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H-C. Kuo, L-Y. Lin, C-P. Chang, and R. T. Williams

Abstract

An important issue in the formation of concentric eyewalls in a tropical cyclone is the development of a symmetric structure from asymmetric convection. It is proposed herein, with the aid of a nondivergent barotropic model, that concentric vorticity structures result from the interaction between a small and strong inner vortex (the tropical cyclone core) and neighboring weak vortices (the vorticity induced by the moist convection outside the central vortex of a tropical cyclone). The results highlight the pivotal role of the vorticity strength of the inner core vortex in maintaining itself, and in stretching, organizing, and stabilizing the outer vorticity field. Specifically, the core vortex induces a differential rotation across the large and weak vortex to strain out the latter into a vorticity band surrounding the former. The straining out of a large, weak vortex into a concentric vorticity band can also result in the contraction of the outer tangential wind maximum. The stability of the outer band is related to the Fjørtoft sufficient condition for stability because the strong inner vortex can cause the wind at the inner edge to be stronger than the outer edge, which allows the vorticity band and therefore the concentric structure to be sustained. Moreover, the inner vortex must possess high vorticity not only to be maintained against any deformation field induced by the outer vortices but also to maintain a smaller enstrophy cascade and to resist the merger process into a monopole. The negative vorticity anomaly in the moat serves as a “shield” or a barrier to the farther inward mixing the outer vorticity field. The binary vortex experiments described in this paper suggest that the formation of a concentric vorticity structure requires 1) a very strong core vortex with a vorticity at least 6 times stronger than the neighboring vortices, 2) a large neighboring vorticity area that is larger than the core vortex, and 3) a separation distance between the neighboring vorticity field and the core vortex that is within 3 to 4 times the core vortex radius.

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Y. Chang, S. D. Schubert, R. D. Koster, A. M. Molod, and H. Wang

Abstract

We revisit the bias correction problem in current climate models, taking advantage of state-of-the-art atmospheric reanalysis data and new data assimilation tools that simplify the estimation of short-term (6 hourly) atmospheric tendency errors. The focus is on the extent to which correcting biases in atmospheric tendencies improves the model’s climatology, variability, and ultimately forecast skill at subseasonal and seasonal time scales. Results are presented for the NASA GMAO GEOS model in both uncoupled (atmosphere only) and coupled (atmosphere–ocean) modes. For the uncoupled model, the focus is on correcting a stunted North Pacific jet and a dry bias over the central United States during boreal summer—long-standing errors that are indeed common to many current AGCMs. The results show that the tendency bias correction (TBC) eliminates the jet bias and substantially increases the precipitation over the Great Plains. These changes are accompanied by much improved (increased) storm-track activity throughout the northern midlatitudes. For the coupled model, the atmospheric TBCs produce substantial improvements in the simulated mean climate and its variability, including a much reduced SST warm bias, more realistic ENSO-related SST variability and teleconnections, and much improved subtropical jets and related submonthly transient wave activity. Despite these improvements, the improvement in subseasonal and seasonal forecast skill over North America is only modest at best. The reasons for this, which are presumably relevant to any forecast system, involve the competing influences of predictability loss with time and the time it takes for climate drift to first have a significant impact on forecast skill.

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J. C. Hubbert, S. M. Ellis, W.-Y. Chang, S. Rutledge, and M. Dixon

