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Hailong Liu, Wuyin Lin, and Minghua Zhang

Abstract

The double intertropical convergence zone (ITCZ) over the tropical Pacific, with a spurious band of maximum annual sea surface temperature (SST) south of the equator between 5°S and 10°S, is a chronic bias in coupled ocean–atmosphere models. This study focuses on a region of the double ITCZ in the central Pacific from 5°S to 10°S and 170°E to 150°W, where coupled models display the largest biases in precipitation, by deriving a best estimate of the mixed layer heat budget for the region. Seven global datasets of objectively analyzed surface energy fluxes and four ocean assimilation products are first compared and then evaluated against field measurements in adjacent regions. It was shown that the global datasets differ greatly in their net downward surface energy flux in this region, but they fall broadly into two categories: one with net downward heat flux of about 30 W m−2 and the other around 10 W m−2. Measurements from the adjacent Manus and Nauru sites of the Atmospheric Radiation Measurement Program (ARM), the Tropical Atmosphere Ocean (TAO) buoys, and the Tropical Ocean and Global Atmosphere Coupled Ocean–Atmosphere Response Experiment (TOGA COARE) are then used to show that the smaller value is more realistic. An energy balance of the mixed layer is finally presented for the region as primarily between warming from surface heat flux of 7 W m−2 and horizontal advective cooling in the zonal direction of about 5 W m−2, with secondary contributions from meridional and vertical advections, heat storage, and subgrid-scale mixing. The 7 W m−2 net surface heat flux consists of warming of 210 W m−2 from solar radiation and cooling of 53, 141, and 8 W m−2, respectively, from longwave radiation, latent heat flux, and sensible heat flux. These values provide an observational basis to further study the initial development of excessive precipitation in coupled climate models in the central Pacific.

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Hailong Liu, Minghua Zhang, and Wuyin Lin

Abstract

This paper investigates the initial development of the double ITCZ in the Community Climate System Model version 3 (CCSM3) in the central Pacific. Starting from a resting initial condition of the ocean in January, the model developed a warm bias of sea surface temperature (SST) in the central Pacific from 5°S to 10°S in the first three months. This initial bias is caused by excessive surface shortwave radiation that is also present in the stand-alone atmospheric model. The initial bias is further amplified by biases in both surface latent heat flux and horizontal heat transport in the upper ocean. These biases are caused by the responses of surface winds to SST bias and the thermocline structure to surface wind curls. This study also showed that the warming biases in surface solar radiation and latent heat fluxes are seasonally offset by cooling biases from reduced solar radiation after the austral summer due to cloud responses and in the austral fall due to enhanced evaporation when the maximum SST is closest to the equator. The warming biases from the dynamic heat transport by ocean currents however stay throughout all seasons once they are developed, which are eventually balanced by enhanced energy exchange and penetration of solar radiation below the mixed layer. It was also shown that the equatorial cold tongue develops after the warm biases in the south-central Pacific, and the overestimation of surface shortwave radiation recurs in the austral summer in each year. The results provide a case study on the physical processes leading to the development of the double ITCZ. Applicability of the results in other models is discussed.

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Lin Liu, Weidong Yu, and Tim Li

Abstract

The performance of 23 World Climate Research Programme (WCRP) Coupled Model Intercomparison Project, phase 3 (CMIP3) models in the simulation of the Indian Ocean dipole (IOD) is evaluated, and the results show large diversity in the simulated IOD intensity. A detailed diagnosis is carried out to understand the role of the Bjerknes dynamic air–sea feedback and the thermodynamic air–sea coupling in shaping the different model behaviors. The Bjerknes feedback processes include the equatorial zonal wind response to SST, the thermocline response to the equatorial zonal wind, and the ocean subsurface temperature response to the thermocline variation. The thermodynamic feedback examined includes the wind–evaporation–SST and cloud–radiation–SST feedbacks. A combined Bjerknes and thermodynamic feedback intensity index is introduced. This index well reflects the simulated IOD strength contrast among the strong, moderate, and weak model groups. It gives a quantitative measure of the relative contribution of the dynamic and thermodynamic feedback processes.

