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Stephen D. Eckermann, Jun Ma, and Dave Broutman

Abstract

Numerical transform solutions for hydrostatic gravity waves generated by both uniform and sheared flow over elliptical obstacles are used to quantify effects of horizontal geometrical spreading on amplitude evolution with height. Both vertical displacement and steepness amplitudes are considered because of their close connections to drag parameterizations in weather and climate models. Novel diagnostics quantify the location and value of the largest wavefield amplitudes most likely to break at each altitude. These horizontal locations do not stray far from the obstacle peak even at high altitudes. Resulting vertical profiles of wave amplitude are normalized to remove density and refraction effects, thereby quantifying the horizontal geometrical spreading contribution, currently absent from parameterizations. Horizontal geometrical spreading produces monotonic amplitude decreases with height through wave-action conservation as waves propagate into progressively larger horizontal areas. Accumulated amplitude reductions are appreciable for all but the most quasi-two-dimensional obstacles with long axes orthogonal to the flow, and even these are impacted appreciably if the obstacle is rotated by more than 20°–30°. Profiles are insensitive to the obstacle’s functional form but vary strongly in response to changes in its horizontal aspect ratio. Responses to background winds are captured by a vertical coordinate transformation that remaps profiles to a universal form for a given obstacle. These results show that horizontal geometrical spreading has comparable or larger effects on wave amplitudes as the refraction of vertical wavenumbers and thus is important for accurate parameterizations of wave breaking and drag.

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Stephen D. Eckermann, Dave Broutman, Jun Ma, and John Lindeman

Abstract

A time-dependent generalization of a Fourier-ray method is presented and tested for fast numerical computation of high-resolution nonhydrostatic mountain-wave fields. The method is used to model mountain waves from Jan Mayen on 25 January 2000, a period when wavelike cloud banding was observed long distances downstream of the island by the Advanced Very High Resolution Radiometer Version 3 (AVHRR-3). Surface weather patterns show intensifying surface geostrophic winds over the island at 1200 UTC caused by rapid eastward passage of a compact low pressure system. The 1200 UTC wind profiles over the island increase with height to a jet maximum of ∼60–70 m s−1, yielding Scorer parameters that indicate vertical trapping of any short wavelength mountain waves. Separate Fourier-ray solutions were computed using high-resolution Jan Mayen orography and 1200 UTC vertical profiles of winds and temperatures over the island from a radiosonde sounding and an analysis system. The radiosonde-based simulations produce a purely diverging trapped wave solution that reproduces the salient features in the AVHRR-3 imagery. Differences in simulated wave patterns governed by the radiosonde and analysis profiles are explained in terms of resonant modes and are corroborated by spatial ray-group trajectories computed for wavenumbers along the resonant mode curves. Output from a nonlinear Lipps–Hemler orographic flow model also compares well with the Fourier-ray solution horizontally. Differences in vertical cross sections are ascribed to the Fourier-ray model’s current omission of tunneling of trapped wave energy through evanescent layers.

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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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Kun Yang, Jun Qin, Xiaofeng Guo, Degang Zhou, and Yaoming Ma

Abstract

To clarify the thermal forcing of the Tibetan Plateau, long-term coarse-temporal-resolution data from the China Meteorological Administration have been widely used to estimate surface sensible heat flux by bulk methods in many previous studies; however, these estimates have seldom been evaluated against observations. This study at first evaluates three widely used bulk schemes against Tibet instrumental flux data. The evaluation shows that large uncertainties exist in the heat flux estimated by these schemes; in particular, upward heat fluxes in winter may be significantly underestimated, because diurnal variations of atmospheric stability were not taken into account. To improve the estimate, a new method is developed to disaggregate coarse-resolution meteorological data to hourly according to statistical relationships derived from high-resolution experimental data, and then sensible heat flux is estimated from the hourly data by a well-validated flux scheme. Evaluations against heat flux observations in summer and against net radiation observations in winter indicate that the new method performs much better than previous schemes, and therefore it provides a robust basis for quantifying the Tibetan surface energy budget.

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Dave Broutman, Jun Ma, Stephen D. Eckermann, and John Lindeman

Abstract

The Fourier-ray method involves ray tracing in a Fourier-transform domain. The ray solutions are then Fourier synthesized to produce a spatial solution. Here previous steady-state developments of the Fourier-ray method are extended to include a transient source of mountain waves. The method is illustrated with an initial value problem in which the background flow is started abruptly from rest and then maintained at steady velocity. The resulting wave transience is modeled in a simple way. All rays that radiate from the mountain, including the initial rays, are assigned the full amplitude of the longtime steady-state solution. Time dependence comes in through the changing position of the initial rays. This is sufficient to account for wave transience in a test case, as demonstrated by comparison with simulations from a mesoscale numerical model.

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Jun Yang, Weitao Lu, Ying Ma, and Wen Yao

Abstract

Cloud detection is a basic research for achieving cloud-cover state and other cloud characteristics. Because of the influence of sunlight, the brightness of sky background on the ground-based cloud image is usually nonuniform, which increases the difficulty for cirrus cloud detection, and few detection methods perform well for thin cirrus clouds. This paper presents an effective background estimation method to eliminate the influence of variable illumination conditions and proposes a background subtraction adaptive threshold method (BSAT) to detect cirrus clouds in visible images for the small field of view and mixed clear–cloud scenes. The BSAT algorithm consists of red-to-blue band operation, background subtraction, adaptive threshold selection, and binarization. The experimental results show that the BSAT algorithm is robust for all types of cirrus clouds, and the quantitative evaluation results demonstrate that the BSAT algorithm outperforms the fixed threshold (FT) and adaptive threshold (AT) methods in cirrus cloud detection.

