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Xianan Jiang and Ngar-Cheung Lau

Abstract

Based on a recently released, high-resolution reanalysis dataset for the North American region, the intraseasonal variability (ISV; with a time scale of about 20 days) of the North American monsoon (NAM) is examined. The rainfall signals associated with this phenomenon first emerge near the Gulf of Mexico and eastern Pacific at about 20°N. They subsequently migrate to the southwestern United States along the slope of the Sierra Madre Occidental. The rainfall quickly dissipates upon arrival at the desert region of Arizona and New Mexico (AZNM). The enhanced rainfall over AZNM is accompanied by strong southeasterly low-level flow along the Gulf of California. This pattern bears strong resemblance to the circulation related to “gulf surge” events, as documented by many studies. The southeasterly flow is associated with an anomalous low vortex over the subtropical eastern Pacific Ocean off California, and a midlatitude anticyclone over the central United States in the lower troposphere. This flow pattern is in broad agreement with that favoring the “wet surges” over the southwestern United States.

It is further demonstrated that the aforementioned low-level circulations associated with ISV of the NAM are part of a prominent trans-Pacific wave train extending from the western North Pacific (WNP) to the Eastern Pacific/North America along a “great circle” path. The circulation anomalies along the axis of this wave train exhibit a barotropic vertical structure over most regions outside of the WNP, and a baroclinic structure over the WNP, thus suggesting the important role of convective activities over the WNP in sustaining this wave train. This inference is further substantiated by an analysis of the pattern of wave-activity–flux vectors. Variations in the WNP convection are correlated with the ISV of the monsoons in both North American and East Asian (EA)/WNP sectors. These relationships lead to notable teleconnections between NAM and the EA/WNP monsoon on 20-day time scales.

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Xian-An Jiang and Tim Li

Abstract

The characteristic features of the boreal summer intraseasonal oscillation (BSISO) during its reinitiation period are studied using NCEP–NCAR reanalysis. Based on these observations and with the aid of an anomalous atmospheric general circulation model (AGCM), a possible mechanism responsible for the BSISO reinitiation is elucidated. The western equatorial Indian Ocean along the eastern African coast tends to be a key region for the phase transition of the BSISO from an enhanced to suppressed convective phase, or vise versa. The major precursory feature associated with reinitiation of suppressed convection is found in the divergence and reduced specific humidity in the boundary layer. Numerical experiments indicate that the low-level divergence is caused by the cold horizontal temperature advection and associated adiabatic warming (descending motion) in situ. The summer mean state is found to be important for the cold horizontal temperature advection through the modulation of a Gill-type response to an intraseasonal oscillation (ISO) heating in the eastern equatorial Indian Ocean. The results in this study suggest a self-sustained paradigm in the Indian Ocean for the BSISO; that is, the BSISO could be a basinwide phenomenon instead of a global circumstance system as hypothesized for the boreal winter ISO (i.e., the Madden–Julian oscillation).

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Haikun Zhao, Xianan Jiang, and Liguang Wu

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During boreal summer, vigorous synoptic-scale wave (SSW) activity, often evident as southeast–northwest-oriented wave trains, prevails over the western North Pacific (WNP). In spite of their active role for regional weather and climate, modeling studies on SSWs are rather limited. In this study, a comprehensive survey on climate model capability in representing the WNP SSWs is conducted by analyzing simulations from 27 recent general circulation models (GCMs). Results suggest that it is challenging for GCMs to realistically represent the observed SSWs. Only 2 models out of the 27 GCMs generally well simulate both the intensity and spatial pattern of the observed SSW mode. Plausible key processes for realistic simulations of SSW activity are further explored. It is illustrated that GCM skill in representing the spatial pattern of the SSW is highly correlated to its skill in simulating the summer mean patterns of the low-level convergence associated with the WNP monsoon trough and conversion from eddy available potential energy (EAPE) to eddy kinetic energy (EKE). Meanwhile, simulated SSW intensity is found to be significantly correlated to the amplitude of 850-hPa vorticity, divergence, and conversion from EAPE to EKE over the WNP. The observed modulations of SSW activity by the Madden–Julian oscillation are able to be captured in several model simulations.

