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Jia-Bei Fang and Xiu-Qun Yang

Abstract

Following Goodman and Marshall (hereinafter GM), an improved intermediate midlatitude coupled ocean–atmosphere model linearized around a basic state is developed. The model assumes a two-layer quasigeostrophic atmosphere overlying a quasigeostrophic upper ocean that consists of a constant-depth mixed layer, a thin entrainment layer, and a thermocline layer. The SST evolution is determined within the mixed layer by advection, entrainment, and air–sea flux. The atmospheric heating is specified at midlevel, which is parameterized in terms of both the SST and atmospheric temperature anomalies. With this coupled model, the dynamical features of unstable ocean–atmosphere interactions in the midlatitudes are investigated. The coupled model exhibits two types of coupled modes: the coupled oceanic Rossby wave mode and the SST-only mode. The SST-only mode decays over the entire range of wavelengths, whereas the coupled oceanic Rossby wave mode destabilizes over a certain range of wavelengths (∼10 500 km) when the atmospheric response to the heating is equivalent barotropic. The relative roles of different physical processes in destabilizing the coupled oceanic Rossby wave are examined. The main processes emphasized are the influence of entrainment and advection for determining SST evolution, and the atmospheric heating profile. Although either entrainment or advection can lead to unstable growth of the coupled oceanic Rossby wave with similar wavelength dependence for each case, the advection process is found to play the more important role, which differs from GM’s results in which the entrainment process is dominant. The structure of the unstable coupled mode is sensitive to the atmospheric heating profile. The inclusion of surface heating largely reduces the growth rate and stabilizes the coupled oceanic Rossby wave. In comparison with observations, it is demonstrated that the structure of the growing coupled mode derived from the authors’ model is closer to reality than that from the previous model.

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Tao Feng, Xiu-Qun Yang, Jia-Yuh Yu, and Ronghui Huang

Abstract

Tropical-depression (TD)-type waves are synoptic-scale disturbances embedded with deep convection over the western North Pacific. Studies of these disturbances began over six decades ago; however, some properties of these disturbances remain vague, e.g., the coupling mechanism between the deep convection and the waves. This two-part study aims to examine the rainfall progression in TD-type disturbances and associated tropospheric moisture controlling convective rainfall. Part I investigates the rainfall and moisture characteristics of TD-type waves using TRMM-derived rainfall products and the ERA-Interim data during the period of June–October 1998–2013. The rainfall features a north–south asymmetrical pattern with respect to a TD-type disturbance, with enhanced convective and stratiform rainfall occurring in the southern portion. Along with the northwestward propagation, deep convective and stratiform rainfall occur in phase with the TD-type disturbance without significant preceding shallow convective rainfall. Following the deepest convection, shallow convective rainfall increases in the anomalous southerlies. Such a rainfall progression differs from the paradigm from shallow to deep convection, then to stratiform rainfall, which is suggested in other convectively coupled equatorial waves. The rainfall progression and the atmospheric moisture anomaly are phase locked to the TD-type disturbances such that the relative displacements change little when the disturbances propagate northwestward. The latent heat release in deep convection, which is obtained from the TRMM 3G25 dataset, superposes with a broad warm anomaly in the mid- to upper troposphere, suggesting wave growth through the generation of available potential energy from diabatic heating.

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Tao Feng, Jia-Yuh Yu, Xiu-Qun Yang, and Ronghui Huang

Abstract

The companion of this paper, Part I, discovered the characteristics of the rainfall progression in tropical-depression (TD)-type waves over the western North Pacific. In Part II, the large-scale controls on the convective rainfall progression have been investigated using the ERA-Interim data and the TRMM 3B42 precipitation-rate data during June–October from 1998 to 2013 through budgets of moist static energy (MSE) and moisture. A buildup of column-integrated MSE occurs in advance of deep convection, and an export of MSE occurs following deep convection, which is consistent with the MSE recharge–discharge paradigm. The MSE recharge–discharge is controlled by horizontal processes, whereby horizontal moisture advection causes net MSE import prior to deep convection. Such moistening by horizontal advection creates a moist midtroposphere, which helps destabilize the atmospheric column, leading to the development of deep convective rainfall. Following the heaviest rainfall, negative horizontal moisture advection dries the troposphere, inhibiting convection. Such moistening and drying processes explain why deep convection can develop without preceding shallow convection. The advection of moisture anomalies by the mean horizontal flow controls the tropospheric moistening and drying processes. As the TD-type waves propagate northwestward in coincidence with the northwestward environmental flow, the moisture, or convective rainfall, is phase locked to the waves. The critical role of the MSE import by horizontal advection in modulating the rainfall progression is supported by the anomalous gross moist stability (AGMS), where the lowest AGMS corresponds to the quickest increase in the precipitation rate prior to the rainfall maximum.

