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Na Wen, Zhengyu Liu, and Qinyu Liu

Abstract

Most previous studies have proven the local negative heat flux feedback (the surface heat flux response to SST anomalies) in the midlatitude areas. However, it is uncertain whether a nonlocal heat flux feedback can be observed. In this paper, the generalized equilibrium feedback assessment (GEFA) method is employed to examine the full surface turbulent heat flux response to SST in the North Atlantic Ocean using NCEP–NCAR reanalysis data. The results not only confirm the dominant local negative feedback, but also indicate a robust nonlocal positive feedback of the Gulf Stream Extension (GSE) SST to the downstream heat flux in the subpolar region. This nonlocal feedback presents a strong seasonality, with response magnitudes of in winter and in summer. Further study indicates that the nonlocal effect is initiated by the adjustments of the downstream surface wind to the GSE SST anomalies.

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Jianling Yang, Qinyu Liu, and Zhengyu Liu

Abstract

The authors investigate the relationship between sea surface temperature (SST) in the tropical Indian Ocean (TIO) and the seasonal atmosphere circulation in the Asian monsoon region (AMR) using the maximum covariance analyses (MCAs). The results show that the Asian monsoon circulation is significantly correlated with two dominant SST anomaly (SSTA) modes: the Indian Ocean Basin mode (IOB) and the Indian Ocean dipole mode (IOD). The peak SSTA of the IOB appears in spring and has a much stronger relationship with the Asian summer monsoon than the peak of the IOD does, whereas the peak SSTA for the IOD appears in fall and shows a stronger link to the Asian winter monsoon than to the Asian summer monsoon. In addition, the IOB in spring has a relatively stronger link with the atmospheric circulation in summer than in other seasons.

The large-scale atmospheric circulation and SSTA patterns of the covariability of the first two dominant MCA modes are described. For the first MCA mode, a warm IOB, persists from spring to summer, and the atmospheric circulation is enhanced by the establishment of the climatological summer monsoon. The increased evaporative moisture associated with the warm IOB is transported to South Asia by the climatological summer monsoon, which increases the moisture convergence toward this region, leading to a significant increase in summer monsoon precipitation. For the second MCA mode, a positive IOD possibly corresponds to a weaker Indian winter monsoon and more precipitation over the southwestern and eastern equatorial TIO.

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Zhengyu Liu, Haijun Yang, and Qinyu Liu

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Dynamics of the seasonal cycle of sea surface height (SSH) in the South China Sea (SCS) are studied using observations as well as numerical and theoretical models. Seasonal variability of the SCS is interpreted in light of large-scale dynamics and Rossby waves. It is found that the seasonal cycle over most of the SCS basin is determined predominantly by the regional ocean dynamics within the SCS. The SSH variability is shown to be forced mainly by surface wind curl on baroclinic Rossby waves. Annual baroclinic Rossby waves cross the basin in less than a few months, leaving the upper ocean in a quasi-steady Sverdrup balance. An anomalous cyclonic (anticyclonic) gyre is generated in winter (summer) by the anomalous cyclonic (anticyclonic) wind curl that is associated with the northeasterly (southwesterly) monsoon. In addition, surface heat flux acts to enhance the wind-generated variability. The winter surface cooling (warming) cools (warms) the mixed layer especially in the central SCS, reducing (increasing) the SSH.

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Hai Wang, Shang-Ping Xie, and Qinyu Liu