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Yanjuan Guo, Duane E. Waliser, and Xianan Jiang

Abstract

The relationship between a model’s performance in simulating the Madden–Julian oscillation (MJO) and convectively coupled equatorial wave (CCEW) activity during wintertime is examined by analyzing precipitation from 26 general circulation models (GCMs) participating in the MJO Task Force/Global Energy and Water Cycle Experiment (GEWEX) Atmospheric System Study (GASS) MJO model intercomparison project as well as observations based on the Tropical Rainfall Measuring Mission (TRMM). A model’s performance in simulating the MJO is determined by how faithfully it reproduces the eastward propagation of the large-scale intraseasonal variability (ISV) compared to TRMM observations. Results suggest that models that simulate a better MJO tend to 1) have higher fractional variances for various high-frequency wave modes (Kelvin, mixed Rossby–gravity, and westward and eastward inertio-gravity waves), which are defined by the ratios of wave variances of specific wave modes to the “total” variance, and 2) exhibit stronger CCEW variances in association with the eastward-propagating ISV precipitation anomalies for these high-frequency wave modes. The former result is illustrative of an alleviation in the good MJO models of the widely reported GCM deficiency in simulating the correct distribution of variance in tropical convection [i.e., typically too weak (strong) variance in the high- (low-) frequency spectrum of the precipitation]. The latter suggests better coherence and stronger interactions between these aforementioned high-frequency CCEWs and the ISV envelope in good MJO models. Both factors likely contribute to the improved simulation of the MJO in a GCM.

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E. Suhas, J. M. Neena, and Xianan Jiang

Abstract

The three-dimensional structure, horizontal and vertical propagation characteristics, and convection–circulation coupling of the convectively coupled westward-propagating mixed Rossby–gravity (MRG) waves are examined by classifying the waves based on their amplitude. Convective signals of the MRG waves were identified and isolated using empirical orthogonal function analysis of wavenumber–frequency-filtered outgoing longwave radiation (OLR) data. It was found that about 50% of the MRG waves occur during the August–November months, and this strong seasonality was considered while characterizing the MRG waves. Five strong and five weak MRG wave seasons were identified during 1979–2019, based on seasonal wave amplitude, and through this classification, significant differences in the strength of convection–circulation coupling, zonal scale of circulation, vertical structure, and propagation characteristics of MRG waves were brought out. It was also found that the seasonal mean background state is significantly different during strong and weak MRG wave seasons. While a La Niña–like background state was found to favor enhanced MRG wave activity, the MRG wave activity is mostly suppressed during an El Niño–like background state. The presence of extratropical wave intrusions is another factor that distinguishes the strong MRG wave seasons from the weak ones. Eastward- and northeastward-propagating extratropical wave trains from the South Atlantic to the east Indian Ocean were observed during strong MRG wave seasons.

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Yanjuan Guo, Xianan Jiang, and Duane E. Waliser

Abstract

In this study, evidence of the strong modulation of the convectively coupled Kelvin wave (CCKW) activity by the Madden–Julian oscillation (MJO) is presented, with a particular focus over the South America and tropical Atlantic region. The MJO impacts on CCKWs over this region, as noted in anomalous fields of rainfall as well as vertical profiles of wind, moisture, and temperature, are primarily through the modulation of Kelvin wave amplitude, with secondary effects on vertical structure, and little impact on wavenumber. CCKW activity is enhanced during MJO phases 8, 1, and 2 and damped during MJO phases 4, 5, and 6.

Further analyses reveal that the strong modulation of the MJO on the CCKW activity could be largely through two factors: namely, the vertical zonal wind shear and the lower- to middle-tropospheric specific humidity. The CCKW activity tends to be enhanced during MJO phases when the easterly vertical wind shear and positive low- to midtroposphere moisture anomalies are present and vice versa. These two physical processes associated with the MJO are found to have positively (negatively) reinforcing influences on the CCKW activity in phase 1 (4 and 5), while counteracting influences in phases 2, 3, 6, 7, and 8, leading to the observed MJO cycle of the CCKW activity anomalies in the study region. The results presented in this study may have important implications for extended-range prediction of tropical wave activity and might suggest possible roles of the upstream CCKWs in the initiation of the MJO in the western Indian Ocean.

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Xianan Jiang, Tim Li, and Bin Wang

Abstract

The spatial and temporal structures of the northward-propagating boreal summer intraseasonal oscillation (BSISO) are revealed based on the analysis of both the ECHAM4 model simulation and the NCEP–NCAR reanalysis. The BSISO structure and evolution characteristics simulated by the model bear many similarities to those derived from the NCEP–NCAR reanalysis. The most notable features are the remarkable meridional asymmetries, relative to the BSISO convection, in the vorticity and specific humidity fields. A positive vorticity perturbation with an equivalent barotropic structure appears a few latitude degrees north of the convection center. The maximum specific humidity also shows a clear northward shift in the lower troposphere.

Two internal atmospheric dynamics mechanisms are proposed to understand the cause of the northward propagation of the BSISO. The first is the vertical shear mechanism. The key process associated with this mechanism is the generation of barotropic vorticity due to the coupling between the free-atmosphere baroclinic and barotropic modes in the presence of the vertical shear of the mean flow. The induced barotropic vorticity in the free atmosphere further causes a moisture convergence in the planetary boundary layer (PBL), leading to the northward shift of the convective heating. The second mechanism is the moisture–convection feedback mechanism. Two processes contribute to the northward shift of the low-level moisture. One is the moisture advection by the mean southerly in the PBL. Another is the moisture advection by the BSISO wind due to the mean meridional specific humidity gradient. The asymmetric specific humidity contributes to the northward shift of the convective heating.

