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K-M. Lau and L. Peng

Abstract

This is the third in a series of papers to study the origin of intraseasonal oscillations. In this paper, we address the issue of the interaction of the monsoon large-scale circulation and intraseasonal oscillations. We show that as a result of the interaction of the large scale monsoon flow with the near-equatorial intraseasonal oscillation, unstable baroclinic disturbances are generated over the monsoon region. These disturbances have spatial scales of approximately 3000–4000 km and periods of 5–6 days with the vertical wave axis tilting eastward with height. The rapid development of these cyclonic disturbances along 15°–20°N and the concomitant weakening of the equatorial disturbances are accompanied by the rapid northward shift of the rising branch of the local Hadley circulation. They may also be identified with the observed sudden jump of the Mei-yu rainband over East Asia and the inverse relationship between the monsoon ITCZ and the equatorial ITCZ over India and East Asia.

From a linear stability analysis of quasi-geostrophic motion in a two-level model, it is shown that the westward propagating disturbances generated over the monsoon region are the manifestation of heat-induced unstable Rossby waves. The instability is favored in the region with large vertical wind shear and reduced effective static stability. The monsoon large scale circulation over India and southeast Asia and the plentiful supply of moisture in the region appear to be favorable for the development of these unstable waves. It is argued that the prevailing easterly waves found over the subtropical western Pacific during northern summer may also be due to the above unstable Rossby wave mechanism.

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Peng Xian and Ron L. Miller

Abstract

Although the maximum of solar radiation at the top of the atmosphere moves gradually from one hemisphere to the other as part of the seasonal cycle, the intertropical convergence zone (ITCZ) moves abruptly into the summer hemisphere. An axisymmetric circulation model is developed to study this rapid transition. The model consists of an upper and lower layer of the Hadley circulation (HC), with the surface layer attached to a slab ocean and the lower layer connected to the upper layer by a constant lapse rate. The model is forced by solar heating, and the ITCZ is prescribed to coincide with the warmest sea surface temperature (SST). The collocation of tropical rainfall with warm SST allows the model ITCZ migration to be understood in terms of the relative influence of solar heating and atmospheric dynamics upon ocean temperature. Atmospheric dynamics allow the ITCZ to move off the equator by flattening the meridional temperature gradient that would exist in radiative–convective equilibrium. For the present-day tropical oceanic mixed layer depth and ITCZ width, the model exhibits an abrupt seasonal transition of the ITCZ across the equator. It is found that there are two determinative factors on the abrupt transition of the ITCZ: the nonlinear meridional advection of angular momentum by the circulation and ocean thermal inertia. As a result of nonlinear dynamics, angular momentum is well mixed, resulting in minimum atmospheric temperature at the equator and a similar equatorial minimum in SST. This inhibits convection over the equator while favoring a rapid seasonal transition of the ITCZ between the warmer surface water on either side of this latitude.

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K-M. Lau and L. Peng

Abstract

A theory of the origin of intraseasonal oscillations of the tropical atmosphere is presented and tested by simple model experiments. This study forces on the validation of the basic theory against key features of the observed 40–50 day oscillation. It is shown that the observed eastward propagation of intraseasonal oscillation in the tropical atmosphere arises as an intrinsic mode of oscillation resulting from an interaction of convection and dynamics via the so-called “mobile” wave-CISK mechanism. Through this mechanism, the heat source feeds on the east-west asymmetry of forced equatorial waves. As a result, Kelvin waves are selectively amplified, which in turn causes the heat source to propagate eastward. This mechanism also prevents small-scale waves from immediate destabilization, contrary to the results of traditional wave-CISK theory. The “mobile” wave-CISK establishes a new dynamics equilibrium state between convection and the wind field to form a wave packet or collective motion with relatively fixed horizontal and vertical structure. Relative to the steady state solutions with stationary heat source the new equilibrium state has suppressed Rossby-wave resonance to the west and enhanced Kelvin-wave response to the propagating heat source.

Results also suggest that the periodicity of the oscillation is determined by the time taken for the Kelvin wave to complete one circuit around the globe in the equatorial region. The propagation speed (∼19 m s−1) of the model disturbance, which is about twice as fast as the observed, is found to coincide with the real part of the complex phase speed of the model's unstable normal mode modified by internal heating. The speed and the growth rate are dependent on the vertical structure of the heating profile and the static stability of the basic gate. In addition to the eastward propagation, many observed features, such as pressure and wind distribution, amplitude modulation by SST, and dominance of low wavenumber response, are well simulated in the idealized experiments. The theory also predicts that the low-frequency disturbance should have a westward tilt with height. This is partially confirmed in real observation and in GCM simulations. While the basic theory appears to explain some fundamental feature of the 40–50 day oscillation, large discrepancies still exist The possibility of examining further detailed features of the oscillation in the present theoretical framework is also discussed.

