Search Results

You are looking at 1 - 10 of 26 items for

  • Author or Editor: Fei Wu x
  • Refine by Access: All Content x
Clear All Modify Search
William J. Randel and Fei Wu

Abstract

Temperature profiles in polar latitudes during summer reveal a strong and persistent inversion layer associated with the polar summer tropopause. This inversion layer is characterized by a temperature increase of ∼8 K in the first 2–3 km above the tropopause and is observed throughout summer polar latitudes in both hemispheres. Radiosonde and GPS radio occultation temperature observations are used to document characteristics of the inversion layer, including its seasonal variability and modulation by synoptic meteorological systems (cyclones and anticyclones). Previous analyses have suggested a radiative mechanism for formation and maintenance of tropopause inversions, related to water vapor and ozone near the tropopause. Fixed dynamical heating (FDH) calculations are used herein to investigate this behavior in polar regions, based on observed seasonally varying profiles of water vapor (from satellite measurements) and ozone (from ozonesondes). Water vapor exhibits a strong seasonal cycle throughout the troposphere and lowest stratosphere, with a pronounced summer maximum, which is primarily a result of the seasonally varying tropospheric temperatures. The FDH calculations suggest that enhanced summer water vapor leads to strong radiative cooling in a narrow layer near the tropopause, so that the radiative influence of water vapor provides a primary mechanism for the summer inversion layer.

Full access
William J. Randel and Fei Wu

Abstract

Detailed structure of the global quasi-biennial oscillation (QBO) in ozone is analyzed using Stratospheric Aerosol and Gas Experiment II ozone and nitrogen dioxide data. Emphasis is placed on the midlatitude QBO, in particular its vertical structure and seasonal synchronization. The global QBO signal is isolated using a combination of singular-value decomposition and regression analyses, which combine to act as an accurate QBO digital filter. Results show that the midlatitude ozone QBO has a two-cell structure in the vertical (similar to that at the equator), with in-phase maxima in the lower and middle stratosphere. Both upper- and lower-level anomalies contribute important fractions to the midlatitude column amounts. The lower-level maxima have a broad latitudinal structure (˜15°–60°), and collocation with the strongest background gradients suggests that these anomalies result from mean vertical transport. The, middle stratosphere signal maximizes in the subtropics (10°–40°) and is likely due to nitrogen-related chemical effects (which are in turn due to transport variations). The vertically in-phase seasonal synchronization in midlatitudes is evidence of QBO modulation of the winter hemisphere circulation.

Full access
William J. Randel and Fei Wu
Full access
William J. Randel and Fei Wu

Abstract

Long time records of stratospheric temperatures indicate that substantial cooling has occurred during spring over polar regions of both hemispheres. These cooling patterns are coincident with observed recent ozone depletions. Time series of temperature from radiosonde, satellite, and National Centers for Environmental Prediction reanalysis data are analyzed in order to isolate the space–time structure of the observed temperature changes. The Antarctic data show strong cooling (of order 6–10 K) in the lower stratosphere (∼12–21 km) since approximately 1985. The cooling maximizes in spring (October–December), with small but significant changes extending throughout Southern Hemisphere summer. No Antarctic temperature changes are observed during midwinter. Significant warming is found during spring at the uppermost radiosonde data level (30 mb, ∼24 km). These observed temperature changes are all consistent with model predictions of the radiative response to Antarctic polar ozone depletion. Winter and spring temperatures in Northern Hemisphere polar regions also indicate a strong cooling in the 1990s, and the temperature changes are coherent with observed ozone losses. The overall space–time patterns are similar between both hemispheres, suggesting that the radiative response to ozone depletion is an important component of the Arctic cooling as well.

Full access
William J. Randel and Fei Wu

Abstract

Variability in tropical zonal mean temperatures over 10–30 km is analyzed based on high-quality, high-vertical-resolution GPS temperature measurements covering 2001–13. The observations are used to quantify variability spanning time scales of weeks to over a decade, with focus on behavior of the tropopause region and coupling with the upper troposphere and stratosphere. Large variations associated with the seasonal cycle, quasi-biennial oscillation (QBO), and El Niño–Southern Oscillation (ENSO) are isolated and removed, and residual time series are analyzed using principal components and spectrum analysis. The residual temperature exhibits maximum variance in the lower stratosphere, with a vertical structure similar to the seasonal cycle. Residual temperatures exhibit two dominant modes of variability: a “deep stratosphere mode” tied to high-latitude planetary wave forcing and a shallow “near-tropopause mode” linked to dynamically forced upwelling near the tropopause. Variations in the cold point tropopause (and by inference in global stratospheric water vapor) are closely tied to the near-tropopause mode. These coherent temperature patterns provide further evidence of distinct upper and lower branches of the tropical Brewer–Dobson circulation. Zonal mean temperatures in the lower stratosphere and near the cold point are most strongly coupled to the upper troposphere on time scales of ~(30–60) days, probably linked to the Madden–Julian oscillation (MJO). Enhanced temperature variance near the tropopause is consistent with the long radiative relaxation time scales in the lower stratosphere, which makes this region especially sensitive to low-frequency dynamical forcing.

Full access
William J. Randel and Fei Wu

Abstract

Temperature trends derived from historical radiosonde data often show substantial differences compared to satellite measurements. These differences are especially large for stratospheric levels, and for data in the Tropics, where results are based on relatively few stations. Detailed comparisons of one radiosonde dataset with collocated satellite measurements from the Microwave Sounding Unit reveal time series differences that occur as step functions or jumps at many stations. These jumps occur at different times for different stations, suggesting that the differences are primarily related to problems in the radiosonde data, rather than in the satellite record. As a result of these jumps, the radiosondes exhibit systematic cooling biases relative to the satellites. A large number of the radiosonde stations in the Tropics are influenced by these biases, suggesting that cooling in the tropical lower stratosphere is substantially overestimated in these radiosonde data. Comparison of trends from stations with larger and smaller biases suggests the cooling bias extends into the tropical upper troposphere. Significant biases are observed in both daytime and nighttime radiosonde measurements.

