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Jin Wu and Yi Wei

Abstract

An optical-electronic technique has been developed for simultaneous, remote measurements of the surface tension and wave attenuation over the water surface. The technique has been fully tested in a laboratory tank, and tried in the field. Sample results of measurements are presented to illustrate that the technique is an effective method for studying the surfactants on the air–sea interface.

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Wei Wu and Greg M. McFarquhar

Abstract

Knowledge of ice crystal particle size distributions (PSDs) is critical for parameterization schemes for atmospheric models and remote sensing retrieval schemes. Two-dimensional in situ images captured by cloud imaging probes are widely used to derive PSDs in term of maximum particle dimension (). In this study, different definitions of for nonspherical particles recorded by 2D probes are compared. It is shown that the derived PSDs can differ by up to a factor of 6 for μm and mm. The large differences for μm are caused by the strong dependence of sample volume on particle size, whereas differences for mm are caused by the small number of particles detected. Derived bulk properties can also vary depending on the definitions of because of discrepancies in the definition of used to characterize the PSDs and that used to describe the properties of individual ice crystals. For example, the mass-weighted mean diameter can vary by 2 times, the ice water content (IWC) by 3 times, and the mass-weighted terminal velocity by 6 times. Therefore, a consistent definition of should be used for all data and single-particle properties. As an invariant measure with respect to the orientation of particles in the imaging plane for 2D probes, the diameter of the smallest circle enclosing the particle () is recommended as the optimal definition of . If the 3D structure of a particle is observed, then the technique can be extended to determine the minimum enclosing sphere.

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Wei Wu and Greg M. McFarquhar

Abstract

We welcome the opportunity to correct the misunderstandings and misinterpretations contained in Yano’s comment that led him to incorrectly state that Wu and McFarquhar misunderstood the maximum entropy (MaxEnt) principle. As correctly stated by Yano, the principle itself does not suffer from the problem of a lack of invariance. But, as restated in this reply and in Wu and McFarquhar, the commonly used Shannon–Gibbs entropy does suffer from a lack of invariance for coordinate transform when applied in continuous cases, and this problem is resolved by the use of the relative entropy. Further, it is restated that the Wu and McFarquhar derivation of the PSD form using MaxEnt is more general than the formulation by Yano and allows more constraints with any functional relations to be applied. The derivation of Yano is nothing new but the representation of PSDs in other variables.

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Wei Gu, Qin Xu, and Rongsheng Wu

Abstract

A spectral model is developed to study the three-dimensional instability of nonlinear viscous symmetric circulations. Two-dimensional solutions of steady nonlinear viscous symmetric circulations are found to be unstable in three dimensions. Four types of unstable modes are identified. The type I mode is characterized by horizontally tilted bands, similar to the tilted primary mode obtained previously by other investigators. This mode may be viewed as a gradual emergence of the tilted primary mode in three dimensions. The remaining three modes are highly three-dimensional and emerge consecutively as the basic-state Richardson number decreases significantly below the critical value. Implications of these modes to the possible secondary instabilities of tilted primary nonlinear circulations are discussed.

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Wei Wu and Greg M. McFarquhar

Abstract

Several functional forms of cloud particle size distributions (PSDs) have been used in numerical modeling and remote sensing retrieval studies of clouds and precipitation, including exponential, gamma, lognormal, and Weibull distributions. However, there is no satisfying theoretical explanation as to why certain distribution forms preferentially occur instead of others. Intuitively, the analytical form of a PSD can be derived by directly solving the general dynamic equation, but no analytical solutions have been found yet. Instead of a process-level approach, the use of the principle of maximum entropy (MaxEnt) for determining the theoretical form of PSDs from the perspective of system is examined here. MaxEnt theory states that the probability density function with the largest information entropy among a group satisfying the given properties of the variable should be chosen. Here, the issue of variability under coordinate transformations that arises using the Gibbs–Shannon definition of entropy is identified, and the use of the concept of relative entropy to avoid these problems is discussed. Focusing on cloud physics, the four-parameter generalized gamma distribution is proposed as the analytical form of a PSD using the principle of maximum (relative) entropy with assumptions on power-law relations among state variables, scale invariance, and a further constraint on the expectation of one state variable (e.g., bulk water mass). The four-parameter generalized gamma distribution is very flexible to accommodate various type of constraints that could be assumed for cloud PSDs.

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Wei Wu, Zhiping Wen, Renguang Wu, and Tongmei Wang

Abstract

In the present study, monthly mean objectively analyzed air–sea fluxes (OAFlux) and NCEP–Department of Energy (DOE) reanalysis datasets are employed to investigate air–sea interaction over the subtropical North Pacific during the El Niño–Southern Oscillation (ENSO) transition phase. A coupled low-frequency mode is identified, for which surface net heat flux and atmospheric circulation changes are strongly coupled during the ENSO transition phase. This mode features anomalous cooling (warming) and low-level anomalous cyclonic (anticyclonic) circulation over the subtropical North Pacific. When this mode is prominent, the atmospheric circulation anomalies lead to SST cooling (warming) through surface heat flux anomalies associated with increases (decreases) in the sea–air temperature and humidity differences induced by anomalous cold (warm) advection. In turn, positive heat flux anomalies induce more surface heating, and the SST cooling (warming) causes less (more) deep convective heating. The anomalous surface heating and deep convective heating contribute significantly to anomalous circulation through the thermal adaptation mechanism (adaptation of atmospheric circulation to vertical differential heating). This positive feedback favors the maintenance of these anomalous winds over the subtropical North Pacific.

