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David H. Bromwich, Lesheng Bai, and Gudmundur G. Bjarnason
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Shou-Jun Chen, Le-Sheng Bai, and Ernest C. Kung

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To explicitly describe the energy exchange between meso and synoptic-scale motions, a diagnostic scheme of kinetic energy has been developed. By using a horizontal filtering technique, meteorological variables are separated into synoptic and mesoscale components. A set of budget equations are derived for the kinetic energy of synoptic scale motion V̂, the kinetic energy K′ of mesoscale motion V′, and the scalar product V̂·V′.

The scheme is applied to diagnose a severe rainstorm case over northern China during summer. The results show that the scale interactions between wind and height fields produce V̂·V′, which transfers kinetic energy to and K′. The term V̂·V′ thus acts as a medium in scale interactions conveying the energy between meso- and synoptic-scale motions and the potential energy source residing in the mass field.

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Shou-Jun Chen, Le-sheng Bai, and Stanley L. Barnes

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A real-time quasi-geostrophic omega diagnostic scheme, based on Hoskins' Q-vector analysis and developed by Barnes, was applied to a cold mesoscale vortex with severe convection over northeast China in summer. The limited area model used at the Beijing Weather Center did not predict this event because the baroclinic forcing was rather weak, but the Q-vector analysis clearly indicated the forcing 12 h before. In addition to Barnes' diagnostics, we estimate divergence tendency in low levels through computation of the rotational component of the Q-vector. Combined with the diagnosed stability tendency, moisture analysis, and low-level wind convergence zone, the convective area can be identified. This microcomputer diagnostic-graphics scheme, when coupled with intelligent use of conventional data, has potential as an aid for local short-range weather forecasting.

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David H. Bromwich, Lesheng Bai, and Gudmundur G. Bjarnason

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High-resolution regional climate simulations of Iceland for 1991–2000 have been performed using the fifth-generation Pennsylvania State University–National Center for Atmospheric Research (PSU–NCAR) Mesocale Model (MM5) modified for use in polar regions (Polar MM5) with three nested domains and short-duration integrations. The simulated results are compared with monthly mean surface observations from Iceland for 1991–2000 to demonstrate the high level of model performance; correlation coefficients exceed 0.9 for most variables considered.

The simulation results are used to analyze the near-surface climate over Iceland. The simulated near-surface winds in winter are primarily katabatic. The land–sea-breeze circulation is clearly evident in summer. The land is colder than the ocean during winter, with a strong (weak) temperature gradient along the southern (northern) coast. This temperature pattern over the sloping terrain forces the katabatic wind. The diurnal cycle of near-surface air temperature is marked in summer over the land areas, which drives the land–sea breeze. The near-surface climate variations for extremes of the North Atlantic Oscillation (NAO) index during winter and summer result from the large-scale atmospheric advection conditions.

The time-averaged mesoscale precipitation distribution over Iceland is reasonably well simulated by Polar MM5. Winter precipitation rates are double those during the summer, reflecting the much greater winter cyclonic activity. The simulated interannual precipitation variations during winter for 1991–2000 agree with those observed from snow accumulation measurements on the Vatnajökull ice cap. The winter precipitation decrease for 1991–2000 dominates the annual signal for all of Iceland except the northeastern and eastern parts where the precipitation increases. The large precipitation trends (decadal decrease of up to 50%) are caused by the eastward shift and weakening of the Icelandic low during the 1990s, as a result of changes in the NAO modulation of regional climate.

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Qiu-shi Chen, David H. Bromwich, and Lesheng Bai

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In order to calculate the vertical motion over some high mountain regions, such as Greenland, an ω-equation without the quasigeostrophic approximation in σ-coordinates has been developed. A dynamic method for retrieving precipitation over Greenland is based on this ω-equation. The retrieved annual mean precipitation distribution for 1987 and 1988 is in very good agreement with the observed annual accumulation pattern over the Greenland Ice Sheet.

The major weather system producing precipitation over Greenland is the frontal cyclone. Based on the precipitation characteristics, Greenland can be divided into five subregions. Precipitation over the north coastal and central interior regions primarily occurs in summer. For the three other subregions, if the composite monthly mean sea level pressure charts for high and low monthly precipitation amounts are constructed, a clear relationship between precipitation and cyclonic activity emerges. If a mean cyclone exists in the Labrador Sea, heavy precipitation will fall over Greenland during that month. By contrast, if a mean cyclone exists near Iceland, precipitation over Greenland will be reduced. This is an important relationship between Greenland precipitation and cyclonic activity.

