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Martin Hoerling, Arun Kumar, Randall Dole, John W. Nielsen-Gammon, Jon Eischeid, Judith Perlwitz, Xiao-Wei Quan, Tao Zhang, Philip Pegion, and Mingyue Chen

Abstract

The record-setting 2011 Texas drought/heat wave is examined to identify physical processes, underlying causes, and predictability. October 2010–September 2011 was Texas’s driest 12-month period on record. While the summer 2011 heat wave magnitude (2.9°C above the 1981–2010 mean) was larger than the previous record, events of similar or larger magnitude appear in preindustrial control runs of climate models. The principal factor contributing to the heat wave magnitude was a severe rainfall deficit during antecedent and concurrent seasons related to anomalous sea surface temperatures (SSTs) that included a La Niña event. Virtually all the precipitation deficits appear to be due to natural variability. About 0.6°C warming relative to the 1981–2010 mean is estimated to be attributable to human-induced climate change, with warming observed mainly in the past decade. Quantitative attribution of the overall human-induced contribution since preindustrial times is complicated by the lack of a detected century-scale temperature trend over Texas. Multiple factors altered the probability of climate extremes over Texas in 2011. Observed SST conditions increased the frequency of severe rainfall deficit events from 9% to 34% relative to 1981–2010, while anthropogenic forcing did not appreciably alter their frequency. Human-induced climate change increased the probability of a new temperature record from 3% during the 1981–2010 reference period to 6% in 2011, while the 2011 SSTs increased the probability from 4% to 23%. Forecasts initialized in May 2011 demonstrate predictive skill in anticipating much of the SST-enhanced risk for an extreme summer drought/heat wave over Texas.

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Xianxin Li, Zhangjun Wang, Libin Du, Xingtao Liu, Xiufen Wang, Chao Chen, Xiangqian Meng, Hui Li, Quanfeng Zhuang, Wei Deng, Xin Pan, and Xinzhao Chu

Abstract

Observations of the atmospheric trace gases are crucial for quality assessment of the human living environment. Multiaxis differential optical absorption spectroscopy (MAX-DOAS) is the most promising candidate to meet the requirements on observations of atmospheric trace gases with high sensitivity, good stability, and a wide range of regional monitoring. The shipborne observations of tropospheric trace gases (NO2, SO2, and O3) over a coastal city, Qingdao, with MAX-DOAS were conducted by a Chinese oceanographic research vessel, XiangYangHong 08 (XYH 08). During the observational campaign, the shipborne MAX-DOAS equipment was used to make anchor measurements for 3 days, and a sailing measurement along Qingdao coast for half an hour. Measurement results are presented for both sailing and anchor point measurements in this paper. Combining geometry characteristic of the monitoring area, it can be concluded from the sailing measurements that the traffic emissions may play an important role in the boundary layer (BL) pollution of a coastal city’s atmosphere. The anchor point measurements showed that the NO2 vertical column density (VCD) mean value of Jiaozhou Bay is about 2.7 times of the value of the Qingdao offshore sea area. Likewise, the tropospheric VCDs of SO2 and O3 have an increase of 30% and 40%, respectively, on 1 September in Jiaozhou Bay, compared to the other 2 days in Qingdao offshore sea area.

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Christopher Davis, Wei Wang, Shuyi S. Chen, Yongsheng Chen, Kristen Corbosiero, Mark DeMaria, Jimy Dudhia, Greg Holland, Joe Klemp, John Michalakes, Heather Reeves, Richard Rotunno, Chris Snyder, and Qingnong Xiao

Abstract

Real-time forecasts of five landfalling Atlantic hurricanes during 2005 using the Advanced Research Weather Research and Forecasting (WRF) (ARW) Model at grid spacings of 12 and 4 km revealed performance generally competitive with, and occasionally superior to, other operational forecasts for storm position and intensity. Recurring errors include 1) excessive intensification prior to landfall, 2) insufficient momentum exchange with the surface, and 3) inability to capture rapid intensification when observed. To address these errors several augmentations of the basic community model have been designed and tested as part of what is termed the Advanced Hurricane WRF (AHW) model. Based on sensitivity simulations of Katrina, the inner-core structure, particularly the size of the eye, was found to be sensitive to model resolution and surface momentum exchange. The forecast of rapid intensification and the structure of convective bands in Katrina were not significantly improved until the grid spacing approached 1 km. Coupling the atmospheric model to a columnar, mixed layer ocean model eliminated much of the erroneous intensification of Katrina prior to landfall noted in the real-time forecast.

