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Zheng Wang and Dongliang Yuan

Abstract

The nonlinear collision of two western boundary currents (WBCs) of equal transport at a gap of the western boundary is studied using a 1.5-layer reduced-gravity quasigeostrophic ocean model. It is found that, when the gap (of width 2a) is narrow, a ≤ 7.3LM (LM the Munk thickness), neither of the WBCs can penetrate into the western basin because of the restriction of the viscous force. When 7.3LM < a < 9.0LM, both WBCs penetrate into the western basin for small transport and choke for large transport. When 9.0LMa ≤ 9.6LM, the two WBCs penetrate for small transport, choke for intermediate transport, and shed eddies periodically for large transport. When a > 9.6LM, no steady choking state is found. Instead, the WBCs have only two equilibrium states: the penetrating and the periodic eddy shedding states. A Hopf bifurcation is found for a > 9.0LM. The Reynolds number (Re) of the Hopf bifurcation is sensitive to the magnitude of γ(a/LM) and the baroclinic deformation radius, being small for larger γ or deformation radius. In addition, a reverse Hopf bifurcations is identified in the decreased Re experiments, occurring at a smaller Re than that of the Hopf bifurcation. The Re of the reverse Hopf bifurcation is not sensitive to the magnitude of the baroclinic deformation radius.

Hysteresis behavior of the WBCs is found for a > 9.0LM, because of the existence of the Hopf and reverse Hopf bifurcations. In between them, steady penetrating or choking states coexist with eddy-shedding states. The steady states are found to be sensitive to perturbations of relative vorticity and can transit to periodic eddy-shedding states at the forcing of a mesoscale eddy.

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Zheng Wang and Dongliang Yuan

Abstract

The nonlinear collision of two western boundary currents (WBCs) of Munk thickness L M colliding near a gap of width 2a is studied using a 1.5-layer, reduced-gravity, quasigeostrophic ocean model. The work is a continuation of our recent study on nonlinear collision of two equal-strength WBCs at a wide gap. It is found that, for narrow gaps, a < 5.7L M, and both of the WBCs fail to penetrate into the western basin due to the restriction of friction; for intermediate size gaps, 5.7L Ma < 9.6L M, and multiple equilibrium states exist for the colliding WBCs: the penetrating state, the choking state, and the eddy-shedding state. The current system transits between them through a hysteresis procedure, with transitions at different Reynolds numbers from those in the equal-transport case. The stronger WBC tends to intrude more deeply into the western basin than the weaker WBC; for wide gaps, a > 9.6L M, and only penetrating and eddy-shedding states exist. No choking state is identified for either WBC. It is found that the critical gap width for the disappearance of the choking state decreases with the asymmetry of the WBC system. The theory is used to explain some of the circulation features at the entrance of the Indonesian Throughflow in the western Pacific Ocean recently observed with satellite-tracked surface drifters.

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Dongliang Yuan and Zheng Wang

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Hysteresis of a western boundary current (WBC) flowing by a wide gap of a western boundary and the dynamics of the WBC variations associated with the impingement of mesoscale eddies from the eastern side of the gap are studied using a 1.5-layer reduced-gravity quasigeostrophic ocean model. The study focuses on two issues not covered by existing studies: the effects of finite baroclinic deformation radii and time dependence perturbed by mesoscale eddies. The results of the study show that the hysteresis of the WBC of finite baroclinic deformation radii is not controlled by multiple steady-state balances of the quasigeostrophic vorticity equation. Instead, the hysteresis is controlled by the periodic penetrating and the leaping regimes of the vorticity balance. The regime of the vorticity balance inside the gap is dependent on the history of the WBC evolution, which gives rise to the hysteresis of the WBC path. Numerical experiments have shown that the parameter domain of the hysteresis is not sensitive to the baroclinic deformation radius. However, the domain of the periodic solution, which is determined by the lower Hopf bifurcation of the nonlinear system, is found to be sensitive to the magnitude of the baroclinic deformation radius. The lower Hopf bifurcation from steady penetration to periodic penetration is found to occur at lower Reynolds numbers for larger deformation radii. In general, the lower Hopf bifurcation stays outside the hysteresis domain of the Reynolds number. However, for very small deformation radii, the lower Hopf bifurcation falls inside the hysteresis domain, which results in the transition from the leaping to the penetrating regimes of the WBC to skip the periodic regime and hence the disappearance of the upper Hopf bifurcation.