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Yong-Fei Zhang, Mitchell Bushuk, Michael Winton, Bill Hurlin, Xiaosong Yang, Tom Delworth, and Liwei Jia

Abstract

The current GFDL seasonal prediction system achieved retrospective sea ice extent (SIE) skill without direct sea ice data assimilation. Here we develop sea ice data assimilation, shown to be a key source of skill for seasonal sea ice predictions, in GFDL’s next-generation prediction system, the Seamless System for Prediction and Earth System Research (SPEAR). Satellite sea ice concentration (SIC) observations are assimilated into the GFDL Sea Ice Simulator version 2 (SIS2) using the ensemble adjustment Kalman filter (EAKF). Sea ice physics is perturbed to form an ensemble of ice–ocean members with atmospheric forcing from the JRA-55 reanalysis. Assimilation is performed every 5 days from 1982 to 2017 and the evaluation is conducted at pan-Arctic and regional scales over the same period. To mitigate an assimilation overshoot problem and improve the analysis, sea surface temperatures (SSTs) are restored to the daily Optimum Interpolation Sea Surface Temperature version 2 (OISSTv2). The combination of SIC assimilation and SST restoring reduces analysis errors to the observational error level (~10%) from up to 3 times larger than this (~30%) in the free-running model. Sensitivity experiments show that the choice of assimilation localization half-width (190 km) is near optimal and that SIC analysis errors can be further reduced slightly either by reducing the observational error or by increasing the assimilation frequency from every 5 days to daily. A lagged-correlation analysis suggests substantial prediction skill improvements from SIC initialization at lead times of less than 2 months.

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Quan Liu, Jiannong Quan, Xingcan Jia, Zhaobin Sun, Xia Li, Yang Gao, and Yangang Liu

Abstract

Aerosol samples were collected over Beijing, China, during several flights in November 2011. Aerosol composition of nonrefractory submicron particles (NR-PM1) was measured by an Aerodyne compact time-of-flight aerosol mass spectrometer (C-ToF-AMS). This measurement on the aircraft provided vertical distribution of aerosol species over Beijing, including sulfate (SO4), nitrate (NO3), ammonium (NH4), chloride (Chl), and organic aerosols [OA; hydrocarbon-like OA (HOA) and oxygenated OA (OOA)]. The observations showed that aerosol compositions varied drastically with altitude, especially near the top of the planetary boundary layer (PBL). On average, organics (34%) and nitrate (32%) were dominant components in the PBL, followed by ammonium (15%), sulfate (14%), and chloride (4%); in the free troposphere (FT), sulfate (34%) and organics (28%) were dominant components, followed by ammonium (20%), nitrate (19%), and chloride (1%). The dominant OA species was primarily HOA in the PBL but changed to OOA in the FT. For sulfate, nitrate, and ammonium, the sulfate mass fraction increased from the PBL to the FT, nitrate mass fraction decreased, and ammonium remained relatively constant. Analysis of the sulfate-to-nitrate molar ratio further indicated that this ratio was usually less than one in the FT but larger than one in the PBL. Further analysis revealed that the vertical aerosol composition profiles were influenced by complex processes, including PBL structure, regional transportation, emission variation, and the aging process of aerosols and gaseous precursors during vertical diffusion.

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Gan Zhang, Hiroyuki Murakami, Xiaosong Yang, Kirsten L. Findell, Andrew T. Wittenberg, and Liwei Jia

Abstract

Climate models often show errors in simulating and predicting tropical cyclone (TC) activity, but the sources of these errors are not well understood. This study proposes an evaluation framework and analyzes three sets of experiments conducted using a seasonal prediction model developed at the Geophysical Fluid Dynamics Laboratory (GFDL). These experiments apply the nudging technique to the model integration and/or initialization to estimate possible improvements from nearly perfect model conditions. The results suggest that reducing sea surface temperature (SST) errors remains important for better predicting TC activity at long forecast leads—even in a flux-adjusted model with reduced climatological biases. Other error sources also contribute to biases in simulated TC activity, with notable manifestations on regional scales. A novel finding is that the coupling and initialization of the land and atmosphere components can affect seasonal TC prediction skill. Simulated year-to-year variations in June land conditions over North America show a significant lead correlation with the North Atlantic large-scale environment and TC activity. Improved land–atmosphere initialization appears to improve the Atlantic TC predictions initialized in some summer months. For short-lead predictions initialized in June, the potential skill improvements attributable to land–atmosphere initialization might be comparable to those achievable with perfect SST predictions. Overall, this study delineates the SST and non-oceanic error sources in predicting TC activity and highlights avenues for improving predictions. The nudging-based evaluation framework can be applied to other models and help improve predictions of other weather extremes.

