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Li Li and Yaocun Zhang

Abstract

Observational analysis indicates that the East Asian jet stream consists of two separate branches: the East Asian subtropical jet (EASJ) and the East Asian polar front jet (EAPJ). The impacts of different intensity configurations of the EASJ and EAPJ on precipitation during the mei-yu season are investigated using the NCEP–NCAR Reanalysis Project (NNRP) dataset and daily gauge observations in East China. The intensity and location of precipitation are associated with different configurations of the EASJ and EAPJ. Precipitation intensity increases with intensification of the EASJ and EAPJ. The rainband is located to the north of the mei-yu region when the EASJ intensifies and the EAPJ weakens. Further analyses indicate that the intensity changes of the EASJ and EAPJ are linked to the cold and warm airmass activities. For cases with strong EASJ and EAPJ, both the warm-moist and cold air masses are active. When the warm-moist and cold air masses meet near 30°N, abundant precipitation occurs in the Yangtze-Huai River basin (YHRB). For cases with weak EASJ and EAPJ, both the cold and warm-moist air masses are inactive, and no significant precipitation occurs in the YHRB. For cases with strong EASJ and weak EAPJ, the warm-moist air mass moves northward while the cold air mass is weak. Precipitation concentrates to the north of YHRB. For cases with weak EASJ and strong EAPJ, cold air extends farther south while the warm-moist air mass is inactive. Precipitation occurs to the south of YHRB.

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Lei Zhang and Tim Li

Abstract

How sea surface temperature (SST) changes under global warming is critical for future climate projection because SST change affects atmospheric circulation and rainfall. Robust features derived from 17 models of phase 5 of the Coupled Model Intercomparison Project (CMIP5) include a much greater warming in high latitudes than in the tropics, an El Niño–like warming over the tropical Pacific and Atlantic, and a dipole pattern in the Indian Ocean. However, the physical mechanism responsible for formation of such warming patterns remains open.

A simple theoretical model is constructed to reveal the cause of the future warming patterns. The result shows that a much greater polar, rather than tropical, warming depends primarily on present-day mean SST and surface latent heat flux fields, and atmospheric longwave radiation feedback associated with cloud change further enhances this warming contrast. In the tropics, an El Niño–like warming over the Pacific and Atlantic arises from a similar process, while cloud feedback resulting from different cloud regimes between east and west ocean basins also plays a role. A dipole warming over the equatorial Indian Ocean is a response to weakened Walker circulation in the tropical Pacific.

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Yunying Li and Minghua Zhang

Abstract

Cumulus (Cu) from shallow convection is one of the dominant cloud types over the Tibetan Plateau (TP) in the summer according to CloudSatCALIPSO observations. Its thermodynamic effects on the atmospheric environment and impacts on the large-scale atmospheric circulation are studied in this paper using the Community Atmospheric Model, version 5.3 (CAM5.3). It is found that the model can reasonably simulate the unique distribution of diabatic heating and Cu over the TP. Shallow convection provides the dominant diabatic heating and drying to the lower and middle atmosphere over the TP. A sensitivity experiment indicates that without Cu over the TP, large-scale condensation and stratiform clouds would increase dramatically, which induces enhanced low-level wind and moisture convergence toward the TP, resulting in significantly enhanced monsoon circulation with remote impact on the areas far beyond the TP. Cu therefore acts as a safety valve to modulate the atmospheric environment that prevents the formation of superclusters of stratiform clouds and precipitation over the TP.

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Yunying Li and Minghua Zhang

Abstract

Cumulus (Cu) can transport heat and water vapor from the boundary layer to the free atmosphere, leading to the redistribution of heat and moist energy in the lower atmosphere. This paper uses the fine-resolution CloudSat–CALIPSO product to characterize Cu over the Tibetan Plateau (TP). It is found that Cu is one of the dominant cloud types over the TP in the northern summer. The Cu event frequency, defined as Cu occurring within 50-km segments, is 54% over the TP in the summer, which is much larger over the TP than in its surrounding regions. The surface wind vector converging at the central TP and the topographic forcing provide the necessary moisture and dynamical lifting of convection over the TP. The structure of the atmospheric moist static energy shows that the thermodynamical environment over the northern TP can be characterized as having weak instability, a shallow layer of instability, and lower altitudes for the level of free convection. The diurnal variation of Cu with frequency peaks during the daytime confirms the surface thermodynamic control on Cu formation over the TP. This study offers insights into how surface heat is transported to the free troposphere over the TP and provides an observational test of climate models in simulating shallow convection over the TP.

