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Chun Zhou, Wei Zhao, Jiwei Tian, Qingxuan Yang, and Tangdong Qu

Abstract

The Luzon Strait, with its deepest sills at the Bashi Channel and Luzon Trough, is the only deep connection between the Pacific Ocean and the South China Sea (SCS). To investigate the deep-water overflow through the Luzon Strait, 3.5 yr of continuous mooring observations have been conducted in the deep Bashi Channel and Luzon Trough. For the first time these observations enable us to assess the detailed variability of the deep-water overflow from the Pacific to the SCS. On average, the along-stream velocity of the overflow is at its maximum at about 120 m above the ocean bottom, reaching 19.9 ± 6.5 and 23.0 ± 11.8 cm s−1 at the central Bashi Channel and Luzon Trough, respectively. The velocity measurements can be translated to a mean volume transport for the deep-water overflow of 0.83 ± 0.46 Sverdrups (Sv; 1 Sv ≡ 106 m3 s−1) at the Bashi Channel and 0.88 ± 0.77 Sv at the Luzon Trough. Significant intraseasonal and seasonal variations are identified, with their dominant time scales ranging between 20 and 60 days and around 100 days. The intraseasonal variation is season dependent, with its maximum strength taking place in March–May. Deep-water eddies are believed to play a role in this intraseasonal variation. On the seasonal time scale, the deep-water overflow intensifies in late fall (October–December) and weakens in spring (March–May), corresponding well with the seasonal variation of the density difference between the Pacific and SCS, for which enhanced mixing in the deep SCS is possibly responsible.

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Ruijie Ye, Chun Zhou, Wei Zhao, Jiwei Tian, Qingxuan Yang, Xiaodong Huang, Zhiwei Zhang, and Xiaolong Zhao

Abstract

The deep water overflow at three gaps in the Heng-Chun Ridge of the Luzon Strait is investigated based on long-term continuous mooring observations. For the first time, these observations enable us to assess the detailed structure and variability in the deep water overflow directly spilling into the South China Sea (SCS). The strong bottom-intensified flows at moorings WG2 and WG3 intrude into the deep SCS with maximum along-stream velocities of 19.2 ± 9.9 and 15.2 ± 6.8 cm s−1, respectively, at approximately 50 m above the bottom. At mooring WG1, the bottom current revealed spillage into the Luzon Trough from the SCS. The volume transport estimates are 0.73 ± 0.08 Sv at WG2 and 0.45 ± 0.02 Sv at WG3, suggesting that WG2 is the main entrance for the deep water overflow crossing the Heng-Chun Ridge into the SCS. By including the long-term observational results from previous studies, the pathway of the deep water overflow through the Luzon Strait is also presented. In addition, significant intraseasonal variations with dominant time scales of approximately 26 days at WG2 and WG3 have been revealed, which tend to be enhanced in spring and may reverse the deep water overflow.

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Xin Huang, Yu Song, Chun Zhao, Xuhui Cai, Hongsheng Zhang, and Tong Zhu

Abstract

The direct radiative effect (DRE) of multiple aerosol species [sulfate, nitrate, ammonium, black carbon (BC), organic carbon (OC), and mineral aerosol] and their spatiotemporal variations over China were investigated using a fully coupled meteorology–chemistry model [Weather Research and Forecasting (WRF) Model coupled with Chemistry (WRF-Chem)] for the entire year of 2006. This study made modifications to improve the model performance, including updating land surface parameters, improving the calculation of transition-metal-catalyzed oxidation of SO2, and adding heterogeneous reactions between mineral dust aerosol and acid gases. The modified model generally reproduced the magnitude, seasonal pattern, and spatial distribution of the measured meteorological conditions, concentrations of PM10 and its components, and aerosol optical depth (AOD), although some low biases existed in modeled aerosol concentrations. A diagnostic iteration method was used to estimate the overall DRE of aerosols and contributions from different components. At the land surface, the incident net radiation flux was reduced by 10.2 W m−2 over China. Aerosols significantly warmed the atmosphere with the national mean DRE of +10.8 W m−2. BC was the leading radiative heating component (+8.7 W m−2), followed by mineral aerosol (+1.1 W m−2). At the top of the atmosphere (TOA), BC introduced the largest radiative perturbation (+4.5 W m−2), followed by sulfate (−1.4 W m−2). The overall perturbation of aerosols on radiation transfer is quite small over China, demonstrating the counterbalancing effect between scattering and adsorbing aerosols. Aerosol DRE at the TOA had distinct seasonality, generally with a summer maximum and winter minimum, mainly determined by mass loadings, hygroscopic growth, and incident radiation flux.

