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H. Zhang and T. Casey

Abstract

This paper compares a number of probabilistic weather forecasting verification approaches. Forecasting skill scores from linear error in probability space and relative operating characteristics are compared with results from an alternative approach that first transforms probabilistic forecasts to yes/no form and then assesses the model forecasting skill. This approach requires a certain departure between the categorical probability from forecast models and its random expectation. The classical contingency table is revised to reflect the “nonapplicable” forecasts in the skill assessment.

The authors present a verification of an Australian seasonal rainfall forecast model hindcasts for the winter and summer seasons over the period from 1900 to 1995. Overall skill scores from different approaches demonstrate similar features. However there are advantages and disadvantages in each of those approaches. Using more than one skill assessment scheme is necessary and is also of practical value in the evaluation of the model forecasts and their applications.

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Yang Zhang and Peter H. Stone

Abstract

Baroclinic eddy equilibration and the roles of different boundary layer processes in limiting the baroclinic adjustment are studied using an atmosphere–ocean thermally coupled model. Boundary layer processes not only affect the dynamical constraint of the midlatitude baroclinic eddy equilibration but also are important components in the underlying surface energy budget. The authors' study shows that baroclinic eddies, with the strong mixing of the surface air temperature, compete against the fast boundary layer thermal damping and enhance the meridional variation of surface sensible heat flux, acting to reduce the meridional gradient of the surface temperature. Nevertheless, the requirement of the surface energy balance indicates that strong surface baroclinicity is always maintained in response to the meridionally varying solar radiation. With the strong surface baroclinicity and the boundary layer processes, the homogenized potential vorticity (PV) suggested in the baroclinic adjustment are never observed near the surface or in the boundary layer.

Although different boundary layer processes affect baroclinic eddy equilibration differently with more dynamical feedbacks and time scales included in the coupled system, their influence in limiting the PV homogenization is more uniform compared with the previous uncoupled runs. The boundary layer PV structure is more determined by the strength of the boundary layer damping than the surface baroclinicity. Stronger boundary layer processes always prevent the lower-level PV homogenization more efficiently. Above the boundary layer, a relatively robust PV structure with homogenized PV around 600–800 hPa is obtained in all of the simulations. The detailed mechanisms through which different boundary layer processes affect the equilibration of the coupled system are discussed in this study.

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Yang Zhang and Peter H. Stone

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Baroclinic eddy equilibration under a Northern Hemisphere–like seasonal forcing is studied using a modified multilayer quasigeostrophic channel model to investigate the widely used “quick baroclinic eddy equilibration” assumption and to understand to what extent baroclinic adjustment can be applied to interpret the midlatitude climate. Under a slowly varying seasonal forcing, the eddy and mean flow seasonal behavior is characterized by four clearly divided time intervals: an eddy inactive time interval in summer, a mainly dynamically determined eddy spinup time interval starting in midfall and lasting less than one month, and a quasi-equilibrium time interval for the zonal mean flow available potential energy from late fall to late spring, with a mainly external forcing determined spindown time interval for eddy activity from late winter to late spring. The baroclinic adjustment can be clearly observed from late fall to late spring. The sensitivity study of the eddy equilibration to the time scale of the external forcing indicates that the time scale separation between the baroclinic adjustment and the external forcing in midlatitudes is only visible for external forcing cycles one year and longer.

In spite of the strong seasonality of the eddy activity, similar to the observations, a robust potential vorticity (PV) structure is still observed through all the seasons. However, it is found that baroclinic eddy is not the only candidate mechanism to maintain the robust PV structure. The role of the boundary layer thermal forcing and the moist convection in maintaining the lower-level PV structure is discussed. The adjustment and the vertical variation of the lower-level stratification play an important role in all of these mechanisms.

