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Kaiqiang Deng, Mingfang Ting, Song Yang, and Yaheng Tan

Abstract

Summer extreme heat waves (EHWs) over the Texas area and their trend are investigated using observations and atmospheric general circulation model (AGCM) output. There is a positive linear trend in Texas EHW days for the period 1979–2015. While the interannual variability of the Texas EHWs is linked to ENSO conditions, the upward trend in Texas EHWs is found to be significantly associated with the tropical Pacific zonal SST gradient (PZSSTG). The amplification of PZSSTG leads to both enhanced convection in the western Pacific and suppressed convection in the central-eastern Pacific (i.e., La Niña–like pattern), both of which can induce anomalous anticyclones over the Texas area through two distinct planetary wave trains in the antecedent spring. As a result, anomalously sinking motions and divergent water vapor flux appear over the Texas area, which reduce precipitation and increase downward solar radiation, leading to dry and hot soil that favors the occurrence of Texas summer EHWs. In addition, all AGCMs using observed SSTs as boundary conditions were able to simulate the observed decreasing trend in Texas summer precipitation and the observed increasing trend in Texas summer surface air temperature. The observed relationships between winter PZSSTG and the following spring–summer Texas precipitation/temperature were also reproduced by these models, where the intensified PZSSTG tended to reduce the Texas precipitation while increasing the surface air temperature.

Open access
Yaheng Tan, Francis Zwiers, Song Yang, Chao Li, and Kaiqiang Deng

Abstract

Performance in simulating atmospheric rivers (ARs) over western North America based on AR frequency and landfall latitude is evaluated for 10 models from phase 5 of the Coupled Model Intercomparison Project among which the CanESM2 model performs well. ARs are classified into southern, northern, and middle types using self-organizing maps in the ERA-Interim reanalysis and CanESM2. The southern type is associated with the development and eastward movement of anomalous lower pressure over the subtropical eastern Pacific, while the northern type is linked with the eastward movement of anomalous cyclonic circulation stimulated by warm sea surface temperatures over the subtropical western Pacific. The middle type is connected with the negative phase of North Pacific Oscillation–west Pacific teleconnection pattern. CanESM2 is further used to investigate projected AR changes at the end of the twenty-first century under the representative concentration pathway 8.5 scenario. AR definitions usually reference fixed integrated water vapor or integrated water vapor transport thresholds. AR changes under such definitions reflect both thermodynamic and dynamic influences. We therefore also use a modified AR definition that isolates change from dynamic influences only. The total AR frequency doubles compared to the historical period, with the middle AR type contributing the largest increases along the coasts of Vancouver Island and California. Atmospheric circulation (dynamic) changes decrease northern AR type frequency while increasing middle AR type frequency, indicating that future changes of circulation patterns modify the direct effect of warming on AR frequency, which would increase ARs (relative to fixed thresholds) almost everywhere along the North American coastline.

Open access
Kaiqiang Deng, Song Yang, Mingfang Ting, Yaheng Tan, and Shan He

Abstract

Global monsoon precipitation (GMP) brings the majority of water for the local agriculture and ecosystem. The Northern Hemisphere (NH) GMP shows an upward trend over the past decades, while the trend in the Southern Hemisphere (SH) GMP is weak and insignificant. The first three singular value decomposition modes between NH GMP and global SST during boreal summer reflect, in order, the Atlantic multidecadal oscillation (AMO), eastern Pacific (EP) El Niño, and central Pacific (CP) El Niño, when the AMO dominates the NH climate and contributes to the increased trend. However, the first three modes between SH GMP and global SST during boreal winter are revealed as EP El Niño, the AMO, and CP El Niño, when the EP El Niño becomes the most significant driver of the SH GMP, and the AMO-induced rainfall anomalies may cancel out each other within the SH global monsoon domain and thus result in a weak trend. The intensification of NH GMP is proposed to favor the occurrences of droughts and heat waves (HWs) in the midlatitudes through a monsoon–desert-like mechanism. That is, the diabatic heating associated with the monsoonal rainfall may drive large-scale circulation anomalies and trigger intensified subsidence in remote regions. The anomalous descending motions over the midlatitudes are usually accompanied by clear skies, which result in less precipitation and more downward solar radiation, and thus drier and hotter soil conditions that favor the occurrences of droughts and HWs. In comparison, the SH GMP may exert much smaller impacts on the NH extremes in spring and summer, probably because the winter signals associated with SH GMP cannot sufficiently persist into the following seasons.

Open access