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Yi Lu and Yi Deng

Abstract

Ensemble simulations of an idealized baroclinic wave were conducted with the WRF Model to investigate the effects of increased cloud droplet number concentration (DNC) on the development of the wave. Statistically significant differences between experiments where the DNC was doubled and the control experiments were identified for an initial transient period before the cyclone enters the stage of rapid intensification. Doubling of the DNC increases total cloud water in the model, lowers the cloud level, and enhances latent heating to the east of the surface low, which strengthens the midtropospheric ridge. Subsequent changes in dry dynamical processes [e.g., advection of potential vorticity (PV)] as a result of the ridge strengthening lead to the deepening of the trough and ultimately produce a mild yet statistically significant strengthening of the baroclinic wave as a result of the DNC doubling. Piecewise PV inversion further confirms the critical role that latent heating change plays in strengthening the midtropospheric ridge. Also discussed are the distinctions between aerosol–tropical cyclone interaction and aerosol–extratropical cyclone interaction.

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Yi Lu and Yi Deng

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The impacts of environmental aerosols on the growth of an extratropical cyclone in a realistic winter flow setting are investigated using the superparameterized Community Atmosphere Model (SP-CAM) where cloud-scale dynamics and thermodynamics are explicitly resolved. An examination of the results from 13 ensemble pairs suggests that the growth rate of the cyclone is temporarily reduced as a result of increased aerosol concentrations. A convection–advection–moisture self-adjustment (CAMS) mechanism of aerosol–cyclone interaction is proposed to explain this finding. Specifically, the weakened growth is unambiguously attributed to the weakening of the cold advection underneath the midtropospheric trough of the cyclone. The weakened cold advection is in turn driven by a decrease of the zonal temperature gradient that is tied to the reduced latent heating in the stratiform cloud region of the cyclone. Invigoration of convection ahead of the cold front by aerosols is found to be directly responsible for a suppressed moisture supply into the stratiform cloud region and thus the reduced latent heating there. The regional climate implications of these results are discussed. Also highlighted is the importance of incorporating aerosol microphysical effects on deep convection in any modeling effort that aims to understand aerosol–circulation interaction at the extratropics.

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Yi Deng and Mankin Mak

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On the basis of an intraseasonal variability index of storm track evaluated for 40 winters (1963–64 through 2003–04) of NCEP–NCAR reanalysis data, it is found that well-defined midwinter minimum [MWMIN; (midwinter maximum MWMAX)] occurs in 21 (8) winters over the North Pacific. In contrast, MWMIN (MWMAX) occurs in 4 (25) of the 40 winters over the North Atlantic. The power spectrum of such an index for the Pacific has a broad peak between 5 and 10 yr, whereas the spectrum of the index for the Atlantic has comparable power in two spectral bands: 2–2.8 and 3.5–8 yr.

Over the North Pacific, the increase in the zonal asymmetry of the background baroclinicity as well as in the corresponding horizontal deformation of the time-mean jet from early/late winter to midwinter is distinctly larger in an MWMIN winter. Associated with these changes, there is a distinctly stronger barotropic damping rate in the January of an MWMIN winter. The increase in the net conversion rate of eddy kinetic energy from early/late winter to midwinter is much larger in an MWMAX winter than that in an MWMIN winter. Even though there is a modest increase in the barotropic damping from early/late winter to midwinter over the North Atlantic, it is overcompensated by a larger increase in the baroclinic conversion rate. That would result in MWMAX. These results are empirical evidences in support of a hypothesis that a significant enhancement of the barotropic damping relative to the baroclinic growth from early/late winter to midwinter is a major contributing factor to MWMIN of the Pacific storm track.