The cyclonic tracks near Greenland are established. A synoptic example is used to show the relation between precipitation and a cyclone moving up the west side of Greenland (track B) combined with movement across the southern tip of the island (track C). In this example, lee cyclogenesis is caused by the southern part of the Greenland Ice Sheet. The lee cyclone develops on the east coast along track C. During lee cyclogenesis, heavy precipitation falls over the southern region. The “parent” cyclone moves along track B, and precipitation falls along the west coast of Greenland.

A possible feedback between cyclonic activity and the mass balance of the Greenland Ice Sheet is proposed. On the one hand, cyclonic activity has a significant influence on snow accumulation over the ice sheet. The development of Icelandic cyclones is not favorable for precipitation over Greenland. On the other hand, the Greenland Ice Sheet has an important dynamic effect in producing lee cyclogenesis and affecting the frequency of Icelandic cyclones. This possible feedback may be important for understanding how the mass balance of the Greenland Ice Sheet and the Icelandic low are maintained in the present climate state.

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Qiu-shi Chen, Le-sheng Bai, and David H. Bromwich

Abstract

In comparison to the Tatsumi’s spectral method, the harmonic-Fourier spectral method has two major advantages. 1) The semi-implicit scheme is quite efficient because the solutions of the Poisson and Helmholtz equations are readily derived. 2) The lateral boundary value problem of a limited-area model is easily solved. These advantages are the same as those of the spherical harmonics used in global models if the singularity at the pole points for a globe is considered to be the counterpart of the lateral boundary condition for a limited region.

If a limited-area model is nested in a global model, the prediction of the limited-area model at each time step is the sum of the inner part and the harmonic part predictions. The inner part prediction is solved by the double sine series from the inner part equations for the limited-area model. The harmonic part prediction is derived from the prediction of the global model. An external wind lateral boundary method is proposed based on the basic property of the wind separation in a limited region. The boundary values of a limited-area model in this method are not given at the closed boundary line, but always given by harmonic functions defined throughout the limited domain. The harmonic functions added to the inner parts at each time step represent the effects of the lateral boundary values on the prediction of the limited-area model, and they do not cause any discontinuity near the boundary.

Tests show that predicted motion systems move smoothly in and out through the boundary, where the predicted variables are very smooth without any other boundary treatment. In addition, the boundary method can also be used in the most complicated mountainous region where the boundary intersects high mountains. The tests also show that the adiabatic dynamical part of the limited-area model very accurately predicts the rapid development of a cyclone caused by dry baroclinic instability along the east coast of North America and a lee cyclogenesis case in East Asia. The predicted changes of intensity and location of both cyclones are close to those given by the observations.

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David H. Bromwich, Zhichang Guo, Lesheng Bai, and Qiu-shi Chen

Abstract

Surface snow accumulation is the primary mass input to the Antarctic ice sheets. As the dominant term among various components of surface snow accumulation (precipitation, sublimation/deposition, and snow drift), precipitation is of particular importance in helping to assess the mass balance of the Antarctic ice sheets and their contribution to global sea level change.

The Polar MM5, a mesoscale atmospheric model based on the fifth-generation Pennsylvania State University–NCAR Mesoscale Model, has been run for the period of July 1996 through June 1999 to evaluate the spatial and temporal variability of Antarctic precipitation. Drift snow effects on the redistribution of surface snow over Antarctica are also assessed with surface wind fields from Polar MM5 in this study. It is found that areas with large drift snow transport convergence and divergence are located around escarpment areas where there is considerable katabatic wind acceleration. It is also found that the drift snow transport generally diverges over most areas of East and West Antarctica with relatively small values.

The use of the dynamic retrieval method (DRM) to calculate precipitation has been developed and verified for the Greenland ice sheet. The DRM is also applied to retrieve the precipitation over Antarctica from 1979 to 1999 in this study. Most major features in the spatial distribution of Antarctic accumulation are well captured by the DRM results. In comparison with predicted precipitation amounts from atmospheric analyses and reanalyses, DRM calculations capture more mesoscale features of the precipitation distribution over Antarctica. A significant upward trend of +1.3 to +1.7 mm yr−2 for 1979–99 is found from DRM and forecast precipitation amounts for Antarctica that is consistent with results reported by other investigators and indicates that an additional 0.05 mm yr−1 is being extracted from the global ocean and locked up in the Antarctic ice sheets. While there is good agreement in this trend among all of the datasets, the interannual variability about the trend on the continental scale is not well captured. However, on the subcontinental scale, the interannual variability about the trend is well resolved for sectors in West Antarctica and the South Atlantic. It is also noted that the precipitation trend is weakly downward over much of the continent.

