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Lejiang Yu and Shiyuan Zhong

Abstract

Strong wind events (SWEs) over Antarctica and its surrounding oceans are investigated using gridded surface wind data from the ERA-Interim for the 1979–2017 period. Throughout the year, SWEs are more prevalent over the coastal region of East Antarctica where mean surface wind speeds are also higher. The occurrences of SWEs appear to be accompanied by positive anomalies in surface temperature and negative (positive) anomalies in mean sea level pressure related to cyclone (anticyclone) activity over the Ronne and Ross Ice Shelves and coastal regions (the inland areas of East Antarctica). The interannual variability of the SWE occurrences appears to be related to the southern annular mode (SAM) and, to a lesser degree, ENSO. The trends of SWE in the recent four decades exhibit considerable regional variations that are consistent with the trends in seasonal mean wind speed and surface air temperature, and can be largely explained by the variations in the sea level pressure trends across the region.

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Lejiang Yu, Shiyuan Zhong, Xindi Bian, and Warren E. Heilman

Abstract

This study examines the spatial and temporal variability of wind speed at 80 m above ground (the average hub height of most modern wind turbines) in the contiguous United States using Climate Forecast System Reanalysis (CFSR) data from 1979 to 2011. The mean 80-m wind exhibits strong seasonality and large spatial variability, with higher (lower) wind speeds in the winter (summer), and higher (lower) speeds over much of the Midwest and U.S. Northeast (U.S. West and Southeast). Trends are also variable spatially, with more upward trends in areas of the Great Plains and Intermountain West of the United States and more downward trends elsewhere. The leading EOF mode, which accounts for 20% (summer) to 33% (winter) of the total variance and represents in-phase variations across the United States, responds mainly to the North Atlantic Oscillation (NAO) in summer and El Niño–Southern Oscillation (ENSO) in the other seasons. The dominant variation pattern can be explained by a southerly/southwesterly (westerly) anomaly over the U.S. East (U.S. West) as a result of the anomalous mean sea level pressure (MSLP) pattern. The second EOF mode, which explains about 15% of the total variance and shows a seesaw pattern, is mainly related to the springtime Arctic Oscillation (AO), the summertime recurrent circumglobal teleconnection (CGT), the autumn Pacific decadal oscillation (PDO), and the winter El Niño Modoki. The anomalous jet stream and MSLP patterns associated with these indices are responsible for the wind variation.

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Lejiang Yu, Qinghua Yang, Timo Vihma, Svetlana Jagovkina, Jiping Liu, Qizhen Sun, and Yubin Li

Abstract

Observed daily precipitation data were used to investigate the characteristics of precipitation at Antarctic Progress Station and synoptic patterns associated with extreme precipitation events during the period 2003–16. The annual precipitation, annual number of extreme precipitation events, and amount of precipitation during the extreme events have positive trends. The distribution of precipitation at Progress Station is heavily skewed with a long tail of extreme dry days and a high peak of extreme wet days. The synoptic pattern associated with extreme precipitation events is a dipole structure of negative and positive height anomalies to the west and east of Progress Station, respectively, resulting in water vapor advection to the station. For the first time, we apply self-organizing maps (SOMs) to examine thermodynamic and dynamic perspectives of trends in the frequency of occurrence of Antarctic extreme precipitation events. The changes in thermodynamic (noncirculation) processes explain 80% of the trend, followed by the changes in the interaction between thermodynamic and dynamic processes, which account for nearly 25% of the trend. The changes in dynamic processes make a negative (less than 5%) contribution to the trend. The positive trend in total column water vapor over the Southern Ocean explains the change of thermodynamic term.

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Lejiang Yu, Shiyuan Zhong, Xindi Bian, Warren E. Heilman, and Joseph J. Charney

Abstract

The Haines index (HI) is a fire-weather index that is widely used as an indicator of the potential for dry, low-static-stability air in the lower atmosphere to contribute to erratic fire behavior or large fire growth. This study examines the interannual variability of HI over North America and its relationship to indicators of large-scale circulation anomalies. The results show that the first three HI empirical orthogonal function modes are related respectively to El Niño–Southern Oscillation (ENSO), the Arctic Oscillation (AO), and the interdecadal sea surface temperature variation over the tropical Pacific Ocean. During the negative ENSO phase, an anomalous ridge (trough) is evident over the western (eastern) United States, with warm/dry weather and more days with high HI values in the western and southeastern United States. During the negative phase of the AO, an anomalous trough is found over the western United States, with wet/cool weather and fewer days with high HI, while an anomalous ridge occurs over the southern United States–northern Mexico, with an increase in the number of days with high HI. After the early 1990s, the subtropical high over the eastern Pacific Ocean and the Bermuda high were strengthened by a wave train that was excited over the tropical western Pacific Ocean and resulted in warm/dry conditions over the southwestern United States and western Mexico and wet weather in the southeastern United States. The above conditions are reversed during the positive phase of ENSO and AO and before the early 1990s.

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Lejiang Yu, Shiyuan Zhong, Mingyu Zhou, Donald H. Lenschow, and Bo Sun

Abstract

The sharp decline of Arctic sea ice in recent decades has captured the attention of the climate science community. A majority of climate analyses performed to date have used monthly or seasonal data. Here, however, we analyze daily sea ice data for 1979–2016 using the self-organizing map (SOM) method to further examine and quantify the contributions of atmospheric circulation changes to the melt-season Arctic sea ice variability. Our results reveal two main variability modes: the Pacific sector mode and the Barents and Kara Seas mode, which together explain about two-thirds of the melt-season Arctic sea ice variability and more than 40% of its trend for the study period. The change in the frequencies of the two modes appears to be associated with the phase shift of the Pacific decadal oscillation (PDO) and the Atlantic multidecadal oscillation (AMO). The PDO and AMO trigger anomalous atmospheric circulations, in particular, the Greenland high and the North Atlantic Oscillation and anomalous warm and cold air advections into the Arctic Ocean. The changes in surface air temperature, lower-atmosphere moisture, and downwelling longwave radiation associated with the advection are consistent with the melt-season sea ice anomalies observed in various regions of the Arctic Ocean. These results help better understand the predictability of Arctic sea ice on multiple (synoptic, intraseasonal, and interannual) time scales.

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Lejiang Yu, Shiyuan Zhong, Mingyu Zhou, Bo Sun, and Donald H. Lenschow

Abstract

The potential mechanisms underlying the observed increasing trend in Antarctic summertime sea ice cover for the 1979–2017 period have been investigated using a relatively novel method called the self-organizing map (SOM). Among the nine nodes generated to explain the variability of Antarctic sea ice cover, two (nodes 3 and 7) exhibit a statistically significant linear trend in the time series of the frequency of the SOM pattern occurrence that together explain 40% of the total trend in the sea ice cover. These two nodes have completely opposite spatial patterns and directions of trend and are associated with different atmospheric circulation patterns. Node 3, which represents an increase in sea ice over the Weddell Sea and the eastern Ross Sea and a decrease over the other coastal seas of West Antarctica, appears to be related to the positive phase of the southern annular mode (SAM) linked with the La Niña pattern of sea surface temperature (SST) over the tropical Pacific Ocean. The opposite spatial pattern and trend represented by node 7 is associated with a wave train originating over northern Australia. The anomalous wind field, surface downward longwave radiation, and surface air temperature generated by these circulation patterns are consistent with the spatial pattern and overall trends in the Antarctic sea ice cover.

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