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Jun Yang
,
Weitao Lu
,
Ying Ma
, and
Wen Yao

Abstract

Cloud detection is a basic research for achieving cloud-cover state and other cloud characteristics. Because of the influence of sunlight, the brightness of sky background on the ground-based cloud image is usually nonuniform, which increases the difficulty for cirrus cloud detection, and few detection methods perform well for thin cirrus clouds. This paper presents an effective background estimation method to eliminate the influence of variable illumination conditions and proposes a background subtraction adaptive threshold method (BSAT) to detect cirrus clouds in visible images for the small field of view and mixed clear–cloud scenes. The BSAT algorithm consists of red-to-blue band operation, background subtraction, adaptive threshold selection, and binarization. The experimental results show that the BSAT algorithm is robust for all types of cirrus clouds, and the quantitative evaluation results demonstrate that the BSAT algorithm outperforms the fixed threshold (FT) and adaptive threshold (AT) methods in cirrus cloud detection.

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Shangfeng Chen
,
Renguang Wu
,
Wen Chen
, and
Shuailei Yao

Abstract

The present study reveals a marked enhancement in the relationship between Eurasian winter and spring atmospheric interannual variability since the early 1990s. Specifically, the dominant mode of winter Eurasian 500-hPa geopotential height anomalies, with same-sign anomalies over southern Europe and East Asia and opposite-sign anomalies over north-central Eurasia, is largely maintained to the following spring after the early 1990s, but not before the early 1990s. The maintenance of the dominant atmospheric circulation anomaly pattern after the early 1990s is associated with a triple sea surface temperature (SST) anomaly pattern in the North Atlantic that is sustained from winter to the subsequent spring. This triple SST anomaly pattern triggers an atmospheric wave train over the North Atlantic through Eurasia during winter through spring. Atmospheric model experiments verify the role of the triple SST anomaly in maintaining the Eurasian atmospheric circulation anomalies. By contrast, before the early 1990s, marked SST anomalies related to the winter dominant mode only occur in the tropical North Atlantic during winter and they disappear during the following spring. The triple SST anomaly pattern after the early 1990s forms in response to a meridional atmospheric dipole over the North Atlantic induced by a La Niña–like cooling over tropical Pacific, and its maintenance into the following spring may be via a positive air–sea interaction process over the North Atlantic. Results of this analysis suggest a potential source for the seasonal prediction of the Eurasian spring climate.

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Qin Wen
,
Jie Yao
,
Kristofer Döös
, and
Haijun Yang

Abstract

The global temperature changes under global warming result from two effects: one is the pure radiative heating effect caused by a change in greenhouse gases, and the other is the freshwater effect related to changes in precipitation, evaporation, and sea ice. The two effects are separated in a coupled climate model through sensitivity experiments in this study. It is indicated that freshwater change has a significant cooling effect that can mitigate the global surface warming by as much as ~30%. Two significant regional cooling centers occur: one in the subpolar Atlantic and one in the Southern Ocean. The subpolar Atlantic cooling, also known as the “warming hole,” is triggered by sea ice melting and the southward cold-water advection from the Arctic Ocean, and is sustained by the weakened Atlantic meridional overturning circulation. The Southern Ocean surface cooling is triggered by sea ice melting along the Antarctic and is maintained by the enhanced northward Ekman flow. In these two regions, the effect of freshwater flux change dominates over that of radiation flux change, controlling the sea surface temperature change in the warming climate. The freshwater flux change also results in the Bjerknes compensation, with the atmosphere heat transport change compensating the ocean heat transport change by about 80% during the transient stage of global warming. In terms of global temperature and Earth’s energy balance, the freshwater change plays a stabilizing role in a warming climate.