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Zhiwei Zhang, Xincheng Zhang, Bo Qiu, Wei Zhao, Chun Zhou, Xiaodong Huang, and Jiwei Tian

Abstract

Although observational efforts have been made to detect submesoscale currents (submesoscales) in regions with deep mixed layers and/or strong mesoscale kinetic energy (KE), there have been no long-term submesoscale observations in subtropical gyres, which are characterized by moderate values of both mixed layer depths and mesoscale KE. To explore submesoscale dynamics in this oceanic regime, two nested mesoscale- and submesoscale-resolving mooring arrays were deployed in the northwestern Pacific subtropical countercurrent region during 2017–19. Based on the 2 years of data, submesoscales featuring order one Rossby numbers, large vertical velocities (with magnitude of 10–50 m day−1) and vertical heat flux, and strong ageostrophic KE are revealed in the upper 150 m. Although most of the submesoscales are surface intensified, they are found to penetrate far beneath the mixed layer. They are most energetic during strong mesoscale strain periods in the winter–spring season but are generally weak in the summer–autumn season. Energetics analysis suggests that the submesoscales receive KE from potential energy release but lose a portion of it through inverse cascade. Because this KE sink is smaller than the source term, a forward cascade must occur to balance the submesoscale KE budget, for which symmetric instability may be a candidate mechanism. By synthesizing observations and theories, we argue that the submesoscales are generated through a combination of baroclinic instability in the upper mixed and transitional layers and mesoscale strain-induced frontogenesis, among which the former should play a more dominant role in their final generation stage.

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Samson M. Hagos, Zhe Feng, Casey D. Burleyson, Chun Zhao, Matus N. Martini, and Larry K. Berg

Abstract

Two Madden–Julian oscillation (MJO) episodes observed during the 2011 Atmospheric Radiation Measurement Program MJO Investigation Experiment (AMIE)/DYNAMO field campaign are simulated using a regional model with various cumulus parameterizations, a regional cloud-permitting model, and a global variable-resolution model with a high-resolution region centered over the tropical Indian Ocean. Model biases in relationships relevant to existing instability theories of MJO are examined and their relative contributions to the overall model errors are quantified using a linear statistical model. The model simulations capture the observed approximately log-linear relationship between moisture saturation fraction and precipitation, but precipitation associated with the given saturation fraction is overestimated especially at low saturation fraction values. This bias is a major contributor to the excessive precipitation during the suppressed phase of MJO. After accounting for this bias using a linear statistical model, the spatial and temporal structures of the model-simulated MJO episodes are much improved, and what remains of the biases is strongly correlated with biases in saturation fraction. The excess precipitation bias during the suppressed phase of the MJO episodes is accompanied by excessive column-integrated radiative forcing and surface evaporation. A large portion of the bias in evaporation is related to biases in wind speed, which are correlated with those of precipitation. These findings suggest that the precipitation bias sustains itself at least partly by cloud radiative feedbacks and convection–surface wind interactions.

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Xiaodong Huang, Zhaoyun Wang, Zhiwei Zhang, Yunchao Yang, Chun Zhou, Qingxuan Yang, Wei Zhao, and Jiwei Tian

Abstract

The role of mesoscale eddies in modulating the semidiurnal internal tide (SIT) in the northern South China Sea (SCS) is examined using the data from a cross-shaped mooring array. From November 2013 to January 2014, an anticyclonic eddy (AE) and cyclonic eddy (CE) pair crossed the westward SIT beam originating in Luzon Strait. Observations showed that, because of the current and stratification modulations by the eddy pair, the propagation speed of the mode-1 SIT sped up (slowed down) by up to 0.7 m s−1 (0.4 m s−1) within the AE’s (CE’s) southern portion. As a result of the spatially varying phase speed, the mode-1 SIT wave crest was clockwise rotated (counterclockwise rotated) within the AE (CE) core, while it exhibited convex and concave (concave and convex) patterns on the southern and northern peripheries of the AE (CE), respectively. In mid-to-late November, most of the mode-1 SIT energy was refracted by the AE away from Dongsha Island toward the north part of the northern SCS, which resulted in enhanced internal solitary waves (ISWs) there. Corresponding to the energy refraction, responses of the depth-integrated mode-1 SIT energy to the eddies were generally in phase at the along-beam-direction moorings but out of phase in the south and north parts of the northern SCS at the cross-beam-direction moorings. From late December to early January, intensified mode-2 SIT was observed, whose energy was likely transferred from the mode-1 SIT through eddy–wave interactions. The observation results reported here are helpful to improve the capability to predict internal tides and ISWs in the northern SCS.

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Yu-heng Tseng, Ruiqiang Ding, Sen Zhao, Yi-chun Kuo, and Yu-chiao Liang

Abstract

This study investigates the modulation of North Pacific Oscillation (NPO) variability upon initiation of the East Asian winter monsoon (EAWM). The data show that the initiation of EAWM in the Philippine Sea strongly connects to the southern lobe variability of the NPO in January followed by a basin-scale oceanic Victoria mode pattern. No apparent connection was found for the northern lobe of the NPO when the ENSO signals are removed. The strengthening of the EAWM in November interacts with the Kuroshio front and generates a low-level heating source in the Philippine Sea. Significant Rossby wave sources are then formed in the lower to midtroposphere. Wave ray tracing analyses confirm the atmospheric teleconnection established by the Rossby wave propagation in the mid- to upper troposphere. Analyses of the origin of wave trajectories from the Philippine Sea show a clear eastward propagating pathway that affects the southern lobe of the NPO from the southern lobe of the western Pacific pattern at 500 hPa and above on the time scale of 20 days. No ray trajectories from the lower troposphere can propagate eastward to influence the central-eastern subtropical Pacific. The wave propagation process is further supported by the coupled model experiments.

