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C-P. Chang, Zhuo Wang, Jianhua Ju, and Tim Li

Abstract

Several studies have reported that Indonesian rainfall is poorly correlated with El Niño–Southern Oscillation (ENSO) events during the northern winter wet monsoon season. This work studies the relationship between the Niño-3 (5°S–5°N, 150°–90°W) sea surface temperature (SST) and the Maritime Continent monsoon rainfall during 1979–2002. The study indicates that the correlations are mostly negative except in the vicinity of Sumatra and Malay Peninsula (SMP, including the western sections of Java and Borneo), where the correlations range from zero to weakly positive.

The monsoon rainfall during ENSO events is influenced by a pair of anomalous Walker cells and a low-level closed circulation centered near the Philippines. East of SMP, the rainfall is negatively correlated with Niño-3 SST. The anomalous low-level wind over the Indian Ocean west of SMP causes rainfall to also be correlated negatively with Niño-3 SST, but rainfall over SMP is sheltered from this effect because of the high mountains along its western coast. The anomalous cross-equatorial flow associated with ENSO also affects the rainfall over SMP and the area to its east differently. A variation of the cross-equatorial flow may also contribute to the SMP rainfall anomaly.

The result suggests that the previously reported low correlations between Indonesian monsoon rainfall and ENSO are due in part to the averaging of rainfall in two regions with opposite characteristics. The correlation is positive for Indonesia west of 112°E and negative to the east. There is also an interdecadal trend of increasingly negative correlations from 1950–78 to 1979–97. The correlation changes from significantly positive (at 1%) to insignificant in western Indonesia and from insignificant to significantly negative in eastern Indonesia.

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Shiyuan Zhong, Ju Li, Craig B. Clements, Stephan F. J. De Wekker, and Xindi Bian

Abstract

This paper investigates the formation mechanisms for a local wind phenomenon known as Washoe Zephyr that occurs frequently in the lee of the Sierra Nevada. Unlike the typical thermally driven slope flows with upslope wind during daytime and downslope at night, the Washoe Zephyr winds blow down the lee slopes of the Sierra Nevada in the afternoon against the local pressure gradient. Long-term hourly surface wind data from several stations on the eastern slope of the Sierra Nevada and rawinsonde sounding data in the region are analyzed and numerical simulations are performed to test the suggested hypotheses on the formation mechanisms for this interesting phenomenon. The results from surface and upper-air climate data analyses and numerical modeling indicate that the Washoe Zephyr is primarily a result of a regional-scale pressure gradient that develops because of asymmetric heating of the atmosphere between the western side of the Sierra Nevada and the elevated, semiarid central Nevada and Great Basin on the eastern side of the Sierra Nevada. The frequent influence of the Pacific high on California in the summer season helps to enhance this pressure gradient and therefore strengthen the flow. Westerly synoptic-scale winds over the Sierra Nevada and the associated downward momentum transfer are not necessary for its development, but strong westerly winds aloft work in concert with the regional-scale pressure gradient to produce the strongest Washoe Zephyr events.

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Hyun-Sung Jang, Byung-Ju Sohn, Hyoung-Wook Chun, Jun Li, and Elisabeth Weisz

Abstract

A moving-window regression technique was developed for obtaining better a priori information for one-dimensional variational (1DVAR) physical retrievals. Using this technique regression coefficients were obtained for a specific geographical 10° × 10° window and for a given season. Then, regionally obtained regression retrievals over East Asia were used as a priori information for physical retrievals. To assess the effect of improved a priori information on the accuracy of the physical retrievals, error statistics of the physical retrievals from clear-sky Atmospheric Infrared Sounder (AIRS) measurements during 4 months of observation (March, June, September, and December of 2010) were compared; the results obtained using new a priori information were compared with those using a priori information from a global set of training data classified into six classes of infrared (IR) window channel brightness temperature. This comparison demonstrated that the moving-window regression method can successfully improve the accuracy of physical retrieval. For temperature, root-mean-square error (RMSE) improvements of 0.1–0.2 and 0.25–0.5 K were achieved over the 150–300- and 900–1000-hPa layers, respectively. For water vapor given as relative humidity, the RMSE was reduced by 1.5%–3.5% above the 300-hPa level and by 0.5%–1% within the 700–950-hPa layer.

