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  • Author or Editor: Li Zhang x
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Zhigang Yao, Jun Li, Jinlong Li, and Hong Zhang

Abstract

An accurate land surface emissivity (LSE) is critical for the retrieval of atmospheric temperature and moisture profiles along with land surface temperature from hyperspectral infrared (IR) sounder radiances; it is also critical to assimilating IR radiances in numerical weather prediction models over land. To investigate the impact of different LSE datasets on Atmospheric Infrared Sounder (AIRS) sounding retrievals, experiments are conducted by using a one-dimensional variational (1DVAR) retrieval algorithm. Sounding retrievals using constant LSE, the LSE dataset from the Infrared Atmospheric Sounding Interferometer (IASI), and the baseline fit dataset from the Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer (MODIS) are performed. AIRS observations over northern Africa on 1–7 January and 1–7 July 2007 are used in the experiments. From the limited regional comparisons presented here, it is revealed that the LSE from the IASI obtained the best agreement between the retrieval results and the ECMWF reanalysis, whereas the constant LSE gets the worst results when the emissivities are fixed in the retrieval process. The results also confirm that the simultaneous retrieval of atmospheric profile and surface parameters could reduce the dependence of soundings on the LSE choice and finally improve sounding accuracy when the emissivities are adjusted in the iterative retrieval. In addition, emissivity angle dependence is investigated with AIRS radiance measurements. The retrieved emissivity spectra from AIRS over the ocean reveal weak angle dependence, which is consistent with that from an ocean emissivity model. This result demonstrates the reliability of the 1DVAR simultaneous algorithm for emissivity retrieval from hyperspectral IR radiance measurements.

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Yiping Li, Yaohui Li, Xing Yuan, Liang Zhang, and Sha Sha

Abstract

Land surface models (LSMs) have been widely used to provide objective monitoring of soil moisture during drought, but large uncertainties exist because of the different parameterizations in LSMs. This study aims to evaluate the ability to monitor soil moisture drought over three key regions in China by using the Noah LSM from the Global Land Data Assimilation System, version 2 (GLDASv2), and the Community Atmosphere Biosphere Land Exchange (CABLE) model that is currently used at the China Meteorological Administration. The modeled soil moisture drought indices were verified against the standardized precipitation evapotranspiration index (SPEI), which served as a reference drought indicator over northern China (NC), northwestern China (NWC), and southwestern China (SWC) from 1961 to 2010. The results show that the precipitation forcing data that drive both LSMs have high accuracy when compared with local observational data. GLDASv2/Noah outperforms CABLE in capturing soil moisture anomalies and variability, especially in SWC, but both show good correlations with the 3-month SPEI (SPEI3) in NC, NWC, and SWC. The autumn drought of 2002 and spring drought of 2010 were selected for the comparison of the modeled drought categories with the SPEI3 drought category, where GLDASv2/Noah performed slightly better than CABLE. This work demonstrates that the choice of LSM is crucial for monitoring soil moisture drought and that the GLDASv2/Noah LSM can be a good candidate for the development of a new operational drought-monitoring system in China.

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Xuerong Zhang, Ying Li, Da-Lin Zhang, and Lianshou Chen

Abstract

Despite steady improvements in tropical cyclone (TC) track forecasts, it still remains challenging to predict unusual TC tracks (UNTKs), such as the tracks of sharp turning or looping TCs, especially after they move close to coastal waters. In this study 1059 UNTK events associated with 564 TCs are identified from a total of 1320 TCs, occurring in the vicinity of China’s coastal waters, during the 65-yr period of 1949–2013, using the best-track data archived at the China Meteorological Administration’s Shanghai Typhoon Institute. These UNTK events are then categorized into seven types of tracks—sharp westward turning (169), sharp eastward turning (86), sharp northward turning (223), sharp southward turning (46), looping (153), rotating (199), and zigzagging (183)—on the basis of an improved UNTK classification scheme. Results show significant annual variability of unusual tracking TCs, ranging between 2 and 18 per year, many of which experience more than one UNTK event in the same or different UNTK types during their life spans. The monthly distribution of the UNTK events resembles that of TCs, with more occurring in June–November. An analysis of their spatial distributions reveals that all of the UNTK events tend to take place in the areas to the south of 30°N, most frequently in the South China Sea and to the east of the Philippines. The results suggest that more attention be paid to the improved understanding and prediction of UNTK events so that the current positive trend in TC track forecast accuracy can continue for many years to come.

