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Chunhua Zhou and Tim Li

Abstract

Analysis of observational data suggests two-way interactions between the tropical intraseasonal oscillation (ISO) and synoptic-scale variability (SSV). On one hand, SSV is strongly modulated by the ISO; that is, a strengthened (weakened) SSV appears during the enhanced (suppressed) ISO phase. The northwest–southeast-oriented synoptic wave train is strengthened and well organized in the northwestern Pacific during the enhanced ISO phase but weakened during the suppressed ISO phase. On the other hand, SSV may exert an upscale feedback to ISO through the nonlinearly rectified surface latent heat flux (LHF). The maximum synoptic contribution exceeds 20%–30% of the total intraseasonal LHF over the tropical Indian Ocean, western Pacific, and northeastern Pacific. The nonlinearly rectified LHF leads the ISO convection and boundary layer specific humidity, and thus it may contribute to the propagation of the ISO in boreal summer through the preconditioning of the surface moisture and moist static energy ahead of the convection.

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Xiuzhen Li and Wen Zhou

Abstract

The summer moisture circulation anomaly over East Asia and the western North Pacific (WNP) couples well with the El Niño–Southern Oscillation (ENSO) in a quasi-4-yr period. The moisture circulation is dominated by two well-separated modes. The first mode exhibits an anticyclonic (cyclonic) moisture circulation over tropical–subtropical East Asia–WNP with an easterly (westerly) transport over the tropical WNP–Indian Ocean; the second mode displays an alternating pattern with an anticyclonic (cyclonic) moisture circulation over the subtropical WNP layered between two cyclonic (anticyclonic) circulations. Both modes couple well with the ENSO signal during its quasi-4-yr cycle. Within the cycle, in the summer of a developing warm episode, the positive phase of the second mode plays a key role, while in the transitional summer between a decaying warm episode and a developing cool episode, the positive phase of the first mode tends to take effect. In the summer of a developing cool episode, the negative phase of the second mode plays an important role, while the negative phase of the first mode tends to take effect in the transitional summer between a decaying cool episode and a developing warm episode.

The anticyclone (cyclone) over the Philippine Sea region serves as a bridge in the quasi-four-year coupling. Its establishment and eastward extension modify moisture circulation over East Asia–WNP. Conversely, the easterly (westerly) wind to the south of the anticyclone (cyclone) is beneficial for the formation and eastward propagation of the Kelvin wave and, hence, to the development of the quasi-4-yr periodic ENSO episode.

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Tim Li and Chunhua Zhou

Abstract

Numerical experiments with a 2.5-layer and a 2-level model are conducted to examine the mechanism for the planetary scale selection of the Madden–Julian oscillation (MJO). The strategy here is to examine the evolution of an initial perturbation that has a form of the equatorial Kelvin wave at zonal wavenumbers of 1 to 15. In the presence of a frictional boundary layer, the most unstable mode prefers a short wavelength under a linear heating; but with a nonlinear heating, the zonal wavenumber 1 grows fastest. This differs significantly from a model without the boundary layer, in which neither linear nor nonlinear heating leads to the long wave selection. Thus, the numerical simulations point out the crucial importance of the combined effect of the nonlinear heating and the frictional boundary layer in the MJO planetary scale selection.

The cause of this scale selection under the nonlinear heating is attributed to the distinctive phase speeds between the dry Kelvin wave and the wet Kelvin–Rossby wave couplet. The faster dry Kelvin wave triggered by a convective branch may catch up and suppress another convective branch, which travels ahead of it at the phase speed of the wet Kelvin–Rossby wave couplet if the distance between the two neighboring convective branches is smaller than a critical distance (about 16 000 km). The interference between the dry Kelvin wave and the wet Kelvin–Rossby wave couplet eventually dissipates and “filters out” shorter wavelength perturbations, leading to a longwave selection. The boundary layer plays an important role in destabilizing the MJO through frictional moisture convergences and in retaining the in-phase zonal wind–pressure structure.

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Bowen Zhou, Yuhuan Li, and Kefeng Zhu

Abstract

Based on a priori analysis of large-eddy simulations (LESs) of the convective atmospheric boundary layer, improved turbulent mixing and dissipation length scales are proposed for a turbulence kinetic energy (TKE)-based planetary boundary layer (PBL) scheme. The turbulent mixing length incorporates surface similarity and TKE constraints in the surface layer, and makes adjustments for lateral entrainment effects in the mixed layer. The dissipation length is constructed based on balanced TKE budgets accounting for shear, buoyancy, and turbulent mixing. A nongradient term is added to the TKE flux to correct for nonlocal turbulent mixing of TKE. The improved length scales are implemented into a PBL scheme, and are tested with idealized single-column convective boundary layer (CBL) cases. Results exhibit robust applicability across a broad CBL stability range, and are in good agreement with LES benchmark simulations. It is then implemented into a community atmospheric model and further evaluated with 3D real-case simulations. Results of the new scheme are of comparable quality to three other well-established PBL schemes. Comparisons between simulated and radiosonde-observed profiles show favorable performance of the new scheme on a clear day.

