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Chi Zhang, Qiuhong Tang, and Deliang Chen

Abstract

Evidence has suggested a wetting trend over part of the Tibetan Plateau (TP) in recent decades, although there are large uncertainties in this trend due to sparse observations. Examining the change in the moisture source for precipitation over a region in the TP with the most obvious increasing precipitation trend may help understand the precipitation change. This study applied the modified Water Accounting Model with two atmospheric reanalyses, ground-observed precipitation, and evaporation from a land surface model to investigate the change in moisture source of the precipitation over the targeted region. The study estimated that on average more than 69% and more than 21% of the moisture supply to precipitation over the targeted region came from land and ocean, respectively. The moisture transports from the west of the TP by the westerlies and from the southwest by the Indian summer monsoon likely contributed the most to precipitation over the targeted region. The moisture from inside the region may have contributed about 18% of the total precipitation. Most of the increased moisture supply to the precipitation during 1979–2013 was attributed to the enhanced influx from the southwest and the local moisture supply. The precipitation recycling ratio over the targeted region increased significantly, suggesting an intensified hydrological cycle. Further analysis at monthly scale and with wet–dry-year composites indicates that the increased moisture contribution was mainly from the southwest and the targeted region during May and September. The enhanced water vapor transport from the Indian Ocean during July and September and the intensified local hydrological recycling seem to be the primary reasons behind the recent precipitation increase over the targeted region.

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Björn A. Malmgren, Amos Winter, and Deliang Chen

Abstract

Many studies have shown that the El Niño–Southern Oscillation (ENSO) has a significant influence on climate in many parts of the globe, mostly in the Pacific Basin. The objective of this study is to examine the possible impact of ENSO on climatic patterns on the island of Puerto Rico in the Caribbean. The authors find that annual mean air temperatures are controlled by ENSO since 1914. El Niño years are associated with warm air temperatures, whereas El Viejo (La Niña) years, which are the opposite of El Niño, are cooler. On the other hand, since 1911 fluctuations in annual rainfall amounts are synchronous with variations in the North Atlantic Oscillation (NAO) during the winter and are not controlled by ENSO. During years of a high winter NAO index, when the axis of moisture transport in the North Atlantic changes to a more southwesterly–northeasterly orientation, annual precipitation in Puerto Rico is lower than average.

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Weiwen Wang, Wen Zhou, and Deliang Chen

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This study investigates summer high temperature extremes (HTEs) in southeast China and their linkage with the El Niño–Southern Oscillation (ENSO) and atmospheric circulations in the East Asian summer monsoon (EASM). An interdecadal change in HTEs associated with the abrupt shift of the ENSO–monsoon climate in the late 1980s is demonstrated. Before this interdecadal shift, the interannual variability of HTEs was linked mainly to temperature adjustments associated with the meridional displacement of the East Asian jet stream (EAJS), whereas after the shift HTEs were found to follow an ENSO cycle, which may be due to intensified and persistent ENSO activities, tropical Indian Ocean (TIO) warming, and changes in atmospheric teleconnections. Impacts of the EAJS, the South Asian high (SAH), and the western North Pacific subtropical high (WNPSH) on HTEs are further investigated based on empirical orthogonal function (EOF) analysis. It is found that mainly the first leading EOF mode with a homogeneous spatial pattern shows dominance before the interdecadal shift, whereas both of the first two leading EOF modes show dominance after the interdecadal shift. A possible mechanism of how HTEs in southeast China are linked to the EAJS, the SAH, and the WNPSH in the ENSO–monsoon coupled system is proposed.