Abstract

Spatial patterns of climate response to changes in anthropogenic aerosols and well-mixed greenhouse gases (GHGs) are investigated using climate model simulations for the twentieth century. The climate response shows both similarities and differences in spatial pattern between aerosol and GHG runs. Common climate response between aerosol and GHG runs tends to be symmetric about the equator. This work focuses on the distinctive patterns that are unique to the anthropogenic aerosol forcing. The tropospheric cooling induced by anthropogenic aerosols is locally enhanced in the midlatitude Northern Hemisphere with a deep vertical structure around 40°N, anchoring a westerly acceleration in thermal wind balance. The aerosol-induced negative radiative forcing in the Northern Hemisphere requires a cross-equatorial Hadley circulation to compensate interhemispheric energy imbalance in the atmosphere. Associated with a southward shift of the intertropical convergence zone, this interhemispheric asymmetric mode is unique to aerosol forcing and absent in GHG runs. Comparison of key climate response pattern indices indicates that the aerosol forcing dominates the interhemispheric asymmetric climate response in historical all-forcing simulations, as well as regional precipitation change such as the drying trend over the East Asian monsoon region. While GHG forcing dominates global mean surface temperature change, its effect is on par with and often opposes the aerosol effect on precipitation, making it difficult to detect anthropogenic change in rainfall from historical observations.

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Ruifen Zhan, Yuqing Wang, and Qinyu Liu

Abstract

Previous studies have suggested that tropical cyclone (TC) seasons over the western North Pacific (WNP) in the decaying years of El Niño events are generally less active than normal. The two strongest El Niño events on record were 1997/98 and 2015/16, but TC activities over the WNP displayed a sharp contrast between the decaying years of the two events. In 1998, consistent with previous studies, the WNP witnessed an extremely quiet season with no TC genesis in the preseason (January–June) and with only 10 named TCs observed in the typhoon season (July–October), making 1998 the most inactive season in the basin on record. In 2016, no TC formed in the preseason, similar to 1998; however, the basin became remarkably active in the typhoon season with above-normal named TCs observed. Further analyses indicate that the absence of TCs in the preseason in both 1998 and 2016 and the less active typhoon season in 1998 were attributed to the strong western Pacific anomalous anticyclone associated with the super El Niño events. However, the pattern of sea surface temperature anomalies (SSTAs) in the Pacific in 2016 showed features distinct from that in 1998. During July–August, the extremely positive phase of the Pacific meridional mode (PMM) triggered an anomalous cyclonic circulation and negative vertical wind shear over the WNP, favorable for TC geneses, while during September–October, the combined effect of the equatorial western Pacific warming and the weak La Niña event enhanced TC geneses over the WNP.

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Na Wen, Zhengyu Liu, Qinyu Liu, and Claude Frankignoul

Abstract

The authors present a comprehensive assessment of the observed atmospheric response to SST variability modes in a unified approach using the Generalized Equilibrium Feedback Analysis (GEFA). This study confirms a dominant atmospheric response to the tropical SST variability associated with ENSO. A further analysis shows that the classical response to ENSO consists of two parts, one responding to the tropical Pacific ENSO mode and the other to the tropical Indian Ocean monopole (IOM) mode. The Pacific ENSO generates a significant baroclinic Rossby wave response locally over the tropical Pacific as well as equivalent barotropic wave train responses remotely into the extratropics. The IOM mode forces a strongly zonally symmetric response throughout the tropics and the extratropics. Furthermore, modest atmospheric responses to other oceanic modes were identified. For example, the North Pacific SST variability mode appears to generate an equivalent barotropic warm SST-ridge response locally over the Aleutian low with significant downstream influence on the North Atlantic Oscillation (NAO), whereas the North Atlantic tripole SST mode tends to force a local response on NAO. Finally, this pilot study serves as a demonstration of the potential utility of GEFA in identifying multiple surface feedbacks to the atmosphere in the observation.

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Zhengyu Liu, Lei Fan, Sang-Ik Shin, and Qinyu Liu

Abstract

The authors compared the assessment of the seasonal cycle of the atmospheric response to surface forcing in three statistical methods, generalized equilibrium feedback analysis (GEFA), linear inverse modeling (LIM), and fluctuation–dissipation theorem (FDT). These methods are applied to both a conceptual climate model and the observation. It is found that LIM and GEFA are able to reproduce the major features of the seasonal response consistently, whereas FDT tends to generate a bias of the phase of the seasonal cycle. The success of LIM and GEFA for the assessment of the seasonal response is due to the slowly varying nature of the annual cycle relative to the atmospheric response time. Therefore, the authors recommend GEFA and LIM as two independent methods for the assessment of the seasonal atmospheric response in the observation.