The distinctive features in the dynamic and thermodynamic coupling strength are closely related to the mean state difference in the coupled models. A shallower (deeper) equatorial mean thermocline, a stronger (weaker) background vertical temperature gradient, and a greater (smaller) mean vertical upwelling velocity are found in the strong (weak) IOD simulation group. Thus, the mean state biases greatly affect the air–sea coupling strength on the interannual time scale. A number of models failed to simulate the observed positive wind–evaporation–SST feedback during the IOD developing phase. Analysis indicates that the bias arises from a greater contribution to the surface latent heat flux anomaly by the sea–air specific humidity difference than by the wind speed anomaly.

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Yongliang Duan, Hongwei Liu, Weidong Yu, Lin Liu, Guang Yang, and Baochao Liu

Abstract

The Madden–Julian oscillation (MJO) often causes the onset of the Indonesian–Australian summer monsoon (IASM) over Indonesia and northern Australia. In the present study, a composite analysis is conducted to reveal the detailed IASM onset process and its air–sea interactions associated with the first-branch eastward-propagating MJO (FEMJO) based on 30-yr ERA-Interim data, satellite-derived sea surface temperature (SST), outgoing longwave radiation (OLR), and SODA3 ocean reanalysis. The results distinctly illustrate the phase-locked relationships among the persistent sea surface warming north of Australia, the FEMJO, and the established westerlies. It is found that the SST to the north of Australia reaches its annual maximum just before the onset of the summer monsoon. The oceanic surface mixed layer heat budget discloses that this rapid warming is primarily produced by the enhanced surface heat flux. In addition, this premonsoon sea surface warming increases the air specific humidity in the low-level troposphere and then establishes zonal moisture asymmetry relative to the FEMJO convection. This creates a more unstable atmospheric stratification southeast of the FEMJO and favors convection throughout the vicinity of northern Australia, which ultimately triggers the onset of the IASM. The results in this study thus may potentially be applicable to seasonal monsoon climate monitoring and prediction.

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Lin Wang, Peiqiang Xu, Wen Chen, and Yong Liu

Abstract

Based on several reanalysis and observational datasets, this study suggests that the Silk Road pattern (SRP), a major teleconnection pattern stretching across Eurasia in the boreal summer, shows clear interdecadal variations that explain approximately 50% of its total variance. The interdecadal SRP features a strong barotropic wave train along the Asian subtropical jet, resembling its interannual counterpart. Additionally, it features a second weak wave train over the northern part of Eurasia, leading to larger meridional scale than its interannual counterpart. The interdecadal SRP contributes approximately 40% of the summer surface air temperature’s variance with little uncertainty and 10%–20% of the summer precipitation’s variance with greater uncertainty over large domains of Eurasia. The interdecadal SRP shows two regime shifts in 1972 and 1997. The latter shift explains over 40% of the observed rainfall reduction over northeastern Asia and over 40% of the observed warming over eastern Europe, western Asia, and northeastern Asia, highlighting its importance to the recent decadal climate variations over Eurasia. The Atlantic multidecadal oscillation (AMO) does not show a significant linear relationship with the interdecadal SRP. However, the Monte Carlo bootstrapping resampling analysis suggests that the positive (negative) phases of the spring and summer AMO significantly facilitate the occurrence of negative (positive) phases of the interdecadal SRP, implying plausible prediction potentials for the interdecadal variations of the SRP. The reported results are insensitive to the long-term trends in datasets and thereby have little relevance to externally forced climate change.

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Da-Lin Zhang, Yubao Liu, and M. K. Yau

Abstract

In this study, the vertical force balance in the inner-core region is examined, through the analysis of vertical momentum budgets, using a high-resolution, explicit simulation of Hurricane Andrew (1992). Three-dimensional buoyancy- and dynamically induced perturbation pressures are then obtained to gain insight into the processes leading to the subsidence warming in the eye and the vertical lifting in the eyewall in the absence of positive buoyancy.