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Mingxin Li, Da-Lin Zhang, Jisong Sun, and Qinghong Zhang

Abstract

An 8-yr (i.e., 2008–15) climatology of the spatiotemporal characteristics of hail events in China and their associated environmental conditions are examined using hail observations, L-band rawinsondes, and global reanalysis data. A total of 1003 hail events with maximum hail diameter (MHD) of greater than 5 mm are selected and then sorted into three hail-size bins. Hail events with the largest MHD bin correspond to the median vertical wind shear in the lowest 6-km layer (SHR6) of 21.6 m s−1, precipitable water (PW) of 34.8 mm, and convective available potential energy (CAPE) of 2192 J kg−1. Hail with different MHD bins share similar freezing-level heights (FLHs) of about 4000 m. The thickness of the hail growth zone is thinner for hail events with the largest MHD bin. Hail events with different MHD bins display seasonal variations associated with the summer monsoon; that is, the hail season starts in South China in spring and then shifts to North China in summer. Larger hail is mainly observed during the spring in South China before monsoon onset in the presence of an upper-level jet and a low-level southwesterly flow accounting for large SHR6 and PW. In contrast, smaller-MHD hailstorms occur mainly during the summer in North China when surface heating is high and the low-level southerly flow shifts northward with pronounced baroclinicity providing large CAPE and PW, moderate SHR6, and low FLH. Environmental CAPE and SHR6 for large hailstones in China are comparable in magnitude to those in the United States but larger than those in some European countries.

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Robert J. Kuligowski, Yaping Li, and Yu Zhang

Abstract

Data from the Tropical Rainfall Measuring Mission (TRMM) have made great contributions to hydrometeorology from both a science and an operations standpoint. However, direct application of TRMM data to short-fuse hydrologic forecasting has been challenging because of the data refresh and latency issues inherent in an instrument in low Earth orbit (LEO). To evaluate their potential impact on low-latency satellite rainfall estimates, rain rates from both the TRMM Microwave Imager (TMI) and precipitation radar (PR) were ingested into a multisensor framework that calibrates high-refresh, low-latency IR brightness temperature data from geostationary platforms against the more accurate but low-refresh, higher-latency rainfall rates available from microwave (MW) instruments on board LEO platforms. The TRMM data were used in two ways: to bias adjust the other MW data sources to match the distribution of the TMI rain rates, and directly alongside the MW rain rates in the calibration dataset. The results showed a significant reduction in false alarms and also a significant reduction in bias for those pixels for which rainfall was correctly detected. The MW bias adjustment was found to have much greater impact than the direct use of the TMI and PR rain rates in the calibration data, but this is not surprising since the latter represented perhaps only 10% of the calibration dataset.

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Yurong Shi, Yufeng Zhang, and Riyi Li

Abstract

The present study presents local-scale urban energy balance observations under various sky conditions in a humid subtropical region. The study site is a typical urban residential area in Guangzhou in which building density is 38%, vegetation coverage is 36%, and mean building height is 21 m. The observation was conducted at a 110-m-high tower using the eddy covariance technique from September to November 2016. The median diurnal pattern and daily maxima were achieved for all radiation components and turbulent fluxes. The Bowen ratio (β) results indicated a predominant role for sensible heat flux (Q H) in the daytime and latent heat flux (Q E) at night. The sky conditions played a significant part in the urban surface energy exchanges, showing that the median daily maxima of net radiation (Q*), Q H, storage heat flux (ΔQ S), surface albedo, and β all present a consistent order from large to small for clear, cloudy, and rainy days and a different order of rainy, clear, and cloudy days for Q E. The mean daytime Q H/Q*, Q E/Q*, ΔQ S/Q*, and β changed with urban density, while Q E/Q* and β also varied with vegetation fraction. Furthermore, the adaptability of net all-wave radiation parameterization (NARP), objective hysteresis model (OHM), and local-scale urban meteorological parameterization scheme (LUMPS) were validated, given the index of agreements of 0.998 and 0.951 for Q* and ΔQ S and the reasonable RMSEs for Q H and Q E. The present study helps to verify and improve the parameterizations of energy exchange over an urban surface in the humid subtropical region.

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Yueting Gong, Ying Li, and Da-Lin Zhang

Abstract

Tropical cyclones (TCs) tend to change translation direction and speed when moving across Taiwan’s Central Mountain Range (CMR), which makes forecasting of landfalling points a challenging task. This study examines the statistical characteristics of unusual TC tracks around Taiwan Island during the 66-yr period of 1949–2014. Results show that 1) about 10% more TCs were deflected to the right than to the left as they moved across the CMR, but with more occurrences of the latter on Taiwan’s eastern coast and southern strait; 2) TCs around Taiwan Island moved slower than the average speed over the western North Pacific Ocean but then exhibited anomalous acceleration along Taiwan’s eastern coast and anomalous deceleration over the southern Taiwan Strait; 3) about 33% of TCs passing the island were accompanied by terrain-induced secondary low pressure centers (SCs), more favored in the northwestern, southwestern, and southeastern quadrants, with the TC–SC separation distance varying from 33 to 643 km; 4) about 36% of landfalling TCs experienced discontinuous tracks, with an average separation distance of 141 km at the time when TC centers were replaced by SCs, and smaller Froude numbers than those associated with continuous-tracking TCs; and 5) a total of 12 TCs had looping movements near Taiwan Island, most of which were accompanied by SCs on their southern or western sides. Results also indicate that a stronger SC was likely to take place when a stronger TC approached the CMR with a shorter separation distance and that a weaker SC was likely to take place when a weaker TC approached the CMR with a longer separation distance.

