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Xiquan Dong
,
Xiaojian Zheng
,
Baike Xi
, and
Shaocheng Xie

Abstract

More than four years of ground-based measurements taken at the ARM Eastern North Atlantic (ENA) site between July 2015 and September 2019 have been collected and processed in this study. Monthly and hourly means of clear-sky, all-sky, total cloud fraction (CF T ), and single-layered low (CF L ) and high (CF H ) clouds, the impacts of all scene types on the surface radiation budget (SRB), and their cloud radiative effects (CREs) have been examined. The annual averages of CF T , CF L , and CF H are 0.785, 0.342, and 0.123, respectively. The annual averages of the SW (LW) CREs for all sky, total, low, and high clouds are −56.7 (37.7), −76.6 (48.5), −73.7 (51.4), and −26.8 (13.9) W m−2, respectively, resulting in the NET CREs of −19.0, −28.0, −22.2, and −12.9 W m−2. Comparing the cloud properties and CREs at both ARM ENA and Southern Great Plains (SGP) sites, we found that the clear-sky downwelling SW and LW fluxes at the two sites are similar to each other due to their similar atmospheric background. Compared to SGP, the lower all-sky SW and higher LW fluxes at ENA are caused by its higher CF T and all-sky precipitable water vapor (PWV). With different low cloud microphysical properties and cloud condensation nuclei at the two sites, much higher cloud optical depth at SGP plays an important role in determining its lower SW flux, while Tb and PWV are important for downwelling LW flux at the surface. A sensitivity study has shown that the all-sky SW CREs at SGP are more sensitive to CF T (−1.07 W m−2 %−1) than at ENA (−0.689 W m−2 %−1), with the same conclusion for all-sky LW CREs (0.735 W m−2 %−1 at SGP vs 0.318 W m−2 %−1 at ENA). The results over the two sites shed new light on the impacts of clouds on the midlatitude surface radiation budgets, over both ocean and land.

Free access
Shaocheng Xie
,
Xiaohong Liu
,
Chuanfeng Zhao
, and
Yuying Zhang

Abstract

Sensitivity of Arctic clouds and radiation in the Community Atmospheric Model, version 5, to the ice nucleation process is examined by testing a new physically based ice nucleation scheme that links the variation of ice nuclei (IN) number concentration to aerosol properties. The default scheme parameterizes the IN concentration simply as a function of ice supersaturation. The new scheme leads to a significant reduction in simulated IN concentration at all latitudes while changes in cloud amounts and properties are mainly seen at high- and midlatitude storm tracks. In the Arctic, there is a considerable increase in midlevel clouds and a decrease in low-level clouds, which result from the complex interaction among the cloud macrophysics, microphysics, and large-scale environment. The smaller IN concentrations result in an increase in liquid water path and a decrease in ice water path caused by the slowdown of the Bergeron–Findeisen process in mixed-phase clouds. Overall, there is an increase in the optical depth of Arctic clouds, which leads to a stronger cloud radiative forcing (net cooling) at the top of the atmosphere. The comparison with satellite data shows that the new scheme slightly improves low-level cloud simulations over most of the Arctic but produces too many midlevel clouds. Considerable improvements are seen in the simulated low-level clouds and their properties when compared with Arctic ground-based measurements. Issues with the observations and the model–observation comparison in the Arctic region are discussed.

Full access
Minghua Zhang
,
Richard C. J. Somerville
, and
Shaocheng Xie
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Zeyu Cui
,
Guang J. Zhang
,
Yong Wang
, and
Shaocheng Xie

Abstract

The wrong diurnal cycle of precipitation is a common weakness of current global climate models (GCMs). To improve the simulation of the diurnal cycle of precipitation and understand what physical processes control it, we test a convective trigger function described in Xie et al. with additional optimizations in the NCAR Community Atmosphere Model version 5 (CAM5). The revised trigger function consists of three modifications: 1) replacing the convective available potential energy (CAPE) trigger with a dynamic CAPE (dCAPE) trigger, 2) allowing convection to originate above the top of planetary boundary layer [i.e., the unrestricted air parcel launch level (ULL)], and 3) optimizing the entrainment rate and threshold value of the dynamic CAPE generation rate for convection onset based on observations. Results from 1° resolution simulations show that the revised trigger can alleviate the long-standing GCM problem of too early maximum precipitation during the day and missing the nocturnal precipitation peak that is observed in many regions, including the U.S. southern Great Plains (SGP). The revised trigger also improves the simulation of the propagation of precipitation systems downstream of the Rockies and the Amazon region. A further composite analysis over the SGP unravels the mechanisms through which the revised trigger affects convection. Additional sensitivity tests show that both the peak time and the amplitude of the diurnal cycle of precipitation are sensitive to the entrainment rate and dCAPE threshold values.

