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J. Y. Wang and S. C. Wang

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Hao Wang and Eugene S. Takle

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A neutral boundary layer nonhydrostatic numerical model is used to determine the characteristics of shelterbelt effects on mean wind direction and to study the processing causing wind rotation when air passes through a shelterbelt. The model uses a turbulence scheme that includes prognostic equations for turbulence kinetic energy and a master length scale proposed by Mellor and Yamada. The simulated results are in quantitative agreement with Nord's field measurements. The spatial variation of wind rotation and its dependence on incident angle and shelterbelt porosity is analysed. Dynamic processes of the wind rotation and its interactions with drag force and pressure perturbation are also discussed. It is concluded that shear of wind direction should be considered, along with shear of speed, in determining turbulent fluxes in the vicinity of a shelterbelt.

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Hao Wang and E. S. Takle

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The authors report results of a numerical model used to simulate wind and turbulence fields for porous, living shelterbelts with seven different cross-sectional shapes. The simulations are consistent with results of Woodruff and Zingg whose wind-tunnel study demonstrated that all shelterbelts with very different shapes have nearly identical reduction of wind and turbulence. The simulations also showed that the pressure-loss (resistance) coefficient for smooth-shaped or streamlined shelterbelts is significantly smaller than that for rectangle-shaped or triangle-shaped shelterbelts with a windward vertical side. However, the shelter effects are not proportional to the pressure-loss coefficient (drag). Analysis of the momentum budget demonstrated that in the near lee and in the far lee, both vertical advection and pressure gradient have opposite roles in the recovery of wind speed. This behavior, combined with differences in permeability, is the likely cause of reduced sensitivity of shelter effects to shelterbelt shape.

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Xiaochun Wang and Samuel S. Shen

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This paper analyzes four methods for estimating the spatial degrees of freedom (dof) of a climate field: the χ 2 method, the Z method, the S method, and the B method. The results show that the B method provides the most accurate estimate of the dof. The χ 2 method, S method, and Z method yield underestimates when the number of realizations of the field is not sufficiently large or the field’s mean and variance vary with respect to spatial location. The dof of the monthly surface temperature field is studied numerically. The B method shows that the dof of the Northern Hemisphere (NH) has an obvious annual cycle, which is around 60 in the winter months and 90 in the summer months. The dof for the Southern Hemisphere (SH) varies between 35 and 50, with large values during its winter months and small ones during its summer months. The dof of the global temperature field demonstrates a similar annual cycle to that of the NH. The dof estimated from the observational data is smaller than that from the GFDL GCM model output of the surface air temperature. In addition, the model output for the SH shows the opposite phase of the seasonal cycle of the dof: large dof in summer and small ones in winter.

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S. Sokolovskiy, Y-H. Kuo, and W. Wang

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In this study a nonlocal, linear observation operator for assimilating radio occultation data is evaluated. The operator consists of modeling the excess phase, that is, integrating the refractivity along straight lines tangent to rays, below a certain height. The corresponding observable is the excess phase integrated through the Abel-retrieved refractivity, along the same lines, below the same height. The operator allows very simple implementation (computationally efficient) while accurately accounting for the horizontal refractivity gradients. This is due to significant cancellation of the linearization and discretization errors when modeling the observable. Evaluation of the operator with Challenging Minisatellite Payload (CHAMP) radio occultation data and grid refractivity fields from high-resolution regional analysis over the continental United States showed reduction of the observation error in the troposphere (below 7 km) 1.5–2 times, compared to the error of local refractivity. The operator is useful for the assimilation of radio occultation data by high-resolution weather models in the troposphere.

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Benjamin S. Grandey, Haiwen Cheng, and Chien Wang

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Fuel usage is an important driver of anthropogenic aerosol emissions. In Asia, it is possible that aerosol emissions may increase if business continues as usual, with economic growth driving an increase in coal burning. But it is also possible that emissions may decrease rapidly as a result of the widespread adoption of cleaner technologies or a shift toward noncoal fuels, such as natural gas. In this study, the transient climate impacts of two aerosol emissions scenarios are investigated: a representative concentration pathway 4.5 (RCP4.5) control, which projects a decrease in anthropogenic aerosol emissions, and a scenario with enhanced anthropogenic aerosol emissions from Asia. A coupled atmosphere–ocean configuration of the Community Earth System Model (CESM), including the Community Atmosphere Model, version 5 (CAM5), is used. Three sets of initial conditions are used to produce a three-member ensemble for each scenario. Enhanced Asian aerosol emissions are found to exert a large cooling effect across the Northern Hemisphere, partially offsetting greenhouse gas–induced warming. Aerosol-induced suppression of the East Asian and South Asian summer monsoon precipitation occurs. The enhanced Asian aerosol emissions also remotely impact precipitation in other parts of the world. Over Australia, austral summer monsoon precipitation is enhanced, an effect associated with a southward shift of the intertropical convergence zone, driven by the aerosol-induced cooling of the Northern Hemisphere. Over the Sahel, West African monsoon precipitation is suppressed, likely via a weakening of the West African westerly jet. These results indicate that fuel usage in Asia, through the consequent aerosol emissions and associated radiative effects, might significantly influence future climate both locally and globally.

