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Jongil Han and Hua-Lu Pan

Abstract

A new physics package containing revised convection and planetary boundary layer (PBL) schemes in the National Centers for Environmental Prediction’s Global Forecast System is described. The shallow convection (SC) scheme in the revision employs a mass flux parameterization replacing the old turbulent diffusion-based approach. For deep convection, the scheme is revised to make cumulus convection stronger and deeper to deplete more instability in the atmospheric column and result in the suppression of the excessive grid-scale precipitation. The PBL model was revised to enhance turbulence diffusion in stratocumulus regions. A remarkable difference between the new and old SC schemes is seen in the heating or cooling behavior in lower-atmospheric layers above the PBL. While the old SC scheme using the diffusion approach produces a pair of layers in the lower atmosphere with cooling above and heating below, the new SC scheme using the mass-flux approach produces heating throughout the convection layers. In particular, the new SC scheme does not destroy stratocumulus clouds off the west coasts of South America and Africa as the old scheme does. On the other hand, the revised deep convection scheme, having a larger cloud-base mass flux and higher cloud tops, appears to effectively eliminate the remaining instability in the atmospheric column that is responsible for the excessive grid-scale precipitation in the old scheme. The revised PBL scheme, having an enhanced turbulence mixing in stratocumulus regions, helps prevent too much low cloud from forming. An overall improvement was found in the forecasts of the global 500-hPa height, vector wind, and continental U.S. precipitation with the revised model. Consistent with the improvement in vector wind forecast errors, hurricane track forecasts are also improved with the revised model for both Atlantic and eastern Pacific hurricanes in 2008.

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Jongil Han and Hua-Lu Pan

Abstract

A parameterization of the convection-induced pressure gradient force (PGF) in convective momentum transport (CMT) is tested for hurricane intensity forecasting using NCEP's operational Global Forecast System (GFS) and its nested Regional Spectral Model (RSM). In the parameterization the PGF is assumed to be proportional to the product of the cloud mass flux and vertical wind shear. Compared to control forecasts using the present operational GFS and RSM where the PGF effect in CMT is taken into account empirically, the new PGF parameterization helps increase hurricane intensity by reducing the vertical momentum exchange, giving rise to a closer comparison to the observations. In addition, the new PGF parameterization forecasts not only show more realistically organized precipitation patterns with enhanced hurricane intensity but also reduce the forecast track error. Nevertheless, the model forecasts with the new PGF parameterization still largely underpredict the observed intensity. One of the many possible reasons for the large underprediction may be the absence of hurricane initialization in the models.

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Qin Wen, Kristofer Döös, Zhengyao Lu, Zixuan Han, and Haijun Yang

ABSTRACT

The role of the Tibetan Plateau (TP) in El Niño–Southern Oscillation (ENSO) variability is investigated using coupled model experiments with different topography setups. Removing the TP results in weakened trade winds in the tropical Pacific, an eastward shift of atmospheric convection center, a shallower mixed layer in the equatorial Pacific, and a flattened equatorial thermocline, which leads to an El Niño–like sea surface temperature (SST) response. In association with these mean climate changes in the tropical atmosphere–ocean system, the ENSO variability exhibits a much stronger amplitude in the world without the TP. Detailed diagnoses reveal that in the absence of the TP, both thermocline feedback in the eastern equatorial Pacific and Ekman pumping feedback in the central-eastern equatorial Pacific are enhanced substantially, leading to stronger ENSO variability. The changes of these two feedbacks are caused by the eastward shift of the atmospheric convection center and enhanced ocean sensitivity; the latter is due to the shallower mixed layer and flattened thermocline. This study suggests that the presence of the TP may be of fundamental importance for modern-day tropical climate variability; namely, the TP may have played a role in suppressing ENSO variability.