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Mingxin Li, Qinghong Zhang, and Fuqing Zhang

Abstract

Based on a comprehensive collection of hail observations and the NCEP–NCAR reanalyses from 1960 to 2012, the long-term trends of hail day frequency in mainland China and the associated changes in atmospheric circulation patterns were analyzed. There was no detectable trend in hail frequency from 1960 to the early 1980s, but a significant decreasing trend was apparent in later periods throughout most of China and in particular over the Tibetan Plateau from the early 1980s and over northern and northwestern China from the early 1990s. Hail frequency in southern China did not decrease as significantly as in other regions over the last couple of decades. An objective classification method, the obliquely rotated T-mode principal component technique, was used to investigate atmospheric circulation patterns. It was found that 51.85% of the hail days occurred during two major circulation types, both of which were associated with cold frontal systems in northern China. More specifically, the synoptic trough in East Asia, signified by the meridional circulation at 850 hPa, became considerably weaker after 1990. This change in the synoptic pattern is consistent with a weakening trend in the East Asian summer monsoon, the primary dynamic forcing of moisture transport that contributes to the generation of severe convection in northern China. The long-term variability of hail day frequency over the Tibetan Plateau was more strongly correlated with the change in mean freezing-level height (FLH) than the strength of the East Asian monsoon.

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Qiuyun Wang, Jianping Li, Yanjie Li, Jingwen Zhang, and Jiayu Zheng

Abstract

The influence of the intraseasonal Indo–western Pacific convection oscillation (IPCO) on tropical cyclone (TC) genesis location and frequency over the Indo–western North Pacific (WNP) during the boreal extended summer (May–October) is explored. Observational analysis shows that the impacts of the intraseasonal IPCO on TCs over the Indo–WNP include an evident “phase lock of TC genesis location” and distinct differences in TC frequency. In the WNP, in the positive intraseasonal IPCO phase, the atmosphere gains heat through the release of latent heat in cumulus convective condensation, and the anomalous cyclonic circulation weakens the western Pacific subtropical high (WPSH) and enhances TC genesis, thereby tending to produce many more TCs. Moreover, the diminished WPSH and the westward shift of the centers of anomalous cyclonic circulations lock TC genesis locations to the west WNP and lower latitudes (around 5°–20°N), especially in the South China Sea. The almost opposite situation occurs in a negative phase. In the north Indian Ocean, the total TC genesis frequencies in the two intraseasonal IPCO phases are approximate. However, in the positive intraseasonal IPCO phase, the environmental conditions to the north of 13°N are similar to those in the WNP except without the WPSH control, whereas south of 13°N the situation is reversed, leading to a northward shift of the TC genesis location (around 13°–20°N). The negative phase reflects an opposite situation.

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Yaxin Zhang, Mengxi Wu, Delong Li, Yonggang Liu, and Shuangcheng Li

Abstract

The teleconnection between the summer (June–August) Palmer drought severity index (PDSI) in China and seasonal global sea surface temperatures (SSTs) is investigated at both spatial and temporal scales during 1901–2012. Three pairs of coupled spatial patterns for China’s PDSI and global SST anomalies are identified using the singular value decomposition (SVD) method. With a combination of ensemble empirical mode decomposition (EEMD) and multiple linear regression (MLR) analysis, it is found that the first mode, the sea ice loss–global warming pattern, causes wetness over north and northeastern China and drying over Inner Mongolia. The North Pacific Current (NPC) mode shows that a warmer NPC corresponds to a wetter summer over eastern China and a drier one over the Tibetan Plateau. Both NPC and Pacific decadal oscillation (PDO) affect moisture variability in northern China and over the Tibetan Plateau, with the NPC mode more important in the centennial scale, while the PDO mode is more important in the multidecadal scale.