Mesoscale eddies approaching the gap from the eastern basin are found to have significant impact on the WBC path inside the gap when the WBC is at a critical state along the hysteresis loop. Cyclonic (anticyclonic) eddies play the role of reducing (enhancing) the inertial advection of vorticity in the vicinity of the gap so that transitions of the WBC path from the leaping (periodic penetrating) to the periodic penetrating (leaping) regimes are induced. In addition, cyclonic eddies are able to induce transitions of the WBC from the periodic penetrating to the leaping regimes through enhancing the meridional advection by its right fling. The transitions are irreversible because of the nonlinear hysteresis and are found to be sensitive to the strength, size, and approaching path of the eddy.

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Jing Wang and Dongliang Yuan

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The equatorial wave dynamics of sea level variations during negative Indian Ocean dipole (nIOD) events are investigated using the LICOM ocean general circulation model forced with the European Centre for Medium-Range Weather Forecast reanalysis wind stress and heat flux from 1990 to 2001. The work is a continuation of the study by Yuan and Liu, in which the equatorial wave dynamics during positive IOD events are investigated. The model has reproduced the sea level anomalies of satellite altimeter data well. Long equatorial waves extracted from the model output suggest two kinds of negative feedback during nIOD events: the western boundary reflection and the easterly wind bursts. During the strong 1998–99 nIOD event, the downwelling anomalies in the eastern Indian Ocean are terminated by persistent and strong upwelling Kelvin waves from the western boundary, which are reflected from the wind-forced equatorial Rossby waves over the southern central Indian Ocean. During the 1996–97 nIOD, however, the reflection of upwelling anomalies at the western boundary is terminated by the arrival of downwelling equatorial Rossby waves from the eastern boundary reflection in early 1997. Therefore, the negative feedback of this nIOD event is not provided by the western boundary reflection. The downwelling anomalies in the eastern basin during the 1996–97 nIOD event are terminated by easterly wind anomalies over the equatorial Indian Ocean in early 1997. The disclosed equatorial wave dynamics are important to the simulation and prediction of IOD evolution.

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Jinfeng Ding, Xiaoyong Zhuge, Xin Li, Zipeng Yuan, and Yuan Wang

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Two comparative studies have been performed to evaluate the accuracy of Chinese Aircraft Meteorological Data Relay (AMDAR) weather reports. The comparison between AMDAR reports and radiosonde observations shows that the root-mean-square differences (RMSDs) in temperature, wind speed, and wind direction are 1.06°C, 1.95 m s−1, and 22°, respectively, within a spatial range of ≤20 km and a temporal window of ≤15 min. The comparison between AMDAR reports collected by different aircraft reveals that observation uncertainties in temperature, wind speed, and wind direction are 0.59°C, 0.90 m s−1, and 12°, respectively. The spatial and temporal representativeness as well as the environmental factors that may affect the evaluation results are also discussed in detail in the two comparative studies. The results of the present study provide valuable information on and high confidence in the application of Chinese AMDAR in numerical weather prediction models.

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Xin Xu, Ming Xue, and Yuan Wang

Abstract

A derecho-producing bow-echo event over the central United States on 8 May 2009 is analyzed based on radar observations and a successful real-data WRF simulation at 0.8-km grid spacing. Emphasis is placed on documenting the existence, evolution, and characteristics of low-level mesovortices (MVs) that form along the leading edge of the bowing system. The genesis of near-surface high winds within the system is also investigated.

Significant MVs are detected from the radar radial velocity using a linear least squares derivatives (LLSD) method, and from the model simulation based on calculated vorticity. Both the observed and simulated bow-echo MVs predominantly form north of the bow apex. MVs that develop on the southern bow tend to be weaker and shorter-lived than their northern counterparts. Vortex mergers occur between MVs during their forward movement, which causes redevelopment of some MVs in the decaying stage of the bow echo. MVs located at (or near) the bow apex are found to persist for a notably longer lifetime than the other MVs. Moreover, the model results show that these bow-apex MVs are accompanied with damaging straight-line winds near the surface. These high winds are mainly caused by the descent of the rear-inflow jet at the bow apex, but the MV-induced vortical flow also has a considerable contribution. The locally enhanced descent of the rear-inflow jet near the mesovortex is forced primarily by the dynamically induced downward vertical pressure gradient force while the buoyancy force only plays a minor role there.