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Dale Barker, Xiang-Yu Huang, Zhiquan Liu, Tom Auligné, Xin Zhang, Steven Rugg, Raji Ajjaji, Al Bourgeois, John Bray, Yongsheng Chen, Meral Demirtas, Yong-Run Guo, Tom Henderson, Wei Huang, Hui-Chuan Lin, John Michalakes, Syed Rizvi, and Xiaoyan Zhang

Data assimilation is the process by which observations are combined with short-range NWP model output to produce an analysis of the state of the atmosphere at a specified time. Since its inception in the late 1990s, the multiagency Weather Research and Forecasting (WRF) model effort has had a strong data assimilation component, dedicating two working groups to the subject. This article documents the history of the WRF data assimilation effort, and discusses the challenges associated with balancing academic, research, and operational data assimilation requirements in the context of the WRF effort to date. The WRF Model's Community Variational/Ensemble Data Assimilation System (WRFDA) has evolved over the past 10 years, and has resulted in over 30 refereed publications to date, as well as implementation in a wide range of real-time and operational NWP systems. This paper provides an overview of the scientific capabilities of WRFDA, and together with results from sample operation implementations at the U.S. Air Force Weather Agency (AFWA) and United Arab Emirates (UAE) Air Force and Air Defense Meteorological Department.

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Xiang-Yu Huang, Qingnong Xiao, Dale M. Barker, Xin Zhang, John Michalakes, Wei Huang, Tom Henderson, John Bray, Yongsheng Chen, Zaizhong Ma, Jimy Dudhia, Yongrun Guo, Xiaoyan Zhang, Duk-Jin Won, Hui-Chuan Lin, and Ying-Hwa Kuo

Abstract

The Weather Research and Forecasting (WRF) model–based variational data assimilation system (WRF-Var) has been extended from three- to four-dimensional variational data assimilation (WRF 4D-Var) to meet the increasing demand for improving initial model states in multiscale numerical simulations and forecasts. The initial goals of this development include operational applications and support to the research community. The formulation of WRF 4D-Var is described in this paper. WRF 4D-Var uses the WRF model as a constraint to impose a dynamic balance on the assimilation. It is shown to implicitly evolve the background error covariance and to produce the flow-dependent nature of the analysis increments. Preliminary results from real-data 4D-Var experiments in a quasi-operational setting are presented and the potential of WRF 4D-Var in research and operational applications are demonstrated. A wider distribution of the system to the research community will further develop its capabilities and to encourage testing under different weather conditions and model configurations.

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Roy Rasmussen, Changhai Liu, Kyoko Ikeda, David Gochis, David Yates, Fei Chen, Mukul Tewari, Michael Barlage, Jimy Dudhia, Wei Yu, Kathleen Miller, Kristi Arsenault, Vanda Grubišić, Greg Thompson, and Ethan Gutmann

Abstract

Climate change is expected to accelerate the hydrologic cycle, increase the fraction of precipitation that is rain, and enhance snowpack melting. The enhanced hydrological cycle is also expected to increase snowfall amounts due to increased moisture availability. These processes are examined in this paper in the Colorado Headwaters region through the use of a coupled high-resolution climate–runoff model. Four high-resolution simulations of annual snowfall over Colorado are conducted. The simulations are verified using Snowpack Telemetry (SNOTEL) data. Results are then presented regarding the grid spacing needed for appropriate simulation of snowfall. Finally, climate sensitivity is explored using a pseudo–global warming approach. The results show that the proper spatial and temporal depiction of snowfall adequate for water resource and climate change purposes can be achieved with the appropriate choice of model grid spacing and parameterizations. The pseudo–global warming simulations indicate enhanced snowfall on the order of 10%–25% over the Colorado Headwaters region, with the enhancement being less in the core headwaters region due to the topographic reduction of precipitation upstream of the region (rain-shadow effect). The main climate change impacts are in the enhanced melting at the lower-elevation bound of the snowpack and the increased snowfall at higher elevations. The changes in peak snow mass are generally near zero due to these two compensating effects, and simulated wintertime total runoff is above current levels. The 1 April snow water equivalent (SWE) is reduced by 25% in the warmer climate, and the date of maximum SWE occurs 2–17 days prior to current climate results, consistent with previous studies.