Abstract

Data collected by the National Center for Atmospheric Research S-band polarimetric radar (S-Pol) during the Terrain-Influenced Monsoon Rainfall Experiment (TiMREX) in Taiwan are analyzed and used to infer storm microphysics in the ice phase of convective storms. Both simultaneous horizontal (H) and vertical (V) (SHV) transmit polarization data and fast-alternating H and V (FHV) transmit polarization data are used in the analysis. The SHV Z dr (differential reflectivity) data show radial stripes of biased data in the ice phase that are likely caused by aligned and canted ice crystals. Similar radial streaks in the linear depolarization ratio (LDR) are presented that are also biased by the same mechanism. Dual-Doppler synthesis and sounding data characterize the storm environment and support the inferences concerning the ice particle types. Small convective cells were observed to have both large positive and large negative K dp (specific differential phase) values. Negative K dp regions suggest that ice crystals are vertically aligned by electric fields. Since high |K dp| values of 0.8° km−1 in both negative and positive K dp regions in the ice phase are accompanied by Z dr values close to 0 dB, it is inferred that there are two types of ice crystals present: 1) smaller aligned ice crystals that cause the K dp signatures and 2) larger aggregates or graupel that cause the Z dr signatures. The inferences are supported with simulated ice particle scattering calculations. A radar scattering model is used to explain the anomalous radial streaks in SHV and LDR.

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S. D. Schubert, Y. Chang, H. Wang, R. D. Koster, and A. M. Molod

Abstract

We outline a framework for identifying the geographical sources of biases in climate models. By forcing the model with time-averaged short-term analysis increments [tendency bias corrections (TBCs)] over well-defined regions, we can quantify how the associated reduced tendency errors in these regions manifest themselves both locally and remotely through large-scale teleconnections. Companion experiments in which the model is fully corrected [constrained to remain close to the analysis at each time step, termed replay (RPL)] in the various regions provide an upper bound to the local and remote TBC impacts. An example is given based on MERRA-2 and the NASA/GMAO GEOS AGCM used to generate MERRA-2. The results highlight the ability of the approach to isolate the geographical sources of some of the long-standing boreal summer biases of the GEOS model, including a stunted North Pacific summer jet, a dry bias in the U.S. Great Plains, and a warm bias over most of the Northern Hemisphere land. In particular, we show that the TBC over a region that encompasses Tibet has by far the largest impact (compared with all other regions) on the NH summer jets and related variables, leading to significant improvements in the simulation of North American temperature and, to a lesser degree, precipitation. It is further shown that the results of the regional TBC experiments are for the most part linear in the summer hemisphere, allowing a robust interpretation of the results.

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J. Shukla, J. Anderson, D. Baumhefner, C. Brankovic, Y. Chang, E. Kalnay, L. Marx, T. Palmer, D. Paolino, J. Ploshay, S. Schubert, D. Straus, M. Suarez, and J. Tribbia

Dynamical Seasonal Prediction (DSP) is an informally coordinated multi-institution research project to investigate the predictability of seasonal mean atmospheric circulation and rainfall. The basic idea is to test the feasibility of extending the technology of routine numerical weather prediction beyond the inherent limit of deterministic predictability of weather to produce numerical climate predictions using state-of-the-art global atmospheric models. Atmospheric general circulation models (AGCMs) either forced by predicted sea surface temperature (SST) or as part of a coupled forecast system have shown in the past that certain regions of the extratropics, in particular, the Pacific–North America (PNA) region during Northern Hemisphere winter, can be predicted with significant skill especially during years of large tropical SST anomalies. However, there is still a great deal of uncertainty about how much the details of various AGCMs impact conclusions about extratropical seasonal prediction and predictability.

DSP is designed to compare seasonal simulation and prediction results from five state-of-the-art U.S. modeling groups (NCAR, COLA, GSFC, GFDL, NCEP) in order to assess which aspects of the results are robust and which are model dependent. The initial emphasis is on the predictability of seasonal anomalies over the PNA region. This paper also includes results from the ECMWF model, and historical forecast skill over both the PNA region and the European region is presented for all six models.

It is found that with specified SST boundary conditions, all models show that the winter season mean circulation anomalies over the Pacific–North American region are highly predictable during years of large tropical sea surface temperature anomalies. The influence of large anomalous boundary conditions is so strong and so reproducible that the seasonal mean forecasts can be given with a high degree of confidence. However, the degree of reproducibility is highly variable from one model to the other, and quantities such as the PNA region signal to noise ratio are found to vary significantly between the different AGCMs. It would not be possible to make reliable estimates of predictability of the seasonal mean atmosphere circulation unless causes for such large differences among models are understood.

