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Yuling Wu and Bo-Wen Shen

Abstract

In this study the parallel ensemble empirical mode decomposition (PEEMD) is applied for an analysis of 10-yr (2004–13) ERA-Interim global reanalysis data in order to explore the role of downscaling processes associated with African easterly waves (AEWs) in tropical cyclone (TC) genesis. The focus of the study was aimed at understanding the downscaling process in multiscale flows during storm intensification. To represent the various length scales of atmospheric systems, intrinsic mode functions (IMFs) were extracted from the reanalysis data using the PEEMD. It was found that the nonoscillatory trend mode can be used to represent large-scale environmental flow and that the third oscillatory mode (IMF3) can be used to represent AEW/TC scale systems. The results 1) identified 42 developing cases from 272 AEWs, where 25 of them eventually developed into hurricanes; 2) indicated that the maximum for horizontal shear largely occurs over the ocean for the IMF3 and over land near the coast for the trend mode for developing cases, suggesting shear transfer between the trend mode and the IMF3; 3) displayed opposite wind shear tendencies for the trend mode and the IMF3 during storm intensification, signifying that the downscaling process was active in 13 hurricane cases along their tracks; and 4) showed that among the 42 developing cases, only 13 of the 25 hurricanes were found to have significant downscaling transfer features, so other processes such as upscaling processes may play an important role in the other developing cases, especially for the remaining 12 hurricane cases. In a future study, the authors intend to investigate the upscaling process between the convection scale and AEWs/TCs, which requires data at a finer grid resolution.

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Xiaohe An, Bo Wu, Tianjun Zhou, and Bo Liu

Abstract

Interdecadal Pacific Oscillation (IPO) and Atlantic Multidecadal Oscillation (AMO), two leading modes of decadal climate variability, are not independent. It was proposed that ENSO-like sea surface temperature (SST) variations play a central role in the Pacific responses to the AMO forcing. However, observational analyses indicate that the AMO-related SST anomalies in the tropical Pacific are far weaker than those in the extratropical North Pacific. Here, we show that SST in the North Pacific is tied to the AMO forcing by convective heating associated with precipitation over the tropical Pacific, instead of by SST there, based on an ensemble of pacemaker experiments with North Atlantic SST restored to the observation in a coupled general circulation model. The AMO modulates precipitation over the equatorial and tropical southwestern Pacific through exciting an anomalous zonal circulation and an interhemispheric asymmetry of net moist static energy input into the atmosphere. The convective heating associated with the precipitation anomalies drive SST variations in the North Pacific through a teleconnection, but remarkably weaken the ENSO-like SST anomalies through a thermocline damping effect. This study has implications that the IPO is a combined mode generated by both AMO forcing and local air-sea interactions, but the IPO-related global-warming acceleration/slowdown is independent of the AMO.

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Yu Huang, Bo Wu, Tim Li, Tianjun Zhou, and Bo Liu

Abstract

The interdecadal variability of basinwide sea surface temperature anomalies (SSTAs) in the tropical Indian Ocean (TIO), referred to as the interdecadal Indian Ocean basin mode (ID-IOBM), is caused by remote forcing of the interdecadal Pacific oscillation (IPO), as demonstrated by the observational datasets and tropical Pacific pacemaker experiments of the Community Earth System Model (CESM). It is noted that the growth of the ID-IOBM shows a season-dependent characteristic, with a maximum tendency of mixed layer heat anomalies occurring in early boreal winter. Three factors contribute to this maximum tendency. In response to the positive IPO forcing, the eastern TIO is covered by the descending branch of the anomalous Walker circulation. Thus, the convection over the southeastern TIO is suppressed, which increases local downward shortwave radiative fluxes. Meanwhile, the equatorial easterly anomalies to the west of the suppressed convection weaken the background mean westerly and thus decrease the upward latent heat fluxes over the equatorial Indian Ocean. Third, anomalous westward Ekman currents driven by the equatorial easterly anomalies advect climatological warm water westward and thus warm the western TIO. In summer, the TIO is out of the control of the positive IPO remote forcing. The ID-IOBM gradually decays due to the Newtonian damping effect.