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P. K. Wang and S. M. Denzer

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Simple mathematical expressions are presented for describing the shapes of some plane hexagonal snow crystals. These expressions provide convenient means for cloud physical calculations and can also serve as a method for quantitative classification of snow crystal shapes. A few examples am worked out to illustrate the use of these expressions. They can be further developed for describing more complicated shapes.

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Roop Saini, Guiling Wang, and Jeremy S. Pal

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This study tackles the contribution of soil moisture feedback to the development of extreme summer precipitation anomalies over the conterminous United States using a regional climate model. The model performs well in reproducing both the mean climate and extremes associated with drought and flood. A large set of experiments using the model are conducted that involve swapped initial soil moisture between flood and drought years using the 1988 and 2012 droughts and 1993 flood as examples. The starting time of these experiments includes 1 May (late spring) and 1 June (early summer). For all three years, the impact of 1 May soil moisture swapping is much weaker than the 1 June soil moisture swapping. In 1988 and 2012, replacing the 1 June soil moisture with that from 1993 reduces both the spatial extent and the severity of the simulated summer drought and heat. The impact is especially strong in 2012. In 1993, however, replacing the 1 June soil moisture with that from 1988 has little impact on precipitation. The contribution of soil moisture feedback to summer extremes is larger in 2012 than in 1988 and 1993. This may be because of the presence of strong anomalies in large-scale forcing in 1988 and 1993 that prohibit or favor precipitation, and the lack of such in 2012. This study demonstrates how the contribution of land–atmosphere feedback to the development of seasonal climate anomalies may vary from year to year and highlights its importance in the 2012 drought.

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Weiwei Li, Zhuo Wang, and Melinda S. Peng

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Tropical cyclone (TC) forecasts from the NCEP Global Ensemble Forecasting System (GEFS) Reforecast version 2 (1985–2012) were evaluated from the climate perspective, with a focus on tropical cyclogenesis. Although the GEFS captures the climatological seasonality of tropical cyclogenesis over different ocean basins reasonably well, large errors exist on the regional scale. As different genesis pathways are dominant over different ocean basins, genesis biases are related to biases in different aspects of the large-scale or synoptic-scale circulations over different basins. The negative genesis biases over the western North Pacific are associated with a weaker-than-observed monsoon trough in the GEFS, the erroneous genesis pattern over the eastern North Pacific is related to a southward displacement of the ITCZ, and the positive genesis biases near the Cape Verde islands and negative biases farther downstream over the Atlantic can be attributed to the hyperactive Africa easterly waves in the GEFS. The interannual and subseasonal variability of TC activity in the reforecasts was also examined to evaluate the potential skill of the GEFS in providing subseasonal and seasonal predictions. The GEFS skillfully captures the interannual variability of TC activity over the North Pacific and the North Atlantic, which can be attributed to the modulation of TCs by the El Niño–Southern Oscillation (ENSO) and the Atlantic meridional mode (AMM). The GEFS shows promising skill in predicting the active and inactive periods of TC activity over the Atlantic. The skill, however, has large fluctuations from year to year. The analysis presented herein suggests possible impacts of ENSO, the Madden–Julian oscillation (MJO), and the AMM on the TC subseasonal predictability.

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Hui Wang, A. Sankarasubramanian, and Ranji S. Ranjithan

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Skillful medium-range weather forecasts are critical for water resources planning and management. This study aims to improve 15-day-ahead accumulated precipitation forecasts by combining biweekly weather and disaggregated climate forecasts. A combination scheme is developed to combine reforecasts from a numerical weather model and disaggregated climate forecasts from ECHAM4.5 for developing 15-day-ahead precipitation forecasts. Evaluation of the skill of the weather–climate information (WCI)-based biweekly forecasts under leave-five-out cross validation shows that WCI-based forecasts perform better than reforecasts in many grid points over the continental United States. Correlation between rank probability skill score (RPSS) and disaggregated ECHAM4.5 forecast errors reveals that the lower the error in the disaggregated forecasts, the better the performance of WCI forecasts. Weights analysis from the combination scheme also shows that the biweekly WCI forecasts perform better by assigning higher weights to the better-performing candidate forecasts (reforecasts or disaggregated ECHAM4.5 forecasts). Particularly, WCI forecasts perform better during the summer months during which reforecasts have limited skill. Even though the disaggregated climate forecasts do not perform well over many grid points, the primary reason WCI-based forecasts perform better than the reforecasts is due to the reduction in the overconfidence of the reforecasts. Since the disaggregated climate forecasts are better dispersed than the reforecasts, combining them with reforecasts results in reduced uncertainty in predicting the 15-day-ahead accumulated precipitation.

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