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Keith M. Hines, David H. Bromwich, Le-Sheng Bai, Michael Barlage, and Andrew G. Slater

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A version of the state-of-the-art Weather Research and Forecasting model (WRF) has been developed for use in polar climates. The model known as “Polar WRF” is tested for land areas with a western Arctic grid that has 25-km resolution. This work serves as preparation for the high-resolution Arctic System Reanalysis of the years 2000–10. The model is based upon WRF version 3.0.1.1, with improvements to the Noah land surface model and snow/ice treatment. Simulations consist of a series of 48-h integrations initialized daily at 0000 UTC, with the initial 24 h taken as spinup for atmospheric hydrology and boundary layer processes. Soil temperature and moisture that have a much slower spinup than the atmosphere are cycled from 48-h output of earlier runs. Arctic conditions are simulated for a winter-to-summer seasonal cycle from 15 November 2006 to 1 August 2007. Simulation results are compared with a variety of observations from several Alaskan sites, with emphasis on the North Slope. Polar WRF simulation results show good agreement with most near-surface observations. Warm temperature biases are found for winter and summer. A sensitivity experiment with reduced soil heat conductivity, however, improves simulation of near-surface temperature, ground heat flux, and soil temperature during winter. There is a marked deficit in summer cloud cover over land with excessive incident shortwave radiation. The cloud deficit may result from anomalous vertical mixing of moisture by the turbulence parameterization. The new snow albedo parameterization for WRF 3.1.1 is successfully tested for snowmelt over the North Slope of Alaska.

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Jason E. Box, Lei Yang, David H. Bromwich, and Le-Sheng Bai

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Meteorological station records and regional climate model output are combined to develop a continuous 168-yr (1840–2007) spatial reconstruction of monthly, seasonal, and annual mean Greenland ice sheet near-surface air temperatures. Independent observations are used to assess and compensate for systematic errors in the model output. Uncertainty is quantified using residual nonsystematic error. Spatial and temporal temperature variability is investigated on seasonal and annual time scales. It is found that volcanic cooling episodes are concentrated in winter and along the western ice sheet slope. Interdecadal warming trends coincide with an absence of major volcanic eruptions. Year 2003 was the only year of 1840–2007 with a warm anomaly that exceeds three standard deviations from the 1951–80 base period. The annual whole ice sheet 1919–32 warming trend is 33% greater in magnitude than the 1994–2007 warming. The recent warming was, however, stronger along western Greenland in autumn and southern Greenland in winter. Spring trends marked the 1920s warming onset, while autumn leads the 1994–2007 warming. In contrast to the 1920s warming, the 1994–2007 warming has not surpassed the Northern Hemisphere anomaly. An additional 1.0°–1.5°C of annual mean warming would be needed for Greenland to be in phase with the Northern Hemispheric pattern. Thus, it is expected that the ice sheet melt rates and mass deficit will continue to grow in the early twenty-first century as Greenland’s climate catches up with the Northern Hemisphere warming trend and the Arctic climate warms according to global climate model predictions.

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Flavio Justino, Aaron B. Wilson, David H. Bromwich, Alvaro Avila, Le-Sheng Bai, and Sheng-Hung Wang

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Large-scale objectively analyzed gridded products and satellite estimates of sensible (H) and latent (LE) heat fluxes over the extratropical Northern Hemisphere are compared to those derived from the regional Arctic System Reanalysis version 2 (ASRv2) and a selection of current-generation global reanalyses. Differences in H and LE among the reanalyses are strongly linked to the wind speed magnitudes and vegetation cover. Specifically, ASRv2 wind speeds match closely with observations over the northern oceans, leading to an improved representation of H compared to the global reanalyses. Comparison of evaporative fraction shows that the global reanalyses are characterized by a similar H and LE partitioning from April through September, and therefore exhibit weak intraseasonal variability. However, the higher horizontal resolution and weekly modification of the vegetation cover based on satellite data in ASRv2 provides an improved snow–albedo feedback related to changes in the leaf area index. Hence, ASRv2 better captures the small-scale processes associated with day-to-day vegetation feedbacks with particular improvements to the H over land. All of the reanalyses provide realistic dominant hemispheric patterns of H and LE and the locations of maximum and minimum fluxes, but they differ greatly with respect to magnitude. This is especially true for LE over oceanic regions. Therefore, uncertainties in heat fluxes remain that may be alleviated in reanalyses through improved representation of physical processes and enhanced assimilation of observations.

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