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Hailong Wang and Graham Feingold

Abstract

This is the second of two companion papers on modeling of mesoscale cellular structures and drizzle in marine stratocumulus. In the first, aerosol–cloud–precipitation interactions and dynamical feedbacks were investigated to study the formation and evolution of open and closed cellular structures separately. In this paper, coexisting open and closed cells and how they influence one another are examined in a model domain of 180 × 60 × 1.5 km3. Simulations show that gradients in aerosol at the open–closed-cell boundary cause gradients in precipitation that generate a mesoscale circulation. The circulation promotes precipitation in the polluted closed cells but suppresses it in open cells by transporting water vapor to the closed-cell regime and carrying drier air and aerosol back to the open cells. The strength of this circulation depends on the contrast in precipitation under clean and polluted conditions at the boundary. Ship plumes emitted into clean, precipitating regions, simulated as a special case of a clean–polluted boundary, develop a similar circulation. Drizzle in the ship track is first suppressed by the increase in aerosol particles but later recovers and becomes even stronger because the local circulation enhances liquid water path owing to the convergence of water vapor from the region adjacent to the track. This circulation modifies the transport and mixing of ship plumes and enhances their dispersal. Finally, results show that whereas ship emissions do increase cloud albedo in regions of open cells, even the addition of very large aerosol concentrations cannot transform an open cellular structure to a closed one, for the case considered.

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Hailong Wang and Graham Feingold

Abstract

A new modeling framework is used to investigate aerosol–cloud–precipitation interactions and dynamical feedbacks at the mesoscale. The focus is on simulation of the formation and evolution of cellular structures that are commonly seen in satellite images of marine stratocumulus clouds. Simulations are performed at moderate resolution in a 60 × 60 km2 domain for 16 h to adequately represent the mesoscale organization associated with open cells and precipitation. Results support the emerging understanding that precipitation plays a critical role in the formation and evolution of open cells. Evaporation of raindrops generates a dynamic response that manifests itself in cellular organization of updrafts and downdrafts and promotes and sustains the formation of an open cellular structure in cloud fields. Vertical motion in open-cell centers with thin clouds is minimal. It is shown that a mean surface rain rate as low as 0.02 mm day−1 is, for the case considered, sufficient to promote the formation of open cells. The maximum dimension of individual open cells ranges between 5 and 30 km. Individual cells grow at a mean rate of between 5 and 10 km h−1. Irregularity in the shape of open cells is caused by formation of new precipitating regions at the cell walls and interference with neighboring cells, which erode, and eventually eliminate, the old cells. The typical lifetime of large individual open cells is about 2 h, close to that observed by radar, although a collection of open cells as a whole may last for tens of hours.

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Hailong Wang, William C. Skamarock, and Graham Feingold

Abstract

In the Advanced Research Weather Research and Forecasting Model (ARW), versions 3.0 and earlier, advection of scalars was performed using the Runge–Kutta time-integration scheme with an option of using a positive-definite (PD) flux limiter. Large-eddy simulations of aerosol–cloud interactions using the ARW model are performed to evaluate the advection schemes. The basic Runge–Kutta scheme alone produces spurious oscillations and negative values in scalar mixing ratios because of numerical dispersion errors. The PD flux limiter assures positive definiteness but retains the oscillations with an amplification of local maxima by up to 20% in the tests. These numerical dispersion errors contaminate active scalars directly through the advection process and indirectly through physical and dynamical feedbacks, leading to a misrepresentation of cloud physical and dynamical processes. A monotonic flux limiter is introduced to correct the generally accurate but dispersive solutions given by high-order Runge–Kutta scheme. The monotonic limiter effectively minimizes the dispersion errors with little significant enhancement of numerical diffusion errors. The improvement in scalar advection using the monotonic limiter is discussed in the context of how the different advection schemes impact the quantification of aerosol–cloud interactions. The PD limiter results in 20% (10%) fewer cloud droplets and 22% (5%) smaller cloud albedo than the monotonic limiter under clean (polluted) conditions. Underprediction of cloud droplet number concentration by the PD limiter tends to trigger the early formation of precipitation in the clean case, leading to a potentially large impact on cloud albedo change.