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Wei Zhang, Gabriel A. Vecchi, Hiroyuki Murakami, Thomas Delworth, Andrew T. Wittenberg, Anthony Rosati, Seth Underwood, Whit Anderson, Lucas Harris, Richard Gudgel, Shian-Jiann Lin, Gabriele Villarini, and Jan-Huey Chen

Abstract

This study aims to assess whether, and the extent to which, an increase in atmospheric resolution of the Geophysical Fluid Dynamics Laboratory (GFDL) Forecast-Oriented Low Ocean Resolution version of CM2.5 (FLOR) with 50-km resolution and the High-Resolution FLOR (HiFLOR) with 25-km resolution improves the simulation of the El Niño–Southern Oscillation (ENSO)–tropical cyclone (TC) connections in the western North Pacific (WNP). HiFLOR simulates better ENSO–TC connections in the WNP including TC track density, genesis, and landfall than FLOR in both long-term control experiments and sea surface temperature (SST)- and sea surface salinity (SSS)-restoring historical runs (1971–2012). Restoring experiments are performed with SSS and SST restored to observational estimates of climatological SSS and interannually varying monthly SST. In the control experiments of HiFLOR, an improved simulation of the Walker circulation arising from more realistic SST and precipitation is largely responsible for its better performance in simulating ENSO–TC connections in the WNP. In the SST-restoring experiments of HiFLOR, more realistic Walker circulation and steering flow during El Niño and La Niña are responsible for the improved simulation of ENSO–TC connections in the WNP. The improved simulation of ENSO–TC connections with HiFLOR arises from a better representation of SST and better responses of environmental large-scale circulation to SST anomalies associated with El Niño or La Niña. A better representation of ENSO–TC connections in HiFLOR can benefit the seasonal forecasting of TC genesis, track, and landfall; improve understanding of the interannual variation of TC activity; and provide better projection of TC activity under climate change.

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Robert A. Houze Jr., Shuyi S. Chen, Wen-Chau Lee, Robert F. Rogers, James A. Moore, Gregory J. Stossmeister, Michael M. Bell, Jasmine Cetrone, Wei Zhao, and S. Rita Brodzik

The Hurricane Rainband and Intensity Change Experiment (RAINEX) used three P3 aircraft aided by high-resolution numerical modeling and satellite communications to investigate the 2005 Hurricanes Katrina, Ophelia, and Rita. The aim was to increase the understanding of tropical cyclone intensity change by interactions between a tropical cyclone's inner core and rainbands. All three aircraft had dual-Doppler radars, with the Electra Doppler Radar (ELDORA) on board the Naval Research Laboratory's P3 aircraft, providing particularly detailed Doppler radar data. Numerical model forecasts helped plan the aircraft missions, and innovative communications and data transfer in real time allowed the flights to be coordinated from a ground-based operations center. The P3 aircraft released approximately 600 dropsondes in locations targeted for optimal coordination with the Doppler radar data, as guided by the operations center. The storms were observed in all stages of development, from tropical depression to category 5 hurricane. The data from RAINEX are readily available through an online Field Catalog and RAINEX Data Archive. The RAINEX dataset is illustrated in this article by a preliminary analysis of Hurricane Rita, which was documented by multiaircraft flights on five days 1) while a tropical storm, 2) while rapidly intensifying to a category 5 hurricane, 3) during an eye-wall replacement, 4) when the hurricane became asymmetric upon encountering environmental shear, and 5) just prior to landfall.

