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YaoKun Li and JiPing Chao

Abstract

Based on the hydrostatic, incompressible Boussinesq equations in the planetary boundary layer (PBL), the three-dimensional sea–land breeze (SLB) circulation has been elegantly expressed as functions of the surface temperature distribution. The horizontal distribution of the horizontal or vertical motion is determined by the first or second derivative of the surface temperature distribution. For symmetric land–sea and temperature distribution, the full strength of the sea breeze occurs inland but not at the coastline, and the maximum updraft associates with the heating center. Setting the temperature difference between land and sea (TDLS), which varies with the island size, there would exist an optimal island size corresponding to the strongest SLB circulation that weakens with both a larger and smaller island size. Each velocity component approaches a peak at a certain vertical level. Both the peak value and the corresponding vertical level link with the vertical scale of the surface temperature: the more significant the influence of the surface temperature vertically, the stronger the SLB circulation at a higher vertical level it induces. The Weather Research and Forecasting (WRF) Model's ideal simulation for the two-dimensional sea breeze is applied to verify the theory. Two cases, land breeze and sea breeze, further support the theory's results despite a certain slight discrepancy due to the highly simplified theoretical equations.

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Zhijin Li, Yi Chao, and James C. McWilliams

Abstract

An algorithm is proposed for the computation of streamfunction and velocity potential from given horizontal velocity vectors based on solving a minimization problem. To guarantee the uniqueness of the solution and computational reliability of the algorithm, a Tikhonov regularization is applied. The solution implies that the obtained streamfunction and velocity potential have minimal magnitude, while the given velocity vectors can be accurately reconstructed from the computed streamfunction and velocity potential. Because the formulation of the minimization problem allows for circumventing the explicit specification of separate boundary conditions on the streamfunction and velocity potential, the algorithm is easily applicable to irregular domains. By using an advanced minimization algorithm with the use of adjoint techniques, the method is computationally efficient and suitable for problems with large dimensions. An example is presented for coastal oceans to illustrate the practical application of the algorithm.

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Chao He, Tianjun Zhou, and Tim Li

Abstract

The western North Pacific subtropical anticyclone (WNPAC) is the most prominent atmospheric circulation anomaly over the subtropical Northern Hemisphere during the decaying summer of an El Niño event. Based on a comparison between the RCP8.5 and the historical experiments of 30 coupled models from the CMIP5, we show evidence that the anomalous WNPAC during the El Niño–decaying summer is weaker in a warmer climate although the amplitude of the El Niño remains generally unchanged. The weakened impact of the sea surface temperature anomaly (SSTA) over the tropical Indian Ocean (TIO) on the atmosphere is essential for the weakened anomalous WNPAC. In a warmer climate, the warm tropospheric temperature (TT) anomaly in the tropical free troposphere stimulated by the El Niño–related SSTA is enhanced through stronger moist adiabatic adjustment in a warmer mean state, even if the SSTA of El Niño is unchanged. But the amplitude of the warm SSTA over TIO remains generally unchanged in an El Niño–decaying summer, the static stability of the boundary layer over TIO is increased, and the positive rainfall anomaly over TIO is weakened. As a result, the warm Kelvin wave emanating from TIO is weakened because of a weaker latent heating anomaly over TIO, which is responsible for the weakened WNPAC anomaly. Numerical experiments support the weakened sensitivity of precipitation anomaly over TIO to local SSTA under an increase of mean-state SST and its essential role in the weakened anomalous WNPAC, independent of any change in the SSTA.

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Yuhao Wang, Chao He, and Tim Li

Abstract

El Niño stimulates an anomalous cyclone over the North Pacific during its developing phase. Using 30 CGCMs and 11 AGCMs from CMIP5, we find a weakly strengthened anomalous North Pacific cyclone (NPC) in a warmer climate in CGCMs, and intermodel uncertainty exists. A similar change of the anomalous NPC is found in AGCMs with increased mean state SST but with a stronger amplitude of enhancement. Based on a simple Gill model, the diabatic heating anomaly, mean state static stability, and meridional gradient of relative vorticity are identified to be responsible for the change of the anomalous NPC. Analyses of the CMIP5 models suggest that the change of the anomalous NPC is largely determined by the competition between the enhanced diabatic heating anomaly and the enhanced mean state static stability. The amplitude of enhancement of the anomalous NPC is strongly modulated by the change of precipitation anomaly over the equatorial central-eastern Pacific, which depends on the changes of mean state SST and the El Niño–related SST anomaly. Compared with a uniform warming, an El Niño–like mean state SST warming favors a much stronger enhancement of the anomalous NPC, by enhancing the mean state precipitation and latent heating anomaly associated with the precipitation anomaly over the equatorial Pacific. However, the air–sea coupling acts to weaken the SST anomaly associated with El Niño in the CGCMs, which further reduces the enhancement of the anomalous NPC.