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Hailong Liu, Chunzai Wang, Sang-Ki Lee, and David Enfield

Abstract

This study investigates Atlantic warm pool (AWP) variability in the twentieth century and preindustrial simulations of coupled GCMs submitted to the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) Fourth Assessment Report (AR4). In the twentieth-century simulations, most coupled models show very weak AWP variability, represented by an AWP area index, because of the cold SST bias in the AWP. Among the IPCC models, a higher AWP SST index corresponds to increased net downward shortwave radiation and decreased low-level cloud fraction during the AWP peak season. This suggests that the cold SST bias in the AWP region is at least partly caused by an excessive amount of simulated low-level cloud, which blocks shortwave radiation from reaching the sea surface. AWP natural variability is examined in preindustrial simulations. Spectral analysis reveals that only multidecadal band variability of the AWP is significant in observations. All models successfully capture the multidecadal band, but they show that interannual and/or decadal variability is also significant. On the multidecadal time scale, the global SST difference pattern between large AWP years and small AWP years resembles the geographic pattern of the AMO for most coupled models. Observational analysis indicates that both positive ENSO phase and negative NAO phase in winter correspond to reduced trade winds in the AWP region. The westerly anomalies induced by positive ENSO and negative NAO lead to local heating and warm SST from March to May and February to April, respectively. This behavior as a known feature of anomalous AWP growth is well captured by only five models.

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Shengpeng Wang, Zhao Jing, Hailong Liu, and Lixin Wu

Abstract

The spatial and seasonal variations of submesoscale eddy activities in the eastern tropical Pacific Ocean (2°–12°N, 95°–165°W) are investigated based on a 1/10° ocean general circulation model (OGCM). In the studied region, it is found that motions shorter than 500 km are subject to submesoscale dynamics with an O(1) Rossby number and Richardson number and a −2 spectral slope for kinetic energy, suggesting that submesoscale eddies there can be well resolved by the model. Enhanced submesoscale eddy kinetic energy (SMKE) is found in the surface mixed layer centered at 5°N. A complete SMKE budget analysis suggests that the submesoscale eddies in the surface mixed layer are generated mainly by the barotropic instability and secondarily by the baroclinic instability. The nonlinear interactions lead to a significant forward energy cascade in the submesoscale range and play an important role in balancing the energy budget. As a response to the change of energy input through barotropic instability, the SMKE exhibits a pronounced seasonal cycle with the largest and smallest values occurring in boreal autumn and spring. Furthermore, the strong seasonal cycle plays an important role in modulating the seasonality of mixed layer depth (MLD). In particular, the restratification induced by the strong submesoscale eddies between July and October makes important contribution to the shoaling of MLD in this season.

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Hailong Liu, Chunzai Wang, Sang-Ki Lee, and David Enfield

Abstract

This study investigates Atlantic warm pool (AWP) variability in the historical run of 19 coupled general circulation models (CGCMs) submitted to phase 5 of the Coupled Model Intercomparison Project (CMIP5). As with the CGCMs in phase 3 (CMIP3), most models suffer from the cold SST bias in the AWP region and also show very weak AWP variability as represented by the AWP area index. However, for the seasonal cycle the AWP SST bias of model ensemble and model sensitivities are decreased compared with CMIP3, indicating that the CGCMs are improved. The origin of the cold SST bias in the AWP region remains unknown, but among the CGCMs in CMIP5 excess (insufficient) high-level cloud simulation decreases (enhances) the cold SST bias in the AWP region through the warming effect of the high-level cloud radiative forcing. Thus, the AWP SST bias in CMIP5 is more modulated by an erroneous radiation balance due to misrepresentation of high-level clouds rather than low-level clouds as in CMIP3. AWP variability is assessed as in the authors' previous study in the aspects of spectral analysis, interannual variability, multidecadal variability, and comparison of the remote connections with ENSO and the North Atlantic Oscillation (NAO) against observations. In observations the maximum influences of the NAO and ENSO on the AWP take place in boreal spring. For some CGCMs these influences erroneously last to late summer. The effect of this overestimated remote forcing can be seen in the variability statistics as shown in the rotated EOF patterns from the models. It is concluded that the NCAR Community Climate System Model, version 4 (CCSM4), the Goddard Institute for Space Studies (GISS) Model E, version 2, coupled with the Hybrid Coordinate Ocean Model (HYCOM) ocean model (GISS-E2H), and the GISS Model E, version 2, coupled with the Russell ocean model (GISS-E2R) are the best three models of CMIP5 in simulating AWP variability.

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Hailong Wang, Casey D. Burleyson, Po-Lun Ma, Jerome D. Fast, and Philip J. Rasch