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Ge Chen, Jun Ma, Chaoyang Fang, and Yong Han

Abstract

A detailed study on global oceanic precipitation is carried out using the simultaneous TOPEX and TMR (TOPEX Microwave Radiometer) data. It is motivated by the success of a series of feasibility studies based on a few years of TOPEX–TMR data, and the availability of a decade-long new dataset that spans 1992–2002. In this context, a previously proposed rain probability index is improved by taking into account the difference of the dynamic range of the TOPEX-measured backscatter coefficients at the Ku and C bands and the latitudinally complementary sensitivities of the TOPEX and TMR rain detections, leading to a refined joint precipitation index, which is generally consistent and quantitatively comparable with existing precipitation climatologies from the Global Precipitation Climatology Project (GPCP) and the Comprehensive Ocean–Atmosphere Data Set (COADS). The new TOPEX–TMR precipitation climatology, on the one hand, confirms the fundamental features of global oceanic rainfall with additional details, and, on the other hand, reveals a number of interesting characteristics that are previously unknown or poorly defined. 1) The spatial variability of the western Pacific “rain pool” (the atmospheric counterpart of the oceanic warm pool) is characterized by an interannual zonal migration, an annual cycle of meridional seesaw, and a semiannual cycle of expansion and shrinking. 2) The Pacific, Atlantic, and Indian Ocean intertropical convergence zones (ITCZs) all have an annual cycle of cross-basin oscillation with east and west stops in JJA and DJF, respectively. 3) A well-defined prominent rainy zone is observed in the southeast China Seas around Taiwan Island, connecting with the Pacific rain pool in the south. 4) Between El Niño and La Niña years, there is a systematic sign reversal of the geographical distribution of precipitation anomaly, which exists globally rather than in the tropical oceans only. 5) On a global basis, interannual and annual precipitation variabilities are of the same magnitude, but the interannual (annual) component is more important for the Southern (Northern) Hemisphere. 6) For the tropical oceans, “season” defined by rainfall usually has a one-quarter delay with respect to the corresponding meteorological season. For the “marine deserts” in the subtropical oceans, however, the rain-based season is found to be anticorrelated with the meteorological season. In addition, the annual cycle of the Atlantic precipitation is nearly 180° out of phase with respect to that of the Pacific and Indian Ocean for the same hemisphere.

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Stephen D. Eckermann, John P. McCormack, Jun Ma, Timothy F. Hogan, and Katherine A. Zawdie

Abstract

Past investigations have documented large divergent wind anomalies in stratospheric reanalyses over steep terrain, which were attributed to discretization errors produced by the terrain-following (sigma) vertical coordinate in the forecast model. However, forecasting experiments have reported negligible differences in skill between sigma- and hybrid-coordinate models. This leads to the paradoxical conclusion that discretization errors in the forecast model yield significant stratospheric analysis errors, but insignificant stratospheric forecast errors. The authors reexamine this issue by performing two forecast-assimilation experiments that are identical except for the vertical coordinate: one uses a sigma coordinate and the other uses a hybrid coordinate. The sigma-coordinate analyses exhibit large divergent wind anomalies over terrain that extend from the surface to the model top and distort explicitly resolved orographic gravity waves. Above the tropopause, divergent wind errors are suppressed by an order of magnitude or more in the hybrid-coordinate analyses. Over a 3-month period, stratospheric skill scores in the hybrid experiment show statistically significant improvements relative to the sigma experiment. Previous studies, which found no such differences, all used forecasts initialized from a common archived analysis. The results show that the dominant pathway for error growth and net skill impacts is via 0–9-h forecast backgrounds cycling successively through the data assimilation phase without significant observational correction. The skill impacts noted here should further motivate weather and climate models to adopt a hybrid coordinate with the best error suppression characteristics for a given modeling application.

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Zhongshui Zou, Dongliang Zhao, Jun A. Zhang, Shuiqing Li, Yinhe Cheng, Haibin Lv, and Xin Ma

Abstract

The anomalous phenomena induced by the prevailing swell at low wind speeds prevent a complete understanding of air–sea interaction processes. Many studies have considered this complex problem, but most have focused on near-neutral conditions. In this study, the influence of the swell on the atmospheric boundary under nonneutral conditions was addressed by extending the turbulent closure models of Makin and Kudryavtsev and the Monin–Obukhov similarity theory (MOST; Monin and Yaglom) to the existence of swell and nonneutral conditions. It was shown that wind profiles derived from these models were consistent with each other and both departed from the traditional MOST. At low wind speeds, a supergeostrophic jet appeared on the upper edge of the wave boundary layer, which was also reported in earlier studies. Under nonneutral conditions, the influence of buoyancy was significant. The slope of the wind profile increased under stable conditions and became smoother under unstable conditions. Considering the effects of buoyancy and swell, the wind stress derived from the model agreed quantitatively with the observations.

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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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