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Xiaosong Li and Jin Zhang

Abstract

The green vegetation fraction Fg, which represents the horizontal density of live vegetation, is an important parameter for the study of global energy, carbon, hydrological, and biogeochemical cycling. A common method of calculating Fg is to create a simple linear mixing model between two NDVI endmembers: bare soil NDVI, , and full vegetation NDVI, . However, many uncertainties exist for the determination of these parameters at large scales. The present study investigates how and determination can impact Fg calculations for all of China, based on different land-cover datasets, hyperspectral data, and soil type classification maps. The results show the following: 1) The regional ChinaCover dataset, with higher accuracy and more detailed classification, is preferable for calculating Fg in China, compared with the most commonly used MOD12Q1 dataset, although it would not lead to too much difference in values. 2) The soil NDVI from Hyperion datasets shows that soils have highly variable NDVI values (0.006–0.2), and 79.36% of the area studied has a much larger NDVI value than the commonly used value of 0.05. Therefore, the dynamic values with different soil types are much better for Fg calculation than the invariant value (0.05), which would yield a significant overestimation of Fg, especially for areas with low vegetation coverage. 3) A high-quality Fg dataset for China from 2000 to 2010 was established with and parameters based on MOD13Q1 250-m NDVI data.

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Menglin Jin, Robert E. Dickinson, and Da Zhang

Abstract

One mechanism for climate change is the collected impact of changes in land cover or land use. Such changes are especially significant in urban areas where much of the world’s population lives. Satellite observations provide a basis for characterizing the physical modifications that result from urbanization. In particular, the Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer (MODIS) instrument on the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) Terra satellite measures surface spectral albedos, thermal emissivities, and radiative temperatures. A better understanding of these measurements should improve our knowledge of the climate impact of urbanization as well as our ability to specify the parameters needed by climate models to compute the impacts of urbanization. For this purpose, it is useful to contrast urban areas with neighboring nonurban surfaces with regard to their radiative surface temperatures, emissivities, and albedos. Among these properties, surface temperatures have been most extensively studied previously in the context of the “urban heat island” (UHI). Nevertheless, except for a few detailed studies, the UHI has mostly been characterized in terms of surface air temperatures.

To provide a global analysis, the zonal average of these properties are presented here measured over urban areas versus neighboring nonurban areas. Furthermore, individual cities are examined to illustrate the variations of these variables with land cover under different climate conditions [e.g., in Beijing, New York, and Phoenix (a desert city of the United States)]. Satellite-measured skin temperatures are related to the surface air temperatures but do not necessarily have the same seasonal and diurnal variations, since they are more coupled to surface energy exchange processes and less to the overlying atmospheric column. Consequently, the UHI effects from skin temperature are shown to be pronounced at both daytime and nighttime, rather than at night as previously suggested from surface air temperature measurements. In addition, urban areas are characterized by albedos much lower than those of croplands and deciduous forests in summer but similar to those of forests in winter. Thus, urban surfaces can be distinguished from nonurban surfaces through use of a proposed index formed by multiplying skin temperature by albedo.

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Fangyu Liu, Wenjun Zhang, Fei-Fei Jin, and Suqiong Hu

Abstract

Many previous studies have shown that an Indian Ocean basin warming (IOBW) occurs usually during El Niño-Southern Oscillation (ENSO) decaying spring to summer seasons through modifying the equatorial zonal circulation. Decadal modulation associated with the Interdecadal Pacific Oscillation (IPO) is further investigated here to understand the nonstationary ENSO-IOBW relationship during ENSO decaying summer (July-August-September, JAS). During the positive IPO phase, significant warm sea surface temperature (SST) anomalies are observed over the tropical Indian Ocean in El Niño decaying summers and vice versa for La Niña events, while these patterns are not well detected in the negative IPO phase. Different decaying speeds of ENSO associated with the IPO phase, largely controlled by both zonal advective and thermocline feedbacks, are suggested to be mainly responsible for these different ENSO-IOBW relationships. In contrast to ENSO events in the negative IPO phase, the ones in the positive IPO phase display a slower decaying speed and delay their transitions both from a warm to a cold state and a cold to a warm state. The slower decay of El Niño and La Niña thereby helps to sustain the teleconnection forcing over the equatorial Indian Ocean and corresponding SST anomalies there can persist into summer. This IPO modulation of the ENSO-IOBW relationship carries important implications for the seasonal prediction of the Indian Ocean SST anomalies and associated summer climate anomalies.

