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Weihong Qian, Ning Jiang, and Jun Du

Abstract

Mathematical derivation, meteorological justification, and comparison to model direct precipitation forecasts are the three main concerns recently raised by Schultz and Spengler about moist divergence (MD) and moist vorticity (MV), which were introduced in earlier work by Qian et al. That previous work demonstrated that MD (MV) can in principle be derived mathematically with a value-added empirical modification. MD (MV) has a solid meteorological basis. It combines ascent motion and high moisture: the two elements necessary for rainfall. However, precipitation efficiency is not considered in MD (MV). Given the omission of an advection term in the mathematical derivation and the lack of precipitation efficiency, MD (MV) might be suitable mainly for heavy rain events with large areal coverage and long duration caused by large-scale quasi-stationary weather systems, but not for local intense heavy rain events caused by small-scale convection. In addition, MD (MV) is not capable of describing precipitation intensity. MD (MV) worked reasonably well in predicting heavy rain locations from short to medium ranges as compared with the ECMWF model precipitation forecasts. MD (MV) was generally worse than (though sometimes similar to) the model heavy rain forecast at shorter ranges (about a week) but became comparable or even better at longer ranges (around 10 days). It should be reiterated that MD (MV) is not intended to be a primary tool for predicting heavy rain areas, especially in the short range, but is a useful parameter for calibrating model heavy precipitation forecasts, as stated in the original paper.

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Weihong Qian, Ning Jiang, and Jun Du

Abstract

Although the use of anomaly fields in the forecast process has been shown to be useful and has caught forecasters’ attention, current short-range (1–3 days) weather analyses and forecasts are still predominantly total-field based. This paper systematically examines the pros and cons of anomaly- versus total-field-based approaches in weather analysis using a case from 1 July 1991 (showcase) and 41 cases from 1998 (statistics) of heavy rain events that occurred in China. The comparison is done for both basic atmospheric variables (height, temperature, wind, and humidity) and diagnostic parameters (divergence, vorticity, and potential vorticity). Generally, anomaly fields show a more enhanced and concentrated signal (pattern) directly related to surface anomalous weather events, while total fields can obscure the visualization of anomalous features due to the climatic background. The advantage is noticeable in basic atmospheric variables, but is marginal in nonconservative diagnostic parameters and is lost in conservative diagnostic parameters. Sometimes a mix of total and anomaly fields works the best; for example, in the moist vorticity when anomalous vorticity combines with total moisture, it can depict the heavy rain area the best when comparing to either the purely total or purely anomalous moist vorticity. Based on this study, it is recommended that anomaly-based weather analysis could be a valuable supplement to the commonly used total-field-based approach. Anomalies can help a forecaster to more quickly identify where an abnormal weather event might occur as well as more easily pinpoint possible meteorological causes than a total field. However, one should not use the anomaly structure approach alone to explain the underlying dynamics without a total field.

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Weihong Qian, Jun Du, Xiaolong Shan, and Ning Jiang

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Properly including moisture effects into a dynamical parameter can significantly increase the parameter’s ability to diagnose heavy rain locations. The relative humidity–based weighting approach used to extend the moist potential vorticity (MPV) to the generalized moist potential vorticity (GMPV) is analyzed and demonstrates such an improvement. Following the same approach, two new diagnostic parameters, moist vorticity (MV) and moist divergence (MD), have been proposed in this study by incorporating moisture effects into the traditional vorticity and divergence. A regional heavy rain event that occurred along the Yangtze River on 1 July 1991 is used as a case study, and 41 daily regional heavy rain events during the notorious flooding year of 1998 in eastern China are used for a systematic evaluation. Results show that after the moisture effects were properly incorporated, the improved ability of all three parameters to capture a heavy rain area is significant (statistically at the 99% confidence level): the GMPV is improved over the MPV by 194%, the MD over the divergence by 60%, and the MV over the vorticity by 34% in terms of the threat score (TS). The average TS is 0.270 for the MD, 0.262 for the MV, and 0.188 for the GMPV. Application of the MV and MD to assess heavy rain potential is not intended to replace a complete, multiscale forecasting methodology; however, the results from this study suggest that the MV and MD could be used to postprocess a model forecast to potentially improve heavy rain location predictions.

