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Xiaofang Feng and Liguang Wu


The tropospheric warming in the Northern Hemisphere (NH) midlatitudes has been an important factor in regulating weather and climate since the twentieth century. Apart from anthropogenic forcing leading to the midlatitude warming, this study investigates the possible contribution of internal variability to Asian midlatitude warming and its role in East Asian circulation changes in boreal summer, using four reanalysis datasets in the past century and a set of 1800-yr preindustrial control simulations of the Community Earth System Model version 1 large ensemble (CESM-LE). The surface and tropospheric warming in the Asian midlatitudes is associated with a strong upper-level geopotential height rise north of the Tibetan Plateau (TP). Linear trends of 200-hPa geopotential height (Z200) confirm a dipole of an anomalous high north of the TP and an anomalous low over the Iranian Plateau in 1958–2017. The leading internal circulation mode bears a striking resemblance to the Z200 trend in the past 60 and 111 years, indicating that the long-term trend may be partially of internal origin. The Asian midlatitude warming is also found in preindustrial simulations of CESM-LE, further suggesting that internal variability explains at least part of the temperature change in the Asian midlatitudes, which is in a chain of wave trains along the NH midlatitudes. The Asian warming decreases the meridional gradient of geopotential height, resulting in the weakening of westerly winds over the TP and the TP thermal forcing. Thus, it is essential to consider the role of internal variability in shaping East Asian surface temperature and East Asian summer monsoon changes in the past decades.

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Liguang Wu, Xiaofang Feng, and Mei Liang


The South Asia high (SAH) is a prominent circulation system of the Asian summer monsoon, exerting profound influences on the weather and climate in China and surrounding regions. Its formation and maintenance is closely associated with strong summertime continental heating in the form of surface sensible heat flux and the latent heat release in connection with the Asian monsoon. In this study, the possible response of the South Asian high intensity to the thermal condition change in the Tibetan Plateau is examined with four modern reanalysis datasets, including the Modern-Era Retrospective Analysis for Research and Applications (MERRA), MERRA version 2 (MERRA-2), the European Centre for Medium-Range Weather Forecasts (ECMWF) interim reanalysis (ERA-Interim), and the Japanese 55-year Reanalysis (JRA-55). Despite the surface air warming in the four modern reanalysis datasets, reduced surface wind speed in three of the reanalysis datasets, and decreased surface sensible heat flux in the MERRA-2 dataset, there is no statistically significant trend in the SAH intensity over the period 1979–2015. One of the possible reasons is that the response of the upper-level circulation to the thermal condition change of the Tibetan Plateau occurs mainly in the 200-hPa subtropical westerly jet stream, which is located far away from the center of the South Asian high. Thus the South Asian high intensity is not particularly sensitive to the thermal condition change of the Tibetan Plateau, while the center of the South Asian high intensity over the plateau exhibits a northward trend over the period.

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Xiaofang Feng, Qinghua Ding, Liguang Wu, Charles Jones, Ian Baxter, Robert Tardif, Samantha Stevenson, Julien Emile-Geay, Jonathan Mitchell, Leila M. V. Carvalho, Huijun Wang, and Eric J. Steig


In the past 40 years, the global annual mean surface temperature has experienced a nonuniform warming, differing from the spatially uniform warming simulated by the forced responses of large multimodel ensembles to anthropogenic forcing. Rather, it exhibits significant asymmetry between the Arctic and Antarctic, with intermittent and spatially varying warming trends along the Northern Hemisphere (NH) midlatitudes and a slight cooling in the tropical eastern Pacific. In particular, this “wavy” pattern of temperature changes over the NH midlatitudes features strong cooling over Eurasia in boreal winter. Here, we show that these nonuniform features of surface temperature changes are likely tied together by tropical eastern Pacific sea surface temperatures (SSTs), via a global atmospheric teleconnection. Using six reanalyses, we find that this teleconnection can be consistently obtained as a leading circulation mode in the past century. This tropically driven teleconnection is associated with a Pacific SST pattern resembling the interdecadal Pacific oscillation (IPO), and hereafter referred to as the IPO-related bipolar teleconnection (IPO-BT). Further, two paleo-reanalysis reconstruction datasets show that the IPO-BT is a robust recurrent mode over the past 400 and 2000 years. The IPO-BT mode may thus serve as an important internal mode that regulates high-latitude climate variability on multidecadal time scales, favoring a warming (cooling) episode in the Arctic accompanied by cooling (warming) over Eurasia and the Southern Ocean (SO). Thus, the spatial nonuniformity of recent surface temperature trends may be partially explained by the enhanced appearance of the IPO-BT mode by a transition of the IPO toward a cooling phase in the eastern Pacific in the past decades.

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