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Yang Tian and Zhiming Kuang

Abstract

Previous studies have documented that deep convection responds more strongly to above-the-cloud-base temperature perturbations in the lower troposphere than to those in the upper troposphere, a behavior that is important to the dynamics of large-scale moist flows, such as convectively coupled waves. A number of factors may contribute to this differing sensitivity, including differences in buoyancy, vertical velocity, and/or liquid water content in cloud updrafts in the lower versus upper troposphere. Quantifying the contributions from these factors can help to guide the development of convective parameterization schemes. We tackle this issue by tracking Lagrangian particles embedded in cloud-resolving simulations within a linear response framework. The results show that both the differences in updraft buoyancy and vertical velocity play a significant role, with the vertical velocity being the more important, and the effect of liquid water content is only secondary compared to the other two factors. These results indicate that cloud updraft vertical velocities need to be correctly modeled in convective parameterization schemes in order to properly account for the differing convective sensitivities to temperature perturbations at different heights of the free troposphere.

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Jiwei Tian, Qingxuan Yang, and Wei Zhao

Abstract

Profiles of current velocity, temperature, and salinity were obtained in the Internal Wave and Mixing Experiment in the South China Sea (SCS), the Luzon Strait, and the North Pacific. The observations are examined for evidence of enhanced diapycnal mixing in the SCS, which reaches O(10−3 m2 s−1) in magnitude. Results from independent casts reveal that diapycnal diffusivity in the SCS and the Luzon Strait is elevated by two orders of magnitude over that of the smooth bathymetry in the North Pacific, which are typical of background values in an open ocean. The vertical distribution of diapycnal diffusivity is nonuniform in the SCS, exhibiting higher values at depths greater than about 1000 m. This result compares favorably with the direct microstructure measurements at four stations in the SCS. Velocity and density profiles are combined to estimate the internal tide energy flux generated in the Luzon Strait and directed into the SCS. The energy amounts to 10 GW, most of which is rationalized to be the potential energy source for enhanced mixing in the SCS.

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Chun Zhou, Wei Zhao, Jiwei Tian, Qingxuan Yang, and Tangdong Qu

Abstract

The Luzon Strait, with its deepest sills at the Bashi Channel and Luzon Trough, is the only deep connection between the Pacific Ocean and the South China Sea (SCS). To investigate the deep-water overflow through the Luzon Strait, 3.5 yr of continuous mooring observations have been conducted in the deep Bashi Channel and Luzon Trough. For the first time these observations enable us to assess the detailed variability of the deep-water overflow from the Pacific to the SCS. On average, the along-stream velocity of the overflow is at its maximum at about 120 m above the ocean bottom, reaching 19.9 ± 6.5 and 23.0 ± 11.8 cm s−1 at the central Bashi Channel and Luzon Trough, respectively. The velocity measurements can be translated to a mean volume transport for the deep-water overflow of 0.83 ± 0.46 Sverdrups (Sv; 1 Sv ≡ 106 m3 s−1) at the Bashi Channel and 0.88 ± 0.77 Sv at the Luzon Trough. Significant intraseasonal and seasonal variations are identified, with their dominant time scales ranging between 20 and 60 days and around 100 days. The intraseasonal variation is season dependent, with its maximum strength taking place in March–May. Deep-water eddies are believed to play a role in this intraseasonal variation. On the seasonal time scale, the deep-water overflow intensifies in late fall (October–December) and weakens in spring (March–May), corresponding well with the seasonal variation of the density difference between the Pacific and SCS, for which enhanced mixing in the deep SCS is possibly responsible.

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Qingxuan Yang, Wei Zhao, Xinfeng Liang, and Jiwei Tian

Abstract

A three-dimensional distribution of turbulent mixing in the South China Sea (SCS) is obtained for the first time, using the Gregg–Henyey–Polzin parameterization and hydrographic observations from 2005 to 2012. Results indicate that turbulent mixing generally increases with depth in the SCS, reaching the order of 10−2 m2 s−1 at depth. In the horizontal direction, turbulence is more active in the northern SCS than in the south and is more active in the east than the west. Two mixing “hotspots” are identified in the bottom water of the Luzon Strait and Zhongsha Island Chain area, where diapycnal diffusivity values are around 3 × 10−2 m2 s−1. Potential mechanisms responsible for these spatial patterns are discussed, which include internal tide, bottom bathymetry, and near-inertial energy.