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Lorenzo Minola, Cesar Azorin-Molina, and Deliang Chen

Abstract

Multidecadal variability of observed near-surface wind speed from 24 stations across Sweden has been analyzed for 1956–2013, with a focus on 1979–2008 (incorporating an additional 9 stations) for comparison with previous studies. Wind speed data have been subjected to a robust data processing protocol, consisting of quality control, reconstruction, and homogenization, by using geostrophic wind speed series as reference. The homogenized dataset displays a significant (at p < 0.05) downward trend for 1956–2013 (−0.06 m s−1 decade−1) and an even larger decreasing trend for 1979–2008 (−0.14 m s−1 decade−1). However, differences have been observed seasonally, with significant decreasing values in spring, summer, and autumn and a small downward trend in winter for 1956–2013. Most interestingly, a nonsignificant wind speed increase has been detected in winter for 1979–2008, which contrasts with the marked “stilling” reported for this season in much of midlatitude regions. The decreasing rate in wind speed is larger for coastal stations and in the southern part of Sweden. Decreasing trends were found at 91.7% of the stations during summer, whereas 58.3% of the stations displayed decreasing trends in winter. On the contrary, increasing trends occurred in 41.7% of the stations for winter and in only 8.3% for summer. The possible impact of the North Atlantic Oscillation (NAO) index has also been investigated, showing evidence that the small increasing trend in winter for 1979–2008 is hypothetically associated with the positive tendency of the NAO index during the last decades. These results reveal the influence of large-scale atmospheric circulation on wind speed variability across Sweden.

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Yanhong Gao, Jianwei Xu, and Deliang Chen

Abstract

To develop a finescale dataset for the purpose of analyzing historical climatic change over the Tibet Plateau (TP), a high-resolution regional climate simulation for 1979–2011 was conducted using the Weather Research and Forecasting (WRF) Model driven by the ERA-Interim (ERA-Int). This work evaluates the high-resolution (30 km) WRF simulation in terms of annual variation, spatial structure, and 33-yr temporal trends of surface air temperature (Tair) and precipitation (Prec) over the TP, with reference to station observations. Another focus is on the examination of the height–temperature relationship. Inheriting from its forcing, the WRF simulation presents an apparent cold bias in the TP. The cold bias is largely reduced by a lapse rate correction of the simulated surface air temperature with help of the station and model elevations. ERA-Int presents the same sign of Tair and Prec trends as the observations, but with smaller magnitude, especially in the dry season. Compared to its forcing, the WRF simulation improves the simulation of the annual cycles and temporal trends of Tair and Prec in the wet season. In the dry season, however, there is hardly any improvement. The observed Tair presents a downward linear trend in the lapse rate. This feature is examined in the WRF simulation in comparison to ERA-Int. The WRF simulation captures the observed lapse rate and its temporal trend better than ERA-Int. The decreasing lapse rate over time confirms that Tair change in the TP is elevation dependent.

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Xiuzhen Li, Zhiping Wen, Deliang Chen, and Zesheng Chen

Abstract

The El Niño–Southern Oscillation (ENSO) cycle has a great impact on the summer moisture circulation over East Asia (EA) and the western North Pacific [WNP (EA-WNP)] on an interannual time scale, and its modulation is mainly embedded in the leading mode. In contrast to the stable influence of the mature phase of ENSO, the impact of synchronous eastern Pacific sea surface temperature anomalies (SSTAs) on summer moisture circulation is negligible during the 1970s–80s, while it intensifies after 1991. In response, the interannual variation of moisture circulation exhibits a much more widespread anticyclonic/cyclonic pattern over the subtropical WNP and a weaker counterpart to the north after 1991. Abnormal moisture moves farther northward with the enhanced moisture convergence, and thus precipitation shifts from the Yangtze River to the Huai River valley. The decadal shift in the modulation of ENSO on moisture circulation arises from a more rapid evolution of the bonding ENSO cycle and its stronger coupling with circulation over the Indian Ocean after 1991. The rapid development of cooling SSTAs over the central-eastern Pacific, and warming SSTAs to the west over the eastern Indian Ocean–Maritime Continent (EIO-MC) in summer, stimulates abnormal descending motion over the western-central Pacific and ascending motion over the EIO-MC. The former excites an anticyclone over the WNP as a Rossby wave response, sustaining and intensifying the WNP anticyclone; the latter helps anchor the anticyclone over the tropical–subtropical WNP via an abnormal southwest–northeast vertical circulation between EIO-MC and WNP.