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Bo Wu, Tianjun Zhou, and Tim Li

Abstract

The observational analysis reveals two distinct precipitation modes, the zonal dipole (DP) mode and the monopole (MP) mode, in the tropical Indian Ocean (TIO) during the El Niño mature winter, even though sea surface temperature anomalies (SSTAs) have a similar basinwide warming pattern [referred to as the Indian Ocean basin mode (IOBM)]. The formation of the two precipitation modes depends on the distinct evolutions of the SSTA in the tropical Pacific and Indian Ocean. Both of the precipitation modes are preceded by an Indian Ocean dipole (IOD). The IOD associated with the DP mode developed in late summer and was triggered by Pacific El Niño through a “Sumatra–Philippine pattern.” The IOD associated with the MP mode developed in early summer when the Pacific SSTAs were still normal. The different IOD onset time leads to salient differences in subsequent evolution including the transfer of a dipole SST pattern to a basinwide pattern. As a result, in the boreal winter, the zonal SSTA gradient associated with the DP mode is much stronger than that associated with the MP mode. The strong SSTA zonal gradient associated with the DP mode drives an anomalous Walker circulation in the TIO, while the nearly uniform warm SSTA associated with the MP mode forces a basin-scale upward motion. The two modes have opposite impacts on the zonal wind over the equatorial western Pacific, with anomalous westerly (easterly) occurring during the DP (MP) mode, and thus they may have distinct impacts on El Niño evolution.

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Bo Wu, Tianjun Zhou, and Tim Li

Abstract

While the overall summer rainfall–sea surface temperature (SST) relationship has a negative correlation over the western North Pacific (WNP), this relationship experiences a significant interannual variation. During the ENSO-developing (decaying) summer, the rainfall–SST correlation is significantly positive (negative). The positive correlation is attributed to interplay between the anomalous Walker circulation and the cross-equatorial flows associated with the enhanced WNP summer monsoon. The former leads to negative rainfall anomalies in the western Pacific, whereas the latter leads to a cold SST anomaly resulting from enhanced surface latent heat fluxes. The negative correlation is attributed to the maintenance of an anomalous Philippine Sea anticyclone from the El Niño peak winter to the subsequent summer. The anomalous anticyclone, on one hand, suppresses the local rainfall, and on the other hand induces a warm in situ SST anomaly through both the enhanced solar radiation (resulting from a decrease in clouds) and the reduced surface latent heat flux (resulting from the decrease of the monsoon westerly). The rainfall–SST correlation is insignificant in the remaining summers. Thus, the overall weak negative rainfall–SST correlation is attributed to the significant negative correlation during the ENSO-decaying summers.

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Fan Jia, Lixin Wu, and Bo Qiu

Abstract

Mesoscale eddy activity in the southeast Indian Ocean (15°–30°S, 60°–110°E) is investigated based on available satellite altimetry observations. The observed sea level anomaly data show that this region is the only eastern basin among the global oceans where strong eddy activity exists. Furthermore, the eddy kinetic energy (EKE) level in this region displays a distinct seasonal cycle with the maximum in austral summer and minimum in austral winter. It is found that this seasonal modulation of EKE is mediated by baroclinic instability associated with the surface-intensified South Indian Countercurrent (SICC) and the underlying South Equatorial Current (SEC) system. In austral spring and summer the enhanced flux forcing of combined meridional Ekman and geostrophic convergence strengthens the upper-ocean meridional temperature gradient, intensifying the SICC front and its vertical velocity shear. Modulation of the vertical velocity shear results in the seasonal changes in the strength of baroclinic instability, leading to the seasonal EKE variations in the southeast Indian Ocean.

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Bo Wu, Tianjun Zhou, and Tim Li

Abstract

The western North Pacific anomalous anticyclone (WNPAC) is an important low-level circulation system that connects El Niño and the East Asian monsoon. In this study, the mechanisms responsible for the formation and maintenance of the WNPAC are explored. Part I of this study focuses on the WNPAC maintenance mechanisms during El Niño mature winter and the following spring. Moisture and moist static energy analyses indicated that the WNPAC is maintained by both the remote forcing from the equatorial central-eastern Pacific via the atmospheric bridge and the local air–sea interactions. Three pacemaker experiments by a coupled global climate model FGOALS-s2, with upper-700-m ocean temperature in the equatorial central-eastern Pacific restored to the observational anomalies plus model climatology, suggest that about 60% (70%) intensity of the WNPAC during the winter (spring) is contributed by the remote forcing from the equatorial central-eastern Pacific. The key remote forcing mechanism responsible for the maintenance of the WNPAC is revealed. In response to El Niño–related positive precipitation anomalies over the equatorial central-eastern Pacific, twin Rossby wave cyclonic anomalies are induced to the west. The northern branch of the twin cyclonic anomalies advects dry and low moist enthalpy air into the tropical western North Pacific, which suppresses local convection. The suppressed convection further drives the WNPAC.