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Chao He, Yuhao Wang, and Tim Li

Abstract

El Niño induces an anomalous easterly wind along the equator and a pair of anomalous anticyclones straddling the equator over the tropical Indian Ocean (TIO) during the autumn of its developing phase. Based on 30 coupled models participating in CMIP5, these atmospheric circulation anomalies over TIO are substantially weakened by about 12%–13% K−1 under global warming scenarios, associated with a weakened zonal gradient of the sea surface temperature (SST) anomaly. The mechanism for the response is investigated based on a hierarchy of model experiments. Based on stand-alone atmospheric model experiments under uniform and patterned mean-state SST warming, the atmospheric circulation anomaly over TIO during the autumn of the developing El Niño is also substantially weakened by about 8% K−1 even if the interannual variability of SST remains exactly unchanged, suggesting that the primary cause resides in the atmosphere rather than the SST anomaly. The tropospheric static stability is robustly enhanced under global warming, and experiments performed by a linear baroclinic model show that a much weaker atmospheric circulation anomaly over TIO is stimulated by an unchanged diabatic heating anomaly under a more stable atmosphere. The weakened atmospheric circulation anomaly due to enhanced static stability weakens the zonal gradient of the SST anomaly within TIO through local air–sea interaction, and it acts to further weaken the atmospheric circulation anomaly. The enhanced static stability of the troposphere is probably the primary cause and the air–sea interaction within TIO is a secondary cause for the weakened impact of the developing El Niño on atmospheric circulation variability over TIO.

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Siyan Dong, Ying Sun, and Chao Li

Abstract

This paper examines the possible influence of external forcings on observed changes in precipitation extremes in the mid-to-high latitudes of Asia during 1958–2012 and attempts to identify particular extreme precipitation indices on which there are better chances to detect the influence of external forcings. We compare a recently compiled dataset of observed extreme indices with those from phase 5 of the Coupled Model Intercomparison Project (CMIP5) simulations using an optimal fingerprinting method. We consider six indices that characterize different aspects of extreme precipitation, including annual maximum amount of precipitation falling in 1 day (Rx1day) or 5 days (Rx5day), the total amount of precipitation from the top 5% or top 1% daily amount on wet days, and the fraction of the annual total precipitation from these events. For single-signal analysis, the fingerprints of external forcings including anthropogenic agents are robustly detected in most studied extreme indices over all Asia and for midlatitude Asia but not for high-latitude Asia. For two-signal analysis, anthropogenic influence is detectable in these indices over Asia at 5% or slightly less than 5% significance level, whereas natural influence is not detectable. In high-latitude Asia, anthropogenic influence is detected only in a fractional index, representing a stark contrast to the midlatitude and full Asia results. We find relatively smaller internal variability and thus higher signal-to-noise ratio in the fractional indices when compared with the other ones. Our results point to the need for studying precipitation extreme indices that are less affected by internal variability while still representing the relevant nature of precipitation extremes to improve the possibility of detecting a forced signal if one is present in the data.

Open access
Chao He, Tim Li, and Wen Zhou

Abstract

Summer monsoon rainfall supplies over 55% of annual precipitation to global monsoon regions. As shown by more than 70% of models, including 30 models from CMIP5 and 30 models from CMIP6 under high-emission scenarios, North American (NAM) monsoon rainfall decreases in a warmer climate, in sharp contrast to the robust increase in Asian–African monsoon rainfall. A hierarchy of model experiments is analyzed to understand the mechanism for the reduced NAM monsoon rainfall in this study. Modeling evidence shows that the reduction of NAM monsoon rainfall is related to both direct radiative forcing of increased CO2 concentration and SST warming, manifested as fast and slow responses to abrupt CO2 quadrupling in coupled GCMs. A cyclone anomaly forms over the Eurasian–African continental area due to enhanced land–sea thermal contrast under increased CO2 concentration, and this leads to a subsidence anomaly on its western flank, suppressing the NAM monsoon rainfall. The SST warming acts to further reduce the rainfall over the NAM monsoon region, and the El Niño–like SST warming pattern with enhanced SST warming over the equatorial Pacific plays a key role in suppressing NAM rainfall, whereas relative cooling over the subtropical North Atlantic has no contribution. A positive feedback between monsoon precipitation and atmospheric circulation helps to amplify the responses of monsoon rainfall.

