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Minghua Zhang and Qingcun Zeng

Abstract

The evolution processes of small disturbances in an arbitrary basic flow can be expressed as a combination of spectral functions of the discrete spectra and continuous spectrum of a model that bear distinctly different evolutionary characteristics. Using the linearized barotropic quasigeostrophic vorticity model, this study formulates the discrete spectral solution into a form that is consistent with traditional normal modes in time and space, and the continuous spectral solution into a form with the continuum covering the range between minimum and maximum zonal angular velocities. An estimation of the bounds of the spectral points is derived to complement those derived from integral constraints. A theorem is given to describe the possible number of discrete spectral points away from the continuum.

The theoretical analysis is then used to aid the numerical identification and interpretation of discrete and continuous spectra of the model with realistic atmospheric basic zonal flows. It is shown that neutral spectral points correspond to either ultralong waves with global meridional coverage or synoptic-scale waves in low latitudes. The unstable spectral points correspond to localized waves with developing or decaying timescales longer than 2 weeks. Structures of spectral function of the continuum are also presented and discussed. They are shown to restrict on one side to the critical latitude and on the other side to the jet core under certain conditions.

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Qing-Cun Zeng

Abstract

The development of an individual quasi-geostrophic disturbance in a three-dimensional baroclinic atmosphere is investigated by using a wave-packet representation and the WKB method. The results obtained indicate that the development of a Rossby-wave packet in the upper level of the atmosphere depends on the packet's structure and location with respect to the zonal flow, whether the zonal flow is stable or not. The wave packet develops (decays) if the three-dimensional rays are indirect up-gradient (down-gradient) in the zonal flow. All characteristics of the wave packet are changing with time. The spatial scale or the three-dimensional wavelength of the developing (decaying) wave packet increases (decreases). The tilt of barotropic decaying (developing) trough line away from the meridian increases (decreases), while the vertical tilt of the baroclinic decaying (developing) trough line increases (decreases). The maximum amplitude of the developing (decaying) Rossby-wave packet moves toward (out from) the jet region, if the zonal flow is stable. Unlike a single normal mode, most wave packets cause considerable divergence of momentum and heat flux; hence there exists strong interaction between a Rossby-wave packet and the zonal flow.

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He Zhang, Minghua Zhang, and Qing-cun Zeng

Abstract

The dynamical core of the Institute of Atmospheric Physics of the Chinese Academy of Sciences Atmospheric General Circulation Model (IAP AGCM) and the Eulerian spectral transform dynamical core of the Community Atmosphere Model, version 3.1 (CAM3.1), developed at the National Center for Atmospheric Research (NCAR) are used to study the sensitivity of simulated climate. The authors report that when the dynamical cores are used with the same CAM3.1 physical parameterizations of comparable resolutions, the model with the IAP dynamical core simulated a colder troposphere than that from the CAM3.1 core, reducing the CAM3.1 warm bias in the tropical and midlatitude troposphere. However, when the two dynamical cores are used in the idealized Held–Suarez tests without moisture physics, the IAP AGCM core simulated a warmer troposphere than that in CAM3.1. The causes of the differences in the full models and in the dry models are then investigated.

The authors show that the IAP dynamical core simulated weaker eddies in both the full physics and the dry models than those in the CAM due to different numerical approximations. In the dry IAP model, the weaker eddies cause smaller heat loss from poleward dynamical transport and thus warmer troposphere in the tropics and midlatitudes. When moist physics is included, however, weaker eddies also lead to weaker transport of water vapor and reduction of high clouds in the IAP model, which then causes a colder troposphere due to reduced greenhouse warming of these clouds. These results show how interactive physical processes can change the effect of a dynamical core on climate simulations between two models.

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Lina Zhang, Bizheng Wang, and Qingcun Zeng

Abstract

The impact of the Madden–Julian oscillation (MJO) on summer rainfall in Southeast China is investigated using the Real-time Multivariate MJO (RMM) index and the observational rainfall data. A marked transition of rainfall patterns from being enhanced to being suppressed is found in Southeast China (east of 105°E and south of 35°N) on intraseasonal time scales as the MJO convective center moves from the Indian Ocean to the western Pacific Ocean. The maximum positive and negative anomalies of regional mean rainfall are in excess of 10% relative to the climatological regional mean. Such different rainfall regimes are associated with the corresponding changes in physical fields such as the western Pacific subtropical high (WPSH), moisture, and vertical motions. When the MJO is mainly over the Indian Ocean, the WPSH shifts farther westward, and the moisture and upward motions in Southeast China are increased. In contrast, when the MJO enters the western Pacific, the WPSH retreats eastward, and the moisture and upward motions in Southeast China are decreased.