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Ping Zhao, Xiangde Xu, Fei Chen, Xueliang Guo, Xiangdong Zheng, Liping Liu, Yang Hong, Yueqing Li, Zuo La, Hao Peng, Linzhi Zhong, Yaoming Ma, Shihao Tang, Yimin Liu, Huizhi Liu, Yaohui Li, Qiang Zhang, Zeyong Hu, Jihua Sun, Shengjun Zhang, Lixin Dong, Hezhen Zhang, Yang Zhao, Xiaolu Yan, An Xiao, Wei Wan, Yu Liu, Junming Chen, Ge Liu, Yangzong Zhaxi, and Xiuji Zhou

Abstract

This paper presents the background, scientific objectives, experimental design, and preliminary achievements of the Third Tibetan Plateau (TP) Atmospheric Scientific Experiment (TIPEX-III) for 8–10 years. It began in 2013 and has expanded plateau-scale observation networks by adding observation stations in data-scarce areas; executed integrated observation missions for the land surface, planetary boundary layer, cloud–precipitation, and troposphere–stratosphere exchange processes by coordinating ground-based, air-based, and satellite facilities; and achieved noticeable progress in data applications. A new estimation gives a smaller bulk transfer coefficient of surface sensible heat over the TP, which results in a reduction of the possibly overestimated heat intensity found in previous studies. Summer cloud–precipitation microphysical characteristics and cloud radiative effects over the TP are distinguished from those over the downstream plains. Warm rain processes play important roles in the development of cloud and precipitation over the TP. The lower-tropospheric ozone maximum over the northeastern TP is attributed to the regional photochemistry and long-range ozone transports, and the heterogeneous chemical processes of depleting ozone near the tropopause might not be a dominant mechanism for the summer upper-tropospheric–lower-stratospheric ozone valley over the southeastern TP. The TP thermodynamic function not only affects the local atmospheric water maintenance and the downstream precipitation and haze events but also modifies extratropical atmospheric teleconnections like the Asia–Pacific Oscillation, subtropical anticyclones over the North Pacific and Atlantic, and temperature and precipitation over Africa, Asia, and North America. These findings provide new insights into understanding land–atmosphere coupled processes over the TP and their effects, improving model parameterization schemes, and enhancing weather and climate forecast skills.

Open access
Yi-Hung Kuo, J. David Neelin, Chih-Chieh Chen, Wei-Ting Chen, Leo J. Donner, Andrew Gettelman, Xianan Jiang, Kuan-Ting Kuo, Eric Maloney, Carlos R. Mechoso, Yi Ming, Kathleen A. Schiro, Charles J. Seman, Chien-Ming Wu, and Ming Zhao

Abstract

To assess deep convective parameterizations in a variety of GCMs and examine the fast-time-scale convective transition, a set of statistics characterizing the pickup of precipitation as a function of column water vapor (CWV), PDFs and joint PDFs of CWV and precipitation, and the dependence of the moisture–precipitation relation on tropospheric temperature is evaluated using the hourly output of two versions of the GFDL Atmospheric Model, version 4 (AM4), NCAR CAM5 and superparameterized CAM (SPCAM). The 6-hourly output from the MJO Task Force (MJOTF)/GEWEX Atmospheric System Study (GASS) project is also analyzed. Contrasting statistics produced from individual models that primarily differ in representations of moist convection suggest that convective transition statistics can substantially distinguish differences in convective representation and its interaction with the large-scale flow, while models that differ only in spatial–temporal resolution, microphysics, or ocean–atmosphere coupling result in similar statistics. Most of the models simulate some version of the observed sharp increase in precipitation as CWV exceeds a critical value, as well as that convective onset occurs at higher CWV but at lower column RH as temperature increases. While some models quantitatively capture these observed features and associated probability distributions, considerable intermodel spread and departures from observations in various aspects of the precipitation–CWV relationship are noted. For instance, in many of the models, the transition from the low-CWV, nonprecipitating regime to the moist regime for CWV around and above critical is less abrupt than in observations. Additionally, some models overproduce drizzle at low CWV, and some require CWV higher than observed for strong precipitation. For many of the models, it is particularly challenging to simulate the probability distributions of CWV at high temperature.

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