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Samson Hagos, L. Ruby Leung, Qing Yang, Chun Zhao, and Jian Lu

Abstract

This study examines the sensitivity of atmospheric river (AR) frequency simulated by a global model with different grid resolutions and dynamical cores. Analysis is performed on aquaplanet simulations using version 4 of the Community Atmosphere Model (CAM4) at 240-, 120-, 60-, and 30-km model resolutions, each with the Model for Prediction Across Scales (MPAS) and High-Order Methods Modeling Environment (HOMME) dynamical cores. The frequency of AR events decreases with model resolution and the HOMME dynamical core produces more AR events than MPAS. Comparing the frequencies determined using absolute and percentile thresholds of large-scale conditions used to define an AR, model sensitivity is found to be related to the overall sensitivity of subtropical westerlies, atmospheric precipitable water content and profile, and to a lesser extent extratropical Rossby wave activity to model resolution and dynamical core. Real-world simulations using MPAS at 120- and 30-km grid resolutions also exhibit a decrease of AR frequency with increasing resolution over the southern east Pacific, but the difference is smaller over the northern east Pacific. This interhemispheric difference is related to the enhancement of convection in the tropics with increased resolution. This anomalous convection sets off Rossby wave patterns that weaken the subtropical westerlies over the southern east Pacific but has relatively little effect on those over the northern east Pacific. In comparison to the NCEP-2 reanalysis, MPAS real-world simulations are found to underestimate AR frequencies at both resolutions likely because of their climatologically drier subtropics and poleward-shifted jets. This study highlights the important links between model climatology of large-scale conditions and extremes.

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Zhongbin Sun, Zhiwei Zhang, Bo Qiu, Xincheng Zhang, Chun Zhou, Xiaodong Huang, Wei Zhao, and Jiwei Tian

Abstract

Based on long-term mooring-array and satellite observations, three-dimensional structure and interannual variability of the Kuroshio Loop Current (KLC) in the northeastern South China Sea (SCS) were investigated. The 3-yr moored data between 2014 and 2017 revealed that the KLC mainly occurred in winter and it exhibited significant interannual variability with moderate, weak, and strong strengths in the winters of 2014/15, 2015/16, and 2016/17, respectively. Spatially, the KLC structure was initially confined to the upper 500 m near the Luzon Strait, but it became more barotropic, with kinetic energy transferring from the baroclinic mode to the barotropic mode when it extended into the SCS interior. Through analyzing the historical altimeter data between 1993 and 2019, it is found that the KLC event in 2016/17 winter is the strongest one since 1993. Moored-data-based energetics analysis suggested that the growth of this KLC event was primarily fed by the strong wind work associated with the strengthened northeast monsoon in that La Niña–year winter. By examining all of the historical KLC events, it is found that the strength of KLC is significantly modulated by El Niño–Southern Oscillation, being stronger in La Niña and weaker in El Niño years. This interannual modulation could be explained by the strengthened (weakened) northeast monsoon associated with the anomalous atmospheric cyclone (anticyclone) in the western North Pacific during La Niña (El Niño) years, which inputs more (less) energy and negative vorticity southwest of Taiwan that is favorable (unfavorable) for the development of KLC.

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Xiaojiang Zhang, Xiaodong Huang, Zhiwei Zhang, Chun Zhou, Jiwei Tian, and Wei Zhao

Abstract

Spatiotemporal variations in internal solitary wave (ISW) polarity over the continental shelf of the northern South China Sea (SCS) were examined based on mooring-array observations from October 2013 to June 2014. Depression ISWs were observed at the easternmost mooring, where the water depth is 323 m. Then, they evolved into elevation ISWs at the westernmost mooring, with a depth of 149 m. At the central mooring, with a depth of 250 m, the ISWs generally appeared as depression waves in autumn and spring but were elevation waves in winter. Seasonal variations in stratification caused this seasonality in polarity. On the intraseasonal time scales, anticyclonic eddies can modulate ISW polarity at the central mooring by deepening the thermocline depth for periods of approximately 8 days. During some days in autumn and spring, depression ISWs and ISWs in the process of changing polarity from depression to elevation appeared at time intervals of 10–12 h because of the thermocline deepening caused by internal tides. Isotherm anomalies associated with eddies and internal tides have a more significant contribution to determining the polarity of ISWs than do the background currents. The observational results reported here highlight the impact of multiscale processes on the evolution of ISWs.

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