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Bo Wu, Tim Li, and Tianjun Zhou

Abstract

The asymmetry of the western North Pacific (WNP) low-level atmospheric circulation anomalies between the El Niño and La Niña mature winter is examined. An anomalous WNP cyclone (WNPC) center during La Niña tends to shift westward relative to an anomalous WNP anticyclone (WNPAC) center during El Niño. Two factors may contribute to this asymmetric response. The first factor is the longitudinal shifting of El Niño and La Niña anomalous heating. The composite negative precipitation anomaly center during La Niña is located farther to the west of the composite positive precipitation anomaly center during El Niño. The westward shift of the heating may further push the WNPC westward relative to the position of the WNPAC. The second factor is the amplitude asymmetry of sea surface temperature anomalies (SSTAs) in the WNP, namely, the amplitude of local cold SSTA during El Niño is greater than that of warm SSTA during La Niña. The asymmetry of SSTA is originated from the asymmetric SSTA tendencies during the ENSO developing summer. Although both precipitation and surface wind anomalies are approximately symmetric, the surface latent heat flux anomalies are highly asymmetric over the key WNP region, where the climate mean zonal wind speed is small. Both the anomalous westerly during El Niño and the anomalous easterly during La Niña in the region lead to an enhanced surface evaporation, strengthening (weakening) the enhancement of the cold (warm) SSTA in situ during El Niño (La Niña). The asymmetry of the SSTA in the WNP is further amplified due to anomalous wind differences between El Niño and La Niña in their mature winter. Atmospheric general circulation model experiments demonstrate that both factors contribute to the asymmetry between the WNPAC and WNPC. The asymmetric circulation in the WNP contributes to the asymmetry of temporal evolutions between El Niño and La Niña.

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Bo Wu, Tianjun Zhou, and Tim Li

Abstract

Based on the Twentieth Century Reanalysis (20CR) dataset, the dominant modes of interdecadal variability of the East Asian summer monsoon (EASM) are investigated through a multivariate empirical orthogonal function analysis (MV-EOF). The first mode (EA1) is characterized by an anomalous cyclone centered over Taiwan and an anomalous anticyclone centered over the Bohai Sea. These phenomena are part of the meridional wave–like teleconnection pattern propagating poleward from the southern tropical western North Pacific (WNP), referred to as the interdecadal Pacific–Japan (PJ) pattern. The interdecadal PJ pattern is driven by negative anomalous convective heating over the southern tropical WNP, which is associated with the interdecadal Pacific oscillation (IPO) and the interdecadal Indian Ocean basin mode (IOBM). The amplitude of the EA1 and its contribution to the total variance of the EASM decrease remarkably after the 1960s. The second MV-EOF mode (EA2) is characterized by cyclone anomalies extending from northeastern China to Japan, which are part of a circumglobal wave train. Given the spatial scale of the wave train in the zonal direction (wavenumber 5), as well as the fact that it possesses barotropic structures and propagates along the Northern Hemispheric jet stream, it is referred to herein as the interdecadal circumglobal teleconnection (CGT) pattern. The interdecadal CGT pattern is associated with the forcing from the Atlantic multidecadal oscillation (AMO). Though the interdecadal PJ and CGT patterns are derived from the 20CR dataset, they are carefully verified through comparisons with various observational and reanalysis datasets from different perspectives.

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Shantong Sun, Lixin Wu, and Bo Qiu

Abstract

Previous observation and model studies show that the upper-ocean stratification is enhanced under global warming (Capotondi et al.; Cravatte et al.; Deser et al., etc.). The response of the recirculation, which is associated with the western boundary current (WBC) jet extension and significantly increases its transport, to the intensified stratification, is studied in a two-layer quasigeostrophic ocean circulation model. It is found that the barotropic transport of the circulation first increases with stratification but then decreases as a result of saturation of the surface-layer circulation intensity when the stratification exceeds a threshold. PV budget analysis indicates that the saturation is caused by the increased intergyre transport of relative potential vorticity resulting from the intensified variability of the jet location. Both the barotropic instability and bifurcation mechanisms contribute to the intensified variability of the jet location. Because of barotropic instability, eddies are generated in the confluence region of the WBCs and advected eastward, causing the variability of the jet location. With increased stratification, the surface-layer circulation is strengthened and the barotropic instability is intensified. As a result, the surface flow becomes more variable with excessive eddies and intense variability of the jet. With the increasing stratification, three regimes, each marked by its own variation of the jet location, emerge owing to the successive system bifurcations. In the last two regimes, variability of the jet location is further enhanced by frequent switches among the different dynamic states on multidecadal time scales.

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