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Da-Lin Zhang, Menglin S. Jin, Yixuan Shou, and Chunqing Dong

Abstract

This paper examines the collective impacts of urban building complexes on the planetary boundary layer (PBL) winds using both observations and a mesoscale model. Horizontal winds measured on the rooftops of federal buildings over the regions of Washington, D.C., and a small city nearby (i.e., Reston, Virginia) show the blocking effects of urban building complexes on the downstream winds during the daytime of 9 July 2007. A modeling study of the case using a coupled version of the Weather Research and Forecasting (WRF)–multilayer urban canopy model in which the observed building height and density information is implemented to advance the calculations of momentum and heat, reproduces the rooftop-observed wind patterns and the related urban heat island effects, especially the wake flows on the downstream sides of the above-mentioned two cities. Results show that under daytime conditions the building complexes can collectively form a mesoscale wake on the downwind side of each city, about 2–10 km away, horizontally from the edge of the building complexes. The wake flow may extend to much higher levels than the building tops, depending on the incoming flow strength, the static stability in the PBL, the height of the building complexes, and the time of the day because of the strength of surface insolation.

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Zongci Huang, Wenjun Zhang, Xin Geng, and Fei-Fei Jin

Abstract

The boreal summer western Pacific subtropical high (WPSH) exhibits a remarkable decadal shift in its spatial pattern and periodicity around the late 1990s. In the former period, the WPSH is primarily characterized by a large-scale uniform pattern over Asia and its surrounding area with an oscillating period of ~4–5 yr. However, the WPSH-related atmospheric circulations shift to a dipole structure and oscillate at ~2–3 yr in the recent period. We found that this decadal shift is largely contributed by the ENSO regime change. During the former period, the tropical Pacific was dominated by the conventional eastern Pacific (EP) El Niño–Southern Oscillation (ENSO) with an oscillating period of ~4–5 yr. Strong anticyclone anomalies usually are maintained over the western North Pacific (WNP) during the EP El Niño decaying summer, accounting for most of the WPSH temporal and spatial variability. In contrast, the recent period features much more frequent occurrence of central Pacific (CP) El Niño events in the tropical Pacific with a ~2–3-yr oscillating period. A dipole structure in the WNP and Indian Ocean is evident during both developing and decaying summers of CP El Niño, consistent with the WPSH leading mode after the late 1990s. The results have important implications for seasonal prediction of the WPSH and associated Asian summer climate anomalies.

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Feng Jiang, Wenjun Zhang, Malte F. Stuecker, and Fei-Fei Jin

Abstract

Previous studies have shown that nonlinear atmospheric interactions between ENSO and the warm pool annual cycle generates a combination mode (C-mode), which is responsible for the termination of strong El Niño events and the development of the anomalous anticyclone over the western North Pacific (WNP). However, the C-mode has experienced a remarkable decadal change in its characteristics around the early 2000s. The C-mode in both pre- and post-2000 exhibits its characteristic anomalous atmospheric circulation meridional asymmetry but with somewhat different spatial structures and time scales. During 1979–99, the C-mode pattern featured prominent westerly surface wind anomalies in the southeastern tropical Pacific and anticyclonic anomalies over the WNP. In contrast, the C-mode-associated westerly anomalies were shifted farther westward to the central Pacific and the WNP anticyclone was farther westward extended and weaker after 2000. These different C-mode patterns were accompanied by distinct climate impacts over the Indo-Pacific region. The decadal differences of the C-mode are tightly connected with the ENSO regime shift around 2000; that is, the occurrence of central Pacific (CP) El Niño events with quasi-biennial and decadal periodicities increased while the occurrence of eastern Pacific (EP) El Niño events with quasi-quadrennial periodicity decreased. The associated near-annual combination tone periodicities of the C-mode also changed in accordance with these changes in the dominant ENSO frequency between the two time periods. Numerical model experiments further confirm the impacts of the ENSO regime shift on the C-mode characteristics. These results have important implications for understanding the C-mode dynamics and improving predictions of its climate impacts.

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Wenjun Zhang, Fei-Fei Jin, Jing-Xia Zhao, and Jianping Li

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The fidelity of coupled climate models simulating El Niño–Southern Oscillation (ENSO) patterns has been widely examined. Nevertheless, a systematical narrow bias in the simulated meridional width of the sea surface temperature anomaly (SSTA) of ENSO has been largely overlooked. Utilizing the preindustrial control simulations of 11 coupled climate models from phase 3 of the Coupled Model Intercomparison Project (CMIP3), it was shown that the simulated width of the ENSO SSTA is only about two-thirds of what is observed. Through a heat budget analysis based on simulations and ocean reanalysis datasets, it is demonstrated that the SSTA outside of the equatorial strip is predominantly controlled by the anomalous meridional advection by climatological currents and heat-flux damping. The authors thus propose a simple damped-advective conceptual model to describe ENSO width. The simple model indicates that this width is primarily determined by three factors: meridional current, ENSO period, and thermal damping rate. When the meridional current is weak, it spreads the equatorial SSTA away from the equator less effectively and the ENSO width thus tends to be narrow. A short ENSO period allows less time to transport the equatorial SSTA toward the off-equatorial region, and strong damping prevents expansion of the SSTA away from the equator, both of which lead to the meridional width becoming narrow. The narrow bias of the simulated ENSO width is mainly due to a systematical bias in weak trade winds that lead to weak ocean meridional currents, and partly due to a bias toward short ENSO periods.