Open access
Haijun Yang
,
Xingchen Shen
,
Jie Yao
, and
Qin Wen

Abstract

As the most extensive highland in the world, the Tibetan Plateau (TP) plays an important role in shaping the global climate. Quantifying the effect of the TP on global climate is the first step for a full understanding of the TP’s standing on planet Earth. Through coupled model sensitivity experiments, we draw a panorama of the TP’s global impact in this paper. Our model results show that the absence of the TP would result in a 4°C colder and 10% drier climate in the Northern Hemisphere (NH). The TP has a striking remote effect on the North Atlantic. Removing the TP would enhance the westerlies in the mid- to high latitudes of the NH and weaken the easterlies over the tropical Pacific. More moisture would be relocated from the tropical Pacific to the North Atlantic, shutting down the Atlantic thermohaline circulation, which would eventually result in more than 15°C colder and 20% drier climate over the North Atlantic. Our model results suggest that the presence of the TP may have contributed greatly to the hospitable modern climate in the NH, by promoting the establishment of the thermohaline circulation in the Atlantic, and therefore enhancing the northward ocean heat transport and atmosphere moisture transport across the equator.

Open access
Haijun Yang
,
Qin Wen
,
Jie Yao
, and
Yuxing Wang

Abstract

Using a coupled Earth climate model, freshwater forcing experiments are performed to study the Bjerknes compensation (BJC) between meridional atmosphere heat transport (AHT) and meridional ocean heat transport (OHT). Freshwater hosing in the North Atlantic weakens the Atlantic meridional overturning circulation (AMOC) and thus reduces the northward OHT in the Atlantic significantly, leading to a cooling (warming) in the surface layer in the Northern (Southern) Hemisphere. This results in an enhanced Hadley cell and northward AHT. Meanwhile, the OHT in the Indo-Pacific is increased in response to the Hadley cell change, partially offsetting the reduced OHT in the Atlantic. Two compensations occur here: compensation between the AHT and the Atlantic OHT, and that between the Indo-Pacific OHT and the Atlantic OHT. The AHT change undercompensates the OHT change by about 60% in the extratropics, while the former overcompensates the latter by about 30% in the tropics due to the Indo-Pacific change. The BJC can be understood from the viewpoint of large-scale circulation change. However, the intrinsic mechanism of BJC is related to the climate feedback of the Earth system. The authors’ coupled model experiments confirm that the occurrence of BJC is an intrinsic requirement of local energy balance, and local climate feedback determines the extent of BJC, consistent with previous theoretical results. Even during the transient period of climate change, the BJC is well established when the ocean heat storage is slowly varying and its change is much weaker than the net local heat flux change at the ocean surface. The BJC can be deduced from the local climate feedback. Under the freshwater forcing, the overcompensation in the tropics is mainly caused by the positive longwave feedback related to clouds, and the undercompensation in the extratropics is due to the negative longwave feedback related to surface temperature change. Different dominant feedbacks determine different BJC scenarios in different regions, which are in essence constrained by local energy balance.

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Chenxi Wang
,
Dong Zheng
,
Yijun Zhang
,
Wen Yao
, and
Wenjuan Zhang

Abstract

Using hail records at national meteorological stations for 2014–18, ERA-Interim reanalysis data, and Doppler weather radar data, the spatiotemporal distribution of hail events (HEs) in the Beijing–Tianjin–Hebei region is revealed, and the environmental conditions and hailstorm structures corresponding to large hail (diameter ≥ 20 mm) events (LHEs) and small hail (2 ≤ diameter < 20 mm) events (SHEs) are compared. It is found that, although HEs may be more frequent in mountainous areas, most LHEs occur in the plains and near the foot of the mountains. The HE frequency peaks in June, and the average hailstone size is larger during May and June. According to daytime records, the HEs predominantly occur in the afternoon and evening, whereas LHE tends to be more in the evening. Comparison of environmental parameters suggests that, relative to SHEs, LHEs tend to correspond to higher 2-m temperature, a wetter lower layer, a larger difference in relative humidity between 925 and 500 hPa, greater unstable energy, and stronger wind shear. Hailstorms associated with LHEs tend to feature greater mesoscale rotation velocity than those associated with SHEs. Hailstorms usually show rapid increase (RI) in vertically integrated liquid (VIL) before hailstones are observed. A significant difference between the hailstorms associated with LHEs and SHEs is that the former has an obviously longer time interval between the end of VIL RI and the occurrence of hailfall, indicating that the large hail size benefits from the constant supply of liquid water and the hail can be lifted by updrafts for a long time.