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Qingxuan Yang, Wei Zhao, Min Li, and Jiwei Tian

Abstract

Turbulent mixing in the northwestern Pacific Ocean is estimated using the Gregg–Henyey–Polzin scaling and Thorpe-scale methods. The data sources are the hydrographic observations during October and November 2005. The results reveal clear spatial patterns of turbulent mixing in the study area. High-level diffusivity on the order of 10−3 m2 s−1 or larger is found within the western boundary region, where the Kuroshio flows northward. The width covered by this prominent diffusivity shows an increase from 12° to 18°N. The horizontal distribution of depth-averaged diffusivity in the top 500 m shows enhanced mixing with diffusivity of 6 × 10−3 m2 s−1 south of 9°N where the Mindanao Eddy remains a quasi-permanent feature. These two distinct patterns of diffusivity distribution suggest that the Kuroshio and the Mindanao Eddy are likely responsible for the elevated turbulent mixing in the study area.

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Qingxuan Yang, Wei Zhao, Xinfeng Liang, Jihai Dong, and Jiwei Tian

Abstract

Direct microstructure observations across three warm mesoscale eddies were conducted in the northern South China Sea during the field experiments in July 2007, December 2013, and January 2014, respectively, along with finestructure measurements. An important finding was that turbulent mixing in the mixed layer was considerably elevated in the periphery of each of these eddies, with a mixing level 5–7 times higher than that in the eddy center. To explore the mechanism behind the high mixing level, this study carried out analyses of the horizontal wavenumber spectrum of velocities and spectral fluxes of kinetic energy. Spectral slopes showed a power law of k −2 in the eddy periphery and of k −3 in the eddy center, consistent with the result that the kinetic energy of submesoscale motion in the eddy periphery was more greatly energized than that in the center. Spectral fluxes of kinetic energy also revealed a forward energy cascade toward smaller scales at the wavelength of kilometers in the eddy periphery. This study illustrated a possible route for energy cascading from balanced mesoscale dynamics to unbalanced submesoscale behavior, which eventually furnished turbulent mixing in the upper ocean.

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Martin S. Singh, Zhiming Kuang, and Yang Tian

Abstract

The strength of the equinoctial Hadley circulation (HC) is investigated in idealized simulations conducted on an equatorial beta plane in which the zonal width of the domain is varied to either permit or suppress large-scale eddies. The presence of such eddies is found to amplify the HC by a factor of 2–3 in simulations with slab-ocean boundary conditions or with a simple representation of ocean heat transport. Additional simulations in which the eddy forcing is prescribed externally indicate that this amplification is primarily associated with large-scale eddy momentum fluxes rather than large-scale eddy heat fluxes. These results contrast with results from simulations with fixed distributions of sea surface temperature (SST), in which the HC strength has been found to be relatively insensitive to large-scale eddy momentum fluxes.

In both the interactive- and fixed-SST cases, the influence of nonlinear momentum advection by the mean flow complicates efforts to use the angular-momentum budget to constrain the HC strength. However, a strong relationship is found between the HC strength and a measure of the meridional gradient of boundary layer entropy, indicating a possible thermodynamic control on the HC strength. In simulations with interactive SSTs, meridional eddy momentum fluxes affect the boundary layer entropy by inducing a low-level frictional flow that reduces the ability of the HC to transport heat poleward. This allows for the maintenance of a large meridional entropy gradient in the presence of a strong HC. The results highlight the potential utility of a thermodynamic perspective for understanding the HC in flow regimes for which dynamical constraints may be difficult to apply.