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Wei Zhong, Da-Lin Zhang, and Han-Cheng Lu

Abstract

Vortex–Rossby waves (VRWs) and inertial gravity waves (IGWs) have been proposed to explain the propagation of spiral rainbands and the development of dynamical instability in tropical cyclones (TCs). In this study, a theory for mixed vortex–Rossby–inertia–gravity waves (VRIGWs), together with VRWs and IGWs, is developed by including both rotational and divergent flows in a shallow-water equations model. A cloud-resolving TC simulation is used to help simplify the radial structure equation for linearized perturbations and then transform it to a Bessel equation with constant coefficients. A cubic frequency equation describing the three groups of allowable (radially discrete) waves is eventually obtained. It is shown that low-frequency VRWs and high-frequency IGWs may coexist, but with separable dispersion characteristics, in the eye and outer regions of TCs, whereas mixed VRIGWs with inseparable dispersion and wave instability properties tend to occur in the eyewall. The mixed-wave instability, with shorter waves growing faster than longer waves, appears to explain the generation of polygonal eyewalls and multiple vortices with intense rotation and divergence in TCs. Results show that high-frequency IGWs would propagate at half their typical speeds in the inner regions with more radial “standing” structures. Moreover, all the propagating waves appear in the forms of spiral bands with different intensities as their radial widths shrink in time, suggesting that some spiral rainbands in TCs may result from the radial differential displacements of azimuthally propagating perturbations.

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Qiang Dai, Michaela Bray, Lu Zhuo, Tanvir Islam, and Dawei Han

Abstract

A remarkable decline in the number of rain gauges is being faced in many areas of the world, as a compromise to the expensive cost of operating and maintaining rain gauges. The question of how to effectively deploy new or remove current rain gauges in order to create optimal rainfall information is becoming more and more important. On the other hand, larger-scaled, remotely sensed rainfall measurements, although poorer quality compared with traditional rain gauge rainfall measurements, provide an insight into the local storm characteristics, which are sought by traditional methods for designing a rain gauge network. Based on these facts, this study proposes a new methodology for rain gauge network design using remotely sensed rainfall datasets that aims to explore how many gauges are essential and where they should be placed. Principal component analysis (PCA) is used to analyze the redundancy of the radar grid network and to determine the number of rain gauges while the potential locations are determined by cluster analysis (CA) selection. The proposed methodology has been performed on 373 different storm events measured by a weather radar grid network and compared against an existing dense rain gauge network in southwestern England. Because of the simple structure, the proposed scheme could be easily implemented in other study areas. This study provides a new insight into rain gauge network design that is also a preliminary attempt to use remotely sensed data to solve the traditional rain gauge problems.

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Lu Han, Harvey Seim, John Bane, Robert E. Todd, and Mike Muglia

Abstract

Carbon-rich Middle Atlantic Bight (MAB) and South Atlantic Bight (SAB) shelf waters typically converge on the continental shelf near Cape Hatteras. Both are often exported to the adjacent open ocean in this region. During a survey of the region in mid-January 2018, there was no sign of shelf water export at the surface. Instead, a subsurface layer of shelf water with high chlorophyll and dissolved oxygen was observed at the edge of the Gulf Stream east of Cape Hatteras. Strong cooling over the MAB and SAB shelves in early January led to shelf waters being denser than offshore surface waters. Driven by the density gradient, the denser shelf waters cascaded beneath the Gulf Stream and were subsequently entrained into the Gulf Stream, as they were advected northeastward. Underwater glider observations 80 km downstream of the export location captured 0.44 Sv of shelf waters transported along the edge of the Gulf Stream in January 2018. In total, as much as 7×106 kg of carbon was exported from the continental shelf to a greater depth in the open ocean during this 5-day-long cascading event. Earlier observations of near-bottom temperature and salinity at a depth of 230 m captured several multiday episodes of shelf water at a location that was otherwise dominated by Gulf Stream water, indicating that the January 2018 cascading event was not unique. Cascading is an important, yet little-studied pathway of carbon export and sequestration at Cape Hatteras.