Full access
Shaocheng Xie
,
Timothy Hume
,
Christian Jakob
,
Stephen A. Klein
,
Renata B. McCoy
, and
Minghua Zhang

Abstract

This study documents the characteristics of the large-scale structures and diabatic heating and drying profiles observed during the Tropical Warm Pool–International Cloud Experiment (TWP-ICE), which was conducted in January–February 2006 in Darwin during the northern Australian monsoon season. The examined profiles exhibit significant variations between four distinct synoptic regimes that were observed during the experiment. The active monsoon period is characterized by strong upward motion and large advective cooling and moistening throughout the entire troposphere, while the suppressed and clear periods are dominated by moderate midlevel subsidence and significant low- to midlevel drying through horizontal advection. The midlevel subsidence and horizontal dry advection are largely responsible for the dry midtroposphere observed during the suppressed period and limit the growth of clouds to low levels. During the break period, upward motion and advective cooling and moistening located primarily at midlevels dominate together with weak advective warming and drying (mainly from horizontal advection) at low levels. The variations of the diabatic heating and drying profiles with the different regimes are closely associated with differences in the large-scale structures, cloud types, and rainfall rates between the regimes. Strong diabatic heating and drying are seen throughout the troposphere during the active monsoon period while they are moderate and only occur above 700 hPa during the break period. The diabatic heating and drying tend to have their maxima at low levels during the suppressed periods. The diurnal variations of these structures between monsoon systems, continental/coastal, and tropical inland-initiated convective systems are also examined.

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Shuaiqi Tang
,
Peter Gleckler
,
Shaocheng Xie
,
Jiwoo Lee
,
Min-Seop Ahn
,
Curt Covey
, and
Chengzhu Zhang

Abstract

The diurnal and semidiurnal cycle of precipitation simulated from CMIP6 models during 1996–2005 are evaluated globally between 60°S and 60°N as well as at 10 selected locations representing three categories of diurnal cycle of precipitation: 1) afternoon precipitation over land, 2) early morning precipitation over ocean, and 3) nocturnal precipitation over land. Three satellite-based and two ground-based rainfall products are used to evaluate the climate models. Globally, the ensemble mean of CMIP6 models shows a diurnal phase of 3 to 4 h earlier over land and 1 to 2 h earlier over ocean when compared with the latest satellite products. These biases are in line with what were found in previous versions of climate models but reduced compared to the CMIP5 ensemble mean. Analysis at the selected locations complemented with in situ measurements further reinforces these results. Several CMIP6 models have shown a significant improvement in the diurnal cycle of precipitation compared to their CMIP5 counterparts, notably in delaying afternoon precipitation over land. This can be attributed to the use of more sophisticated convective parameterizations. Most models are still unable to capture the nocturnal peak associated with elevated convection and propagating mesoscale convective systems, with a few exceptions that allow convection to be initiated above the boundary layer to capture nocturnal elevated convection. We also quantify an encouraging consistency between the satellite- and ground-based precipitation measurements despite differing spatiotemporal resolutions and sampling periods, which provides confidence in using them to evaluate the diurnal and semidiurnal cycle of precipitation in climate models.

Full access
Todd Emmenegger
,
Yi-Hung Kuo
,
Shaocheng Xie
,
Chengzhu Zhang
,
Cheng Tao
, and
J. David Neelin

Abstract

A set of diagnostics based on simple, statistical relationships between precipitation and the thermodynamic environment in observations is implemented to assess phase 6 of the Coupled Model Intercomparison Project (CMIP6) model behavior with respect to precipitation. Observational data from the Atmospheric Radiation Measurement (ARM) permanent field observational sites are augmented with satellite observations of precipitation and temperature as an observational baseline. A robust relationship across observational datasets between column water vapor (CWV) and precipitation, in which conditionally averaged precipitation exhibits a sharp pickup at some critical CWV value, provides a useful convective onset diagnostic for climate model comparison. While a few models reproduce an appropriate precipitation pickup, most models begin their pickup at too low CWV and the increase in precipitation with increasing CWV is too weak. Convective transition statistics compiled in column relative humidity (CRH) partially compensate for model temperature biases—although imperfectly since the temperature dependence is more complex than that of column saturation. Significant errors remain in individual models and weak pickups are generally not improved. The conditional-average precipitation as a function of CRH can be decomposed into the product of the probability of raining and mean precipitation during raining times (conditional intensity). The pickup behavior is primarily dependent on the probability of raining near the transition and on the conditional intensity at higher CRH. Most models roughly capture the CRH dependence of these two factors. However, compensating biases often occur: model conditional intensity that is too low at a given CRH is compensated in part by excessive probability of precipitation.