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Long Yang, Maofeng Liu, James A. Smith, and Fuqiang Tian

Abstract

The August 1975 flood in central China was one of the most destructive floods in history. Catastrophic flooding was the product of extreme rainfall from Typhoon Nina over a 3-day period from 5 to 7 August 1975. Despite the prominence of the August 1975 flood, relatively little is known about the evolution of rainfall responsible for the flood. Details of extreme rainfall and flooding for the August 1975 event in central China are examined based on empirical analyses of rainfall and streamflow measurements and based on downscaling simulations using the Weather Research and Forecasting (WRF) Model, driven by Twentieth Century Reanalysis (20CR) fields. Key hydrometeorological features of the flood event are placed in a climatological context through hydroclimatological analyses of 20CR fields. Results point to the complex evolution of rainfall over the 3-day period with distinctive periods of storm structure controlling rainfall distribution in the flood region. Blocking plays a central role in controlling anomalous storm motion of Typhoon Nina and extreme duration of heavy rainfall. Interaction of Typhoon Nina with a second tropical depression played a central role in creating a zone of anomalously large water vapor transport, a central feature of heavy rainfall during the critical storm period on 7 August. Analyses based on the quasigeostrophic omega equation identified the predominant role of warm air advection for synoptic-scale vertical motion. Back-trajectory analyses using a Lagrangian parcel tracking algorithm are used to assess and quantify water vapor transport for the flood. The analytical framework developed in this study is designed to improve hydrometeorological approaches for flood-control design.

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Fuqiang Tian, Shiyu Hou, Long Yang, Hongchang Hu, and Aizhong Hou

Abstract

This study investigates the dependency of the evaluation of the Integrated Multisatellite Retrievals for Global Precipitation Measurement (IMERG) rainfall product on the gauge density of a ground-based rain gauge network as well as rainfall intensity over five subregions in mainland China. High-density rain gauges (1.5 gauges per 100 km2) provide exceptional resources for ground validation of satellite rainfall estimates over this region. Eight different gauge networks were derived with contrasting gauge densities ranging from 0.04 to 4 gauges per 100 km2. The evaluation focuses on two warm seasons (April–October) during 2014 and 2015. The results show a strong dependency of the evaluation metrics for the IMERG rainfall product on gauge density and rainfall intensity. A dense rain gauge network tends to provide better evaluation metrics, which implies that previous evaluations of the IMERG rainfall product based on a relatively low-density gauge network might have underestimated its performance. The decreasing trends of probability of detection with gauge density indicate a limited ability to capture light rainfall events in the IMERG rainfall product. However, IMERG tends to overestimate (underestimate) light (heavy) rainfall events, which is a consistent feature that does not show strong dependency on gauge densities. The results provide valuable insights for the improvement of a rainfall retrieval algorithm adopted in the IMERG rainfall product.

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Xiaodong Huang, Zhaoyun Wang, Zhiwei Zhang, Yunchao Yang, Chun Zhou, Qingxuan Yang, Wei Zhao, and Jiwei Tian

Abstract

The role of mesoscale eddies in modulating the semidiurnal internal tide (SIT) in the northern South China Sea (SCS) is examined using the data from a cross-shaped mooring array. From November 2013 to January 2014, an anticyclonic eddy (AE) and cyclonic eddy (CE) pair crossed the westward SIT beam originating in Luzon Strait. Observations showed that, because of the current and stratification modulations by the eddy pair, the propagation speed of the mode-1 SIT sped up (slowed down) by up to 0.7 m s−1 (0.4 m s−1) within the AE’s (CE’s) southern portion. As a result of the spatially varying phase speed, the mode-1 SIT wave crest was clockwise rotated (counterclockwise rotated) within the AE (CE) core, while it exhibited convex and concave (concave and convex) patterns on the southern and northern peripheries of the AE (CE), respectively. In mid-to-late November, most of the mode-1 SIT energy was refracted by the AE away from Dongsha Island toward the north part of the northern SCS, which resulted in enhanced internal solitary waves (ISWs) there. Corresponding to the energy refraction, responses of the depth-integrated mode-1 SIT energy to the eddies were generally in phase at the along-beam-direction moorings but out of phase in the south and north parts of the northern SCS at the cross-beam-direction moorings. From late December to early January, intensified mode-2 SIT was observed, whose energy was likely transferred from the mode-1 SIT through eddy–wave interactions. The observation results reported here are helpful to improve the capability to predict internal tides and ISWs in the northern SCS.

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