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Fengge Su, Xiaolan Duan, Deliang Chen, Zhenchun Hao, and Lan Cuo

Abstract

The performance of 24 GCMs available in the fifth phase of the Coupled Model Intercomparison Project (CMIP5) is evaluated over the eastern Tibetan Plateau (TP) by comparing the model outputs with ground observations for the period 1961–2005. The twenty-first century trends of precipitation and temperature based on the GCMs’ projections over the TP are also analyzed. The results suggest that for temperature most GCMs reasonably capture the climatological patterns and spatial variations of the observed climate. However, the majority of the models have cold biases, with a mean underestimation of 1.1°–2.5°C for the months December–May, and less than 1°C for June–October. For precipitation, the simulations of all models overestimate the observations in climatological annual means by 62.0%–183.0%, and only half of the 24 GCMs are able to reproduce the observed seasonal pattern, which demonstrates a critical need to improve precipitation-related processes in these models. All models produce a warming trend in the twenty-first century under the Representative Concentration Pathway 8.5 (rcp8.5) scenario; in contrast, the rcp2.6 scenario predicts a lower average warming rate for the near term, and a small cooling trend in the long-term period with the decreasing radiative forcing. In the near term, the projected precipitation change is about 3.2% higher than the 1961–2005 annual mean, whereas in the long term the precipitation is projected to increase 6.0% under rcp2.6 and 12.0% under the rcp8.5 scenario. Relative to the 1961–2005 mean, the annual temperature is projected to increase by 1.2°–1.3°C in the short term; the warmings under the rcp2.6 and rcp8.5 scenarios are 1.8° and 4.1°C, respectively, for the long term.

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Chunlüe Zhou, Deliang Chen, Kaicun Wang, Aiguo Dai, and Dan Qi
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Xiuzhen Li, Wen Zhou, Deliang Chen, Chongyin Li, and Jie Song

Abstract

The water vapor transport and moisture budget over eastern China remotely forced by the cold-tongue (CT) and warm-pool (WP) El Niño show striking differences throughout their lifetime. The water vapor transport response is weak in the developing summer but strong in the remaining phases of CT El Niño, whereas the opposite occurs during WP El Niño. WP El Niño causes a moisture deficit over the Yangtze River valley (YZ) in the developing summer and over southeastern China (SE) in the developing fall, whereas CT El Niño induces a moisture surplus first over SE during the developing fall with the influential area expanding in the decaying spring and shifting northward in the decaying summer. It is the divergence of meridional water vapor transport that dominates the total water vapor divergence anomaly, with the divergence of zonal transport showing an opposite pattern with smaller magnitude.

Investigation of the vertical profile of moisture budget shows a great baroclinicity, with the strongest abnormal moisture budget occurring in different levels. The moisture transport via the southern boundary plays a crucial role in the regional moisture budget anomalies and is located near the surface over SE, in the lower troposphere over the YZ, and at the lower-middle troposphere over the eastern part of northern China. The enhanced moisture surplus near the surface forced by WP El Niño over SE in the mature winter and decaying spring is offset by a moisture deficit within the lower-middle troposphere due to a diverse response circulation at different vertical levels.

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Zhengtai Zhang, Kaicun Wang, Deliang Chen, Jianping Li, and Robert Dickinson

Abstract

During 1973–2014, a reduction trend in the observed surface wind speed (10 m) in the Northern Hemisphere lands has been widely reported; this reduction is referred to as “global stilling.” The primary determining factors of global stilling include atmospheric circulation, turbulent friction, and surface friction when ignoring the vertical influencing factors. Most of the existing studies on the attribution of global stilling do not take changing surface friction into account. In addition, there are other changes in the climate system, such as aerosol loading, which could have an impact on atmospheric circulation, but are not included in the majority of current models either. Here, we developed a novel approach based on modeled winds calculated from sea level pressure observations and applied the method to approximately 4000 weather stations in the Northern Hemisphere lands from 1973 to 2014 to attribute the stilling in the three factors. In our methods, we neglected the vertical influencing factors on surface wind speed but took the aerosols’ changes on atmospheric circulation and gradual urbanization effect on surface wind speed into account. We found that atmospheric circulation has dictated the monthly variation in surface wind speed during the past four decades. However, the increased surface friction dominates the long-term declining trend of wind stilling. Our studies had uncertainties while neglecting the influence of vertical factors on surface wind stilling, despite most of the existing studies showing their effect was minor compared to the three factors explored in our study.

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