Open access
Xiaojian Zheng
,
Cheng Tao
,
Chengzhu Zhang
,
Shaocheng Xie
,
Yuying Zhang
,
Baike Xi
, and
Xiquan Dong

Abstract

The simulations of clouds and surface radiation from 10 CMIP6 models and their CMIP5 predecessors are compared to the ARM ground-based observations over different climate regions. Compared to the ARM radar-lidar derived total cloud fractions (CF T ) and cloud fraction vertical distributions over the six selected sites, both CMIP5 and CMIP6 significantly underestimated CF T and low-level CF over the Northern Hemispheric midlatitude sites (SGPC1 and ENAC1), although the biases are generally smaller in CMIP6. Over the tropical oceanic site (TWPC2), 5 out of 10 CMIP6 models better simulated low-level CF than their CMIP5 predecessors. CMIP6 simulations generally agreed well with the ARM observations in CF T and cloud fraction vertical distributions over the tropical continental (MAOM1) and coastal (TWPC3) sites but missed the transitions between dry and wet seasons, similar to CMIP5 simulations. The improvements in downwelling shortwave fluxes (SWdn) at the surface from the majority of CMIP6 compared to CMIP5 primarily resulted from the improved cloud fraction simulations, especially over the SGPC1, ENAC1, and TWPC3 sites. By contrast, both CMIP5 and CMIP6 models exhibited diverse performances of clouds and shortwave radiation over the Arctic site (NSAC1), where CMIP6 models produced more clouds than CMIP5 models, especially for the low-level clouds. The comparisons between observations and CMIP5 and CMIP6 simulations provide valuable quantitative assessments of the accuracy of mean states and variabilities in the model simulations and shed light on general directions to improve climate models in different regions.

Restricted access
Han-Ching Chen
,
Fei-Fei-Jin
,
Sen Zhao
,
Andrew T. Wittenberg
, and
Shaocheng Xie

Abstract

This study examines historical simulations of ENSO in the E3SM-1-0, CESM2, and GFDL-CM4 climate models, provided by three leading U.S. modeling centers as part of the Coupled Model Intercomparison Project phase 6 (CMIP6). These new models have made substantial progress in simulating ENSO’s key features, including amplitude, time scale, spatial patterns, phase-locking, the spring persistence barrier, and recharge oscillator dynamics. However, some important features of ENSO are still a challenge to simulate. In the central and eastern equatorial Pacific, the models’ weaker-than-observed subsurface zonal current anomalies and zonal temperature gradient anomalies serve to weaken the nonlinear zonal advection of subsurface temperatures, leading to insufficient warm/cold asymmetry of ENSO’s sea surface temperature anomalies (SSTA). In the western equatorial Pacific, the models’ excessive simulated zonal SST gradients amplify their zonal temperature advection, causing their SSTA to extend farther west than observed. The models underestimate both ENSO’s positive dynamic feedbacks (due to insufficient zonal wind stress responses to SSTA) and its thermodynamic damping (due to insufficient convective cloud shading of eastern Pacific SSTA during warm events); compensation between these biases leads to realistic linear growth rates for ENSO, but for somewhat unrealistic reasons. The models also exhibit stronger-than-observed feedbacks onto eastern equatorial Pacific SSTAs from thermocline depth anomalies, which accelerates the transitions between events and shortens the simulated ENSO period relative to observations. Implications for diagnosing and simulating ENSO in climate models are discussed.

Full access
Shaocheng Xie
,
Hsi-Yen Ma
,
James S. Boyle
,
Stephen A. Klein
, and
Yuying Zhang

Abstract

The correspondence between short- and long-time-scale systematic errors in the Community Atmospheric Model, version 4 (CAM4) and version 5 (CAM5), is systematically examined. The analysis is based on the annual-mean data constructed from long-term “free running” simulations and short-range hindcasts. The hindcasts are initialized every day with the ECMWF analysis for the Year(s) of Tropical Convection. It has been found that most systematic errors, particularly those associated with moist processes, are apparent in day 2 hindcasts. These errors steadily grow with the hindcast lead time and typically saturate after five days with amplitudes comparable to the climate errors. Examples include the excessive precipitation in much of the tropics and the overestimate of net shortwave absorbed radiation in the stratocumulus cloud decks over the eastern subtropical oceans and the Southern Ocean at about 60°S. This suggests that these errors are likely the result of model parameterization errors as the large-scale flow remains close to observed in the first few days of the hindcasts. In contrast, other climate errors are present in the hindcasts, but with amplitudes that are significantly smaller than and do not approach their climate errors during the 6-day hindcasts. These include the cold biases in the lower stratosphere, the unrealistic double–intertropical convergence zone pattern in the simulated precipitation, and an annular mode bias in extratropical sea level pressure. This indicates that these biases could be related to slower processes such as radiative and chemical processes, which are important in the lower stratosphere, or the result of poor interactions of the parameterized physics with the large-scale flow.

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