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Yaheng Tan, Francis Zwiers, Song Yang, Chao Li, and Kaiqiang Deng

Abstract

Performance in simulating atmospheric rivers (ARs) over western North America based on AR frequency and landfall latitude is evaluated for 10 models from phase 5 of the Coupled Model Intercomparison Project among which the CanESM2 model performs well. ARs are classified into southern, northern, and middle types using self-organizing maps in the ERA-Interim reanalysis and CanESM2. The southern type is associated with the development and eastward movement of anomalous lower pressure over the subtropical eastern Pacific, while the northern type is linked with the eastward movement of anomalous cyclonic circulation stimulated by warm sea surface temperatures over the subtropical western Pacific. The middle type is connected with the negative phase of North Pacific Oscillation–west Pacific teleconnection pattern. CanESM2 is further used to investigate projected AR changes at the end of the twenty-first century under the representative concentration pathway 8.5 scenario. AR definitions usually reference fixed integrated water vapor or integrated water vapor transport thresholds. AR changes under such definitions reflect both thermodynamic and dynamic influences. We therefore also use a modified AR definition that isolates change from dynamic influences only. The total AR frequency doubles compared to the historical period, with the middle AR type contributing the largest increases along the coasts of Vancouver Island and California. Atmospheric circulation (dynamic) changes decrease northern AR type frequency while increasing middle AR type frequency, indicating that future changes of circulation patterns modify the direct effect of warming on AR frequency, which would increase ARs (relative to fixed thresholds) almost everywhere along the North American coastline.

Open access
Xianjin Li, Yi Chao, James C. McWilliams, and Lee-Lueng Fu

Abstract

The upper Pacific Ocean Current and temperature have been simulated by a three-dimensional ocean general circulation model (OGCM) with two different vertical-mixing schemes. One corresponds to the modified Richardson number–dependent scheme of Pacanowski and Philander (PP); the other is adapted from the newly developed K-Profile Parameterization (KPP) scheme. The performance of both schemes in a Pacific OGCM is evaluated under the same model configuration and boundary conditions. Model and data comparisons are made for the mean state, annual cycle, and interannual-to-interdecadal variability. In the Tropics, both the PP and KPP schemes produce reasonably realistic tropical thermal and current structures; however, KPP is better than PP in several important aspects. For example, the KPP scheme simulates a more realistic thermocline and significantly reduces the cold surface temperature bias in the eastern equatorial Pacific. The depth of the maximum Equatorial Undercurrent simulated by the KPP scheme is much closer to the observation. In the extratropics the KPP scheme is significantly better than the PP scheme in simulating the thermal and current structures, including the annual mean, annual cycle, and interannual-to-interdecadal variability.

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Chong Wu, Liping Liu, Xi Liu, Guocui Li, and Chao Chen

Abstract

In the summer of 2016, one phased-array radar and two polarimetric weather radars, representative of advancing radar technology in use in China, jointly collected data in the Foshan area to study severe convective storms in southern China. After an introduction to the technical characteristics and a verification of the radar calibration, the advantages of the abovementioned dual-polarization and phased-array radars are discussed in terms of an observational analysis of a supercell that occurred on 9 May 2016. The polarimetric signatures within the supercell are associated with specific microphysical processes that can reveal different stages of storm evolution. The hydrometeor classification algorithm is a more straightforward and useful method for nowcasting than conventional algorithms, which makes it favorable for further recommendation in China. During the mature and dissipating stages of this supercell, observations of the phased-array radar show detailed changes on short time scales that cannot be observed by parabolic-antenna radars. The initiation and mergers of new convective cells are found in the peak inflow region, and the formation and dissipation of the hook echo are associated with the relative intensities of inflow and outflow. The abovementioned results demonstrate that the phased-array radar and dual-polarization radars recently developed in China are powerful tools to better understand storm evolution for nowcasting and scientific studies.

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