A theoretical framework is constructed to investigate the instability of the northward-propagating BSISO mode and the relative roles of various mechanisms including air–sea interactions. An eigenvalue analysis indicates that the northward propagation of the BSISO is an unstable mode of the summer mean flow in the monsoon region. It has a typical wavelength of 2500 km. While the easterly shear contributes to the northward propagation primarily north of 5°N, the moisture feedback and the air–sea interaction also contribute significantly, particularly in the region near and south of the equator. The internal atmospheric dynamics are essential in causing the northward propagation of the BSISO over the tropical Indian Ocean.

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Xianan Jiang, Ming Zhao, and Duane E. Waliser

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This study illustrates that observed modulations of tropical cyclone (TC) genesis over the eastern Pacific (EPAC) by large-scale intraseasonal variability (ISV) are well represented in a recently developed high-resolution atmospheric model (HiRAM) at the NOAA/Geophysical Fluid Dynamics Laboratory (GFDL) with a horizontal resolution of about 50 km. Considering the intrinsic predictability of the ISV of 2–4 weeks, this analysis thus has significant implications for dynamically based TC predictions on intraseasonal time scales. Analysis indicates that the genesis potential index (GPI) anomalies associated with the ISV can generally well depict ISV modulations of EPAC TC genesis in both observations and HiRAM simulations. Further investigation is conducted to explore the key factors associated with ISV modulation of TC activity based on an analysis of budget terms of the observed GPI during the ISV life cycle. It is found that, while relative roles of GPI factors are dependent on ISV phase and location, lower-level cyclonic vorticity, enhanced midlevel relative humidity, and reduced vertical wind shear can all contribute to the observed active TC genesis over the EPAC during particular ISV phases. In general, the observed anomalous ISV patterns of these large-scale GPI factors are well represented in HiRAM. Model deficiencies are also noted particularly in the anomalous midlevel relative humidity patterns and amplitude of vertical wind shear associated with the EPAC ISV.

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Zhuo Wang, Weiwei Li, Melinda S. Peng, Xianan Jiang, Ron McTaggart-Cowan, and Christopher A. Davis

Abstract

Practical predictability of tropical cyclogenesis over the North Atlantic is evaluated in different synoptic flow regimes using the NCEP Global Ensemble Forecast System (GEFS) reforecasts with forecast lead time up to two weeks. Synoptic flow regimes are represented by tropical cyclogenesis pathways defined in a previous study based on the low-level baroclinicity and upper-level forcing of the genesis environmental state, including nonbaroclinic, low-level baroclinic, trough-induced, weak tropical transition (TT), and strong TT pathways. It is found that the strong TT and weak TT pathways have lower predictability than the other pathways, linked to the lower predictability of vertical wind shear and midlevel humidity in the genesis vicinity of a developing TT storm. Further analysis suggests that stronger extratropical influences contribute to lower genesis predictability. It is also shown that the regional and seasonal variations of the genesis predictive skill in the GEFS can be largely explained by the relative frequency of occurrence of each pathway and the predictability differences among pathways. Predictability of tropical cyclogenesis is further discussed using the concept of the genesis potential index.

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Shih-Yu Wang, Hsin-Hsing Chia, Robert R. Gillies, and Xianan Jiang

Abstract

The occurrence of diurnal afternoon convection in Taiwan undergoes substantial modulation from tropical intraseasonal oscillations in the western North Pacific, including the quasi-biweekly (QBW) mode. By analyzing surface station observations and the Climate Forecast System (CFS) Reanalyses (CFSR), as well as the NCEP CFS version 2 (CFSv2) reforecast data over 18 summers from 1993 to 2010, it was found that the QBW mode plays a significant role in the formation of episodic diurnal convection. When the cyclonic circulation of the QBW mode is located west of Taiwan, followed by an anticyclonic circulation to the east, Taiwan's diurnal convection activity tends to intensify and persists for about 4–7 days. Synoptically, this situation reflects the enhanced subtropical anticyclone leading to fair weather conditions and increased monsoon southwesterly winds moistening the lower troposphere, all of which are conducive to thermally induced diurnal convection in Taiwan. The opposite situation tends to suppress the diurnal convection activity for a sustained period of time. Based upon this synoptic linkage, an empirical relationship between the precipitation diurnal amplitude and low-level circulation fields of the CFSv2 is derived. It was found that the CFSv2 forecast exhibits an effective lead time ranging from 16 to 24 days for the QBW mode and, subsequently, diurnal convection episodes in Taiwan.

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