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H. Zhang and C. S. Frederiksen

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Using a version of the Australian Bureau of Meteorology Research Centre (BMRC) atmospheric general circulation model, this study investigates the model's sensitivity to different soil moisture initial conditions in its dynamically extended seasonal forecasts of June–August 1998 climate anomalies, with focus on the south and northeast China regions where severe floods occurred. The authors' primary aim is to understand the model's responses to different soil moisture initial conditions in terms of the physical and dynamical processes involved. Due to a lack of observed global soil moisture data, the efficacy of using soil moisture anomalies derived from the NCEP–NCAR reanalysis is assessed. Results show that by imposing soil moisture percentile anomalies derived from the reanalysis data into the BMRC model initial condition, the regional features of the model's simulation of seasonal precipitation and temperature anomalies are modulated. Further analyses reveal that the impacts of soil moisture conditions on the model's surface temperature forecasts are mainly from localized interactions between land surface and the overlying atmosphere. In contrast, the model's sensitivity in its forecasts of rainfall anomalies is mainly due to the nonlocal impacts of the soil moisture conditions. Over the monsoon-dominated east Asian region, the contribution from local water recycling, through surface evaporation, to the model simulation of precipitation is limited. Rather, it is the horizontal moisture transport by the regional atmospheric circulation that is the dominant factor in controlling the model rainfall. The influence of different soil moisture conditions on the model forecasts of rainfall anomalies is the result of the response of regional circulation to the anomalous soil moisture condition imposed. Results from the BMRC model sensitivity study support similar findings from other model studies that have appeared in recent years and emphasize the importance of improving the land surface data assimilation and soil hydrological processes in dynamically extended GCM seasonal forecasts.

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Chidong Zhang and Harry H. Hendon

Abstract

Two questions related to the intraseasonal variability of tropical convection and circulation remain controversial. 1) To what degree is the convective component of the Madden–Julian oscillation (MJO) a standing oscillation? 2) Is the eastward propagating circulation anomaly of the MJO coherent with a standing oscillation in convection?

In an attempt to settle these issues, the authors undertake a series of statistical analyses of gridded outgoing longwave radiation and winds to quantify the magnitudes of the propagating and standing components of convection and their coherence with the propagating component of the circulation. They demonstrate that no dominant standing oscillation in convection can be identified. Instead, intraseasonal variability of convection is dominated by an eastward propagating mode, which the authors interpret as the convective signal of the MJO. This propagating component accounts for almost all of the convective variance that is coherent with the eastward propagating disturbance in the zonal wind, which is a traditional measure of the MJO. Analysis of synthetic time series illustrates that an impression of a standing oscillation in convection may come forth because of the modulation of the eastward propagating convective disturbance by an amplitude envelope with maxima in the eastern Indian and western Pacific Oceans and a minimum over the maritime continents.

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Yongqiang Zhang, Francis H. S. Chiew, Lu Zhang, and Hongxia Li

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This paper explores the use of the Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer (MODIS), mounted on the polar-orbiting Terra satellite, to determine leaf area index (LAI), and use actual evapotranspiration estimated using MODIS LAI data combined with the Penman–Monteith equation [remote sensing evapotranspiration (E RS)] in a lumped conceptual daily rainfall–runoff model. The model is a simplified version of the HYDROLOG (SIMHYD) model, which is used to estimate runoff in ungauged catchments. Two applications were explored: (i) the calibration of SIMHYD against both the observed streamflow and E RS, and (ii) the modification of SIMHYD to use MODIS LAI data directly. Data from 2001 to 2005 from 120 catchments in southeast Australia were used for the study. To assess the modeling results for ungauged catchments, optimized parameter values from the geographically nearest gauged catchment were used to model runoff in the ungauged catchment. The results indicate that the SIMHYD calibration against both the observed streamflow and E RS produced better simulations of daily and monthly runoff in ungauged catchments compared to the SIMHYD calibration against only the observed streamflow data, despite the modeling results being assessed solely against the observed streamflow data. The runoff simulations were even better for the modified SIMHYD model that used the MODIS LAI directly. It is likely that the use of other remotely sensed data (such as soil moisture) and smarter modification of rainfall–runoff models to use remotely sensed data directly can further improve the prediction of runoff in ungauged catchments.