Significance Statement

Whereas previous studies have predominantly focused on large hail (diameter ≥ 20 mm) events (LHEs) and their yielding conditions, this study was devoted to examining the difference between the LHEs and small hail (2 ≤ diameter < 20 mm) events in their associated atmospheric environments and storm structures. The interesting new insight is that the hailstorms yielding LHEs tend to feature a significantly longer time interval after the rapid increase of vertically integrated liquid and before hailfall. This study can provide a reference for the early warning of the scale of hail, which is one of the difficulties of weather services.

Restricted access
Cheng-Ku Yu
,
Wei-Fan Liu
,
Lin-Wen Cheng
, and
Chuan-Yao Lin

Abstract

This study explores the mechanisms responsible for valley precipitation enhancement over Da-Tun Mountain under the prevailing northeasterly monsoonal flow. Da-Tun Mountain, located adjacent to the northern coast of Taiwan, is a small-scale (15 km), concave-like terrain feature with two ridge arms and a funnel-shaped valley. A typical valley precipitation enhancement event that occurred on 13 December 2018 was chosen for detailed analyses. Upstream conditions were characterized by the absence of convective available potential energy with a large-Froude-number (>1) flow regime. Observational and modeling results indicate a consistent, important signature of flow splitting due to partial blocking as the low-level northeasterly flow encountered the ridge arms. Fine-scale structures of airflow and precipitation evident from the simulations further reveal that the deflected flows over the two ridge arms interacted with each other to produce lateral convergence and enhanced precipitation inside the valley. The smaller-scale splitting flows tended to occur over the ridge arms as upstream moist Froude number decreased from relatively higher (5–11) to lower (3–5) values due to the temporal change in moist static stability. Quantitative diagnoses of vertical velocities performed over the region of primary precipitation support that upward motions associated with lateral convergence greatly overwhelmed the upslope-forced lifting over the valley region during the valley precipitation enhancement periods. However, vertical motions over the ridge arms with steeper slopes were dominantly contributed by the upslope forcing, but their intensities were also modulated by the flow-splitting-induced divergence.

Significance Statement

Many mountain ranges around the world exhibit a concave-like terrain feature with various spatial scales and orientations. Orographic modulations of rainfall by concave mountains are of great importance to local weather, as torrential rainfall has been frequently reported over these ridges in different geographical locations. This study aims to advance our knowledge of precipitation mechanisms over Da-Tun Mountain, a small-scale concave topography located in northern Taiwan. Observational and modeling analyses reveal evidence of splitting flows over different ridge arms of this mountain barrier. These smaller-scale splitting flows and their interactions play important roles in modulating the intensity of upslope-forced lifting and contributing to valley precipitation enhancement. These identified processes are anticipated to be commonly active over highly three-dimensional, concave-like topography.

Full access
Qianzi Yang
,
Yingying Zhao
,
Qin Wen
,
Jie Yao
, and
Haijun Yang

Abstract

The Bjerknes compensation (BJC) under global warming is studied using a simple box model and a coupled Earth system model. The BJC states the out-of-phase changes in the meridional atmosphere and ocean heat transports. Results suggest that the BJC can occur during the transient period of global warming. During the transient period, the sea ice melting in the high latitudes can cause a significant weakening of the Atlantic meridional overturning circulation (AMOC), resulting in a cooling in the North Atlantic. The meridional contrast of sea surface temperature would be enhanced, and this can eventually enhance the Hadley cell and storm-track activities in the Northern Hemisphere. Accompanied by changes in both ocean and atmosphere circulations, the northward ocean heat transport in the Atlantic is decreased while the northward atmosphere heat transport is increased, and the BJC occurs in the Northern Hemisphere. Once the freshwater influx into the North Atlantic Ocean stops, or the ocean even loses freshwater because of strong heating in the high latitudes, the AMOC would recover. Both the atmosphere and ocean heat transports would be enhanced, and they can eventually recover to the state of the control run, leading to the BJC to become invalid. The above processes are clearly demonstrated in the coupled model CO2 experiment. Since it is difficult to separate the freshwater effect from the heating effect in the coupled model, a simple box model is used to understand the BJC mechanism and freshwater’s role under global warming. In a warming climate, the freshwater flux into the ocean can cool the global surface temperature, mitigating the temperature rise. Box model experiments indicate clearly that it is the freshwater flux into the North Atlantic that causes out-of-phase changes in the atmosphere and ocean heat transports, which eventually plays a stabilizing role in global climate change.

