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Qingxiang Li, Hongzheng Zhang, Xiaoning Liu, Ji Chen, Wei Li, and Phil Jones

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Michael R. Riches, Wei-Chyung Wang, Panqin Chen, Shiyan Tao, Shuguang Zhou, and Yihui Ding

This report summarizes the progress since 1991 of two agreements on “global and regional climate change” studies between the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) and two state agencies of the People's Republic of China. The first agreement is the DOE–Chinese Academy of Science joint project on the “Study of the Greenhouse Effect” and the second agreement is the DOE–China Meteorological Administration joint project on the “Study of Regional Climate.” While development of general circulation climate models and analysis of climate data over China continues, the joint research produced several unique Chinese climate datasets, including the reconstruction of 2000 years of historical climate, quality assured instrumental climate data, and an archive of methane emissions from rice fields in southern China.

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Shuyi S. Chen, James F. Price, Wei Zhao, Mark A. Donelan, and Edward J. Walsh
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Yang Chen, Wei Chen, Qin Su, Feifei Luo, Sarah Sparrow, David Wallom, Fangxing Tian, Buwen Dong, Simon F. B. Tett, and Fraser C. Lott
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Randall Dole, Martin Hoerling, Arun Kumar, Jon Eischeid, Judith Perlwitz, Xiao-Wei Quan, George Kiladis, Robert Webb, Donald Murray, Mingyue Chen, Klaus Wolter, and Tao Zhang

We examine how physical factors spanning climate and weather contributed to record warmth over the central and eastern United States in March 2012, when daily temperature anomalies at many locations exceeded 20°C. Over this region, approximately 1°C warming in March temperatures has occurred since 1901. This long-term regional warming is an order of magnitude smaller than temperature anomalies observed during the event, indicating that most of the extreme warmth must be explained by other factors. Several lines of evidence strongly implicate natural variations as the primary cause for the extreme event. The 2012 temperature anomalies had a close analog in an exceptionally warm U.S. March occurring over 100 years earlier, providing observational evidence that an extreme event similar to March 2012 could be produced through natural variability alone. Coupled model forecasts and simulations forced by observed sea surface temperatures (SSTs) show that forcing from anomalous SSTs increased the probability of extreme warm temperatures in March 2012 above that anticipated from the long-term warming trend. In addition, forcing associated with a strong Madden–Julian oscillation further increased the probability for extreme U.S. warmth and provided important additional predictive information on the timing and spatial pattern of temperature anomalies. The results indicate that the superposition of a strong natural variation similar to March 1910 on longterm warming of the magnitude observed would be sufficient to account for the record warm March 2012 U.S. temperatures. We conclude that the extreme warmth over the central and eastern United States in March 2012 resulted primarily from natural climate and weather variability— a substantial fraction of which was predictable.

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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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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.

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Jordan G. Powers, Joseph B. Klemp, William C. Skamarock, Christopher A. Davis, Jimy Dudhia, David O. Gill, Janice L. Coen, David J. Gochis, Ravan Ahmadov, Steven E. Peckham, Georg A. Grell, John Michalakes, Samuel Trahan, Stanley G. Benjamin, Curtis R. Alexander, Geoffrey J. Dimego, Wei Wang, Craig S. Schwartz, Glen S. Romine, Zhiquan Liu, Chris Snyder, Fei Chen, Michael J. Barlage, Wei Yu, and Michael G. Duda

Abstract

Since its initial release in 2000, the Weather Research and Forecasting (WRF) Model has become one of the world’s most widely used numerical weather prediction models. Designed to serve both research and operational needs, it has grown to offer a spectrum of options and capabilities for a wide range of applications. In addition, it underlies a number of tailored systems that address Earth system modeling beyond weather. While the WRF Model has a centralized support effort, it has become a truly community model, driven by the developments and contributions of an active worldwide user base. The WRF Model sees significant use for operational forecasting, and its research implementations are pushing the boundaries of finescale atmospheric simulation. Future model directions include developments in physics, exploiting emerging compute technologies, and ever-innovative applications. From its contributions to research, forecasting, educational, and commercial efforts worldwide, the WRF Model has made a significant mark on numerical weather prediction and atmospheric science.

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Paul W. Staten, Kevin M. Grise, Sean M. Davis, Kristopher B. Karnauskas, Darryn W. Waugh, Amanda C. Maycock, Qiang Fu, Kerry Cook, Ori Adam, Isla R. Simpson, Robert J Allen, Karen Rosenlof, Gang Chen, Caroline C. Ummenhofer, Xiao-Wei Quan, James P. Kossin, Nicholas A. Davis, and Seok-Woo Son

Abstract

Over the past 15 years, numerous studies have suggested that the sinking branches of Earth’s Hadley circulation and the associated subtropical dry zones have shifted poleward over the late twentieth century and early twenty-first century. Early estimates of this tropical widening from satellite observations and reanalyses varied from 0.25° to 3° latitude per decade, while estimates from global climate models show widening at the lower end of the observed range. In 2016, two working groups, the U.S. Climate Variability and Predictability (CLIVAR) working group on the Changing Width of the Tropical Belt and the International Space Science Institute (ISSI) Tropical Width Diagnostics Intercomparison Project, were formed to synthesize current understanding of the magnitude, causes, and impacts of the recent tropical widening evident in observations. These working groups concluded that the large rates of observed tropical widening noted by earlier studies resulted from their use of metrics that poorly capture changes in the Hadley circulation, or from the use of reanalyses that contained spurious trends. Accounting for these issues reduces the range of observed expansion rates to 0.25°–0.5° latitude decade‒1—within the range from model simulations. Models indicate that most of the recent Northern Hemisphere tropical widening is consistent with natural variability, whereas increasing greenhouse gases and decreasing stratospheric ozone likely played an important role in Southern Hemisphere widening. Whatever the cause or rate of expansion, understanding the regional impacts of tropical widening requires additional work, as different forcings can produce different regional patterns of widening.

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