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Bo Wu, Tianjun Zhou, and Tim Li

Abstract

A season-reliant empirical orthogonal function (S-EOF) analysis is applied to seasonal mean precipitation over East Asia for the period of 1979–2004. The first two dominant modes account for 44% of the total interannual variance, corresponding to post-ENSO and ENSO turnabout years, respectively. The first mode indicates that in El Niño decaying summer, an anomalous anticyclone appears over the western North Pacific (WNP). This anticyclone is associated with strong positive precipitation anomalies from central China to southern Japan. In the following fall, enhanced convection appears over the WNP as a result of the underlying warm SST anomalies caused by the increase of the shortwave radiative flux in the preceding summer. A dry condition appears over southeastern China. The anomalous precipitation pattern persists throughout the subsequent winter and spring. The second mode shows that during the El Niño developing summer the anomalous heating over the equatorial central Pacific forces a cyclonic vorticity over the WNP. This strengthens the WNP monsoon. Meanwhile, an anomalous anticyclone develops in the northern Indian Ocean and moves eastward to the South China Sea and the WNP in the subsequent fall and winter. This leads to the increase of precipitation over southeastern China. The anticyclone and precipitation anomalies are maintained in the following spring through local air–sea interactions.

The diagnosis of upper-level velocity potential and midlevel vertical motion fields reveals a season-dependent Indian Ocean forcing scenario. The Indian Ocean basinwide warming during the El Niño mature winter and the subsequent spring does not have a significant impact on anomalous circulation in the WNP, because convection over the tropical Indian Ocean is suppressed by the remote forcing from the equatorial central-eastern Pacific. The basinwide warming plays an active role in impacting the WNP anomalous anticyclone during the ENSO decaying summer through atmospheric Kelvin waves or Hadley circulation.

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Bo Wu, Tim Li, and Tianjun Zhou

Abstract

The asymmetry of the western North Pacific (WNP) low-level atmospheric circulation anomalies between the El Niño and La Niña mature winter is examined. An anomalous WNP cyclone (WNPC) center during La Niña tends to shift westward relative to an anomalous WNP anticyclone (WNPAC) center during El Niño. Two factors may contribute to this asymmetric response. The first factor is the longitudinal shifting of El Niño and La Niña anomalous heating. The composite negative precipitation anomaly center during La Niña is located farther to the west of the composite positive precipitation anomaly center during El Niño. The westward shift of the heating may further push the WNPC westward relative to the position of the WNPAC. The second factor is the amplitude asymmetry of sea surface temperature anomalies (SSTAs) in the WNP, namely, the amplitude of local cold SSTA during El Niño is greater than that of warm SSTA during La Niña. The asymmetry of SSTA is originated from the asymmetric SSTA tendencies during the ENSO developing summer. Although both precipitation and surface wind anomalies are approximately symmetric, the surface latent heat flux anomalies are highly asymmetric over the key WNP region, where the climate mean zonal wind speed is small. Both the anomalous westerly during El Niño and the anomalous easterly during La Niña in the region lead to an enhanced surface evaporation, strengthening (weakening) the enhancement of the cold (warm) SSTA in situ during El Niño (La Niña). The asymmetry of the SSTA in the WNP is further amplified due to anomalous wind differences between El Niño and La Niña in their mature winter. Atmospheric general circulation model experiments demonstrate that both factors contribute to the asymmetry between the WNPAC and WNPC. The asymmetric circulation in the WNP contributes to the asymmetry of temporal evolutions between El Niño and La Niña.

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Bo Wu, Tianjun Zhou, and Tim Li

Abstract

While the overall summer rainfall–sea surface temperature (SST) relationship has a negative correlation over the western North Pacific (WNP), this relationship experiences a significant interannual variation. During the ENSO-developing (decaying) summer, the rainfall–SST correlation is significantly positive (negative). The positive correlation is attributed to interplay between the anomalous Walker circulation and the cross-equatorial flows associated with the enhanced WNP summer monsoon. The former leads to negative rainfall anomalies in the western Pacific, whereas the latter leads to a cold SST anomaly resulting from enhanced surface latent heat fluxes. The negative correlation is attributed to the maintenance of an anomalous Philippine Sea anticyclone from the El Niño peak winter to the subsequent summer. The anomalous anticyclone, on one hand, suppresses the local rainfall, and on the other hand induces a warm in situ SST anomaly through both the enhanced solar radiation (resulting from a decrease in clouds) and the reduced surface latent heat flux (resulting from the decrease of the monsoon westerly). The rainfall–SST correlation is insignificant in the remaining summers. Thus, the overall weak negative rainfall–SST correlation is attributed to the significant negative correlation during the ENSO-decaying summers.