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Rym Msadek, T. L. Delworth, A. Rosati, W. Anderson, G. Vecchi, Y.-S. Chang, K. Dixon, R. G. Gudgel, W. Stern, A. Wittenberg, X. Yang, F. Zeng, R. Zhang, and S. Zhang

Abstract

Decadal prediction experiments were conducted as part of phase 5 of the Coupled Model Intercomparison Project (CMIP5) using the GFDL Climate Model, version 2.1 (CM2.1) forecast system. The abrupt warming of the North Atlantic Subpolar Gyre (SPG) that was observed in the mid-1990s is considered as a case study to evaluate forecast capabilities and better understand the reasons for the observed changes. Initializing the CM2.1 coupled system produces high skill in retrospectively predicting the mid-1990s shift, which is not captured by the uninitialized forecasts. All the hindcasts initialized in the early 1990s show a warming of the SPG; however, only the ensemble-mean hindcasts initialized in 1995 and 1996 are able to reproduce the observed abrupt warming and the associated decrease and contraction of the SPG. Examination of the physical mechanisms responsible for the successful retrospective predictions indicates that initializing the ocean is key to predicting the mid-1990s warming. The successful initialized forecasts show an increased Atlantic meridional overturning circulation and North Atlantic Current transport, which drive an increased advection of warm saline subtropical waters northward, leading to a westward shift of the subpolar front and, subsequently, a warming and spindown of the SPG. Significant seasonal climate impacts are predicted as the SPG warms, including a reduced sea ice concentration over the Arctic, an enhanced warming over the central United States during summer and fall, and a northward shift of the mean ITCZ. These climate anomalies are similar to those observed during a warm phase of the Atlantic multidecadal oscillation, which is encouraging for future predictions of North Atlantic climate.

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E.A. D'Asaro, P. G. Black, L. R. Centurioni, Y.-T. Chang, S. S. Chen, R. C. Foster, H. C. Graber, P. Harr, V. Hormann, R.-C. Lien, I.-I. Lin, T. B. Sanford, T.-Y. Tang, and C.-C. Wu

Tropical cyclones (TCs) change the ocean by mixing deeper water into the surface layers, by the direct air–sea exchange of moisture and heat from the sea surface, and by inducing currents, surface waves, and waves internal to the ocean. In turn, the changed ocean influences the intensity of the TC, primarily through the action of surface waves and of cooler surface temperatures that modify the air–sea fluxes. The Impact of Typhoons on the Ocean in the Pacific (ITOP) program made detailed measurements of three different TCs (i.e., typhoons) and their interaction with the ocean in the western Pacific. ITOP coordinated meteorological and oceanic observations from aircraft and satellites with deployments of autonomous oceanographic instruments from the aircraft and from ships. These platforms and instruments measured typhoon intensity and structure, the underlying ocean structure, and the long-term recovery of the ocean from the storms' effects with a particular emphasis on the cooling of the ocean beneath the storm and the resulting cold wake. Initial results show how different TCs create very different wakes, whose strength and properties depend most heavily on the nondimensional storm speed. The degree to which air–sea fluxes in the TC core were reduced by ocean cooling varied greatly. A warm layer formed over and capped the cold wakes within a few days, but a residual cold subsurface layer persisted for 10–30 days.