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L. Peng, S.-T. Wang, S.-L. Shieh, M.-D. Cheng, and T.-C. Yeh

Abstract

Surface tracks of some cross-Taiwan tropical cyclones were discontinuous as a result of the blockage of the north-northeast–south-southwest-oriented Central Mountain Range (CMR). This paper tries to identify the variables that may be used to diagnose track continuity in advance. The track records of 131 westbound cross-Taiwan tropical cyclones between 1897 and 2009 are examined. It is found that the track continuity of a westbound cross-Taiwan tropical cyclone depends mostly upon the landfall location (YLF), the approaching direction (ANG), and the maximum wind (VMX) of the cyclone. According to the empirical probability of track continuity estimated from the data, the dependence on YLF, which is nonlinear and remarkably asymmetric with respect to the midpoint of the east coast, may be well approximated by a quadratic function of YLF. The nonlinearity and asymmetry can be interpreted in terms of the length scale of the CMR and the north–south antisymmetry of the cyclonic flow. The estimated dependence of track continuity on cyclone intensity and size may be approximated by a linear function of VMX. The estimated dependence of track continuity on ANG may be approximated by a single term of the modified variable DIR (=|ANG − 110|, where 110 is the direction, in degrees, perpendicular to the CMR’s long axis).

Using the 64 tracks between 1944 and 1996 as the training sample, a logistic regression equation model, built in terms of YLF, YLF square, DIR, and VMX gives an overall accuracy score of 89%. As to the probability estimates of individual tracks, 49 of the 64 tracks have estimated probabilities outside the (0.5 − 0.127, 0.5 + 0.127) RMS error range and are correctly classified. A prediction test using another set of 67 tracks not included in the model-training sample, scores a success rate of 82%. As to the probability predictions for individual tracks, 49 of the 67 tracks have predicted probabilities outside the RMS error range and are correctly predicted. These results confirm the appropriateness of the model and moreover demonstrate that the three parameters, YLF, DIR, and VMX, primarily control the surface track continuity of a westbound tropical cyclone crossing Taiwan.

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M. L. Yu, F. X. Giraldo, M. Peng, and Z. J. Wang

Abstract

Gibbs oscillation can show up near flow regions with strong temperature gradients in the numerical simulation of nonhydrostatic mesoscale atmospheric flows when using the high-order discontinuous Galerkin (DG) method. The authors propose to incorporate flow-feature-based localized Laplacian artificial viscosity in the DG framework to suppress the spurious oscillation in the vicinity of sharp thermal fronts but not to contaminate the smooth flow features elsewhere. The parameters in the localized Laplacian artificial viscosity are modeled based on both physical criteria and numerical features of the DG discretization. The resulting numerical formulation is first validated on several shock-involved test cases, including a shock discontinuity problem with the one-dimensional Burger’s equation, shock–entropy wave interaction, and shock–vortex interaction. Then the efficacy of the developed numerical formulation on stabilizing thermal fronts in nonhydrostatic mesoscale atmospheric modeling is demonstrated by two benchmark test cases: the rising thermal bubble problem and the density current problem. The results indicate that the proposed flow-feature-based localized Laplacian artificial viscosity method can sharply detect the nonsmooth flow features, and stabilize the DG discretization nearby. Furthermore, the numerical stabilization method works robustly for a wide range of grid sizes and polynomial orders without parameter tuning in the localized Laplacian artificial viscosity.

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L. Peng, C-H. Sui, K-M. Lau, and W-K. Tao

Abstract

A two-dimensional cloud ensemble model is integrated over a basin-scale domain with prescribed sea surface temperature (SST), to study the formation and evolution of cloud clusters over a large-scale warm pool. Neither a basic zonal flow is prescribed nor is a single perturbation initially given. The results show that deep convective clouds appear in hierarchical clustered patterns and are limited to the area of warm SST above 28°C. The most fundamental cloud cluster in the model has a horizontal scale of a few hundred kilometers, in which new cumulus clouds are generated at the leading edge of a propagating surface cold-air pool—the “gust front.” It may last for days and propagate for a long distance if the background flow is broad and persistent as is the case in the low-level convergence zone of the SST-induced background flow.

The largest hierarchical propagating cloud systems in the model have horizontal scales up to 3000 km and consist of up to four cloud clusters that are generally of gust front type. The constituent cloud clusters are generated intermittently and have life spans of 12–36 h. The internal heating of the constituent clusters collectively induces an overall troposphere-deep gravity wave. The overall wave travels in the direction of the tropospheric deep shear at a speed determined by the thermodynamic asymmetry in the wave created by the transition from warm and moist incoming air in the front to drier and cooler air in the rear.

The development of new cumulus clusters in the front region of the hierarchical system is due to the combined effect of the overall wave and the gravity waves excited by the constituent clusters on the lower-tropospheric stability. When there are no interruptions from outside the cloud system, new cloud clusters developed intermittently from shallow disturbances hundreds of kilometers ahead of the existing deep convection. The resulting hierarchical cloud pattern resembles the observed equatorial super cloud cluster (SCC) in the time–longitude diagram. However, the life spans of the constituent clusters of the system are shorter than that in the observed SCC.