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Yundi Jiang, Wenjie Dong, Song Yang, and Jun Ma

Abstract

The authors quantitatively describe the changes in the characteristics of ice phenology including the flow rate and freeze/breakup dates of the Yellow River based on observations of the past 50 yr. In both the upper and lower reaches of the Yellow River, increasing temperature delays the freeze date and advances the breakup date, thus decreasing the number of freeze days and the expanse of river freeze. From 1968 to 2001, the freeze duration has shortened significantly by 38 days at Bayangaole and 25 days at Sanhuhe, respectively. From the early 1950s to the early 2000s, the changes in freeze and breakup dates have shortened the freeze duration in the lower reach of the Yellow River by 12 days. The flow rate has reduced from 500 to 260 m3 s−1, and the expanse of river freeze has also decreased significantly by about 310 km. In addition, in the lower reach of the river, the location of earliest ice breakup has shifted downstream significantly in the last 50 yr, although the location of earliest freeze exhibits little change.

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Wenping Jiang, Ping Huang, Gang Huang, and Jun Ying

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An excessive westward extension of the simulated ENSO-related sea surface temperature (ENSO SST) variability in the CMIP5 and CMIP6 models is the most apparent ENSO SST pattern bias and dominates the intermodel spread in ENSO SST variability among the models. The ENSO SST bias lowers the models’ skill in ENSO-related simulations and induces large intermodel uncertainty in ENSO-related projections. The present study investigates the origins of the excessive westward extension of ENSO SST in 25 CMIP5 and 25 CMIP6 models. Based on the intermodel spread of ENSO SST variability simulated in the 50 models, we reveal that this ENSO SST bias among the models largely depends on the simulated cold tongue strength in the equatorial western Pacific (EWP). Models simulating a stronger cold tongue tend to simulate a larger mean zonal SST gradient in the EWP and then a larger zonal advection feedback in the EWP, favoring a more westward extension of the ENSO SST pattern. In addition, with the overall improvement in the EWP cold tongue from CMIP5 to CMIP6, the excessive westward extension bias of ENSO SST in CMIP6 models is also reduced relative to those in CMIP5 models. The results suggest that the bias and intermodel disagreement in the mean-state SST have been improved, which improves ENSO simulation.

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Zhuo Wang, Yujing Jiang, Hui Wan, Jun Yan, and Xuebin Zhang

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This paper improves an extreme-value-theory-based detection and attribution method and then applies it to four types of extreme temperatures, annual minimum daily minimum (TNn) and maximum (TXn) and annual maximum daily minimum (TNx) and maximum (TXx), using the HadEX2 observation and the CMIP5 multimodel simulation datasets of the period 1951–2010 at 17 subcontinent regions. The methodology is an analog of the fingerprinting method adapted to extremes using the generalized extreme value (GEV) distribution. The signals are estimated as the time-dependent location parameters of GEV distributions fitted to extremes simulated by multimodel ensembles under anthropogenic (ANT), natural (NAT), or combined anthropogenic and natural (ALL) external forcings. The observed extremes are modeled by GEV distributions whose location parameters incorporate the signals as covariates. A coordinate descent algorithm improves both computational efficiency and accuracy in comparison to the existing method, facilitating detection of multiple signals simultaneously. An overall goodness-of-fit test was performed at the regional level. The ANT signal was separated from the NAT signal in four to six regions. In these analyses, the waiting times of the 1951–55 20-yr return level in the 2006–10 climate for the temperature of the coldest night and day were found to have increased to over 20 yr; the corresponding waiting times for the warmest night and day were found to have dropped below 20 yr in a majority of the regions.

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Jun Jiang, Wei Yan, Shuo Ma, Yangyang Jie, Xiarong Zhang, Shensen Hu, Lei Fan, and Linyu Xia

Abstract

The day–night band (DNB) low-light-level visible sensor, mounted on the Suomi–National Polar-Orbiting Partnership (SNPP) satellite, can measure visible radiances from the earth and atmosphere (solar/lunar reflection, and natural/anthropogenic nighttime light emissions) during both day and night and can achieve unprecedented nighttime low-light-level imaging with its accurate radiometric calibration and fine spatiotemporal resolution. Based on the good characteristics of DNB, a multichannel threshold (MCT) algorithm combining DNB with other Visible–Infrared Imager–Radiometer Suite (VIIRS) channels is proposed to monitor nighttime fog/low stratus. Through a gradual separation of the underlying surface (land, vegetation, water bodies, and city lights), snow, and high/medium clouds, a fog/low-stratus region can ultimately be extracted by the algorithm. Then, the algorithmic feasibility is verified by three typical cases of heavy fog/low stratus in China. The experimental results demonstrate that the outcomes of the MCT algorithm approximately coincide with the ground-measured results. Furthermore, the MCT algorithm shows promise for nighttime fog/low-stratus detection in some example cases with about a 0.84 average probability of detection (POD), a 0.73 average critical success index (CSI), and a 0.15 average false alarm ratio (FAR), which reveals some improvement over the conventional dual-channel difference (DCD) algorithm.