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A. Henderson-Sellers, K. McGuffie, and H. Zhang

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This paper examines changes in isotopic abundances for 18O and deuterium in precipitation over the Amazon basin based on data in the Global Network on Isotopes in Precipitation (GNIP) database from the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA)/WMO. The analysis is conducted in the context of recent changes (and anticipated future changes) to the land surface hydrology as a result of tropical deforestation. Statistically significant temporal changes (1965–90) in selected stable isotopic signatures in the Amazon have been compared with global climate model (GCM) predictions revealing notable differences. For example, the wet season deuterium excess differences between Belem and Manaus, Brazil, are consistent with recent GCM simulations only if there has been a relative increase in evaporation from nonfractionating water sources over this period. No significant change in dry season isotopic characteristics is found despite earlier predictions that land-use change signals would be found. Results of GCM simulations of Amazonian deforestation suggest that the recent stable isotope record is more consistent with the predicted effects of greenhouse warming possibly combined with forest removal than with the predicted effects of deforestation alone.

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Yang Zhang, Peter H. Stone, and Amy Solomon

Abstract

A β-plane multilevel quasigeostrophic channel model with interactive static stability and a simplified parameterization of atmospheric boundary layer physics is used to study the role of different boundary layer processes in eddy equilibration and their relative effect in maintaining the strong boundary layer potential vorticity (PV) gradient.

The model results show that vertical thermal diffusion, along with the surface heat exchange, is primarily responsible for limiting PV homogenization by baroclinic eddies in the boundary layer. Under fixed SST boundary conditions, these two processes act as the source of the mean flow baroclinicity in the lower levels and result in stronger eddy heat fluxes.

Reducing surface friction alone does not result in efficient elimination of the boundary layer PV gradient, but the equilibrium state temperature gradient is still largely influenced by surface friction and its response to changes in surface friction is not monotonic. In the regime of strong surface friction, with reduced poleward eddy heat flux, a strong temperature gradient is still retained. When the surface friction is sufficiently weak along with the stronger zonal wind, the critical level at the center of the jet drops below the surface. As a result, in the lower levels, the eddy heat flux forcing on the mean flow moves away from the center of the jet and the equilibrium state varies only slightly with the strength of the vertical momentum diffusion in the boundary layer.

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James H. Ruppert Jr. and Fuqing Zhang

Abstract

An unfiltered zonal Hovmöller depiction of rainfall in the Maritime Continent (MC) reveals remarkable spatiotemporal continuity of zonally propagating disturbances with a diurnal period, which endure over multiple days and propagate faster than the individual convective storms they coupled with. This phenomenon and its sensitivity to the Madden–Julian oscillation (MJO) during the 2011/12 Dynamics of the MJO (DYNAMO) field campaign is examined here through a well-validated, convection-permitting model simulation conducted on a large domain. We find that these disturbances are zonally propagating diurnal gravity waves excited by vigorous nocturnal mesoscale convective systems over Sumatra and Borneo. These gravity waves are diurnally phase locked: their wavelength very closely matches the distance between these two islands (~1500 km), while their particular zonal phase speed (~±17 m s−1) allows them to propagate this distance in one diurnal cycle. We therefore hypothesize that these waves are amplified by resonant interaction due to diurnal phase locking. While these zonal gravity waves decouple from convection once beyond the MC, their divergent flow signature endures well across the Indian Ocean, provoking the notion that they may influence rainfall at far remote locations. The exact controls over this zonal phase speed remain uncertain; we note, however, that it is roughly consistent with diurnal offshore-propagating modes documented previously. Further study is required to tie this down, and more generally, to understand the sensitivity of these modes to background flow strength and the geography of the MC.

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H. Zhang, A. Henderson-Sellers, and K. McGuffie

Abstract

This is the second in a pair of papers in which the possible impacts of tropical deforestation are examined using a version of the NCAR CCM1. The emphasis in this paper is on the influence of tropical deforestation on the large-scale climate system. This influence is explored through the examination of the regional moisture budget and through an analysis of the Hadley and Walker circulations. Modification of the model surface parameters to simulate tropical deforestation produces significant modifications of both Hadley and Walker circulations, which result in changes distant from the, region of deforestation. A mechanism for propagation to middle and high latitudes of disturbances arising from tropical deforestation is proposed based on Rossby wave propagation mechanisms. These mechanisms, which have also been associated with the extratropical influences of ENSO events, provide a pathway for the dispersion of the tropical disturbances to high latitudes.

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