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Richard C. Y. Li and Wen Zhou

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This study investigates the interdecadal changes in summertime tropical cyclone (TC) frequency over the South China Sea (SCS) during 1979–2010. Based on changepoint detection algorithms and spectral analysis, two inactive TC periods (period 1: 1979–93 and period 3: 2003–10) and one active TC period (period 2: 1994–2002) have been identified, with a dominant spectral peak of approximately 9–10 yr. Correlation analysis further reveals a significant negative relationship between TC frequency and the zonal sea surface temperature gradient (ZSG) between the northern Indian Ocean (NIO) and the western North Pacific (WNP) at both interannual and interdecadal time scales. That is, a positive ZSG between the NIO and the WNP tends to suppress cyclogenesis over the SCS, whereas a negative ZSG is generally favorable for SCS TC formation.

The negative connection between cyclogenesis and ZSG may be explained by the influences of the ZSG on atmospheric circulations as well as Madden–Julian oscillation (MJO) activity over the SCS, which reveal prominent contrasts during the study periods. A positive ZSG between the tropical Pacific and the Indian Ocean induces an anomalous Walker-like circulation, which results in an anomalous subsidence and boundary layer divergence over the northern SCS. This also suppresses the moisture as well as MJO activity over the SCS, leading to a significant reduction in TC frequency during inactive periods 1 and 3. In contrast, a negative ZSG induces surface westerlies and favorable environmental conditions for TCs, thereby greatly enhancing SCS cyclogenesis during period 2.

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Chao He, Tim Li, and Wen Zhou

Abstract

Summer monsoon rainfall supplies over 55% of annual precipitation to global monsoon regions. As shown by more than 70% of models, including 30 models from CMIP5 and 30 models from CMIP6 under high-emission scenarios, North American (NAM) monsoon rainfall decreases in a warmer climate, in sharp contrast to the robust increase in Asian–African monsoon rainfall. A hierarchy of model experiments is analyzed to understand the mechanism for the reduced NAM monsoon rainfall in this study. Modeling evidence shows that the reduction of NAM monsoon rainfall is related to both direct radiative forcing of increased CO2 concentration and SST warming, manifested as fast and slow responses to abrupt CO2 quadrupling in coupled GCMs. A cyclone anomaly forms over the Eurasian–African continental area due to enhanced land–sea thermal contrast under increased CO2 concentration, and this leads to a subsidence anomaly on its western flank, suppressing the NAM monsoon rainfall. The SST warming acts to further reduce the rainfall over the NAM monsoon region, and the El Niño–like SST warming pattern with enhanced SST warming over the equatorial Pacific plays a key role in suppressing NAM rainfall, whereas relative cooling over the subtropical North Atlantic has no contribution. A positive feedback between monsoon precipitation and atmospheric circulation helps to amplify the responses of monsoon rainfall.

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Xiuzhen Li, Yongqin David Chen, and Wen Zhou

Abstract

The response of moisture circulation to the daily evolution of the India–Burma Trough (IBT) and the modulation of disturbances along the South Asian waveguide are analyzed to seek a potential precursor of winter precipitation over south China. Daily observational precipitation and reanalysis data from ERA-Interim during 1979–2012 are employed. It is found that moisture circulation in response to the IBT is part of the zonally oriented wave trains along the South Asian waveguide, but it persists longer and migrates farther eastward than other lobes. Cyclonic moisture transport enhances the moisture supply to south China as a strong IBT develops, and shifts eastward abruptly after the peak of IBT with enhanced precipitation shifting from southwest to southeast China. This response is a joint effect of synoptic, intraseasonal, and interannual components that show similar wave train structures, whereas slight differences still occur. The synoptic component shows a shorter wavelength, more southerly path, faster phase speed, and group velocity, with the signal from the North Atlantic to the Bay of Bengal (BoB) in 6 days, implying that a disturbance over the North Atlantic is a potential precursor of winter precipitation over south China. The synoptic moisture convergence is more intensive than that at other scales upstream except over Southeast Asia, where all components are comparable. This might result from the constrained moisture source from BoB at the synoptic scale because of a short wavelength, while widespread sources from BoB–western North Pacific (WNP) at other scales as wavelengths are longer.

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