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Xin Xu, Yuan Wang, and Ming Xue

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Linear mountain wave theory is used to derive the general formulas of the gravity wave momentum flux (WMF) and its vertical divergence that develop in directionally sheared flows with constant vertical shear. Height variations of the WMF and its vertical divergence are studied for a circular bell-shaped mountain. The results show that the magnitude of the WMF decreases with height owing to variable critical-level height for different wave components. This leads to continuous—rather than abrupt—absorption of surface-forced gravity waves, and the rate of absorption is largely determined by the maximum turning angle of the wind with height. For flows turning substantially with height, the wave momentum is primarily trapped in the lower atmosphere. Otherwise, it can be transported to the upper levels. The vertical divergence of WMF is oriented perpendicularly to the right (left) of the mean flow that veers (backs) with height except at the surface, where it vanishes. First, the magnitude of the WMF divergence increases with height until reaching its peak value. Then, it decreases toward zero above that height. The altitude of peak WMF divergence is proportional to the surface wind speed and inversely proportional to the vertical wind shear magnitude, increasing as the maximum wind turning angle increases. The magnitude of the peak WMF divergence also increases with the maximum wind turning angle, but it in general decreases as the ambient flow Richardson number increases. Implications of the findings for treating mountain gravity waves in numerical models are discussed.

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Shushi Zhang, David B. Parsons, and Yuan Wang

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This study investigates a nocturnal mesoscale convective system (MCS) observed during the Plains Elevated Convection At Night (PECAN) field campaign. A series of wavelike features were observed ahead of this MCS with extensive convective initiation (CI) taking place in the wake of one of these disturbances. Simulations with the WRF-ARW Model were utilized to understand the dynamics of these disturbances and their impact on the MCS. In these simulations, an “elevated bore” formed within an inversion layer aloft in response to the layer being lifted by air flowing up and over the cold pool. As the bore propagated ahead of the MCS, the lifting created an environment more conducive to deep convection allowing the MCS to discretely propagate due to CI in the bore’s wake. The Scorer parameter was somewhat favorable for trapping of this wave energy, although aspects of the environment evolved to be consistent with the expectations for an n = 2 mode deep tropospheric gravity wave. A bore within an inversion layer aloft is reminiscent of disturbances predicted by two-layer hydraulic theory, contrasting with recent studies that suggest bores are frequently initiated by the interaction between the flow within stable nocturnal boundary layer and convectively generated cold pools. Idealized simulations that expand upon this two-layer approach with orography and a well-mixed layer below the inversion suggest that elevated bores provide a possible mechanism for daytime squall lines to remove the capping inversion often found over the Great Plains, particularly in synoptically disturbed environments where vertical shear could create a favorable trapping of wave energy.

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Xiao-Yong Zhuge, Jie Ming, and Yuan Wang

Abstract

The hot tower (HT) in the inner core plays an important role in tropical cyclone (TC) rapid intensification (RI). With the help of Tropical Rainfall Measurement Mission (TRMM) data and the Statistical Hurricane Intensity Prediction Scheme dataset, the potential of HTs in operational RI prediction is reassessed in this study. The stand-alone HT-based RI prediction scheme showed little skill in the northern Atlantic (NA) and eastern and central Pacific (ECP), but yielded skill scores of >0.3 in the southern Indian Ocean (SI) and western North Pacific (WNP) basins. The inaccurate predictions are due to four scenarios: 1) RI events may have already begun prior to the TRMM overpass. 2) RI events are driven by non-HT factors. 3) The HT has already dissipated or has not occurred at the TRMM overpass time. 4) Large false alarms result from the unfavorable environment. When the HT was used in conjunction with the TC’s previous 12-h intensity change, the potential intensity, the percentage area from 50 to 200 km of cloud-top brightness temperatures lower than −10°C, and the 850–200-hPa vertical shear magnitude with the vortex removed, the predictive skill score in the SI was 0.56. This score was comparable to that of the RI index scheme, which is considered the most advanced RI prediction method. When the HT information was combined with the aforementioned four environmental factors in the NA, ECP, South Pacific, and WNP, the skill scores were 0.23, 0.32, 0.42, and 0.42, respectively.

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Xiaowen Tang, Wen-Chau Lee, and Yuan Wang

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The application of the distance velocity azimuth display (DVAD) method to the retrieval of vertical wind profiles from single-Doppler radar observations is presented in this study. It was shown that Doppler velocity observations at a constant altitude can be expressed as a single polynomial function for both linear and nonlinear wind fields in DVAD. Only a one-step least squares fitting of a polynomial function is required to obtain the vertical wind profile of a real wind field. The mathematic formulation of DVAD results in two advantages over the traditional nonlinear VAD method used for the nonlinear analysis of single-Doppler observations. First, the requirement of only one-step least squares fitting leads to robust performance when Doppler velocity observations are contaminated by unevenly distributed data noise and voids. Second, the degree of nonlinearity to properly represent a real wind field can be directly estimated in DVAD instead of being empirically determined in the traditional method. A proper nonlinear wind model for approximating the real wind field can be objectively derived using the DVAD method. The merits of DVAD as a quantitative single-Doppler analysis method were compared with the traditional method using both idealized and real datasets. Results show that the simplicity and robust performance of DVAD make it a good candidate for single-Doppler retrieval in operational use.

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