Open access
Sheng Huang
,
Weijiang Li
,
Jiahong Wen
,
Mengru Zhu
,
Yao Lu
, and
Na Wu

Abstract

Driven by both climate change and urbanization, extreme rainfall events are becoming more frequent and having an increasing impact on urban commuting. Using hourly rainfall data and “metro” origin–destination (OD) flow data in Shanghai, China, this study uses the Prophet time series model to calculate the predicted commuting flows during rainfall events and then quantifies the spatiotemporal variations of commuting flows due to rainfall at station and OD levels. Our results show the following: 1) In general, inbound commuting flows at metro stations tend to decrease with hourly rainfall intensity, varying across station types. The departure time of commuters is usually delayed by rainfall, resulting in a significant stacking effect of inbound flows at metro stations, with a pattern of falling followed by rising. The sensitivity of inbound flows to rainfall varies at different times, high at 0700 and 1700 LT and low at 0800, 0900, 1800, and 1900 LT because of the different levels of flexibility of departure time. 2) Short commuting OD flows (≤15 min) are more affected by rainfall, with an average increase of 7.3% and a maximum increase of nearly 35%, whereas long OD flows (>15 min) decrease slightly. OD flows between residential and industrial areas are more affected by rainfall than those between residential and commercial (service) areas, exhibiting a greater fluctuation of falling followed by rising. The sensitivity of OD flows to rainfall varies across metro lines. The departure stations of rainfall-sensitive lines are mostly distributed in large residential areas that rely heavily on the metro in the morning peak hours and in large industrial parks and commercial centers in the evening peak hours. Our findings reveal the spatiotemporal patterns of commuting flows resulting from rainfall at a finer scale, which provides a sound basis for spatial and temporal response strategies. This study also suggests that attention should be paid to the surges and stacking effects of commuting flows at certain times and areas during rainfall events.

Free access
Ruiyang Ma
,
Dong Zheng
,
Yijun Zhang
,
Wen Yao
,
Wenjuan Zhang
, and
Deqing Cuomu

Abstract

Herein, we compared data on the spatiotemporal distribution of lightning activity obtained from the World Wide Lightning Location Network (WWLLN) with that from the Lightning Imaging Sensor (LIS). The WWLLN and LIS both suggest intense lightning activity over the central and southeastern Tibetan Plateau (TP) during May–September. Meanwhile, the WWLLN indicates relatively weak lightning activity over the northeastern TP, where the LIS suggests very intense lightning activity, and it also indicates a high-density lightning center over the southwestern TP that is not suggested by the LIS. Furthermore, the WWLLN lightning peaks in August in terms of monthly variation and in late August in terms of 10-day variation, unlike the corresponding LIS lightning peaks of July and late June, respectively. Other observation data were also introduced into the comparison. The blackbody temperature (TBB) data from the Fengyun-2E geostationary satellite (as a proxy of deep convection) and thunderstorm-day data support the spatial distribution of the WWLLN lightning more. Meanwhile, for seasonal variation, the TBB data are more analogous to the LIS data, whereas the cloud-to-ground (CG) lightning data from a local CG lightning location system are closer to the WWLLN data. It is speculated that the different WWLLN and LIS observation modes may cause their data to represent different dominant types of lightning, thereby leading to differences in the spatiotemporal distributions of their data. The results may further imply that there exist regional differences and seasonal variations in the electrical properties of thunderstorms over the TP.

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