It is found from the force balance budgets that vertical acceleration in the eyewall is a small difference among the perturbation pressure gradient force (PGF), buoyancy, and water loading. The azimuthally averaged eyewall convection is found to be conditionally stable but slantwise unstable with little positive buoyancy. It is the PGF that is responsible for the upward acceleration of high-θ e air in the eyewall. It is found that the vertical motion and acceleration in the eyewall are highly asymmetric and closely related to the azimuthal distribution of radial flows in conjunction with large thermal and moisture contrasts across the eyewall. For example, the radially incoming air aloft is cool and dry and tends to suppress updrafts or induce downdrafts. On the other hand, the outgoing flows are positively buoyant and tend to ascend in the eyewall unless evaporative cooling dominates. It is also found that the water loading effect has to be included into the hydrostatic equation in estimating the pressure or height field in the eyewall.

The perturbation pressure inversions show that a large portion of surface perturbation pressures is caused by the moist-adiabatic warming in the eyewall and the subsidence warming in the eye. However, the associated buoyancy-induced PGF is mostly offset by the buoyancy force, and their net effect is similar in magnitude but opposite in sign to the dynamically induced PGF. Of importance is that the dynamically induced PGF points downward in the eye to account for the maintenance of the general descent. But it points upward in the outer portion of the eyewall, particularly in the north semicircle, to facilitate the lifting of high-θ e air in the lower troposphere. Furthermore, this dynamic force is dominated by the radial shear of tangential winds. Based on this finding, a new theoretical explanation, different from previously reported, is advanced for the relationship among the subsidence warming in the eye, and the rotation and vertical wind shear in the eyewall.

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M. K. Yau, Yubao Liu, Da-Lin Zhang, and Yongsheng Chen

Abstract

The objectives of Part VI of this series of papers are to (a) simulate the finescale features of Hurricane Andrew (1992) using a cloud-resolving grid length of 2 km, (b) diagnose the formation of small-scale wind streaks, and (c) perform sensitivity experiments of varying surface fluxes on changes in storm inner-core structures and intensity.

As compared to observations and a previous 6-km model run, the results show that a higher-resolution explicit simulation could produce significant improvements in the structures and evolution of the inner-core eyewall and spiral rainbands, and in the organization of convection. The eyewall becomes much more compact and symmetric with its width decreased by half, and the radius of maximum wind is reduced by ∼10 to 20 km. A zone of deep and intense potential vorticity (PV) is formed at the edge of the eye. A ring of maximum PV is collocated in regions of maximum upward motion in the eyewall and interacts strongly with the eyewall convection. The convective cores in the eyewall are associated with small-scale wind streaks.

The formation of the wind streaks is diagnosed from an azimuthal momentum budget. The results reveal small-scale Lagrangian acceleration of the azimuthal flow. It is found that at the lowest model level of 40 m, the main contributor to the Lagrangian azimuthal wind tendency is the radial advection of angular momentum per unit radius. At an altitude of 1.24 km, vertical advection of the azimuthal wind, in addition to the radial advection of angular momentum per unit radius, plays important roles.

Results of a series of sensitivity tests, performed to examine the impact of several critical factors in the surface and boundary layer processes on the inner-core structures and the evolution of the hurricane intensity, are presented.

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ZhongDa Lin, Yun Li, Yong Liu, and AiXue Hu

Abstract

Rainfall in southeastern Australia (SEA) decreased substantially in the austral autumn (March–May) of the 1990s and 2000s. The observed autumn rainfall reduction has been linked to the climate change–induced poleward shift of the subtropical dry zone across SEA and natural multidecadal variations. However, the underlying physical processes responsible for the SEA drought are still not fully understood. This study highlights the role of sea surface temperature (SST) warming in the subtropical South Pacific (SSP) in the autumn rainfall reduction in SEA since the early 1990s. The warmer SSP SST enhances rainfall to the northwest in the southern South Pacific convergence zone (SPCZ); the latter triggers a divergent overturning circulation with the subsidence branch over the eastern coast of Australia. As such, the subsidence increases the surface pressure over Australia, intensifies the subtropical ridge, and reduces the rainfall in SEA. This mechanism is further confirmed by the result of a sensitivity experiment using an atmospheric general circulation model. Moreover, this study further indicates that global warming and natural multidecadal variability contribute approximately 44% and 56%, respectively, of the SST warming in the SSP since the early 1990s.