Open access
Jongil Han, Marcin L. Witek, Joao Teixeira, Ruiyu Sun, Hua-Lu Pan, Jennifer K. Fletcher, and Christopher S. Bretherton

Abstract

The current operational eddy-diffusivity countergradient (EDCG) planetary boundary layer (PBL) scheme in the NCEP Global Forecast System (GFS) tends to underestimate the PBL growth in the convective boundary layer (CBL). To improve CBL growth, an eddy-diffusivity mass-flux (EDMF) PBL scheme is developed, where the nonlocal transport by large turbulent eddies is represented by a mass-flux (MF) scheme and the local transport by small eddies is represented by an eddy-diffusivity (ED) scheme. For the vertical momentum mixing, the MF scheme is modified to include the effect of the updraft-induced pressure gradient force. While the EDMF scheme displays better CBL growth than the EDCG scheme, it tends to overproduce the amount of low clouds and degrades wind vector forecasts over the tropical ocean where strongly unstable PBLs are rarely found. In order not to degrade the forecast skill in the tropics, a hybrid scheme is developed, where the EDMF scheme is applied only for the strongly unstable PBL, while the EDCG scheme is used for the weakly unstable PBL. Along with the hybrid EDMF scheme, the heating by turbulent kinetic energy (TKE) dissipation is parameterized to reduce an energy imbalance in the GFS. To enhance a too weak vertical turbulent mixing for weakly and moderately stable conditions, the current local scheme in the stable boundary layer (SBL) is modified to use an eddy-diffusivity profile method. The hybrid EDMF PBL scheme with TKE dissipative heating and modified SBL mixing led to significant improvements in some key medium-range weather forecast metrics and was operationally implemented into the NCEP GFS in January 2015.

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Yan Wang, Kun Yang, Zhengyang Pan, Jun Qin, Deliang Chen, Changgui Lin, Yingying Chen, Lazhu, Wenjun Tang, Menglei Han, Ning Lu, and Hui Wu

Abstract

The southern Tibetan Plateau (STP) is the region in which water vapor passes from South Asia into the Tibetan Plateau (TP). The accuracy of precipitable water vapor (PWV) modeling for this region depends strongly on the quality of the available estimates of water vapor advection and the parameterization of land evaporation models. While climate simulation is frequently improved by assimilating relevant satellite and reanalysis products, this requires an understanding of the accuracy of these products. In this study, PWV data from MODIS infrared and near-infrared measurements, AIRS Level-2 and Level-3, MERRA, ERA-Interim, JRA-55, and NCEP final reanalysis (NCEP-Final) are evaluated against ground-based GPS measurements at nine stations over the STP, which covers the summer monsoon season from 2007 to 2013. The MODIS infrared product is shown to underestimate water vapor levels by more than 20% (1.84 mm), while the MODIS near-infrared product overestimates them by over 40% (3.52 mm). The AIRS PWV product appears to be most useful for constructing high-resolution and high-quality PWV datasets over the TP; particularly the AIRS Level-2 product has a relatively low bias (0.48 mm) and RMSE (1.83 mm) and correlates strongly with the GPS measurements (R = 0.90). The four reanalysis datasets exhibit similar performance in terms of their correlation coefficients (R = 0.87–0.90), bias (0.72–1.49 mm), and RMSE (2.19–2.35 mm). The key finding is that all the reanalyses have positive biases along the PWV seasonal cycle, which is linked to the well-known wet bias over the TP of current climate models.

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Fan Yang, Qing He, Jianping Huang, Mamtimin Ali, Xinghua Yang, Wen Huo, Chenglong Zhou, Xinchun Liu, Wenshou Wei, Caixia Cui, Minzhong Wang, Hongjun Li, Lianmei Yang, Hongsheng Zhang, Yuzhi Liu, Xinqian Zheng, Honglin Pan, Lili Jin, Han Zou, Libo Zhou, Yongqiang Liu, Jiantao Zhang, Lu Meng, Yu Wang, Xiaolin Qin, Yongjun Yao, Houyong Liu, Fumin Xue, and Wei Zheng

CAPSULE

The Desert Environment and Climate Observation Network (DECON) could promote collaborative research on desert dust-storms, boundary-layer and land-atmosphere interactions to better understand the status and role of the Taklimakan desert.

