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Dzung Nguyen-Le and Tomohito J. Yamada

Abstract

In this study, self-organizing maps in combination with K-means clustering are used to objectively classify the anomalous weather patterns (WPs) associated with the summertime [May–June (MJ) and July–August–September (JAS)] heavy rainfall days during 1979–2007 over the Upper Nan River basin, northwestern Thailand. The results show that in MJ, intensive rains are mainly brought by the remarkable enhancement of the westerly summer monsoon. Meanwhile, westward-propagating tropical disturbances including tropical cyclones are the primary factors that reproduce heavy rainfall over the Upper Nan in JAS. These results also suggest that the occurrence time of local heavy rainfall is strongly related to the seasonal transition of the summer monsoon over the Indochina Peninsula. The classification results are then implemented with the perfect prognosis and analog method to predict the occurrence (yes/no) of heavy rainfall days over the studied basin in summer 2008–17 using prognostic WPs from the operational Japan Meteorological Agency Global Spectral Model (GSM). In general, the forecast skill of this approach up to 3-day lead times is significantly improved, in which the method not only outperforms GSM with the same forecast ranges, but also its 3-day forecast is better than the 1–2-day forecasts from GSM. However, the false alarms ratio is still high, particularly in JAS. Nevertheless, it is expected that the new approach will provide warning and useful guidance for decision-making by forecasters or end-users engaging in water management and disaster prevention activities.

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Dwi Prabowo Yuga Suseno and Tomohito J. Yamada

Abstract

A rainfall estimation method was developed based on the statistical relationships between cloud-top temperature and rainfall rates acquired by both the 10.8-μm channel of the Multi-Functional Transport Satellite (MTSAT) series and the Automated Meteorological Data Acquisition System (AMeDAS) C-band radar, respectively. The method focused on cumulonimbus (Cb) clouds and was developed in the period of June–September 2010 and 2011 over the landmass of Japan and its surrounding area. Total precipitable water vapor (PWV) and atmospheric vertical instability were considered to represent the atmospheric environmental conditions during the development of statistical models. Validations were performed by comparing the estimated values with the observed rainfall derived from the AMeDAS rain gauge network and the Tropical Rainfall Measuring Mission (TRMM) 3B42 rainfall estimation product. The results demonstrated that the models that considered the combination of total PWV and atmospheric vertical instability were relatively more sensitive to heavy rainfall than were the models that considered no atmospheric environmental conditions. The use of such combined information indicated a reasonable improvement, especially in terms of the correlation between estimated and observed rainfall. Intercomparison results with the TRMM 3B42 confirmed that MTSAT-based rainfall estimations made by considering atmospheric environmental conditions were more accurate for estimating rainfall generated by Cb cloud.

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Yuta Tamaki, Masaru Inatsu, Dzung Nguyen-Le, and Tomohito J. Yamada

Abstract

Dynamical downscaling (DDS) was conducted over Japan by using a regional atmospheric model with reanalysis data to investigate the rainfall duration bias over Kyushu, Japan, in July and August from 2006 to 2015. The model results showed that DDS had a positive rainfall duration bias over Kyushu and a dry bias over almost all of Kyushu, which were emphasized for extreme rainfall events. Investigated was the rainfall duration bias for heavy rainfall days, accompanied by synoptic-scale forcing, in which daily precipitation exceeded 30 mm day−1 and covered over 20% of the Kyushu area. Heavy rainfall days were sampled from observed rainfall data that were based on rain gauge and radar observations. A set of daily climatic variables of horizontal wind and equivalent potential temperature at 850 hPa and sea level pressure, around southwestern Japan, corresponding to the sampled dates, was selected to conduct a self-organizing map (SOM) and K-means method. The SOM and K-means method objectively classified three synoptic patterns related to heavy rainfall over Kyushu: strong monsoon, weak monsoon, and typhoon patterns. Rainfall duration had a positive bias in western Kyushu for the strong monsoon pattern and a positive bias in southern and east-coast Kyushu for the typhoon pattern, whereas there was little rainfall duration bias in the weak monsoon pattern. The bias for the typhoon pattern was related to rainfall events with a strong rainfall peak. The results suggest that bias correction for rainfall duration would be required for accurately estimating direct runoff in a catchment area in addition to the precipitation amount.

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Tomohito J. Yamada, Randal D. Koster, Shinjiro Kanae, and Taikan Oki

Abstract

This study reveals the mathematical structure of a statistical index, Ω, that quantifies similarity among ensemble members in a weather forecast. Previous approaches for quantifying predictability estimate separately the phase and shape characteristics of a forecast ensemble. The diagnostic Ω, on the other hand, characterizes the similarity (across ensemble members) of both aspects together with a simple expression. The diagnostic Ω is thus more mathematically versatile than previous indices.

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Tomohito J. Yamada, Myong-In Lee, Masao Kanamitsu, and Hideki Kanamaru

Abstract

The diurnal characteristics of summer rainfall in the contiguous United States and northern Mexico were examined with the United States reanalysis for 5 years in 10-km horizontal resolution (US10), which is dynamically downscaled from the National Centers for Environmental Prediction–National Center for Atmospheric Research (NCEP–NCAR) Global Reanalysis 1 using the Regional Spectral Model (RSM). The hourly precipitation outputs demonstrate a realistic structure in the temporal evolution of the observed rainfall episodes and their magnitudes across the United States without any prescriptions of the observed rainfall to the global reanalysis and the downscaled regional reanalysis. Nighttime rainfall over the Great Plains associated with eastward-propagating, mesoscale convective systems originating from the Rocky Mountains is also represented realistically in US10, while the original reanalysis and most general circulation models (GCMs) have difficulties in capturing the series of nocturnal precipitation events in summer over the Plains. The results suggest an important role of the horizontal resolution of the model in resolving small-scale, propagating convective systems to improve the diurnal cycle of summer rainfall.

