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Amanda H. Lynch and Wanli Wu

Abstract

Observations show that the amplitude of the annual atmospheric carbon dioxide cycle has increased. Lagged correlations between carbon dioxide, temperature, and vegetation suggest a modulation by ecosystem response, but the mechanisms remain unclear. Hypotheses include an early season uptake increase and/or winter respiration increase related to climate warming, and increased cycling in cooler conditions caused by disturbances such as fire. The first hypotheses suggest a positive feedback to regional warming, whereas the last suggests a negative feedback. Here it is shown that fire, as it influences species composition, can serve to enhance the increase in early season uptake but that a crucial determinant for the sign of the feedback is the impact of climate change on soil moisture.

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Wanli Wu, Amanda H. Lynch, and Aaron Rivers

Abstract

There is a growing demand for regional-scale climate predictions and assessments. Quantifying the impacts of uncertainty in initial conditions and lateral boundary forcing data on regional model simulations can potentially add value to the usefulness of regional climate modeling. Results from a regional model depend on the realism of the driving data from either global model outputs or global analyses; therefore, any biases in the driving data will be carried through to the regional model. This study used four popular global analyses and achieved 16 driving datasets by using different interpolation procedures. The spread of the 16 datasets represents a possible range of driving data based on analyses to the regional model. This spread is smaller than typically associated with global climate model realizations of the Arctic climate. Three groups of 16 realizations were conducted using the fifth-generation Pennsylvania State University–National Center for Atmospheric Research (PSU–NCAR) Mesoscale Model (MM5) in an Arctic domain, varying both initial and lateral boundary conditions, varying lateral boundary forcing only, and varying initial conditions only. The response of monthly mean atmospheric states to the variations in initial and lateral driving data was investigated.

Uncertainty in the regional model is induced by the interaction between biases from different sources. Because of the nonlinearity of the problem, contributions from initial and lateral boundary conditions are not additive. For monthly mean atmospheric states, biases in lateral boundary conditions generally contribute more to the overall uncertainty than biases in the initial conditions. The impact of initial condition variations decreases with the simulation length while the impact of variations in lateral boundary forcing shows no clear trend. This suggests that the representativeness of the lateral boundary forcing plays a critical role in long-term regional climate modeling. The extent of impact of the driving data uncertainties on regional climate modeling is variable dependent. For some sensitive variables (e.g., precipitation, boundary layer height), even the interior of the model may be significantly affected.

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Wanli Wu, Amanda H. Lynch, Sheldon Drobot, James Maslanik, A. David McGuire, and Ute Herzfeld

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Accurate estimates of the spatial and temporal variation in terrestrial water and energy fluxes and mean states are important for simulating regional hydrology and biogeochemistry in high-latitude regions. Furthermore, it is necessary to develop high-resolution hydroclimatological datasets at finer spatial resolutions than are currently available from global analyses. This study uses a regional climate model (RCM) to develop a hydroclimatological dataset for hydrologic and ecological application in the Western Arctic. The fifth-generation Penn State–NCAR Mesoscale Model (MM5) forced by global reanalysis products at the boundaries is used to perform 12 yr of simulation (1990 through 2001) over the Western Arctic. An analysis that compares the RCM simulations with independent observationally derived data sources is conducted to evaluate the temporal and spatial distribution of the mean states, variability, and trends during the period of simulation. The RCM simulation of sea level pressure agrees well with the reanalysis in terms of mean states, seasonality, and interannual variability. The RCM also simulates major spatial patterns of the observed climatology of surface air temperature (SAT), but RCM SAT is generally colder in the summertime and warmer in the wintertime in comparison with other datasets. Although there are biases in the mean state of SAT, the RCM simulations of the seasonal and interannual variability of SAT are similar to variability in observationally derived datasets. The RCM also simulates general spatial patterns of observed rainfall, but the modeled mean state of precipitation is characterized by large biases relative to observationally derived datasets. In particular, the RCM tends to overestimate coastal region precipitation but underestimates precipitation in the interior of the Western Arctic. The Arctic terrestrial surface climate trends for the period of 1992 to 2001 of the RCM are similar to those derived from observations, with sea level pressure decreasing 0.15 hPa decade−1, SAT increasing 0.10°C decade−1, and precipitation decreasing slightly in the RCM simulations. In summary, the RCM dataset produced in this study represents an improvement over data currently available from large-scale global reanalysis and provides a consistent meteorological forcing dataset for hydrologic and ecological applications.

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Sheldon Drobot, James Maslanik, Ute Christina Herzfeld, Charles Fowler, and Wanli Wu

Abstract

A better understanding of the interannual variability in temperature and precipitation datasets used as forcing fields for hydrologic models will lead to a more complete description of hydrologic model uncertainty, in turn helping scientists study the larger goal of how the Arctic terrestrial system is responding to global change. Accordingly, this paper investigates temporal and spatial variability in monthly mean (1992–2000) temperature and precipitation datasets over the Western Arctic Linkage Experiment (WALE) study region. The six temperature datasets include 1) the fifth-generation Pennsylvania State University–National Center for Atmospheric Research Mesoscale Model (MM5); 2) the 40-yr European Centre for Medium-Range Weather Forecasts (ECMWF) Re-Analysis (ERA-40); 3) the Advanced Polar Pathfinder all-sky temperatures (APP); 4) National Centers for Environmental Prediction– National Center for Atmospheric Research (NCEP–NCAR) reanalyses (NCEP1); 5) the Climatic Research Unit/University of East Anglia CRUTEM2v (CRU); and 6) the Matsuura and Wilmott 0.5° × 0.5° Global Surface Air Temperature and Precipitation (MW). Comparisons of monthly precipitation are examined for MM5, ERA-40, NCEP1, CRU, and MW. Results of the temporal analyses indicate significant differences between at least two datasets (for either temperature or precipitation) in almost every month. The largest number of significant differences for temperature occurs in October, when there are five separate groupings; for precipitation, there are four significantly different groupings from March through June, and again in December. Spatial analyses of June temperatures indicate that the greatest dissimilarity is concentrated in the central portion of the study region, with the NCEP1 and APP datasets showing the greatest differences. In comparison, the spatial analysis of June precipitation datasets suggests that the largest dissimilarity is concentrated in the eastern portion of the study region. These results indicate that the choice of forcing datasets likely will have a significant effect on the output from hydrologic models, and several different datasets should be used for a robust hydrologic assessment.