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Suranjana Saha, Shrinivas Moorthi, Hua-Lu Pan, Xingren Wu, Jiande Wang, Sudhir Nadiga, Patrick Tripp, Robert Kistler, John Woollen, David Behringer, Haixia Liu, Diane Stokes, Robert Grumbine, George Gayno, Jun Wang, Yu-Tai Hou, Hui-ya Chuang, Hann-Ming H. Juang, Joe Sela, Mark Iredell, Russ Treadon, Daryl Kleist, Paul Van Delst, Dennis Keyser, John Derber, Michael Ek, Jesse Meng, Helin Wei, Rongqian Yang, Stephen Lord, Huug van den Dool, Arun Kumar, Wanqiu Wang, Craig Long, Muthuvel Chelliah, Yan Xue, Boyin Huang, Jae-Kyung Schemm, Wesley Ebisuzaki, Roger Lin, Pingping Xie, Mingyue Chen, Shuntai Zhou, Wayne Higgins, Cheng-Zhi Zou, Quanhua Liu, Yong Chen, Yong Han, Lidia Cucurull, Richard W. Reynolds, Glenn Rutledge, and Mitch Goldberg

The NCEP Climate Forecast System Reanalysis (CFSR) was completed for the 31-yr period from 1979 to 2009, in January 2010. The CFSR was designed and executed as a global, high-resolution coupled atmosphere–ocean–land surface–sea ice system to provide the best estimate of the state of these coupled domains over this period. The current CFSR will be extended as an operational, real-time product into the future. New features of the CFSR include 1) coupling of the atmosphere and ocean during the generation of the 6-h guess field, 2) an interactive sea ice model, and 3) assimilation of satellite radiances by the Gridpoint Statistical Interpolation (GSI) scheme over the entire period. The CFSR global atmosphere resolution is ~38 km (T382) with 64 levels extending from the surface to 0.26 hPa. The global ocean's latitudinal spacing is 0.25° at the equator, extending to a global 0.5° beyond the tropics, with 40 levels to a depth of 4737 m. The global land surface model has four soil levels and the global sea ice model has three layers. The CFSR atmospheric model has observed variations in carbon dioxide (CO2) over the 1979–2009 period, together with changes in aerosols and other trace gases and solar variations. Most available in situ and satellite observations were included in the CFSR. Satellite observations were used in radiance form, rather than retrieved values, and were bias corrected with “spin up” runs at full resolution, taking into account variable CO2 concentrations. This procedure enabled the smooth transitions of the climate record resulting from evolutionary changes in the satellite observing system.

CFSR atmospheric, oceanic, and land surface output products are available at an hourly time resolution and a horizontal resolution of 0.5° latitude × 0.5° longitude. The CFSR data will be distributed by the National Climatic Data Center (NCDC) and NCAR. This reanalysis will serve many purposes, including providing the basis for most of the NCEP Climate Prediction Center's operational climate products by defining the mean states of the atmosphere, ocean, land surface, and sea ice over the next 30-yr climate normal (1981–2010); providing initial conditions for historical forecasts that are required to calibrate operational NCEP climate forecasts (from week 2 to 9 months); and providing estimates and diagnoses of the Earth's climate state over the satellite data period for community climate research.

Preliminary analysis of the CFSR output indicates a product that is far superior in most respects to the reanalysis of the mid-1990s. The previous NCEP–NCAR reanalyses have been among the most used NCEP products in history; there is every reason to believe the CFSR will supersede these older products both in scope and quality, because it is higher in time and space resolution, covers the atmosphere, ocean, sea ice, and land, and was executed in a coupled mode with a more modern data assimilation system and forecast model.

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