for the initiation and maintenance of the penetrative downdrafts at the eye–eyewall interface that are enhanced by the sublimative-evaporative cooling. It is also shown that the vertical θ advection overcompensates the horizontal θ advection for the generation of the warm-cored eye, and the sum of latent heating and radial advective warming for the development of intense cooling in the eyewall. The moisture budgets show the dominant upward transport of moisture in the eyewall updrafts (and spiral rainbands), partly by the low-level outflow jet from the bottom eye regions, so that the eyewall remains nearly saturated.

The θe budgets reveal that θe could be considered as an approximately conserved variable in the eyewall above the boundary layer even in the presence of deposition–sublimation and freezing–melting. The development of higher-θe surfaces at the eye–eyewall interface is discussed in the context of deep convection, the θe gradient and the mass recycling across the eyewall. It is concluded that the simulated hurricane is thermodynamically maintained by the upward surface flux of higher-θe air from the underlying warm ocean, the descent of higher-θe air in the upper troposphere along the eye–eyewall interface, and the recycling of some warmed-eye air at the eye–eyewall interface.

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ZhongDa Lin, Yun Li, Yong Liu, and AiXue Hu

Abstract

Rainfall in southeastern Australia (SEA) decreased substantially in the austral autumn (March–May) of the 1990s and 2000s. The observed autumn rainfall reduction has been linked to the climate change–induced poleward shift of the subtropical dry zone across SEA and natural multidecadal variations. However, the underlying physical processes responsible for the SEA drought are still not fully understood. This study highlights the role of sea surface temperature (SST) warming in the subtropical South Pacific (SSP) in the autumn rainfall reduction in SEA since the early 1990s. The warmer SSP SST enhances rainfall to the northwest in the southern South Pacific convergence zone (SPCZ); the latter triggers a divergent overturning circulation with the subsidence branch over the eastern coast of Australia. As such, the subsidence increases the surface pressure over Australia, intensifies the subtropical ridge, and reduces the rainfall in SEA. This mechanism is further confirmed by the result of a sensitivity experiment using an atmospheric general circulation model. Moreover, this study further indicates that global warming and natural multidecadal variability contribute approximately 44% and 56%, respectively, of the SST warming in the SSP since the early 1990s.

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Lin Wang, Peiqiang Xu, Wen Chen, and Yong Liu

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Based on several reanalysis and observational datasets, this study suggests that the Silk Road pattern (SRP), a major teleconnection pattern stretching across Eurasia in the boreal summer, shows clear interdecadal variations that explain approximately 50% of its total variance. The interdecadal SRP features a strong barotropic wave train along the Asian subtropical jet, resembling its interannual counterpart. Additionally, it features a second weak wave train over the northern part of Eurasia, leading to larger meridional scale than its interannual counterpart. The interdecadal SRP contributes approximately 40% of the summer surface air temperature’s variance with little uncertainty and 10%–20% of the summer precipitation’s variance with greater uncertainty over large domains of Eurasia. The interdecadal SRP shows two regime shifts in 1972 and 1997. The latter shift explains over 40% of the observed rainfall reduction over northeastern Asia and over 40% of the observed warming over eastern Europe, western Asia, and northeastern Asia, highlighting its importance to the recent decadal climate variations over Eurasia. The Atlantic multidecadal oscillation (AMO) does not show a significant linear relationship with the interdecadal SRP. However, the Monte Carlo bootstrapping resampling analysis suggests that the positive (negative) phases of the spring and summer AMO significantly facilitate the occurrence of negative (positive) phases of the interdecadal SRP, implying plausible prediction potentials for the interdecadal variations of the SRP. The reported results are insensitive to the long-term trends in datasets and thereby have little relevance to externally forced climate change.

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