Full access
William J. Randel, Rolando Garcia, and Fei Wu

Abstract

The dynamical balances associated with upwelling in the tropical lower stratosphere are investigated based on climatological 40-yr ECMWF Re-Analysis (ERA-40) and NCEP–NCAR reanalysis data. Zonal mean upwelling is calculated from momentum balance and continuity (“downward control”), and these estimates in the deep tropics are found to be in reasonable agreement with stratospheric upwelling calculated from thermodynamic balance (and also with vertical velocity obtained from ERA-40). The detailed momentum balances associated with the dynamical upwelling are investigated, particularly the contributions to climatological Eliassen–Palm (EP) flux divergence in the subtropics. Results show that the equatorward extension of extratropical waves (baroclinic eddies and, in the NH, quasi-stationary planetary waves) contribute a large component of the subtropical wave driving at 100 hPa. Additionally, there is a significant contribution to subtropical forcing from equatorial planetary waves, which exhibit a strong seasonal cycle (a reversal in phase) in response to latitudinal migration of tropical convection. The observed balances suggest that the strong annual cycle in upwelling across the tropical tropopause is forced by subtropical horizontal eddy momentum flux convergence associated with waves originating in both the tropics and extratropics.

Full access
William J. Randel, Fei Wu, and Piers Forster

Abstract

Global characteristics of the extratropical tropopause inversion layer identified in radiosonde observations by Birner are studied using high vertical resolution temperature profiles from GPS radio occultation measurements. The GPS data are organized according to the height of the thermal tropopause in each profile, and a temperature inversion layer above the tropopause (with an average magnitude of 3–5 K) is found to be a ubiquitous, climatological feature. The GPS data show that the inversion layer is present for all seasons in both hemispheres, spanning the subtropics to the pole, and there is not strong longitudinal structure. Dependence of the inversion layer on upper-troposphere vorticity is studied; while anticyclones exhibit a substantially stronger inversion than cyclones (as expected from balanced dynamics), the inversion is evident for all circulation types. Radiative transfer calculations indicate that strong gradients in both ozone and water vapor near the tropopause contribute to the inversion. Significant absorption of both longwave and shortwave radiation by ozone occurs, warming the region above the tropopause. Water vapor near and immediately above the tropopause contributes to cooling, effectively enhancing the inversion.

Full access
William J. Randel, Rolando R. Garcia, and Fei Wu

Abstract

Dynamical variability in the extratropical stratosphere occurs on a broad range of timescales, from daily to seasonal. Extratropical wave transience is correlated with variations in the mean meridional (Brewer–Dobson) circulation that links the Tropics and the extratropics. In this study, the variability of observed temperature and calculated vertical velocity in the tropical lower stratosphere is examined to isolate the imprint of forcing by extratropical waves. The influence of the waves is quantified by estimating zonal-mean tropical upwelling from the zonal-mean momentum balance on a daily basis; a large fraction of the variance of tropical upwelling occurs at periods of 10–40 days, forced by transient waves. In addition, significant coherence is found between calculated upwelling and observed temperatures in the tropical lower stratosphere on weekly to seasonal timescales. This relationship is quantitatively consistent with simple thermodynamic balance, and suggests that the large annual cycle of temperature near the tropical tropopause is mainly a result of the relatively long radiative timescales in that region. The results indicate that EP flux divergence due to extratropical waves is a major determinant of zonal-mean temperatures in the tropical lower stratosphere.

Full access
I-I. Lin, Iam-Fei Pun, and Chun-Chieh Wu

Abstract

Using new in situ ocean subsurface observations from the Argo floats, best-track typhoon data from the U.S. Joint Typhoon Warning Center, an ocean mixed layer model, and other supporting datasets, this work systematically explores the interrelationships between translation speed, the ocean’s subsurface condition [characterized by the depth of the 26°C isotherm (D26) and upper-ocean heat content (UOHC)], a cyclone’s self-induced ocean cooling negative feedback, and air–sea enthalpy fluxes for the intensification of the western North Pacific category 5 typhoons. Based on a 10-yr analysis, it is found that for intensification to category 5, in addition to the warm sea surface temperature generally around 29°C, the required subsurface D26 and UOHC depend greatly on a cyclone’s translation speed. It is observed that even over a relatively shallow subsurface warm layer of D26 ∼ 60–70 m and UOHC ∼ 65–70 kJ cm−2, it is still possible to have a sufficient enthalpy flux to intensify the storm to category 5, provided that the storm can be fast moving (typically Uh ∼ 7–8 m s−1). On the contrary, a much deeper subsurface layer is needed for slow-moving typhoons. For example at Uh ∼ 2–3 m s−1, D26 and UOHC are typically ∼115–140 m and ∼115–125 kJ cm−2, respectively. A new concept named the affordable minimum translation speed U h_min is proposed. This is the minimum required speed a storm needs to travel for its intensification to category 5, given the observed D26 and UOHC. Using more than 3000 Argo in situ profiles, a series of mixed layer numerical experiments are conducted to quantify the relationship between D26, UOHC, and U h_min. Clear negative linear relationships with correlation coefficients R = −0.87 (−0.71) are obtained as U h_min = −0.065 × D26 + 11.1, and U h_min = −0.05 × UOHC + 9.4, respectively. These relationships can thus be used as a guide to predict the minimum speed a storm has to travel at for intensification to category 5, given the observed D26 and UOHC.

Full access