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Shiyuan Zhong, Ju Li, C. David Whiteman, Xindi Bian, and Wenqing Yao

Abstract

The climatology of high wind events in the Owens Valley, California, a deep valley located just east of the southern Sierra Nevada, is described using data from six automated weather stations distributed along the valley axis in combination with the North American Regional Reanalysis dataset. Potential mechanisms for the development of strong winds in the valley are examined.

Contrary to the common belief that strong winds in the Owens Valley are westerly downslope windstorms that develop on the eastern slope of the Sierra Nevada, strong westerly winds are rare in the valley. Instead, strong winds are highly bidirectional, blowing either up (northward) or down (southward) the valley axis. High wind events are most frequent in spring and early fall and they occur more often during daytime than during nighttime, with a peak frequency in the afternoon. Unlike thermally driven valley winds that blow up valley during daytime and down valley during nighttime, strong winds may blow in either direction regardless of the time of the day. The southerly up-valley winds appear most often in the afternoon, a time when there is a weak minimum of northerly down-valley winds, indicating that strong wind events are modulated by local along-valley thermal forcing.

Several mechanisms, including downward momentum transfer, forced channeling, and pressure-driven channeling all play a role in the development of southerly high wind events. These events are typically accompanied by strong south-southwesterly synoptic winds ahead of an upper-level trough off the California coast. The northerly high wind events, which typically occur when winds aloft are from the northwest ahead of an approaching upper-level ridge, are predominantly caused by the passage of a cold front when fast-moving cold air behind the surface front undercuts and displaces the warmer air in the valley. Forced channeling by the sidewalls of the relatively narrow valley aligns the wind direction with the valley axis and enhances the wind speeds.

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Gengxin Chen, Weiqing Han, Yuanlong Li, Michael J. McPhaden, Ju Chen, Weiqiang Wang, and Dongxiao Wang

Abstract

This paper reports on strong, intraseasonal, upper-ocean meridional currents observed in the Indian Ocean between the Bay of Bengal (BOB) and the equator and elucidates the underlying physical processes responsible for them. In situ measurements from a subsurface mooring at 5°N, 90.5°E reveal strong intraseasonal variability of the meridional current with an amplitude of ~0.4 m s−1 and a typical period of 30–50 days in the upper 150 m, which by far exceeds the magnitudes of the mean flow and seasonal cycle. Such prominent intraseasonal variability is, however, not seen in zonal current at the same location. Further analysis suggests that the observed intraseasonal flows are closely associated with westward-propagating eddylike sea surface height anomalies (SSHAs) along 5°N. The eddylike SSHAs are largely manifestations of symmetric Rossby waves, which result primarily from intraseasonal wind stress forcing in the equatorial waveguide and reflection of the equatorial Kelvin waves at the eastern boundary. Since the wave signals are generally symmetric about the equator, similar variability is also seen at 5°S but with weaker intensity because of the inclined coastline at the eastern boundary. The Rossby waves propagate westward, causing pronounced intraseasonal SSHA and meridional current in the upper ocean across the entire southern BOB between 84° and 94°E. They greatly weaken in the western Indian Basin, but zonal currents near the equator remain relatively strong.

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Qiang Wang, Lili Zeng, Jian Li, Ju Chen, Yunkai He, Jinglong Yao, Dongxiao Wang, and Weidong Zhou

Abstract

Cross-shelf flow induced by mesoscale eddies has been investigated in the northern South China Sea (NSCS) using velocity observations from Long Ranger ADCP moorings. Mesoscale eddies influenced the three mooring stations during almost all the observation period. Four quadrants have been defined with the mooring location as the origin, and it is found that warm (cold) mesoscale eddies induce onshore (offshore) movement in the eastern two quadrants and offshore (onshore) movement in the western two quadrants. When an eddy propagates past a mooring station, net cross-shelf flow at the mooring station can be induced by asymmetry in the horizontal and vertical structure of the eddy and by its evolution. As an eddy propagates westward, its shape changes continually and the vertical modes also transform from high to lower modes, which contributes to the net cross-shelf flow. Based on the quasigeostrophic potential vorticity equation, it is confirmed that the net cross-shelf flow is mainly induced by the eddy evolution and suppressed by nonlinear effect. Because of dispersion characteristics of the mesoscale eddy, barotropic mode will restructure at the baroclinic mode area after separating from the baroclinic mode, which will be enhanced by topography slope.

