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Jainn-Jong Shi, Simon Wei-Jen Chang, and Sethu Raman

Abstract

The structure and dynamics of the outflow layer of tropical cyclones are studied using a three-dimensional numerical model. Weak and strong tropical cyclones are produced by the numerical model when starting from idealized initial vortices embedded in mean hurricane soundings. The quasi-steady state outflow layers of both the weak and strong tropical cyclones have similar characteristics 1) the circulations are mainly anticyclonic (except for a small region of cyclonic flow near the center) and highly asymmetric about the center, 2) the outflow layer is dominated by a narrow but elongated outflow jet, which contributes up to 50% of the angular momentum transport and 3) the air particles in the outflow jet mostly originate from the lower level, following “in-up-and-out” trajectories.

We found that there are secondary circulations around the outflow jet, very much like those associated with midlatitude westerly jet streaks. In the jet entrance region, the secondary circulation is thermally direct. That is, the ascending motion is located on the anticyclonic shear side of the jet, and the descending motion on the cyclonic shear side. There is a radially outward (perpendicular to the jet) flow above the jet and inflow below it. In the jet exit region, the secondary circulation is weaker and reversed in its direction (thermally indirect). The secondary circulations leave pronounced signatures on the relative humidity, potential vorticity, and tropopause height fields. The secondary circulation is more intense in the stronger tropical cyclone (with a stronger outflow jet) than in the weaker tropical cyclone.

The sensitivities to upper-tropospheric forcing of the outflow are tested in numerical experiments with prescribed forcings. It is found that the simulated tropical cyclone intensifies when its upper levels within a radius of approximately 500 km are accelerated and forced to be more divergent. Convection plays a key role in transforming the upper level divergence into low level convergence. In another experiment, additional regions of convection are initiated in the ascending branches of the circum-jet secondary circulations away from the inner region when the outflow jet between the radii of 500 and 1000 km is accelerated. These regions of convection become competitive with the inner core convection and eventually weaken the tropical cyclone. In both experiments, cumulus convection is the major link between the upper-level forcing and tropical cyclone's response.

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Hans R. Schneider, Malcolm K. W. Ko, Nien Dak Sze, Guang-Yu Shi, and Wei-Chyung Wang

Abstract

The effect of eddy diffusion in an interactive two-dimensional model of the stratosphere is reexamined. The model consists of a primitive equation dynamics module, a simplified HOx ozone model and a full radiative transfer scheme. The diabatic/residual circulation in the model stratosphere is maintained by the following processes: 1) nonlocal forcing resulting from dissipation in the parameterized model troposphere and frictional drag at mesospheric levels, 2) mechanical damping within the stratosphere itself, and 3) potential vorticity flux due to large scale waves. The net effect of each process is discussed in terms of the efficiency of the induced circulation in transporting ozone from the equatorial lower stratosphere to high latitude regions. The same eddy diffusion coefficients are used to parameterize the flux of quasi-geostrophic potential vorticity and diffusion in the tracer transport equation. It is shown that the ozone distributions generated with the interactive two-dimensional model are very sensitive to the choice of values for the friction and the eddy diffusion coefficients. The strength of the circulation increases with the mechanical damping and Kyy. At the same time, larger diffusion in the tracer transport equation reduces the equator to pole transport (Holton 1986). Depending on the amount of friction assumed in the stratosphere, increasing eddy diffusion can lead to an increase as well as a decrease in the net transport. It is shown that reasonable latitudinal gradients of ozone can be obtained by using small values for the mechanical damping [≈1/(100 days)] and Kyy (order 104 m2 s−1) for the mid- and high-latitude stratosphere.

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Farid Ishak Boushaki, Kuo-Lin Hsu, Soroosh Sorooshian, Gi-Hyeon Park, Shayesteh Mahani, and Wei Shi

Abstract

Reliable precipitation measurement is a crucial component in hydrologic studies. Although satellite-based observation is able to provide spatial and temporal distribution of precipitation, the measurements tend to show systematic bias. This paper introduces a grid-based precipitation merging procedure in which satellite estimates from the Precipitation Estimation from Remotely Sensed Information using Artificial Neural Networks–Cloud Classification System (PERSIANN–CCS) are adjusted based on the Climate Prediction Center (CPC) daily rain gauge analysis. To remove the bias, the hourly CCS estimates were spatially and temporally accumulated to the daily 1° × 1° scale, the resolution of CPC rain gauge analysis. The daily CCS bias was then downscaled to the hourly temporal scale to correct hourly CCS estimates. The bias corrected CCS estimates are called the adjusted CCS (CCSA) product. With the adjustment from the gauge measurement, CCSA data have been generated to provide more reliable high temporal/spatial-resolution precipitation estimates. In the case study, the CCSA precipitation estimates from the proposed approach are compared against ground-based measurements in high-density gauge networks located in the southwestern United States.