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Christopher Melhauser, Fuqing Zhang, Yonghui Weng, Yi Jin, Hao Jin, and Qingyun Zhao

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This study examines a multimodel comparison of regional-scale convection-permitting ensembles including both physics and initial condition uncertainties for the probabilistic prediction of Hurricanes Sandy (2012) and Edouard (2014). The model cores examined include COAMPS-TC, HWRF, and WRF-ARW. Two stochastic physics schemes were also applied using the WRF-ARW model. Each ensemble was initialized with the same initial condition uncertainties represented by the analysis perturbations from a WRF-ARW-based real-time cycling ensemble Kalman filter. It is found that single-core ensembles were capable of producing similar ensemble statistics for track and intensity for the first 36–48 h of model integration, with biases in the ensemble mean evident at longer forecast lead times along with increased variability in spread. The ensemble spread of a multicore ensemble with members sampled from single-core ensembles was generally as large or larger than any constituent model, especially at longer lead times. Systematically varying the physic parameterizations in the WRF-ARW ensemble can alter both the forecast ensemble mean and spread to resemble the ensemble performance using a different forecast model. Compared to the control WRF-ARW experiment, the application of the stochastic kinetic energy backscattering scheme had minimal impact on the ensemble spread of track and intensity for both cases, while the use of stochastic perturbed physics tendencies increased the ensemble spread in track for Sandy and in intensity for both cases. This case study suggests that it is important to include model physics uncertainties for probabilistic TC prediction. A single-core multiphysics ensemble can capture the ensemble mean and spread forecasted by a multicore ensemble for the presented case studies.

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Chuanhai Qian, Fuqing Zhang, Benjamin W. Green, Jin Zhang, and Xiaqiong Zhou

Abstract

Supertyphoon Megi was the most intense tropical cyclone (TC) of 2010. Megi tracked westward through the western North Pacific and crossed the Philippines on 18 October. Two days later, Megi made a sharp turn to the north, an unusual track change that was not forecast by any of the leading operational centers. This failed forecast was a consequence of exceptionally large uncertainty in the numerical guidance—including the operational ensemble of the European Centre for Medium-Range Weather Forecasts (ECMWF)—at various lead times before the northward turn. This study uses The Observing System Research and Predictability Experiment (THORPEX) Interactive Grand Global Ensemble dataset to examine the uncertainties in the track forecast of the ECMWF operational ensemble. The results show that Megi's sharp turn is sensitive to its own movement in the early period, the size and structure of the storm, the strength and extent of the western Pacific subtropical high, and an approaching eastward-moving midlatitude trough. In particular, a larger TC (in addition to having a stronger beta effect) may lead to a stronger erosion of the southwestern extent of the subtropical high, which will subsequently lead to an earlier and sharper northward turn.

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Qin Zhang, Arun Kumar, Yan Xue, Wanqiu Wang, and Fei-Fei Jin

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Simulations from the National Centers for Environmental Prediction (NCEP) coupled model are analyzed to document and understand the behavior of the evolution of the El Niño–Southern Oscillation (ENSO) cycle. The analysis is of importance for two reasons: 1) the coupled model used in this study is also used operationally to provide model-based forecast guidance on a seasonal time scale, and therefore, an understanding of the ENSO mechanism in this particular coupled system could also lead to an understanding of possible biases in SST predictions; and 2) multiple theories for ENSO evolution have been proposed, and coupled model simulations are a useful test bed for understanding the relative importance of different ENSO mechanisms.

The analyses of coupled model simulations show that during the ENSO evolution the net surface heat flux acts as a damping mechanism for the mixed-layer temperature anomalies, and positive contribution from the advection terms to the ENSO evolution is dominated by the linear advective processes. The subsurface temperature–SST feedback, referred to as thermocline feedback in some theoretical literature, is found to be the primary positive feedback, whereas the advective feedback by anomalous zonal currents and the thermocline feedback are the primary sources responsible for the ENSO phase transition in the model simulation. The basic mechanisms for the model-simulated ENSO cycle are thus, to a large extent, consistent with those highlighted in the recharge oscillator. The atmospheric anticyclone (cyclone) over the western equatorial northern Pacific accompanied by a warm (cold) phase of the ENSO, as well as the oceanic Rossby waves outside of 15°S–15°N and the equatorial higher-order baroclinic modes, all appear to play minor roles in the model ENSO cycles.

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