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Lu Liu and Yuqing Wang

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In this study, trends in landfalling tropical cyclone (TC)-induced precipitation over China during 1980–2017 and the involved possible mechanisms are analyzed. Consistent with previous studies, it is found that the total annual TC precipitation shows a distinct spatial distribution with a significant increasing trend in southeastern China but a decreasing trend in southern China. This characteristic is found to be related to the increase in both the annual TC precipitation frequency and the precipitation intensity per TC over southeastern China but to the decrease in the annual TC precipitation frequency over southern China. A noticeable northward shift of total landfalling TC-induced annual precipitation has been identified. It is shown that the precipitation induced by strong TCs (STCs) significantly increased in southern China, whereas that induced by weak TCs (WTCs) increased in southeastern China, with the latter dominating the northward shift of total landfalling TC-induced precipitation over mainland China. The increasing trend of STC-induced precipitation in southern China is found to be closely related to sufficient water vapor supply and the increase in average duration and intensity of STCs after landfall. The increasing trend of WTC-induced precipitation in southeastern China is related to the northward shift of the average landfalling position of WTCs and changes in the environmental conditions that are more favorable for TC maintenance and precipitation.

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Haijun Yang and Lu Wang

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The tropical oceanic response to the extratropical thermal forcing is quantitatively estimated in a coupled climate model. This work focuses on comparison of the responses between the tropical Atlantic and Pacific. Under the same extratropical forcing, the tropical sea surface temperature responses are comparable. However, the responses in the tropical subsurface in the two oceans are distinct. The tropical subsurface response in the Atlantic can be twice of that in the Pacific. The maximum subsurface temperature change in the tropical Pacific occurs in the eastern lower thermocline, while that in the tropical Atlantic occurs in the west and well below the lower thermocline. The different responses in the tropical Atlantic and Pacific are closely related to the different changes in the meridional overturning circulations. The Pacific shallow overturning circulation, or the subtropical cell, tends to slow down (speed up) in response to the extratropical warming (cooling) forcing. The changes in the upwelling in the eastern equatorial Pacific as well as the shallow subduction from the extratropical southern Pacific along the eastern boundary are accountable for the eastern Pacific temperature change. The Atlantic overturning circulation consists of the shallow subtropical cell and the deep thermohaline circulation. A weakened thermohaline circulation will result in a strengthened northern subtropical cell, in which the change in the lower branch, or the low-latitude North Brazil Current, can cause strong response below the western tropical thermocline. Here the coastal Kelvin wave along the western boundary on the intermediate isopycnal level also plays an important role in the equatorward conveying of the climate anomalies in the mid-to-high-latitude Atlantic, particularly during the initial stage of the extratropical forcing.

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Ning Wang and Chungu Lu

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The two-dimensional continuous wavelet transform (2D CWT) has become an important tool to examine and diagnose nonstationary datasets on the plane. Compared with traditional spectral analysis methods, the 2D CWT provides localized spectral information of the analyzed dataset. It also has the advantage over the 2D discrete wavelet transform (DWT) in that it covers the domain of the analyzed data with a continuous analysis from which detailed, shift-invariant spectral information of different positions and orientations can be obtained. In this paper, a brief introduction of the 2D CWT and some of the most common wavelet mother functions are given, and some practical issues arising from the implementation and applications of the 2D CWT are discussed. The 2D CWT is applied to several test functions to illustrate the effects of the transforms. To demonstrate its practical application, the 2D CWT is used to analyze a set of meteorological data obtained from a numerical model stimulation.