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T. H. Chen, A. Henderson-Sellers, P. C. D. Milly, A. J. Pitman, A. C. M. Beljaars, J. Polcher, F. Abramopoulos, A. Boone, S. Chang, F. Chen, Y. Dai, C. E. Desborough, R. E. Dickinson, L. Dümenil, M. Ek, J. R. Garratt, N. Gedney, Y. M. Gusev, J. Kim, R. Koster, E. A. Kowalczyk, K. Laval, J. Lean, D. Lettenmaier, X. Liang, J.-F. Mahfouf, H.-T. Mengelkamp, K. Mitchell, O. N. Nasonova, J. Noilhan, A. Robock, C. Rosenzweig, J. Schaake, C. A. Schlosser, J.-P. Schulz, Y. Shao, A. B. Shmakin, D. L. Verseghy, P. Wetzel, E. F. Wood, Y. Xue, Z.-L. Yang, and Q. Zeng

Abstract

In the Project for Intercomparison of Land-Surface Parameterization Schemes phase 2a experiment, meteorological data for the year 1987 from Cabauw, the Netherlands, were used as inputs to 23 land-surface flux schemes designed for use in climate and weather models. Schemes were evaluated by comparing their outputs with long-term measurements of surface sensible heat fluxes into the atmosphere and the ground, and of upward longwave radiation and total net radiative fluxes, and also comparing them with latent heat fluxes derived from a surface energy balance. Tuning of schemes by use of the observed flux data was not permitted. On an annual basis, the predicted surface radiative temperature exhibits a range of 2 K across schemes, consistent with the range of about 10 W m−2 in predicted surface net radiation. Most modeled values of monthly net radiation differ from the observations by less than the estimated maximum monthly observational error (±10 W m−2). However, modeled radiative surface temperature appears to have a systematic positive bias in most schemes; this might be explained by an error in assumed emissivity and by models’ neglect of canopy thermal heterogeneity. Annual means of sensible and latent heat fluxes, into which net radiation is partitioned, have ranges across schemes of30 W m−2 and 25 W m−2, respectively. Annual totals of evapotranspiration and runoff, into which the precipitation is partitioned, both have ranges of 315 mm. These ranges in annual heat and water fluxes were approximately halved upon exclusion of the three schemes that have no stomatal resistance under non-water-stressed conditions. Many schemes tend to underestimate latent heat flux and overestimate sensible heat flux in summer, with a reverse tendency in winter. For six schemes, root-mean-square deviations of predictions from monthly observations are less than the estimated upper bounds on observation errors (5 W m−2 for sensible heat flux and 10 W m−2 for latent heat flux). Actual runoff at the site is believed to be dominated by vertical drainage to groundwater, but several schemes produced significant amounts of runoff as overland flow or interflow. There is a range across schemes of 184 mm (40% of total pore volume) in the simulated annual mean root-zone soil moisture. Unfortunately, no measurements of soil moisture were available for model evaluation. A theoretical analysis suggested that differences in boundary conditions used in various schemes are not sufficient to explain the large variance in soil moisture. However, many of the extreme values of soil moisture could be explained in terms of the particulars of experimental setup or excessive evapotranspiration.

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C. Kummerow, J. Simpson, O. Thiele, W. Barnes, A. T. C. Chang, E. Stocker, R. F. Adler, A. Hou, R. Kakar, F. Wentz, P. Ashcroft, T. Kozu, Y. Hong, K. Okamoto, T. Iguchi, H. Kuroiwa, E. Im, Z. Haddad, G. Huffman, B. Ferrier, W. S. Olson, E. Zipser, E. A. Smith, T. T. Wilheit, G. North, T. Krishnamurti, and K. Nakamura