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Chunyan Li, Eddie Weeks, Wei Huang, Brian Milan, and Renhao Wu

Abstract

An unmanned surface vehicle (USV) was designed and constructed to operate continuously for covering both flood and ebb and preferably a complete tidal cycle (e.g., ~24 h) to measure the vertical profiles of horizontal flow velocity. It was applied in a tidal channel at Port Fourchon, Louisiana. A bottom-mounted ADCP was deployed for 515 days. The first EOF mode of the velocity profiles showed a barotropic type of flow that explained more than 98.2% of the variability. The second mode showed a typical estuarine flow with two layers, which explained 0.47% of the variability. Using a linear regression of the total transport from the USV with the vertically averaged velocity from the bottom-mounted ADCP, with an R-squared value of 98%, the total along-channel transport throughout the deployment was calculated. A low-pass filtering of the transport allowed for examining the impact of 76 events with cold, warm, or combined cold–warm fronts passing the area. The top seven most severe events were discussed, as their associated transports obviously stood out in the time series, indicating the importance of weather. It is shown that large-scale weather systems with frontal lines of ~1500–3000-km horizontal length scale control the subtidal transport in the area. Cold (warm) fronts tend to generate outward (inward) transports, followed by a rebound. The maximum coherence between the atmospheric forcing and the ocean response reached ~71%–84%, which occurred at about a frequency f of ~0.29 cycle per day or T of ~3.4 days in the period, consistent with the atmospheric frontal return periods (~3–7 days).

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Fengmin Wu, Wenkai Li, Peng Zhang, and Wei Li

Abstract

Superimposed on a warming trend, Arctic winter surface air temperature (SAT) exhibits substantial interannual variability, the underlying mechanisms of which are unclear, especially with regard to the role of sea ice variations and atmospheric processes. Here, atmospheric reanalysis data and idealized atmospheric model simulations are used to reveal the mechanisms by which sea ice variations and atmospheric anomalous conditions affect interannual variations in wintertime Arctic SAT. Results show that near-surface interannual warming in the Arctic is accompanied by comparable warming throughout large parts of the Arctic troposphere and large-scale anomalous atmospheric circulation patterns. Within the Arctic, changes in large-scale atmospheric circulations due to internal atmospheric variability explain a substantial fraction of interannual variation in SAT and tropospheric temperatures, which lead to an increase in moisture and downward longwave radiation, with the rest likely coming from sea ice–related and other surface processes. Arctic winter sea ice loss allows the ocean to release more heat and moisture, which enhances Arctic warming; however, this effect on SAT is confined to the ice-retreat area and has a limited influence on large-scale atmospheric circulations.

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Marvin A. Geller, Weixing Shen, Minghua Zhang, and Wei-Wu Tan

Abstract

One-dimensional calculations are carried out for the time evolution of the equatorial lower stratospheric mean zonal wind forced by time-varying equatorial Kelvin and mixed Rossby–gravity waves. If the time variation of the wave momentum forcing is given by a steady forcing plus a sinusoidal modulation, a tendency toward phase locking between the period of the wave forcing’s modulation and the period of the resulting mean wind oscillation is found in some cases, depending on the period and magnitude of the wave forcing as well as the phase difference between variations of the easterly and westerly momentum fluxes. Regime diagrams are shown to make these dependences clearer. If the wave forcings are irregularly modulated, the resulting time variation of the wind oscillation shows no resemblance to the imposed time variation of the wave forcing. These simple calculations are used to indicate that for nonlinear phenomena, such as the quasi-biennial oscillation (QBO), one cannot conclude that a lack of correlation between two data records means that these are physically unrelated. When the equatorial wave momentum fluxes are modulated according to the eastern Pacific sea surface temperatures, the simulated time variation of the QBO period sometimes (depending on the phase relation between the easterly and westerly time-varying fluxes) shows a great resemblance to the observations. This suggests that easterly and westerly momentum fluxes into the equatorial lower stratosphere are related to SST variations.

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Xinrong Wu, Wei Li, Guijun Han, Shaoqing Zhang, and Xidong Wang

Abstract

While fixed covariance localization can greatly increase the reliability of the background error covariance in filtering by suppressing the long-distance spurious correlations evaluated by a finite ensemble, it may degrade the assimilation quality in an ensemble Kalman filter (EnKF) as a result of restricted longwave information. Tuning an optimal cutoff distance is usually very expensive and time consuming, especially for a general circulation model (GCM). Here the authors present an approach to compensate the demerit in fixed localization. At each analysis step, after the standard EnKF is done, a multiple-scale analysis technique is used to extract longwave information from the observational residual (referred to the EnKF ensemble mean). Within a biased twin-experiment framework consisting of a global barotropical spectral model and an idealized observing system, the performance of the new method is examined. Compared to a standard EnKF, the hybrid method is superior when an overly small/large cutoff distance is used, and it has less dependence on cutoff distance. The new scheme is also able to improve short-term weather forecasts, especially when an overly large cutoff distance is used. Sensitivity studies show that caution should be taken when the new scheme is applied to a dense observing system with an overly small cutoff distance in filtering. In addition, the new scheme has a nearly equivalent computational cost to the standard EnKF; thus, it is particularly suitable for GCM applications.

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