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Shi-Xin Wang, Hong-Chao Zuo, Fen Sun, Li-Yang Wu, Yixing Yin, and Jing-Jia Luo

Abstract

Dynamics of the East Asian spring rainband are investigated with a reanalysis dataset and station observations. Here, it is revealed that the rainband is anchored by external forcings. The midtropospheric jet core stays quasi-stationary around Japan. It has two branches in its entry region, which originate from the south and north flanks of the Tibetan Plateau and then run northeastward and southeastward, respectively. The southern branch advects warm air from the Tibetan–Hengduan Plateau northeastward, forming a rainband over southern China through causing adiabatic ascent motion and triggering diabatic feedback. The rainband is much stronger in spring than in autumn due to the stronger diabatic heating over the Tibetan–Hengduan Plateau, a more southward-displaced midtropospheric jet, and the resulting stronger warm advection over southern China. The northern jet branch forms a zonally elongated cold advection belt, which reaches a maximum around northern China, and then weakens and extends eastward to east of Japan. The westerly jet also steers strong disturbance activities roughly collocated with the cold advection belt via baroclinic instability. The high disturbance activities belt causes large cumulative warm advection (CWA) through drastically increasing extremely warm advection days on its eastern and south flanks, where weak cold advection prevails. CWA is more essential for monthly/seasonally rainfall than conventionally used time-average temperature advection because it is shown that strengthened warm advection can increase rainfall through positive diabatic feedback, while cold advection cannot cause negative rainfall. Thus, the rainband is collocated with the large CWA belt instead of the warm advection south of it. This rainband is jointed to the rainband over southern China, forming the long southwest–northeast-oriented East Asian spring rainband. Increasing moisture slightly displaces the rainband southeastward.

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Jian Ma, Sara C. da Silva, Aaron Levine, Yang Yang, Paul Fuentes, Li Zhou, Chuan-Chi Tu, Jia Hu, I. M. Shiromani Jayawardena, Antti Pessi, and DaNa Carlis

A four-day educational cruise navigated around the leeward side of Oahu and Kauai to observe the thermodynamic and dynamic features of the trade-wind wakes of these small islands by using weather balloons and other onboard atmospheric and oceanographic sensors. This cruise was proposed, designed, and implemented completely by graduate students from the School of Ocean and Earth Science and Technology at the University of Hawaii. The data collected during the cruise show, for the first time, strong sea/land breezes during day/night and their thermal effects on the island wake. This cruise provided the students with a significant, valuable, and meaningful opportunity to experience the complete process of proposing and undertaking field observations, as well as analyzing data and writing a scientific article.

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Xiaosong Yang, G. A. Vecchi, T. L. Delworth, K. Paffendorf, L. Jia, R. Gudgel, F. Zeng, and Seth D. Underwood
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Liping Zhang, Thomas L. Delworth, Xiaosong Yang, Richard G. Gudgel, Liwei Jia, Gabriel A. Vecchi, and Fanrong Zeng

Abstract

This study explores the potential predictability of the Southern Ocean (SO) climate on decadal time scales as represented in the GFDL CM2.1 model using prognostic methods. Perfect model predictability experiments are conducted starting from 10 different initial states, showing potentially predictable variations of Antarctic bottom water (AABW) formation rates on time scales as long as 20 years. The associated Weddell Sea (WS) subsurface temperatures and Antarctic sea ice have potential predictability comparable to that of the AABW cell. The predictability of sea surface temperature (SST) variations over the WS and the SO is somewhat smaller, with predictable scales out to a decade. This reduced predictability is likely associated with stronger damping from air–sea interaction. As a complement to this perfect predictability study, the authors also make hindcasts of SO decadal variability using the GFDL CM2.1 decadal prediction system. Significant predictive skill for SO SST on multiyear time scales is found in the hindcast system. The success of the hindcasts, especially in reproducing observed surface cooling trends, is largely due to initializing the state of the AABW cell. A weak state of the AABW cell leads to cooler surface conditions and more extensive sea ice. Although there are considerable uncertainties regarding the observational data used to initialize the hindcasts, the consistency between the perfect model experiments and the decadal hindcasts at least gives some indication as to where and to what extent skillful decadal SO forecasts might be possible.

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