Abstract

The Tropical Rainfall Measuring Mission (TRMM) satellite was launched on 27 November 1997, and data from all the instruments first became available approximately 30 days after the launch. Since then, much progress has been made in the calibration of the sensors, the improvement of the rainfall algorithms, and applications of these results to areas such as data assimilation and model initialization. The TRMM Microwave Imager (TMI) calibration has been corrected and verified to account for a small source of radiation leaking into the TMI receiver. The precipitation radar calibration has been adjusted upward slightly (by 0.6 dBZ) to match better the ground reference targets; the visible and infrared sensor calibration remains largely unchanged. Two versions of the TRMM rainfall algorithms are discussed. The at-launch (version 4) algorithms showed differences of 40% when averaged over the global Tropics over 30-day periods. The improvements to the rainfall algorithms that were undertaken after launch are presented, and intercomparisons of these products (version 5) show agreement improving to 24% for global tropical monthly averages. The ground-based radar rainfall product generation is discussed. Quality-control issues have delayed the routine production of these products until the summer of 2000, but comparisons of TRMM products with early versions of the ground validation products as well as with rain gauge network data suggest that uncertainties among the TRMM algorithms are of approximately the same magnitude as differences between TRMM products and ground-based rainfall estimates. The TRMM field experiment program is discussed to describe active areas of measurements and plans to use these data for further algorithm improvements. In addition to the many papers in this special issue, results coming from the analysis of TRMM products to study the diurnal cycle, the climatological description of the vertical profile of precipitation, storm types, and the distribution of shallow convection, as well as advances in data assimilation of moisture and model forecast improvements using TRMM data, are discussed in a companion TRMM special issue in the Journal of Climate (1 December 2000, Vol. 13, No. 23).

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Weiqing Qu, A. Henderson-Sellers, A. J. Pitman, T. H. Chen, F. Abramopoulos, A. Boone, S. Chang, F. Chen, Y. Dai, R. E. Dickinson, L. Dümenil, M. Ek, N. Gedney, Y. M. Gusev, J. Kim, R. Koster, E. A. Kowalczyk, J. Lean, D. Lettenmaier, X. Liang, J.-F. Mahfouf, H.-T. Mengelkamp, K. Mitchell, O. N. Nasonova, J. Noilhan, A. Robock, C. Rosenzweig, J. Schaake, C. A. Schlosser, J.-P. Schulz, A. B. Shmakin, D. L. Verseghy, P. Wetzel, E. F. Wood, Z.-L. Yang, and Q. Zeng

Abstract

In the PILPS Phase 2a experiment, 23 land-surface schemes were compared in an off-line control experiment using observed meteorological data from Cabauw, the Netherlands. Two simple sensitivity experiments were also undertaken in which the observed surface air temperature was artificially increased or decreased by 2 K while all other factors remained as observed. On the annual timescale, all schemes show similar responses to these perturbations in latent, sensible heat flux, and other key variables. For the 2-K increase in temperature, surface temperatures and latent heat fluxes all increase while net radiation, sensible heat fluxes, and soil moistures all decrease. The results are reversed for a 2-K temperature decrease. The changes in sensible heat fluxes and, especially, the changes in the latent heat fluxes are not linearly related to the change of temperature. Theoretically, the nonlinear relationship between air temperature and the latent heat flux is evident and due to the convex relationship between air temperature and saturation vapor pressure. A simple test shows that, the effect of the change of air temperature on the atmospheric stratification aside, this nonlinear relationship is shown in the form that the increase of the latent heat flux for a 2-K temperature increase is larger than its decrease for a 2-K temperature decrease. However, the results from the Cabauw sensitivity experiments show that the increase of the latent heat flux in the +2-K experiment is smaller than the decrease of the latent heat flux in the −2-K experiment (we refer to this as the asymmetry). The analysis in this paper shows that this inconsistency between the theoretical relationship and the Cabauw sensitivity experiments results (or the asymmetry) is due to (i) the involvement of the β g formulation, which is a function of a series stress factors that limited the evaporation and whose values change in the ±2-K experiments, leading to strong modifications of the latent heat flux; (ii) the change of the drag coefficient induced by the changes in stratification due to the imposed air temperature changes (±2 K) in parameterizations of latent heat flux common in current land-surface schemes. Among all stress factors involved in the β g formulation, the soil moisture stress in the +2-K experiment induced by the increased evaporation is the main factor that contributes to the asymmetry.

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