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Zhe Li, Dawen Yang, Yang Hong, Jian Zhang, and Youcun Qi

Abstract

Understanding spatiotemporal rainfall patterns in mountainous areas is of great importance for prevention of natural disasters such as flash floods and landslides. There is little knowledge about rainfall variability over historically underobserved complex terrains, however, and especially about the variations of hourly rainfall. In this study, the spatiotemporal variations of hourly rainfall in the Three Gorges region (TGR) of China are investigated with gauge and newly available radar data. The spatial pattern of hourly rainfall has been examined by a number of statistics, and they all show that the rainfall variations are time-scale and location dependent. In general, the northern TGR receives more-intense and longer-duration rainfall than do other parts of the TGR, and short-duration storms could occur in most of the TGR. For temporal variations, the summer diurnal cycle shifts from a morning peak in the west to a late-afternoon peak in the east while a mixed pattern of two peaks exists in the middle. In statistical terms, empirical model–based estimation indicates that the correlation scale of hourly rainfall is about 40 km. Further investigation shows that the correlation distance varies with season, from 30 km in the warm season to 60 km in the cold season. In addition, summer rainstorms extracted from radar rainfall data are characterized by short duration (6–8 h) and highly localized patterns (5–17 and 13–36 km in the minor and major directions, respectively). Overall, this research provides quantitative information about the rainfall regime in the TGR and shows that the combination of gauge and radar data is useful for characterizing the spatiotemporal pattern of storm rainfall over complex terrain.

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Liang Wang, Dan Li, Ning Zhang, Jianning Sun, and Weidong Guo

Abstract

Urban heat islands (UHIs) are caused by a multitude of changes induced by urbanization. However, the relative importance of biophysical and atmospheric factors in controlling the UHI intensity remains elusive. In this study, we quantify the magnitude of surface UHIs (SUHIs), or surface urban cool islands (SUCIs), and elucidate their biophysical and atmospheric drivers on the basis of observational data collected from one urban site and two rural grassland sites in and near the city of Nanjing, China. Results show that during the daytime a strong SUCI effect is observed when the short grassland site is used as the reference site whereas a moderate SUHI effect is observed when the tall grassland is used as the reference site. We find that the former is mostly caused by the lower aerodynamic resistance for convective heat transfer at the urban site and the latter is primarily caused by the higher surface resistance for evapotranspiration at the urban site. At night, SUHIs are observed when either the short or the tall grassland site is used as the reference site and are predominantly caused by the stronger release of heat storage at the urban site. In general, the magnitude of SUHI is much weaker, and even becomes SUCI during daytime, with the short grassland site being the reference site because of its larger aerodynamic resistance. The study highlights that the magnitude of SUHIs and SUCIs is mostly controlled by urban–rural differences of biophysical factors, with urban–rural differences of atmospheric conditions playing a minor role.

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Guoyu Ren, Jiao Li, Yuyu Ren, Ziying Chu, Aiying Zhang, Yaqing Zhou, Lei Zhang, Yuan Zhang, and Tao Bian

Abstract

Trends in surface air temperature (SAT) are a critical indicator for climate change at varied spatial scales. Because of urbanization effects, however, the current SAT records of many urban stations can hardly meet the demands of the studies. Evaluation and adjustment of the urbanization effects on the SAT trends are needed, which requires an objective selection of reference (rural) stations. Based on the station history information from all meteorological stations with long-term records in mainland China, an integrated procedure for determining the reference SAT stations has been developed and is applied in forming a network of reference SAT stations. Historical data from the network are used to assess the urbanization effects on the long-term SAT trends of the stations of the national Reference Climate Network and Basic Meteorological Network (RCN+BMN or national stations), which had been used most frequently in studies of regional climate change throughout the country. This paper describes in detail the integrated procedure and the assessment results of urbanization effects on the SAT trends of the national stations applying the data from the reference station network determined using the procedure. The results showed a highly significant urbanization effect of 0.074°C (10 yr)−1 and urbanization contribution of 24.9% for the national stations of mainland China during the time period 1961–2004, which compared well to results that were reported in previous studies by the authors using the predecessor of the present reference network and the reference stations selected but when applying other methods. The authors are thus confident that the SAT data from the updated China reference station network as reported in this paper best represented the baseline SAT trends nationwide and could be used for evaluating and adjusting the urban biases in the historical data series of the SAT from different observational networks.

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