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Shang-Ping Xie, Lixiao Xu, Qinyu Liu, and Fumiaki Kobashi

Abstract

Decadal variability in the interior subtropical North Pacific is examined in the Geophysical Fluid Dynamics Laboratory coupled model (CM2.1). Superimposed on a broad, classical subtropical gyre is a narrow jet called the subtropical countercurrent (STCC) that flows northeastward against the northeast trade winds. Consistent with observations, the STCC is anchored by mode water characterized by its low potential vorticity (PV). Mode water forms in the deep winter mixed layer of the Kuroshio–Oyashio Extension (KOE) east of Japan and flows southward riding on the subtropical gyre and preserving its low-PV characteristic. As a thick layer of uniform properties, the mode water forces the upper pycnocline to shoal, and the associated eastward shear results in the surface-intensified STCC.

On decadal time scales in the central subtropical gyre (15°–35°N, 170°E–130°W), the dominant mode of sea surface height variability is characterized by the strengthening and weakening of the STCC because of variations in mode water ventilation. The changes in mode water can be further traced upstream to variability in the mixed layer depth and subduction rate in the KOE region. Both the mean and anomalies of STCC induce significant sea surface temperature anomalies via thermal advection. Clear atmospheric response is seen in wind curls, with patterns suggestive of positive coupled feedback.

In oceanic and coupled models, northeast-slanted bands often appear in anomalies of temperature and circulation at and beneath the surface. The results of this study show that such slanted bands are characteristic of changes in mode water ventilation. Indeed, this natural mode of STCC variability is excited by global warming, resulting in banded structures in sea surface warming.

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Feiyan Guo, Qinyu Liu, S. Sun, and Jianling Yang

Abstract

Using observational data and phase 5 of the Coupled Model Intercomparison Project (CMIP5) model outputs [the preindustrial (PI) control run of the Community Climate System Model, version 4 (CCSM4) and historical simulations of 17 CMIP5 models], Indian Ocean dipoles (IODs) with a peak in fall are categorized into three types. The first type is closely related to the development phase of El Niño/La Niña. The second type evolves from the basinwide warming (cooling) in the tropical Indian Ocean (IO), usually occurring in the year following El Niño (La Niña). The third type is independent of El Niño and La Niña. The dominant trigger condition for the first (third) type of IOD is the anomalous Walker circulation (anomalous cross-equatorial flow); the anomalous zonal sea surface temperature (SST) gradient in the tropical IO is the trigger condition for the second type. The occurrence of anomalous ocean Rossby waves during the forming stage of IO basinwide mode and their effect on SST in the southwestern IO during winter and spring are critical for early development of the second type of IOD. Although most models simulate a stronger El Niño–Southern Oscillation and IOD compared to the observations, this does not influence the phase-locking and classification of the IOD peaking in the fall.

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Peter C. Chu, Qinyu Liu, Yinglai Jia, and Chenwu Fan

Abstract

Variability in the surface isothermal and mixed layers of the Sulu and Celebes Seas is examined using the conductivity–temperature–depth data from the Navy's Master Oceanographic Observational Data Set (MOODS). Vertical gradient is calculated to determine isothermal layer depth with a criterion of 0.05°C m−1 for temperature profiles and mixed layer depth with a criterion of 0.015 kg m−4 for density profiles. When the isothermal layer depth is larger than the mixed layer depth, the barrier layer occurs. This study shows that the barrier layer occurs often in the Sulu and Celebes Seas. In the Sulu Sea, the barrier layer has seasonal variability with a minimum occurrence (38%) and a minimum thickness (3 m) in May and a maximum occurrence (94%) and a maximum thickness (36.5 m) in September. In the Celebes Sea, the barrier layer thickness changes from a maximum (49.7–62.0 m) in March–April to a minimum (9.6 m) in June. Possible mechanisms responsible for the barrier layer formation are discussed. In the Sulu Sea, the barrier layer may be formed by both rainfall and stratification; in the Celebes Sea, a rain-formed mechanism seems a major factor.

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