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Ya Yang, Xiang Li, Jing Wang, and Dongliang Yuan

Abstract

The North Equatorial Subsurface Current (NESC) is a subthermocline ocean current uncovered recently in the tropical Pacific Ocean, flowing westward below the North Equatorial Countercurrent. In this study, the dynamics of the seasonal cycle of this current are studied using historical shipboard acoustic Doppler current profiler measurements and Argo absolute geostrophic currents. Both data show a westward current at the depths of 200–1000 m between 4° and 6°N, with a typical core speed of about 5 and 2 cm s−1, respectively. The subsurface current originates in the eastern Pacific, with its core descending to deeper isopycnal surfaces and moving to the equator as it flows westward. The zonal velocity of the NESC shows pronounced seasonal variability, with the annual-cycle harmonics of vertical isothermal displacement and zonal velocity presenting characters of vertically propagating baroclinic Rossby waves. A simple analytical Rossby wave model is employed to simulate the propagation of the seasonal variations of the westward zonal currents successfully, which is the basis for exploring the wind forcing dynamics. The results suggest that the wind curl forcing in the central-eastern basin between 170° and 140°W associated with the meridional movement of the intertropical convergence zone dominates the NESC seasonal variability in the western Pacific, with the winds west of 170°W and east of 140°W playing a minor role in the forcing.

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Daosheng Wang, Jicai Zhang, Ya Ping Wang, Xianqing Lv, Yang Yang, Daidu Fan, and Shu Gao

Abstract

The model parameters in the suspended cohesive sediment transport model are quite important for the accurate simulation of suspended sediment concentrations (SSCs). Based on a three-dimensional cohesive sediment transport model and its adjoint model, the in situ observed SSCs at four stations are assimilated to simulate the SSCs and to estimate the parameters in Hangzhou Bay in China. Numerical experimental results show that the adjoint method can efficiently improve the simulation results, which can benefit the prediction of SSCs. The time series of the modeled SSCs present a clear semidiurnal variation, in which the maximal SSCs occur during the flood tide and near the high water level due to the large current speeds. Sensitivity experiments prove that the estimated results of the settling velocity and resuspension rate, especially the temporal variations, are robust to the model settings. The temporal variations of the estimated settling velocity are negatively correlated with the tidal elevation. The main reason is that the mean size of the suspended sediments can be reduced during the flood tide, which consequently decreases the settling velocity according to Stokes’s law, and it is opposite in the ebb tide. The temporal variations of the estimated resuspension rate and the current speeds have a significantly positive correlation, which accords with the dynamics of the resuspension rate. The temporal variations of the settling velocity and resuspension rate are reasonable from the viewpoint of physics, indicating the adjoint method can be an effective tool for estimating the parameters in the sediment transport models.

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Yan Du, Shang-Ping Xie, Ya-Li Yang, Xiao-Tong Zheng, Lin Liu, and Gang Huang

Abstract

This study evaluates the simulation of the Indian Ocean Basin (IOB) mode and relevant physical processes in models from phase 5 of the Coupled Model Intercomparison Project (CMIP5). Historical runs from 20 CMIP5 models are available for the analysis. They reproduce the IOB mode and its close relationship to El Niño–Southern Oscillation (ENSO). Half of the models capture key IOB processes: a downwelling oceanic Rossby wave in the southern tropical Indian Ocean (TIO) precedes the IOB development in boreal fall and triggers an antisymmetric wind anomaly pattern across the equator in the following spring. The anomalous wind pattern induces a second warming in the north Indian Ocean (NIO) through summer and sustains anticyclonic wind anomalies in the northwest Pacific by radiating a warm tropospheric Kelvin wave. The second warming in the NIO is indicative of ocean–atmosphere interaction in the interior TIO. More than half of the models display a double peak in NIO warming, as observed following El Niño, while the rest show only one winter peak. The intermodel diversity in the characteristics of the IOB mode seems related to the thermocline adjustment in the south TIO to ENSO-induced wind variations. Almost all the models show multidecadal variations in IOB variance, possibly modulated by ENSO.

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Shu-Chih Yang, Shu-Hua Chen, Shu-Ya Chen, Ching-Yuang Huang, and Ching-Sen Chen

Abstract

Global positioning system (GPS) radio occultation (RO) data have been broadly used in global and regional numerical weather predictions. Assimilation with the bending angle often performs better than refractivity, which is inverted from the bending angle under spherical assumption and is sometimes associated with negative biases at the lower troposphere; however, the bending angle operator also requires a higher model top as used in global models. This study furnishes the feasibility of bending-angle assimilation in the prediction of heavy precipitation systems with a regional model. The local RO operators for simulating bending angle and refractivity are implemented in the Weather Research and Forecasting (WRF)–local ensemble transform Kalman filter (LETKF) framework. The impacts of assimilating RO data from the Constellation Observing System for Meteorology Ionosphere and Climate (COSMIC) using both operators are evaluated on the prediction of a heavy precipitation episode during Southwest Monsoon Experiment intensive observing period 8 (SoWMEX-IOP8) in 2008. Results show that both the refractivity and bending angle provide a favorable condition for generating this heavy rainfall event. In comparison with the refractivity data, the advantage of assimilating the bending angle is identified in the midtroposphere for deepening of the moist layer that leads to a rainfall forecast closer to the observations.