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Shensen Hu, Shuo Ma, Wei Yan, Neil P. Hindley, Kai Xu, and Jun Jiang

Abstract

Atmospheric gravity waves are a kind of mesoscale disturbance, commonly found in the atmospheric system, that plays a key role in a series of mesospheric dynamic processes. When propagating to the upper atmosphere, the gravity waves will disturb the local temperature and density, and then modulate the intensity of the surrounding airglow radiation. As a result, the presence of gravity waves on a moonless night can usually cause the airglow to reveal ripple features in low-light images. In this paper we have applied a two-dimensional Stockwell transform technique (2DST) to airglow measurements from nighttime low-light images of the day–night band on the Suomi National Polar-Orbiting Partnership. To our knowledge this study is the first to measure localized mesospheric gravity wave brightness amplitudes, horizontal wavelengths, and propagation directions using such a method and data. We find that the method can characterize the general shape and amplitude of concentric gravity wave patterns, capturing the dominant features and directions with a good degree of accuracy. The key strength of our 2DST application is that our approach could be tuned and then automated in the future to process tens of thousands of low-light images, globally characterizing gravity wave parameters in this historically poorly studied layer of the atmosphere.

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Lei Wang, Zhi-Jun Yao, Li-Guang Jiang, Rui Wang, Shan-Shan Wu, and Zhao-Fei Liu

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The spatiotemporal changes in 21 indices of extreme temperature and precipitation for the Mongolian Plateau from 1951 to 2012 were investigated on the basis of daily temperature and precipitation data from 70 meteorological stations. Changes in catastrophic events, such as droughts, floods, and snowstorms, were also investigated for the same period. The correlations between catastrophic events and the extreme indices were examined. The results show that the Mongolian Plateau experienced an asymmetric warming trend. Both the cold extremes and warm extremes showed greater warming at night than in the daytime. The spatial changes in significant trends showed a good homogeneity and consistency in Inner Mongolia. Changes in the precipitation extremes were not as obvious as those in the temperature extremes. The spatial distributions in changes of precipitation extremes were complex. A decreasing trend was shown for total precipitation from west to east as based on the spatial distribution of decadal trends. Drought was the most serious extreme disaster, and prolonged drought for longer than 3 yr occurred about every 7–11 yr. An increasing trend in the disaster area was apparent for flood events from 1951 to 2012. A decreasing trend was observed for the maximum depth of snowfall from 1951 to 2012, with a decreased average maximum depth of 10 mm from the 1990s.

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Shuo Ma, Wei Yan, Yunxian Huang, Jun Jiang, Shensen Hu, and Yingqiang Wang

Abstract

Many quantitative uses of the nighttime imagery provided by low-light sensors, such as the day–night band (DNB) on board the Suomi–National Polar-Orbiting Partnership (SNPP), have emerged recently. Owing to the low nighttime radiance, low-light calibration at night must be investigated in detail. Traditional vicarious calibration methods are based on some targets with nearly invariant surface properties under lunar illumination. However, the relatively stable light emissions may also be used to realize the radiometric calibration under low light. This paper presents a low-light calibration method based on bridge lights, and Visible Infrared Imaging Radiometer Suite (VIIRS) DNB data are used to assess the proposed method. A comparison of DNB high-gain-stage (HGS) radiances over a 2-yr period from August 2012 to July 2014 demonstrates that the predictions are consistent with the observations, and the agreement between the predictions and the observations is on the order of −2.9% with an uncertainty of 9.3% (1σ) for the Hangzhou Bay Bridge and −3.9% with an uncertainty of 7.2% (1σ) for the Donghai Bridge. Such a calibration method based on stable light emissions has a wide application prospect for the calibration of low-light sensors at night.

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