Abstract

Long-term Atmospheric Radiation Measurement (ARM) datasets collected at the three tropical western Pacific (TWP) sites are used to evaluate the ability of the Community Atmosphere Model (CAM5) to simulate the various types of clouds, their seasonal and diurnal variations, and their impact on surface radiation. A number of CAM5 simulations are conducted at various horizontal grid spacing (around 2°, 1°, 0.5°, and 0.25°) with meteorological constraints from analysis or reanalysis. Model biases in the seasonal cycle of cloudiness are found to be weakly dependent on model resolution. Positive biases (up to 20%) in the annual mean total cloud fraction appear mostly in stratiform ice clouds. Higher-resolution simulations do reduce the positive bias in ice clouds, but they inadvertently increase the negative biases in convective clouds and low-level liquid clouds, leading to a positive bias in annual mean shortwave fluxes at the sites, as high as 65 W m−2 in the 0.25° simulation. Such resolution-dependent biases in clouds can adversely lead to biases in ambient thermodynamic properties and, in turn, produce feedback onto clouds. Both the model and observations show distinct diurnal cycles in total, stratiform, and convective cloud fractions; however, they are out of phase by 12 h and the biases vary by site. The results suggest that biases in deep convection affect the vertical distribution and diurnal cycle of stratiform clouds through the transport of vapor and/or the detrainment of liquid and ice. The approach used here can be easily adapted for the evaluation of new parameterizations being developed for CAM5 or other global or regional models.

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Shengpeng Wang, Zhao Jing, Qiuying Zhang, Ping Chang, Zhaohui Chen, Hailong Liu, and Lixin Wu

Abstract

In this study, the global eddy kinetic energy (EKE) budget in horizontal wavenumber space is analyzed based on 1/10° ocean general circulation model simulations. In both the tropical and midlatitude regions, the barotropic energy conversion from background flow to eddies is positive throughout the wavenumber space and generally peaks at the scale (L e) where EKE reaches its maximum. The baroclinic energy conversion is more pronounced at midlatitudes. It exhibits a dipolar structure with positive and negative values at scales smaller and larger than L e, respectively. Surface wind power on geostrophic flow results in a significant EKE loss around L e but deposits energy at larger scales. The interior viscous dissipation and bottom drag inferred from the pressure flux convergence act as EKE sink terms. The latter is most efficient at L e while the former is more dominant at smaller scales. There is an evident mismatch between EKE generation and dissipation in the spectral space especially at the midlatitudes. This is reconciled by a dominant forward energy cascade on the equator and a dominant inverse energy cascade at the midlatitudes.

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Jie Jiang, Tianjun Zhou, Hailong Wang, Yun Qian, David Noone, and Wenmin Man

Abstract

Central Asia is a semiarid to arid region that is sensitive to hydrological changes. We use the Community Atmosphere Model, version 5 (CAM5), equipped with a water-tagging capability, to investigate the major moisture sources for climatological precipitation and its long-term trends over central Asia. Europe, the North Atlantic Ocean, and local evaporation, which explain 33.2% ± 1.5%, 23.0% ± 2.5%, and 19.4% ± 2.2% of the precipitation, respectively, are identified as the most dominant moisture sources for northern central Asia (NCA). For precipitation over southern central Asia (SCA), Europe, the North Atlantic, and local evaporation contribute 25.4% ± 2.7%, 18.0% ± 1.7%, and 14.7% ± 1.9%, respectively. In addition, the contributions of South Asia (8.6% ± 1.7%) and the Indian Ocean (9.5% ± 2.0%) are also substantial for SCA. Modulated by the seasonal meridional shift in the subtropical westerly jet, moisture originating from the low and midlatitudes is important in winter, spring, and autumn, whereas northern Europe contributes more to summer precipitation. We also explain the observed drying trends over southeastern central Asia in spring and over NCA in summer during 1956–2005. The drying trend over southeastern central Asia in spring is mainly due to the decrease in local evaporation and weakened moisture fluxes from the Arabian Peninsula and Arabian Sea associated with the warming of the western Pacific Ocean. The drying trend over NCA in summer can be attributed to a decrease in local evaporation and reduced moisture from northern Europe that is due to the southward shift of the subtropical westerly jet.

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Sijia Lou, Yang Yang, Hailong Wang, Jian Lu, Steven J. Smith, Fukai Liu, and Philip J. Rasch

ABSTRACT

El Niño–Southern Oscillation (ENSO) is the leading mode of Earth’s climate variability at interannual time scales with profound ecological and societal impacts, and it is projected to intensify in many climate models as the climate warms under the forcing of increasing CO2 concentration. Since the preindustrial era, black carbon (BC) emissions have substantially increased in the Northern Hemisphere. But how BC aerosol forcing may influence the occurrence of the extreme ENSO events has rarely been investigated. In this study, using simulations of a global climate model, we show that increases in BC emissions from both the midlatitudes and Arctic weaken latitudinal temperature gradients and northward heat transport, decrease tropical energy divergence, and increase sea surface temperature over the tropical oceans, with a surprising consequential increase in the frequency of extreme ENSO events. A corollary of this study is that reducing BC emissions might serve to mitigate the possible increasing frequency of extreme ENSO events under greenhouse warming, if the modeling result can be translated into the climate in reality.

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