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Zong-Liang Yang, Robert E. Dickinson, Alan Robock, and K. Ya Vinnikov

Abstract

Snow cover is one of the most important variables affecting agriculture, hydrology, and climate, but detailed measurements are not widely available. Therefore, the effectiveness and validity of snow schemes in general circulation models have been difficult to assess. Using long-term snow cover data from the former Soviet Union, this paper focuses on the validation of the snow submodel in the Biosphere–Atmosphere Transfer Scheme (BATS) using 6 years of data (1978–83) at six stations. Fundamental uncertainties in the datasets limit the accuracy of our assessment of the model’s performance.

In the absence of a wind correction for the gauge-measured precipitation and with the standard rain–snow transition criterion (2.2°C), the model gives reasonable simulations of snow water equivalent and surface temperature for all of the six stations and the six winters examined. In particular, the time of accumulation and the end of ablation and the alteration due to aging are well captured. With some simple modifications of the code, the model can also reproduce snow depth, snow cover fraction, and surface albedo. In view of the scheme’s simplicity and efficiency, these results are encouraging.

However, if a wind correction is applied to the gauge-measured precipitation, the model shows increased root-mean-square errors in snow water equivalent for all six stations except Tulun. Perhaps, the better agreement without wind correction means that the snow has blown beyond the area of snow measurement, as might be accounted for only by a detailed regional snow–wind distribution model.

This study underlines four aspects that warrant special attention: (i) estimation of the downward longwave radiation, (ii) separation of the aging processes for snowpack density and snow surface albedo, (iii) parameterization of snow cover fraction, and (iv) choice of critical temperature for rain–snow transition.

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Shen-Ming Fu, Zi Mai, Jian-Hua Sun, Wan-Li Li, Yang Ding, and Ya-Qiang Wang

Abstract

In summer, convective activity over the Tibetan Plateau (TP) is vigorous, with some of it moving eastward and vacating the plateau [defined as the eastward-moving type (EMT)]. Although the EMT only accounts for a small proportion, it is closely related to heavy precipitation east of the TP. This study investigates EMT impacts based on a series of composite semi-idealized simulations and piecewise potential vorticity (PV) inversion. The main results are as follows. (i) An EMT begins to affect downstream precipitation before it vacates the TP. A weaker EMT tends to cause the main downstream rainband to reduce in intensity and move southward. (ii) The EMT contributes to the formation of an eastward-moving plateau vortex (PLV) by enhancing convergence-induced stretching. Over the TP, the PLV mainly enhances/maintains the EMT, whereas during the vacating stage, the PLV dissipates (since convergence decreases rapidly when sensible heating from the TP reduces), which substantially reduces the intensity of the EMT. (iii) After PLV dissipation, a southwest vortex (SWV) forms around the Sichuan basin mainly due to convergence-induced stretching, convection-related tilting, and background transport. Piecewise PV inversion indicates that an EMT can directly contribute to SWV formation via lowering geopotential height and enhancing cyclonic wind perturbations around the Sichuan basin (even before its vacating stage), while neither of them governs the SWV formation. Sensitivity runs show that an EMT is not necessary for SWV formation, but can modify the SWV formation time and location, as well as its displacement, which significantly affects downstream precipitation.

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Ching-Yuang Huang, Shu-Ya Chen, S. K. A. V. Prasad Rao Anisetty, Shu-Chih Yang, and Ling-Feng Hsiao

Abstract

The impact of global positioning system (GPS) radio occultation (RO) soundings on the prediction of severe mei-yu frontal rainfall near Taiwan in June 2012 was investigated in this study using a developed local bending angle (LBA) operator. Two operators for local refractivity (REF) and nonlocal refractivity [excess phase (EPH)] were also used for comparisons. The devised LBA simplifies the calculation of the Abel transform in inverting model local refractivity without a loss of accuracy. These operators have been implemented into the three-dimensional variational data assimilation system of the Weather Research and Forecasting (WRF) Model to assimilate GPS RO soundings available from the Formosa Satellite Mission 3/Constellation Observing Systems for Meteorology, Ionosphere and Climate (FORMOSAT-3/COSMIC). The RO data are found to be beneficial to the WRF forecast of local severe rainfall in Taiwan. Characteristics of assimilation performance and innovation for the three operators are discussed. Both of the local operators performing assimilation at observation levels appear to produce mostly larger positive moisture increments than do the current nonlocal operators performing assimilation on the mean height of each model vertical level. As the information of the initial increments has propagated farther south with the frontal flow, the simulation for LBA shows better prediction of rainfall peaks in Taiwan on the second day than both REF and EPH, with a maximum improvement of about 25%. The positive impact of the RO data results partially from several RO observations near Mongolia and north China. This study provides an intercomparison among the three RO operators, and shows the feasibility of regional assimilation with LBA.