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Fei Liu, Tim Li, Hui Wang, Li Deng, and Yuanwen Zhang

Abstract

The authors investigate the effects of El Niño and La Niña on the intraseasonal oscillation (ISO) in the boreal summer (May–October) over the western North Pacific (WNP). It is found that during El Niño summers, the ISO is dominated by a higher-frequency oscillation with a period of around 20–40 days, whereas during La Niña summers the ISO is dominated by a lower-frequency period of around 40–70 days. The former is characterized by northwestward-propagating convection anomalies in the WNP, and the latter is characterized by northward- and eastward-propagating convective signals over the tropical Indian Ocean/Maritime Continent. The possible mechanisms through which El Niño–Southern Oscillation (ENSO)-induced background mean state changes influence the ISO behavior are examined through idealized numerical experiments. It is found that enhanced (weakened) mean moisture and easterly (westerly) vertical wind shear in the WNP during El Niño (La Niña) are the main causes of the strengthened (weakened) 20–40-day northwestward-propagating ISO mode, whereas the 40–70-day ISO initiated from the Indian Ocean can only affect the WNP during La Niña years because the dry (moist) background moisture near the Maritime Continent during El Niño (La Niña) suppresses (enhances) the ISO over the Maritime Continent, and the ISO propagates less over the Maritime Continent during El Niño years than in La Niña years.

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Fengmin Wu, Wenkai Li, Peng Zhang, and Wei Li

Abstract

Superimposed on a warming trend, Arctic winter surface air temperature (SAT) exhibits substantial interannual variability, the underlying mechanisms of which are unclear, especially with regard to the role of sea ice variations and atmospheric processes. Here, atmospheric reanalysis data and idealized atmospheric model simulations are used to reveal the mechanisms by which sea ice variations and atmospheric anomalous conditions affect interannual variations in wintertime Arctic SAT. Results show that near-surface interannual warming in the Arctic is accompanied by comparable warming throughout large parts of the Arctic troposphere and large-scale anomalous atmospheric circulation patterns. Within the Arctic, changes in large-scale atmospheric circulations due to internal atmospheric variability explain a substantial fraction of interannual variation in SAT and tropospheric temperatures, which lead to an increase in moisture and downward longwave radiation, with the rest likely coming from sea ice–related and other surface processes. Arctic winter sea ice loss allows the ocean to release more heat and moisture, which enhances Arctic warming; however, this effect on SAT is confined to the ice-retreat area and has a limited influence on large-scale atmospheric circulations.

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Yi Zhang, Rucong Yu, Jian Li, Weihua Yuan, and Minghua Zhang

Abstract

Given the large discrepancies that exist in climate models for shortwave cloud forcing over eastern China (EC), the dynamic (vertical motion and horizontal circulation) and thermodynamic (stability) relations of stratus clouds and the associated cloud radiative forcing in the cold season are examined. Unlike the stratus clouds over the southeastern Pacific Ocean (as a representative of marine boundary stratus), where thermodynamic forcing plays a primary role, the stratus clouds over EC are affected by both dynamic and thermodynamic factors. The Tibetan Plateau (TP)-forced low-level large-scale lifting and high stability over EC favor the accumulation of abundant saturated moist air, which contributes to the formation of stratus clouds. The TP slows down the westerly overflow through a frictional effect, resulting in midlevel divergence, and forces the low-level surrounding flows, resulting in convergence. Both midlevel divergence and low-level convergence sustain a rising motion and vertical water vapor transport over EC. The surface cold air is advected from the Siberian high by the surrounding northerly flow, causing low-level cooling. The cooling effect is enhanced by the blocking of the YunGui Plateau. The southwesterly wind carrying warm, moist air from the east Bay of Bengal is uplifted by the HengDuan Mountains via topographical forcing; the midtropospheric westerly flow further advects the warm air downstream of the TP, moistening and warming the middle troposphere on the lee side of the TP. The low-level cooling and midlevel warming together increase the stability. The favorable dynamic and thermodynamic large-scale environment allows for the formation of stratus clouds over EC during the cold season.

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