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Shiling Peng, L. A. Mysak, J. Derome, H. Ritchie, and B. Dugas

Abstract

Using an atmospheric global spectral model, it is shown that the winter atmosphere in the midlatitudes is capable of reacting to prescribed sea surface temperature (SST) anomalies in the northwest Atlantic with two very different responses. The nature of the response is determined by the climatological conditions of the winter regime. Experiments are performed using either the perpetual November or January conditions with or without the prescribed SST anomalies.

Warm SST anomalies in November result in a highly significant anomalous ridge downstream over the Atlantic with a nearly equivalent barotropic structure; in January, the response is a statistically less significant trough. The presence of the SST anomalies also causes a northward (southward) shift of the Atlantic storm track in the November (January) cases. A diagnostic analysis of the anomalous heat advection in the simulations reveals that in the January cases, the surface heating is offset primarily by the strong horizontal cold advection in the lower troposphere. In the November cases, there is a vitally important vertical heat advection through which a potential positive ocean-atmosphere feedback was found. The positive air temperature anomalies exhibit a deep vertical penetration in the November cases but not in the January cases.

The simulated atmospheric responses to the warm SST anomalies in the November and January cases are found to be in qualitative agreement with the observational results using 50-yr ( 1930-1979) records. The atmospheric responses to the cold SST anomalies in the simulations are found to be insignificant.

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Ge Peng, Lei Shi, Steve T. Stegall, Jessica L. Matthews, and Christopher W. Fairall

Abstract

The accuracy of cloud-screened 2-m air temperatures derived from the intersatellite-calibrated brightness temperatures based on the High Resolution Infrared Radiation Sounder (HIRS) measurements on board the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) Polar-Orbiting Operational Environmental Satellite (POES) series is evaluated by comparing HIRS air temperatures to 1-yr quality-controlled measurements collected during the Surface Heat Budget of the Arctic Ocean (SHEBA) project (October 1997–September 1998). The mean error between collocated HIRS and SHEBA 2-m air temperature is found to be on the order of 1°C, with a slight sensitivity to spatial and temporal radii for collocation. The HIRS temperatures capture well the temporal variability of SHEBA temperatures, with cross-correlation coefficients higher than 0.93, all significant at the 99.9% confidence level. More than 87% of SHEBA temperature variance can be explained by linear regression of collocated HIRS temperatures. The analysis found a strong dependency of mean temperature errors on cloud conditions observed during SHEBA, indicating that availability of an accurate cloud mask in the region is essential to further improve the quality of HIRS near-surface air temperature products. This evaluation establishes a baseline of accuracy of HIRS temperature retrievals, providing users with information on uncertainty sources and estimates. It is a first step toward development of a new long-term 2-m air temperature product in the Arctic that utilizes intersatellite-calibrated remote sensing data from the HIRS instrument.

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Russell L. Elsberry, Eric A. Hendricks, Christopher S. Velden, Michael M. Bell, Melinda Peng, Eleanor Casas, and Qingyun Zhao

Abstract

A dynamic initialization assimilation scheme is demonstrated utilizing rapid-scan atmospheric motion vectors (AMVs) at 15-min intervals to simulate the real-time capability that now exists from the new generation of geostationary meteorological satellites. The impacts of these AMVs are validated with special Tropical Cyclone Intensity Experiment (TCI-15) datasets during 1200–1800 UTC 4 October leading up to a NASA WB-57 eyewall crossing of Hurricane Joaquin. Incorporating the AMV fields in the Spline Analysis at Mesoscale Utilizing Radar and Aircraft Instrumentation (SAMURAI) COAMPS Dynamic Initialization (SCDI) means there are 30 and 90 time steps on the 15- and 5-km grids, respectively, during which the mass fields are adjusted to these AMV-based wind increments during each 15-min assimilation period. The SCDI analysis of the three-dimensional vortex structure of Joaquin at 1800 UTC 4 October closely replicates the vortex tilt analyzed from the High-Definition Sounding System (HDSS) dropwindsondes. Vertical wind shears based on the AMVs at 15-min intervals are well correlated with the extreme rapid decay, an interruption of that rapid decay, and the subsequent period of constant intensity of Joaquin. Utilizing the SCDI analysis as the initial conditions for two versions of the COAMPS-TC model results in an accurate 72-h prediction of the interruption of the rapid decay and the period of constant intensity. Upscaling a similar SCDI analysis based on the 15-min interval AMVs provides a more realistic intensity and structure of Tropical Storm Joaquin for the initial conditions of the Navy Global Environmental Model (NAVGEM) than the synthetic TC vortex used operationally. This demonstration for a single 6-h period of AMVs indicates the potential for substantial impacts when an end-to-end cycling version is developed.

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J. Li, J. Steppeler, F. Fang, C. C. Pain, J. Zhu, X. Peng, L. Dong, Y. Li, L. Tao, W. Leng, Y. Wang, and J. Zheng
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