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Shinjiro Kanae, Yukiko Hirabayashi, Tomohito Yamada, and Taikan Oki

Abstract

Outputs from two ensembles of atmospheric model simulations for 1951–98 define the influence of “realistic” land surface wetness on seasonal precipitation predictability in boreal summer. The ensembles consist of one forced with observed sea surface temperatures (SSTs) and the other forced with realistic land surface wetness as well as SSTs. Predictability was determined from correlations between the time series of simulated and observed precipitation. The ratio of forced variance to total variance determined potential predictability. Predictability occurred over some land areas adjacent to tropical oceans without land wetness forcing. On the other hand, because of the chaotic nature of the atmosphere, considerable parts of the land areas of the globe did not even show potential predictability with both land wetness and SST forcings.

The use of land wetness forcing enhanced predictability over semiarid regions. Such semiarid regions are generally characterized by a negative correlation between fluxes of latent heat and sensible heat from the land surface, and are “water-regulating” areas where soil moisture plays a governing role in land–atmosphere interactions. Actual seasonal prediction may be possible in these regions if slowly varying surface conditions can be estimated in advance. In contrast, some land regions (e.g., south of the Sahel, the Amazon, and Indochina) showed little predictability despite high potential predictability. These regions are mostly characterized by a positive correlation between the surface fluxes, and are “radiation-regulating” areas where the atmosphere plays a leading role. Improvements in predictability for these regions may require further improvements in model physics.

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Tomohito J. Yamada, Daiki Takeuchi, M. A. Farukh, and Yoshikazu Kitano

Abstract

Pakistan and northwestern India have frequently experienced severe heavy rainfall events during the boreal summer over the last 50 years including an event in late July and early August 2010 due to a sequence of monsoon surges. This study identified five dominant atmospheric patterns by applying principal component analysis and k-means clustering to a long-term sea level pressure dataset from 1979 to 2014. Two of these five dominant atmospheric patterns corresponded with a high frequency of the persistent atmospheric blocking index and positive sea level pressure over western Russia as well as an adjacent meridional trough ahead of northern Pakistan. In these two groups, a negative sea surface temperature anomaly was apparent over the equatorial mid- to eastern Pacific Ocean. The heavy precipitation periods with high persistent blocking frequency in western Russia as in the 2010 heat wave tended to have 1.2 times larger precipitation intensity compared to the whole of the heavy precipitation periods during the 36 years.

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Randal D. Koster, Y. C. Sud, Zhichang Guo, Paul A. Dirmeyer, Gordon Bonan, Keith W. Oleson, Edmond Chan, Diana Verseghy, Peter Cox, Harvey Davies, Eva Kowalczyk, C. T. Gordon, Shinjiro Kanae, David Lawrence, Ping Liu, David Mocko, Cheng-Hsuan Lu, Ken Mitchell, Sergey Malyshev, Bryant McAvaney, Taikan Oki, Tomohito Yamada, Andrew Pitman, Christopher M. Taylor, Ratko Vasic, and Yongkang Xue

Abstract

The Global Land–Atmosphere Coupling Experiment (GLACE) is a model intercomparison study focusing on a typically neglected yet critical element of numerical weather and climate modeling: land–atmosphere coupling strength, or the degree to which anomalies in land surface state (e.g., soil moisture) can affect rainfall generation and other atmospheric processes. The 12 AGCM groups participating in GLACE performed a series of simple numerical experiments that allow the objective quantification of this element for boreal summer. The derived coupling strengths vary widely. Some similarity, however, is found in the spatial patterns generated by the models, with enough similarity to pinpoint multimodel “hot spots” of land–atmosphere coupling. For boreal summer, such hot spots for precipitation and temperature are found over large regions of Africa, central North America, and India; a hot spot for temperature is also found over eastern China. The design of the GLACE simulations are described in full detail so that any interested modeling group can repeat them easily and thereby place their model’s coupling strength within the broad range of those documented here.

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Zhichang Guo, Paul A. Dirmeyer, Randal D. Koster, Y. C. Sud, Gordon Bonan, Keith W. Oleson, Edmond Chan, Diana Verseghy, Peter Cox, C. T. Gordon, J. L. McGregor, Shinjiro Kanae, Eva Kowalczyk, David Lawrence, Ping Liu, David Mocko, Cheng-Hsuan Lu, Ken Mitchell, Sergey Malyshev, Bryant McAvaney, Taikan Oki, Tomohito Yamada, Andrew Pitman, Christopher M. Taylor, Ratko Vasic, and Yongkang Xue

Abstract

The 12 weather and climate models participating in the Global Land–Atmosphere Coupling Experiment (GLACE) show both a wide variation in the strength of land–atmosphere coupling and some intriguing commonalities. In this paper, the causes of variations in coupling strength—both the geographic variations within a given model and the model-to-model differences—are addressed. The ability of soil moisture to affect precipitation is examined in two stages, namely, the ability of the soil moisture to affect evaporation, and the ability of evaporation to affect precipitation. Most of the differences between the models and within a given model are found to be associated with the first stage—an evaporation rate that varies strongly and consistently with soil moisture tends to lead to a higher coupling strength. The first-stage differences reflect identifiable differences in model parameterization and model climate. Intermodel differences in the evaporation–precipitation connection, however, also play a key role.

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