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Gengxin Chen, Dongxiao Wang, Weiqing Han, Ming Feng, Fan Wang, Yuanlong Li, Ju Chen, and Arnold L. Gordon

Abstract

In the eastern tropical Indian Ocean, intraseasonal variability (ISV) affects the regional oceanography and marine ecosystems. Mooring and satellite observations documented two periods of unusually weak ISV during the past two decades, associated with suppressed baroclinic instability of the South Equatorial Current. Regression analysis and model simulations suggest that the exceptionally weak ISVs were caused primarily by the extreme El Niño events and modulated to a lesser extent by the Indian Ocean dipole. Additional observations confirm that the circulation balance in the Indo-Pacific Ocean was disrupted during the extreme El Niño events, impacting the Indonesian Throughflow Indian Ocean dynamics. This research provides substantial evidence for large-scale modes modulating ISV and the abnormal Indo-Pacific dynamical connection during extreme climate modes.

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Qiang Wang, Lili Zeng, Yeqiang Shu, Jian Li, Ju Chen, Yunkai He, Jinglong Yao, Dongxiao Wang, and Weidong Zhou

Abstract

Topographic Rossby waves (TRWs) are reported to make a significant contribution to the deep-ocean current variability. On the northern South China Sea (NSCS) continental slope, TRWs with peak spectral energy at ~14.5 days are observed over about a year at deep moorings aligned east–west around the Dongsha Islands. The TRWs with a group velocity of O(10) cm s−1 contribute more than 40% of total bottom velocity fluctuations at the two mooring stations. The energy propagation and source are further identified using a ray-tracing model. The TRW energy mainly propagates westward along the NSCS continental slope with a slight downslope component. The possible energy source is upper-ocean 10–20-day fluctuations on the east side of the Dongsha Islands, which are transferred through the first baroclinic mode (i.e., the second EOF mode). These 10–20-day fluctuations in the upper ocean are associated with mesoscale eddies. However, to the west of the Dongsha Islands, the 10–20-day fluctuations in the upper ocean are too weak to effectively generate TRWs locally. This work provides an interesting insight toward understanding the NSCS deep current variability and the linkage between the upper- and deep-ocean currents.

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Fei Chen, Robert Bornstein, Sue Grimmond, Ju Li, Xudong Liang, Alberto Martilli, Shiguang Miao, James Voogt, and Yingchun Wang
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Ke Huang, Dongxiao Wang, Weiqing Han, Ming Feng, Gengxin Chen, Weiqiang Wang, Ju Chen, and Jian Li

Abstract

Four-year (2014–17) zonal current data observed by a mooring at (5°N, 90.5°E) in the eastern Indian Ocean show a strong semiannual cycle in the middepth (~1200 m) with distinct vertical structure. This pronounced middepth semiannual variability, however, is inconsistent with the local wind forcing, which shows a predominant annual cycle. The underlying causes for this unique middepth variability along 5°N were elucidated with the addition of a reanalysis product and a continuously stratified linear ocean model. The results suggest that the observed seasonal variability in the middepth zonal flow at 5°N is primarily caused by boundary-reflected Rossby waves forced by the remote semiannual winds along the equator. Contribution from the locally wind-forced Rossby waves is much less. The theoretical Wentzel–Kramers–Brillouin ray paths further verify that the strong semiannual variability of the middepth signals over a moored region in the eastern Indian Ocean is largely a manifestation of the steep angles of propagating energy of the long Rossby waves at semiannual time scale. The annual signals are only significant in the upper and western sections (75°–80°E) as a result of the smooth trajectories of Rossby waves forced by local annual winds. Further analysis reveals that the middepth zonal currents along 5°N are expected to be associated with equatorial symmetric Rossby waves at semiannual period. Consequently, similar zonal flows should also exist in the middepth near 5°S.

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