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Xu Lu and Xuguang Wang

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Diverse observations, such as the High Definition Sounding System (HDSS) dropsonde observations from the Tropical Cyclone Intensity (TCI) program, the Tail Doppler Radar (TDR), Stepped Frequency Microwave Radiometer (SFMR), and flight-level observations from the Intensity Forecasting Experiment (IFEX) program, and the atmospheric motion vectors (AMVs) from the Cooperative Institute for Meteorological Satellite Studies (CIMSS) simultaneously depicted the three-dimensional (3D) structure of Hurricane Patricia (2015). Experiments are conducted to understand the relative impacts of each of these observation types on Patricia’s analysis and prediction using the Gridpoint Statistical Interpolation (GSI)-based ensemble-variational data assimilation system for the Hurricane Weather Research and Forecasting (HWRF) Model. In comparing the impacts of assimilating each dataset individually, results suggest that 1) the assimilation of 3D observations produces better TC structure analysis than the assimilation of two-dimensional (2D) observations; 2) the analysis from assimilating observations collected from platforms that only sample momentum fields produces a less improved forecast with either short-lived impacts or slower intensity spinup as compared to the forecast produced after assimilating observations collected from platforms that sample both momentum and thermal fields; and 3) the structure forecast tends to benefit more from the assimilation of inner-core observations than the corresponding intensity forecast, which implies better verification metrics are needed for future TC forecast evaluation.

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Lu Wang and Tim Li

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A normalization method is applied to MJO-scale precipitation and column integrated moist static energy (MSE) anomalies to clearly illustrate the phase evolution of MJO. It is found that the MJO peak phases do not move smoothly, rather they jump from the original convective region to a new location to its east. Such a discontinuous phase evolution is related to the emerging and developing of new congestus convection to the east of the preexisting deep convection. While the characteristic length scale of the phase jump depends on a Kelvin wave response, the associated time scale represents the establishment of an unstable stratification in the front due to boundary layer moistening. The combined effect of the aforementioned characteristic length and time scales determines the observed slow eastward phase speed. Such a phase evolution characteristic seems to support the moisture mode theory of the second type that emphasizes the boundary layer moisture asymmetry, because the moisture mode theory of the first type, which emphasizes the moisture or MSE tendency asymmetry, might favor more “smooth” phase propagation. A longitudinal-location-dependent premoistening mechanism is found based on moisture budget analysis. For the MJO in the eastern Indian Ocean, the premoistening in front of the MJO convection arises from vertical advection, whereas for the MJO over the western Pacific Ocean, it is attributed to the surface evaporating process.

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Xu Lu and Xuguang Wang

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Assimilating inner-core observations collected from recent field campaign programs such as Tropical Cyclone Intensity (TCI) and Intensity Forecasting Experiment (IFEX) together with the enhanced atmospheric motion vectors (AMVs) produce realistic three-dimensional (3D) analyses using the newly developed GSI-based, continuously cycled, dual-resolution hybrid ensemble–variational data assimilation (DA) system for the Hurricane Weather Research and Forecasting (HWRF) Model for Hurricane Patricia (2015). However, more persistent surface wind maximum spindown is found in the intensity forecast initialized from the realistic analyses produced by the DA system but not from the unrealistic initial conditions produced through vortex modification. Diagnostics in this study reveal that the spindown issue is likely attributed to the deficient HWRF Model physics that are unable to maintain the realistic 3D structures from the DA analysis. The horizontal diffusion is too strong to maintain the realistically observed vertical oscillation of radial wind near the eyewall region. The vertical diffusion profile cannot produce a sufficiently strong secondary circulation connecting the realistically elevated upper-level outflow produced in the DA analysis. Further investigations with different model physics parameterizations demonstrate that spindown can be alleviated by modifying model physics parameterizations. In particular, a modified turbulent mixing parameterization scheme together with a reduced horizontal diffusion is found to significantly alleviate the spindown issue and to improve the intensity forecast. Additional experiments show that the peak-simulated intensity and rapid intensification rate can be further improved by increasing the model resolution. But the model resolution is not as important as model physics in the spindown alleviation.