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Ute C. Herzfeld, Sheldon Drobot, Wanli Wu, Charles Fowler, and James Maslanik

Abstract

The Western Arctic Linkage Experiment (WALE) is aimed at understanding the role of high-latitude terrestrial ecosystems in the response of the Arctic system to global change through collection and comparison of climate datasets and model results. In this paper, a spatiotemporal approach is taken to compare and validate model results from the fifth-generation Pennsylvania State University–National Center for Atmospheric Research Mesoscale Model (MM5) with commonly used analysis and reanalysis datasets for monthly averages of temperature and precipitation in 1992–2000 and for a study area at 55°–65°N, 160°–110°W in northwestern Canada and Alaska.

Objectives include a quantitative assessment of similarity between datasets and climate model fields, and identification of geographic areas and seasons that are problematic in modeling, with potential causes that may aid in model improvement. These are achieved by application of algebraic similarity mapping, a simple yet effective method for synoptic analysis of many (here, 45) different spatial datasets, maps, and models. Results indicate a dependence of model–data similarity on seasonality, on climate variable, and on geographic location. In summary, 1) similarity of data and models is better for temperature than for precipitation; and 2) modeling of summer precipitation fields, and to a lesser extent, temperature fields, appears more problematic than that of winter fields. The geographic distribution of areas with best and worst agreement shifts throughout the year, with generally better agreement between maps and models in the northeastern and northern inland areas than in topographically complex and near-coastal areas. The study contributes to an understanding of the geographic complexity of the Arctic system and modeling its diverse climate.

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Jason C. Knievel, Yubao Liu, Thomas M. Hopson, Justin S. Shaw, Scott F. Halvorson, Henry H. Fisher, Gregory Roux, Rong-Shyang Sheu, Linlin Pan, Wanli Wu, Joshua P. Hacker, Erik Vernon, Frank W. Gallagher III, and John C. Pace

Abstract

Since 2007, meteorologists of the U.S. Army Test and Evaluation Command (ATEC) at Dugway Proving Ground (DPG), Utah, have relied on a mesoscale ensemble prediction system (EPS) known as the Ensemble Four-Dimensional Weather System (E-4DWX). This article describes E-4DWX and the innovative way in which it is calibrated, how it performs, why it was developed, and how meteorologists at DPG use it. E-4DWX has 30 operational members, each configured to produce forecasts of 48 h every 6 h on a 272-processor high performance computer (HPC) at DPG. The ensemble’s members differ from one another in initial-, lateral-, and lower-boundary conditions; in methods of data assimilation; and in physical parameterizations. The predictive core of all members is the Advanced Research core of the Weather Research and Forecasting (WRF) Model. Numerical predictions of the most useful near-surface variables are dynamically calibrated through algorithms that combine logistic regression and quantile regression, generating statistically realistic probabilistic depictions of the atmosphere’s future state at DPG’s observing sites. Army meteorologists view E-4DWX’s output via customized figures posted to a restricted website. Some of these figures summarize collective results—for example, through means, standard deviations, or fractions of the ensemble exceeding thresholds. Other figures show each forecast, individually or grouped—for example, through spaghetti diagrams and time series. This article presents examples of each type of figure.

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Sonya Legg, Bruce Briegleb, Yeon Chang, Eric P. Chassignet, Gokhan Danabasoglu, Tal Ezer, Arnold L. Gordon, Stephen Griffies, Robert Hallberg, Laura Jackson, William Large, Tamay M. Özgökmen, Hartmut Peters, Jim Price, Ulrike Riemenschneider, Wanli Wu, Xiaobiao Xu, and Jiayan Yang

Oceanic overflows are bottom-trapped density currents originating in semienclosed basins, such as the Nordic seas, or on continental shelves, such as the Antarctic shelf. Overflows are the source of most of the abyssal waters, and therefore play an important role in the large-scale ocean circulation, forming a component of the sinking branch of the thermohaline circulation. As they descend the continental slope, overflows mix vigorously with the surrounding oceanic waters, changing their density and transport significantly. These mixing processes occur on spatial scales well below the resolution of ocean climate models, with the result that deep waters and deep western boundary currents are simulated poorly. The Gravity Current Entrainment Climate Process Team was established by the U.S. Climate Variability and Prediction (CLIVAR) Program to accelerate the development and implementation of improved representations of overflows within large-scale climate models, bringing together climate model developers with those conducting observational, numerical, and laboratory process studies of overflows. Here, the organization of the Climate Process Team is described, and a few of the successes and lessons learned during this collaboration are highlighted, with some emphasis on the well-observed Mediterranean overflow. The Climate Process Team has developed several different overflow parameterizations, which are examined in a hierarchy of ocean models, from comparatively well-resolved regional models to the largest-scale global climate models.

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