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Xuguang Wang, Craig H. Bishop, and Simon J. Julier

Abstract

New methods to center the initial ensemble perturbations on the analysis are introduced and compared with the commonly used centering method of positive–negative paired perturbations. In the new method, one linearly dependent perturbation is added to a set of linearly independent initial perturbations to ensure that the sum of the new initial perturbations equals zero; the covariance calculated from the new initial perturbations is equal to the analysis error covariance estimated by the independent initial perturbations, and all of the new initial perturbations are equally likely. The new method is illustrated by applying it to the ensemble transform Kalman filter (ETKF) ensemble forecast scheme, and the resulting ensemble is called the spherical simplex ETKF ensemble. It is shown from a multidimensional Taylor expansion that the symmetric positive–negative paired centering would yield a more accurate forecast ensemble mean and covariance than the spherical simplex centering if the ensemble were large enough to span all initial uncertain directions and thus the analysis error covariance was modeled precisely. However, when the number of uncertain directions is larger than the ensemble size, the spherical simplex centering has the advantage of allowing almost twice as many uncertain directions to be spanned as the symmetric positive–negative paired centering. The performances of the spherical simplex ETKF and symmetric positive–negative paired ETKF ensembles are compared by using the Community Climate Model Version 3 (CCM3). Each ensemble contains 1 control forecast and 16 perturbed forecasts. The NCEP–NCAR reanalysis data for the boreal summer in 2000 are used for the initialization of the control forecast and the verifications of the ensemble forecasts. The accuracy of the ensemble means, the accuracy of predictions of forecast error variance, and the ability of the ETKF ensembles to resolve inhomogeneities in the observation distribution were all tested. In all of these test categories, the spherical simplex ETKF ensemble was found to be superior to the symmetric positive–negative paired ETKF ensemble. The computational expense for generating spherical simplex ETKF initial perturbations is about as small as that for the symmetric positive–negative paired ETKF. Also shown is that the seemingly straightforward centering method, in which centered perturbations are obtained by subtracting the average of the perturbations from each individual perturbation, is unsatisfactory because the covariance estimated by the uncentered perturbations is not necessarily conserved after centering.

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Lin Zhao, S.-Y. Simon Wang, and Jonathan Meyer

Abstract

Using observed and reanalysis data, the pronounced interdecadal variations of Lake Qinghai (LQH) water levels and associated climate factors were diagnosed. From the 1960s to the early 2000s, the water level of LQH in the Tibetan Plateau has experienced a continual decline of 3 m but has since increased considerably. A water budget analysis of the LQH watershed suggested that the water vapor flux divergence is the dominant atmospheric process modulating precipitation and subsequently the lake volume change . The marked interdecadal variability in and was found to be related to the North Pacific (NP) and Pacific decadal oscillation (PDO) modes during the cold season (November–March). Through empirical orthogonal function (EOF) and regression analyses, the water vapor sink over the LQH watershed also responds significantly to the summer Eurasian wave train modulated by the low-frequency variability associated with the cold season NP and PDO modes. Removal of these variability modes (NP, PDO, and the Eurasian wave train) led to a residual uptrend in the hydrological variables of , , and precipitation, corresponding to the net water level increase. Attribution analysis using the Coupled Model Intercomparison Project phase 5 (CMIP5) single-forcing experiments shows that the simulations driven by greenhouse gas forcing produced a significant increase in the LQH precipitation, while anthropogenic aerosols generated a minor wetting trend as well.

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Boniface O. Fosu, S.-Y. Simon Wang, and Jin-Ho Yoon
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Parichart Promchote, S.-Y. Simon Wang, and Paul G. Johnson

Abstract

Severe flooding occurred in Thailand during the 2011 summer season, which resulted in more than 800 deaths and affected 13.6 million people. The unprecedented nature of this flood in the Chao Phraya River basin (CPRB) was examined and compared with historical flood years. Climate diagnostics were conducted to understand the meteorological conditions and climate forcing that led to the magnitude and duration of this flood. Neither the monsoon rainfall nor the tropical cyclone frequency anomalies alone was sufficient to cause the 2011 flooding event. Instead, a series of abnormal conditions collectively contributed to the intensity of the 2011 flood: anomalously high rainfall in the premonsoon season, especially during March; record-high soil moisture content throughout the year; elevated sea level height in the Gulf of Thailand, which constrained drainage; and other water management factors. In the context of climate change, the substantially increased premonsoon rainfall in CPRB after 1980 and the continual sea level rise in the river outlet have both played a role. The rainfall increase is associated with a strengthening of the premonsoon northeasterly winds that come from East Asia. Attribution analysis using phase 5 of the Coupled Model Intercomparison Project historical experiments pointed to anthropogenic greenhouse gases as the main external climate forcing leading to the rainfall increase. Together, these findings suggest increasing odds for potential flooding of similar intensity to that of the 2011 flood.