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Fuyao Wang, Yan Yu, Michael Notaro, Jiafu Mao, Xiaoying Shi, and Yaxing Wei

Abstract

This study advances the practicality and stability of the traditional multivariate statistical method, generalized equilibrium feedback assessment (GEFA), for decomposing the key oceanic drivers of regional atmospheric variability, especially when available data records are short. An advanced stepwise GEFA methodology is introduced, in which unimportant forcings within the forcing matrix are eliminated through stepwise selection. Method validation of stepwise GEFA is performed using the CESM, with a focused application to northern and tropical Africa (NTA). First, a statistical assessment of the atmospheric response to each primary oceanic forcing is carried out by applying stepwise GEFA to a fully coupled control run. Then, a dynamical assessment of the atmospheric response to individual oceanic forcings is performed through ensemble experiments by imposing sea surface temperature anomalies over focal ocean basins. Finally, to quantify the reliability of stepwise GEFA, the statistical assessment is evaluated against the dynamical assessment in terms of four metrics: the percentage of grid cells with consistent response sign, the spatial correlation of atmospheric response patterns, the area-averaged seasonal cycle of response magnitude, and consistency in associated mechanisms between assessments. In CESM, tropical modes, namely El Niño–Southern Oscillation and the tropical Indian Ocean Basin, tropical Indian Ocean dipole, and tropical Atlantic Niño modes, are the dominant oceanic controls of NTA climate. In complementary studies, stepwise GEFA is validated in terms of isolating terrestrial forcings on the atmosphere, and observed oceanic and terrestrial drivers of NTA climate are extracted to establish an observational benchmark for subsequent coupled model evaluation and development of process-based weights for regional climate projections.

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Na Wei, Ying Li, Da-Lin Zhang, Zi Mai, and Shi-Qi Yang

Abstract

The geographical and temporal characteristics of upper-tropospheric cold low (UTCL) and their relationship to tropical cyclone (TC) track and intensity change over the western North Pacific (WNP) during 2000–12 are examined using the TC best track and global meteorological reanalysis data. An analysis of the two datasets shows that 73% of 346 TCs coexist with 345 UTCLs, and 21% of the latter coexist with TCs within an initial cutoff distance of 15°. By selecting those coexisted systems within this distance, the possible influences of UTCL on TC track and intensity change are found, depending on their relative distance and on the sectors of UTCLs where TCs are located. Results show that the impact of UTCLs on TC directional changes are statistically insignificant when averaged within the 15° radius. However, left-turning TCs within 5° distance from the UTCL center exhibit large deviated directional changes from the WNP climatology, due to the presence of highly frequent abrupt left turnings in the eastern semicircle of UTCL. The abrupt turnings of TCs are often accompanied by their slow-down movements. Results also show that TCs seem more (less) prone to intensify at early (late) development stages when interacting with UTCLs compared to the WNP climatology. Intensifying (weakening) TCs are more distributed in the southern (northern) sectors of UTCLs, with less hostile conditions for weakening within 9°–13° radial range. In addition, rapid intensifying TCs take place in the south-southwest and east-southeast sectors of UTCLs, whereas rapid weakening cases appear in the western semicircle of UTCLs due to their frequent proximity to mainland coastal regions.

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Jia-Rui Shi, Lynne D. Talley, Shang-Ping Xie, Wei Liu, and Sarah T. Gille

Abstract

Observations show that since the 1950s, the Southern Ocean has stored a large amount of anthropogenic heat and has freshened at the surface. These patterns can be attributed to two components of surface forcing: poleward-intensified westerly winds and increased buoyancy flux from freshwater and heat. Here we separate the effects of these two forcing components by using a novel partial-coupling technique. We show that buoyancy forcing dominates the overall response in the temperature and salinity structure of the Southern Ocean. Wind stress change results in changes in subsurface temperature and salinity that are closely related to intensified residual meridional overturning circulation. As an important result, we show that buoyancy and wind forcing result in opposing changes in salinity: the wind-induced surface salinity increase due to upwelling of saltier subsurface water offsets surface freshening due to amplification of the global hydrological cycle. Buoyancy and wind forcing further lead to different vertical structures of Antarctic Circumpolar Current (ACC) transport change; buoyancy forcing causes an ACC transport increase (3.1 ± 1.6 Sv; 1 Sv ≡ 106 m3 s−1) by increasing the meridional density gradient across the ACC in the upper 2000 m, while the wind-induced response is more barotropic, with the whole column transport increased by 8.7 ± 2.3 Sv. While previous research focused on the wind effect on ACC intensity, we show that surface horizontal current acceleration within the ACC is dominated by buoyancy forcing. These results shed light on how the Southern Ocean might change under global warming, contributing to more reliable future projections.