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Qian Liu, Guixing Chen, Lin Wang, Yuki Kanno, and Toshiki Iwasaki

Abstract

The winter monsoon has strong impacts on East Asia via latitude-crossing southward cold airmass fluxes called cold air outbreaks (CAOs). CAOs have a high diversity in terms of meridional extent and induced weather. Using the daily cold airmass flux normalized at 50°N and 30°N during 1958–2016, we categorize the CAOs into three groups: high–middle (H–M), high–low (H–L) and middle–low (M–L) latitude events. The H–L type is found to have the longest duration, and the M–L type is prone to the strong CAOs regarding normalized intensity. The H–L and H–M events feature a large-scale dipole pattern of cold airmass flux over high-latitude Eurasia, and the former (latter) events feature relatively strong anticyclonic circulation over Siberia (cyclonic circulation over northeastern Asia). In contrast, the M–L events are characterized by a cyclonic anomaly over northeastern Asia but no obvious high-latitude precursor. The H–L events have the greatest coldness anomaly in airmasses near the surface, and the M–L events mainly feature a strong northerly wind. As a result, the H–L events induce widespread long-lasting low temperatures over East Asia, while the M–L events induce a sharp temperature drop at mainly low latitudes. Both H–L and M–L events coupling with the MJO enhance rainfall over the South China Sea, while H–M events increase rainfall over southern China. Moreover, the occurrences of H–L and M–L events experience a long-term decrease since the 1980s, which induce a stronger warming trend in the cold extremes than in the winter mean temperature at mid-low latitudes over East Asia.

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Yubao Liu, Da-Lin Zhang, and M. K. Yau

Abstract

Despite considerable research, understanding of the temporal evolution of the inner-core structures of hurricanes is very limited owing to the lack of continuous high-resolution observational data of a storm. In this study, the results of a 72-h explicit simulation of Hurricane Andrew (1992) with a grid size of 6 km are examined to explore the inner-core axisymmetric and asymmetric structures of the storm during its rapid deepening stage. Based on the simulation, a conceptual model of the axisymmetric structures of the storm is proposed. Most of the proposed structures confirm previous observations. The main ingredients include a main inflow (outflow) in the boundary layer (upper troposphere) with little radial flow in between, a divergent slantwise ascent in the eyewall, a penetrative dry downdraft at the inner edge of the eyewall, and a general weak subsiding motion in the eye with typical warming/drying above an inversion located near an altitude of about 2–3 km. The storm deepens as the axes of these features contract.

It is found that the inversion divides the eye of the hurricane vertically into two parts, with a deep layer of warm/dry air above and a shallow pool of warm/moist air below. The air aloft descends at an average rate of 5 cm s−1 and has a residency time of several days. In contrast, the warm/moist pool consists of air from the main inflow and penetrative downdrafts, offset somewhat by the air streaming in a returning outflow into the eyewall in the lowest 2 km; it is subject to the influence of the upward heat and moisture fluxes over the underlying warm ocean. The warm/moist pool appears to play an important role in supplying high-θ e air for deep convective development in the eyewall. The penetrative downdraft is dry and originates from the return inflow in the upper troposphere, and it is driven by sublimative/evaporative cooling under the influence of the (asymmetric) radial inflow of dry/cold air in the midtroposphere. It penetrates to the bottom of the eye (azimuthally downshear with a width often greater than 100 km) in a radially narrow zone along the slantwise inner edge of the eyewall.

It is further shown that all the meteorological fields are highly asymmetric. Whereas the storm-scale flow features a source–sink couplet in the boundary layer and dual gyres aloft, the inner-core structures exhibit alternative radial inflow and outflow and a series of inhomogeneous updrafts and downdrafts. All the fields tilt more or less with height radially outward and azimuthally downshear. Furthermore, pronounced fluctuations of air motion are found in both the eye and the eyewall. Sometimes, a deep layer of upward motion appears at the center of the eye. All these features contribute to the trochoidal oscillation of the storm track and movement. The main steering appears to be located at the midtroposphere (∼4.5 km) and the deep-layer mean winds represent well the movement of the hurricane.

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