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S.-Y. Simon Wang, Lawrence E. Hipps, Oi-Yu Chung, Robert R. Gillies, and Randal Martin

Abstract

Because of the geography of a narrow valley and surrounding tall mountains, Cache Valley (located in northern Utah and southern Idaho) experiences frequent shallow temperature inversions that are both intense and persistent. Such temperature inversions have resulted in the worst air quality in the nation. In this paper, the historical properties of Cache Valley’s winter inversions are examined by using two meteorological stations with a difference in elevation of approximately 100 m and a horizontal distance apart of ~4.5 km. Differences in daily maximum air temperature between two stations were used to define the frequency and intensity of inversions. Despite the lack of a long-term trend in inversion intensity from 1956 to present, the inversion frequency increased in the early 1980s and extending into the early 1990s but thereafter decreased by about 30% through 2013. Daily mean air temperatures and inversion intensity were categorized further using a mosaic plot. Of relevance was the discovery that after 1990 there was an increase in the probability of inversions during cold days and that under conditions in which the daily mean air temperature was below −15°C an inversion became a certainty. A regression model was developed to estimate the concentration of past particulate matter of aerodynamic diameter ≤ 2.5 μm (PM2.5). The model indicated past episodes of increased PM2.5 concentrations that went into decline after 1990; this was especially so in the coldest of climate conditions.

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S.-Y. Simon Wang, Robert R. Gillies, Oi-Yu Chung, and Chaopeng Shen

Abstract

The 2013 federal Colorado River Basin Water Supply and Demand Study projected the water imbalance between future supply and demand to increase. The Colorado water supply (WS) exemplifies a pronounced quasi-decadal oscillation (QDO) of 10–20 years throughout its historical record; however, this QDO feature is unaccounted for in the climate models used to project the future WS. Adjacent to the Colorado River, the large watershed of the Great Salt Lake (GSL) in Utah records the hydrologic QDO signal in its water surface, leading previous studies to explore the cause of decadal fluctuations in the lake elevation and assess predictability. This study reports a remarkable coherence between the Colorado WS and the GSL elevation at the 10–20-yr time scale. Analysis of precipitation and terrestrial water storage anomalies suggests a cross-basin connection in the climate and hydrometeorological variations of the Colorado WS and the GSL. The 160-yr-long and well-kept GSL elevation record makes it an effective indicator for the Colorado WS.

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S.-Y. Simon Wang, Robert R. Gillies, Boniface Fosu, and Pratibha M. Singh
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Chia-Ping Cheng, Hen-I Lin, Simon Wang, Po-Ting Dean Liu, and Kung-Yueh Camyale Chao
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S.-Y. Simon Wang, Yen-Heng Lin, Robert R. Gillies, and Kirsti Hakala

Abstract

Ongoing (2014–16) drought in the state of California has played a major role in the depletion of groundwater. Within California’s Central Valley, home to one of the world’s most productive agricultural regions, drought and increased groundwater depletion occurs almost hand in hand, but this relationship appears to have changed over the last decade. Data derived from 497 wells have revealed a continued depletion of groundwater lasting a full year after drought, a phenomenon that was not observed in earlier records before the twenty-first century. Possible causes include 1) lengthening of drought associated with amplification in the 4–6-yr drought and El Niño frequency since the late 1990s and 2) intensification of drought and increased pumping that enhances depletion. Altogether, the implication is that current groundwater storage in the Central Valley will likely continue to diminish even further in 2016, regardless of the drought status.

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Jin-Ho Yoon, Ben Kravitz, Philip J. Rasch, S.-Y. Simon Wang, Robert R. Gillies, and Lawrence Hipps
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