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Jiahao Lu, Tim Li, and Lu Wang

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The modulation of the diurnal cycle (DC) of precipitation over the Maritime Continent (MC) by the background annual cycle mean state was studied for the period of 1998–2014 through observational analyses and high-resolution simulations using the Weather Research and Forecasting (WRF) Model. The observational analyses reveal that there are statistically significant differences in the DC amplitude between boreal winter and summer. The amplitude of precipitation DC reduces by about 35% during boreal summer compared to boreal winter, especially over the MC major islands and adjacent oceans. A precipitation budget analysis indicates that the DC amplitude difference is primarily attributed to vertically integrated convergence of the mean moisture by diurnal winds. The relative roles of the background dynamic and thermodynamic states in causing the enhanced diurnal wind activity in boreal winter are further investigated through idealized WRF simulations. The results show that the seasonal mean background moisture condition is most critical in inducing the winter–summer difference of the precipitation DC over the MC, followed by atmospheric static stability (i.e., vertical temperature gradient) and circulation conditions.

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Tim Li, Bin Wang, and Lu Wang

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In a recent paper, Stuecker et al. applied a “combination mode” (C-mode) theory to explain the formation of the anomalous western North Pacific anticyclone (WNPAC) during El Niño events. The C-mode, arising from interaction between the annual cycle and ENSO, is an Indo-Pacific basin mode with two “near annual” time scales (roughly 10 and 15 months, respectively). This comment discusses to what extent the C-mode can explain the WNPAC dynamics. The major findings are the following: 1) spectral analysis of the Indo-Pacific circulation anomaly fields indicates that the 10-month mode is not observed and the 15-month mode is only seen in the western North Pacific (WNP), where its spectral peak is statistically insignificant; 2) the 15-month mode (with a period of 13–19 months) accounts for only a small portion (13%) of the observed sea level pressure anomaly in the WNP; and 3) the C-mode evolution does not capture the observed timing of the WNPAC onset in the northern fall of El Niño developing year. In addition it is shown, based on observational analyses and numerical experiments, that local atmosphere–ocean interaction plays an important role in formation of the anomalous anticyclonic center over the Philippine Sea.

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Zhumin Lu, Guihua Wang, and Xiaodong Shang

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The three-dimensional responses of a cyclonic ocean eddy (COE) for 1–2 months following a typhoon were investigated using altimeter data and numerical experiments. Two significant features were found: 1) the cyclonic eddy was enhanced, and the three-dimensional structure was changed, and 2) the cyclonic eddy underwent two processes: elliptical deformation and reaxisymmetrization in the horizontal plane. These two features are generally associated with typhoon-induced upwelling and the dynamic processes of eddy adjustment. These results imply that the local ocean processes can be affected by a typhoon through low-frequency response.

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Lu Wang, Tim Li, and Tianjun Zhou

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The structure and evolution characteristics of intraseasonal (20–100 day) variations of sea surface temperature (SST) and associated atmospheric and oceanic circulations over the Kuroshio Extension (KE) region during boreal summer are investigated, using satellite-based daily SST, observed precipitation data, and reanalysis data. The intraseasonal SST warming in the KE region is associated with an anomalous anticyclone in the overlying atmosphere, reduced precipitation, and northward and downward currents in the upper ocean. The corresponding atmospheric and oceanic fields during the SST cooling phase exhibit a mirror image with an opposite sign. A mixed layer heat budget analysis shows that the intraseasonal SST warming is primarily attributed to anomalous shortwave radiation and latent heat fluxes at the surface. The anomalous sensible heat flux and oceanic advection also have contributions, but with a much smaller magnitude.

The SST warming caused by the atmospheric forcing further exerts a significant feedback to the atmosphere through triggering the atmospheric convective instability and precipitation anomalies. The so-induced heating leads to quick setup of a baroclinic response, followed by a baroclinic-to-barotropic transition. As a result, the atmospheric circulation changes from an anomalous anticyclone to an anomalous cyclone. This two-way interaction scenario suggests that the origin of the atmospheric intraseasonal oscillation over the KE region may partly arise from the local atmosphere–ocean interaction.

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