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Viviane B. S. Silva, Vernon E. Kousky, Wei Shi, and R. Wayne Higgins

Abstract

A gauge-only precipitation data quality control and analysis system has been developed for monitoring precipitation at NOAA’s Climate Prediction Center (CPC). Over the past 10 yr the system has been used to develop and deliver many different precipitation products over the United States, Mexico, and Central and South America. Here the authors describe how the system has been applied to develop improved gridded daily precipitation analyses over Brazil. Consistent with previous studies, comparisons between the the gridded analyses and station observations reveal fewer dry days, a greater number of low precipitation days, and fewer extreme precipitation events in the gridded analyses. Even though the gridded analysis system reduces the number of dry days and increases the number of wet days, there is still a good correlation between time series of the gridpoint precipitation values and observations.

Retrospective analyses are important for computing basic statistics such as mean daily/monthly rainfall, extremes, and probabilities of wet and dry days. The CPC gridded precipitation analyses can be used in hydrologic and climate variability studies dealing with large spatial-scale anomaly patterns, such as those related to ENSO. The analyses can also be used as a benchmark for evaluating model simulations, serve as a basis for real-time monitoring, and provide statistics on the occurrence of large-scale heavy rainfall events and dry periods.

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Chun-Chieh Wu, Treng-Shi Huang, Wei-Peng Huang, and Kun-Hsuan Chou

Abstract

Tropical Storm Bopha (2000) showed a very unusual southward course parallel to the east coast of Taiwan, mainly steered by the circulation associated with Supertyphoon Saomai (2000) to Bopha's east. The binary interaction between the two typhoons is well demonstrated by the potential vorticity (PV) diagnosis. With the use of the piecewise PV inversion, this paper quantitatively evaluates how Bopha moved southward due to the binary interaction with Saomai. A newly proposed centroid-relative track, with the position weighting based on the steering flow induced by the PV anomaly associated with the other storm, is plotted to highlight such binary interaction processes. Note that the above analysis can be well used to understand the more complicated vortex merging and interacting processes between tropical cyclones either from observational data or numerical experiments. The results also shed some light on the prediction of nearby tropical cyclones.

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Yan Yu, Michael Notaro, Fuyao Wang, Jiafu Mao, Xiaoying Shi, and Yaxing Wei

Abstract

Generalized equilibrium feedback assessment (GEFA) is a potentially valuable multivariate statistical tool for extracting vegetation feedbacks to the atmosphere in either observations or coupled Earth system models. The reliability of GEFA at capturing the terrestrial impacts on regional climate is demonstrated here using the National Center for Atmospheric Research Community Earth System Model (CESM), with focus on North Africa. The feedback is assessed statistically by applying GEFA to output from a fully coupled control run. To reduce the sampling error caused by short data records, the traditional or full GEFA is refined through stepwise GEFA by dropping unimportant forcings. Two ensembles of dynamical experiments are developed for the Sahel or West African monsoon region against which GEFA-based vegetation feedbacks are evaluated. In these dynamical experiments, regional leaf area index (LAI) is modified either alone or in conjunction with soil moisture, with the latter runs motivated by strong regional soil moisture–LAI coupling. Stepwise GEFA boasts higher consistency between statistically and dynamically assessed atmospheric responses to land surface anomalies than full GEFA, especially with short data records. GEFA-based atmospheric responses are more consistent with the coupled soil moisture–LAI experiments, indicating that GEFA is assessing the combined impacts of coupled vegetation and soil moisture. Both the statistical and dynamical assessments reveal a negative vegetation–rainfall feedback in the Sahel associated with an atmospheric stability mechanism in CESM versus a weaker positive feedback in the West African monsoon region associated with a moisture recycling mechanism in CESM.

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Francisco J. Tapiador, Wei-Kuo Tao, Jainn Jong Shi, Carlos F. Angelis, Miguel A. Martinez, Cecilia Marcos, Antonio Rodriguez, and Arthur Hou

Abstract

Ensembles of numerical model forecasts are of interest to operational early warning forecasters as the spread of the ensemble provides an indication of the uncertainty of the alerts, and the mean value is deemed to outperform the forecasts of the individual models. This paper explores two ensembles on a severe weather episode in Spain, aiming to ascertain the relative usefulness of each one. One ensemble uses sensible choices of physical parameterizations (precipitation microphysics, land surface physics, and cumulus physics) while the other follows a perturbed initial conditions approach. The results show that, depending on the parameterizations, large differences can be expected in terms of storm location, spatial structure of the precipitation field, and rain intensity. It is also found that the spread of the perturbed initial conditions ensemble is smaller than the dispersion due to physical parameterizations. This confirms that in severe weather situations operational forecasts should address moist physics deficiencies to realize the full benefits of the ensemble approach, in addition to optimizing initial conditions. The results also provide insights into differences in simulations arising from ensembles of weather models using several combinations of different physical parameterizations.

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