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Dongliang Yuan, Xiang Li, Zheng Wang, Yao Li, Jing Wang, Ya Yang, Xiaoyue Hu, Shuwen Tan, Hui Zhou, Adhitya Kusuma Wardana, Dewi Surinati, Adi Purwandana, Mochamad Furqon Azis Ismail, Praditya Avianto, Dirham Dirhamsyah, Zainal Arifin, and Jin-Song von Storch

Abstract

The Maluku Channel is a major opening of the eastern Indonesian Seas to the western Pacific Ocean, the upper-ocean currents of which have rarely been observed historically. During December 2012–November 2016, long time series of the upper Maluku Channel transport are measured successfully for the first time using subsurface oceanic moorings. The measurements show significant intraseasonal-to-interannual variability of over 14 Sv (1 Sv ≡ 106 m3 s−1) in the upper 300 m or so, with a mean transport of 1.04–1.31 Sv northward and a significant southward interannual change of over 3.5 Sv in the spring of 2014. Coincident with the interannual transport change is the Mindanao Current, choked at the entrance of the Indonesian Seas, which is significantly different from its climatological retroflection in fall–winter. A high-resolution numerical simulation suggests that the variations of the Maluku Channel currents are associated with the shifting of the Mindanao Current retroflection. It is suggested that the shifting of the Mindanao Current outside the Sulawesi Sea in the spring of 2014 elevates the sea level at the entrance of the Indonesian Seas, which drives the anomalous transport through the Maluku Channel. The results suggest the importance of the western boundary current nonlinearity in driving the transport variability of the Indonesian Throughflow.

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Xiang Li, Dongliang Yuan, Yao Li, Zheng Wang, Jing Wang, Xiaoyue Hu, Ya Yang, Corry Corvianawatie, Dewi Surinati, Asep Sandra Budiman, Ahmad Bayhaqi, Praditya Avianto, Edi Kusmanto, Priyadi Dwi Santoso, Adi Purwandana, Mochamad Furqon Azis Ismail, Dirhamsyah, and Zainal Arifin

Abstract

The currents and water mass properties at the Pacific entrance of the Indonesian seas are studied using measurements of three subsurface moorings deployed between the Talaud and Halmahera Islands. The moored current meter data show northeastward mean currents toward the Pacific Ocean in the upper 400 m during the nearly 2-yr mooring period, with the maximum velocity in the northern part of the channel. The mean transport between 60- and 300-m depths is estimated to be 10.1–13.2 Sv (1 Sv ≡ 106 m3 s−1) during 2016–17, when all three moorings have measurements. The variability of the along-channel velocity is dominated by low-frequency signals (periods > 150 days), with northeastward variations in boreal winter and southwestward variations in summer in the superposition of the annual and semiannual harmonics. The current variations evidence the seasonal movement of the Mindanao Current retroflection, which is supported by satellite sea level and ocean color data, showing a cyclonic intrusion into the northern Maluku Sea in boreal winter whereas a leaping path occurs north of the Talaud Islands in summer. During Apri–July, the moored CTDs near 200 m show southwestward currents carrying the salty South Pacific Tropical Water into the Maluku Sea.

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Suranjana Saha, Shrinivas Moorthi, Xingren Wu, Jiande Wang, Sudhir Nadiga, Patrick Tripp, David Behringer, Yu-Tai Hou, Hui-ya Chuang, Mark Iredell, Michael Ek, Jesse Meng, Rongqian Yang, Malaquías Peña Mendez, Huug van den Dool, Qin Zhang, Wanqiu Wang, Mingyue Chen, and Emily Becker

Abstract

The second version of the NCEP Climate Forecast System (CFSv2) was made operational at NCEP in March 2011. This version has upgrades to nearly all aspects of the data assimilation and forecast model components of the system. A coupled reanalysis was made over a 32-yr period (1979–2010), which provided the initial conditions to carry out a comprehensive reforecast over 29 years (1982–2010). This was done to obtain consistent and stable calibrations, as well as skill estimates for the operational subseasonal and seasonal predictions at NCEP with CFSv2. The operational implementation of the full system ensures a continuity of the climate record and provides a valuable up-to-date dataset to study many aspects of predictability on the seasonal and subseasonal scales. Evaluation of the reforecasts show that the CFSv2 increases the length of skillful MJO forecasts from 6 to 17 days (dramatically improving subseasonal forecasts), nearly doubles the skill of seasonal forecasts of 2-m temperatures over the United States, and significantly improves global SST forecasts over its predecessor. The CFSv2 not only provides greatly improved guidance at these time scales but also creates many more products for subseasonal and seasonal forecasting with an extensive set of retrospective forecasts for users to calibrate their forecast products. These retrospective and real-time operational forecasts will be used by a wide community of users in their decision making processes in areas such as water management for rivers and agriculture, transportation, energy use by utilities, wind and other sustainable energy, and seasonal prediction of the hurricane season.

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