It is suggested that the MJO may influence summer rainfall in Southeast China through remote and local dynamical mechanisms, which correspond to the rainfall enhancement and suppression, respectively. The remote role is the energy propagation of the Rossby wave forced by the MJO-related heating over the Indian Ocean through the low-level westerly waveguide from the tropical Indian Ocean to Southeast China. The local role is the northward shift of the upward branch of the anomalous meridional circulation when the MJO is over the western Pacific, which causes eastward retreat of the WPSH and suppressed moisture transport toward Southeast China.

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Aihui Wang, Xubin Zeng, Samuel S. P. Shen, Qing-Cun Zeng, and Robert E. Dickinson

Abstract

This paper intends to investigate the time scales of land surface hydrology and enhance the understanding of the hydrological cycle between the atmosphere, vegetation, and soil. A three-layer model for land surface hydrology is developed to study the temporal variation and vertical structure of water reservoirs in the vegetation–soil system in response to precipitation forcing. The model is an extension of the existing one-layer bucket model. A new time scale is derived, and it better represents the response time scale of soil moisture in the root zone than the previously derived inherent time scale (i.e., the ratio of the field capacity to the potential evaporation). It is found that different water reservoirs of the vegetation–soil system have different time scales. Precipitation forcing is mainly concentrated on short time scales with small low-frequency components, but it can cause long time-scale disturbances in the soil moisture of root zone. This time scale increases with soil depth, but it can be reduced significantly under wetter conditions. Although the time scale of total water content in the vertical column in the three-layer model is similar to that of the one-layer bucket model, the time scale of evapotranspiration is very different. This suggests the need to consider the vertical structure in land surface hydrology reservoirs and in climate study.

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Jian Huang, Zhongshui Zou, Qingcun Zeng, Peiliang Li, Jinbao Song, Lin Wu, Jun A. Zhang, Shuiqing Li, and Pak-wai Chan

Abstract

The turbulent structure within the marine atmospheric boundary layer is investigated based on four levels of observations at a fixed marine platform. During and before a cold front, the ocean surface is dominated by wind sea and swell waves, respectively, affording the opportunity to test the theory recently proposed in laboratory experiments or for flat land surfaces. The results reveal that the velocity spectra follow a k −1 law within the intermediate wavenumber (k) range immediately below inertial subrange during the cold front. A logarithmic height dependence of the horizontal velocity variances is also observed above the height of 20 m, while the vertical velocity variances increase with increasing height following a power law of 2/3. These features confirm the attached eddy model and the “top-down model” of turbulence over the ocean surface. However, the behavior of velocity variances under swell conditions is much different from those during the cold front, although a remarkable k −1 law can be observed in the velocity spectra. The quadrant analysis of the momentum flux also shows a significantly different result for the two conditions.

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Lifeng Luo, Alan Robock, Konstantin Y. Vinnikov, C. Adam Schlosser, Andrew G. Slater, Aaron Boone, Pierre Etchevers, Florence Habets, Joel Noilhan, Harald Braden, Peter Cox, Patricia de Rosnay, Robert E. Dickinson, Yongjiu Dai, Qing-Cun Zeng, Qingyun Duan, John Schaake, Ann Henderson-Sellers, Nicola Gedney, Yevgeniy M. Gusev, Olga N. Nasonova, Jinwon Kim, Eva Kowalczyk, Kenneth Mitchell, Andrew J. Pitman, Andrey B. Shmakin, Tatiana G. Smirnova, Peter Wetzel, Yongkang Xue, and Zong-Liang Yang

Abstract

The Project for Intercomparison of Land-Surface Parameterization Schemes phase 2(d) experiment at Valdai, Russia, offers a unique opportunity to evaluate land surface schemes, especially snow and frozen soil parameterizations. Here, the ability of the 21 schemes that participated in the experiment to correctly simulate the thermal and hydrological properties of the soil on several different timescales was examined. Using observed vertical profiles of soil temperature and soil moisture, the impact of frozen soil schemes in the land surface models on the soil temperature and soil moisture simulations was evaluated.

It was found that when soil-water freezing is explicitly included in a model, it improves the simulation of soil temperature and its variability at seasonal and interannual scales. Although change of thermal conductivity of the soil also affects soil temperature simulation, this effect is rather weak. The impact of frozen soil on soil moisture is inconclusive in this experiment due to the particular climate at Valdai, where the top 1 m of soil is very close to saturation during winter and the range for soil moisture changes at the time of snowmelt is very limited. The results also imply that inclusion of explicit snow processes in the models would contribute to substantially improved simulations. More sophisticated snow models based on snow physics tend to produce better snow simulations, especially of snow ablation. Hysteresis of snow-cover fraction as a function of snow depth is observed at the catchment but not in any of the models.

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