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Boksoon Myoung and Yi Deng

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This study examines the observed interannual variability of the cyclonic activity along the U.S. Pacific coast and quantifies its impact on the characteristics of both the winter total and extreme precipitation in the western United States. A cyclonic activity function (CAF) was derived from a dataset of objectively identified cyclone tracks in 27 winters (1979/80–2005/06). The leading empirical orthogonal function (EOF1) of the CAF was found to be responsible for the EOF1 of the winter precipitation in the western United States, which is a monopole mode centered over the Pacific Northwest and northern California. On the other hand, the EOF2 of the CAF contributes to the EOF2 of the winter precipitation, which indicates that above-normal precipitation in the Pacific Northwest and its immediate inland regions tends to be accompanied by below-normal precipitation in California and the southwestern United States and vice versa. The first two EOFs of CAF (precipitation) account for about 70% (78%) of the total interannual variance of CAF (precipitation). The second EOF modes of both the CAF and precipitation are significantly linked to the ENSO signal on interannual time scales. A composite analysis further reveals that the leading CAF modes increase (decrease) the winter total precipitation by increasing (decreasing) both the number of rainy days per winter and the extremeness of precipitation. The latter was quantified in terms of the 95th percentile of the daily rain rate and the probability of precipitation being heavy given a rainy day. The implications of the leading CAF modes for the water resources and the occurrence of extreme hydrologic events in the western United States, as well as their dynamical linkages to the Pacific storm track and various atmospheric low-frequency modes (i.e., teleconnection patterns), are also discussed.

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Yi Deng and Mankin Mak

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The synoptic variability of a two-level quasigeostrophic flow in response to plausible changes in the forcing of a localized baroclinic jet is investigated in the context of the midwinter minimum of the Pacific storm track (MWM). The changes in the model forcing are introduced in terms of a reference potential vorticity field that is associated with plausible changes in the global baroclinicity, zonal variation of the baroclinicity, and horizontal deformation over the Pacific from early winter to midwinter conditions. It is found that the modal instability growth rate of perturbation in such a localized jet is significantly reduced in spite of an increase in the local baroclinicity. The dynamical nature of such an effect can be interpreted as a generalized barotropic governor effect on localized baroclinic instability. The existence of three instability regimes is established on the basis of energetics characteristics. The intensity of the nonlinear model storm track is reduced by about 30% in response to a change in the forcing condition from early to midwinter. The characteristics of the linear model storm track and nonlinear model storm track are compared. The overall results support a hypothesis that MWM could stem from a sufficiently large increase in the stabilizing influence of the local barotropic process in spite of a simultaneous increase in its local baroclinicity in the Pacific jet from early to midwinter.

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Yi Deng and Tianyu Jiang

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The modulation of the North Pacific storm track by tropical convection on intraseasonal time scales (30–90 days) in boreal winter (December–March) is investigated using the NCEP–NCAR reanalysis and NOAA satellite outgoing longwave radiation (OLR) data. Multivariate empirical orthogonal function (MEOF) analysis and case compositing based upon the principal components (PCs) of the EOFs reveal substantial changes in the structure and intensity of the Pacific storm track quantified by vertically (925–200 mb) averaged synoptic eddy kinetic energy (SEKE) during the course of a typical Madden–Julian oscillation (MJO) event. The storm-track response is characterized by an amplitude-varying dipole propagating northeastward as the center of the anomalous tropical convection moves eastward across the eastern Indian Ocean and the western-central Pacific. A diagnosis of the SEKE budget indicates that the storm-track anomaly is induced primarily by changes in the convergence of energy flux, baroclinic conversion, and energy generation due to the interaction between synoptic eddies and intraseasonal flow anomalies. This demonstrates the important roles played by eddy–mean flow interaction and eddy–eddy interaction in the development of the extratropical response to MJO variability. The feedback of synoptic eddy to intraseasonal flow anomalies is pronounced: when the center of the enhanced tropical convection is located over the Maritime Continent (western Pacific), the anomalous synoptic eddy forcing partly drives an upper-tropospheric anticyclonic (cyclonic) and, to its south, a cyclonic (anticyclonic) circulation anomaly over the North Pacific. Associated with the storm-track anomaly, a three-band (dry–wet–dry) anomaly in both precipitable water and surface precipitation propagates poleward over the eastern North Pacific and induces intraseasonal variations in the winter hydroclimate over western North America.

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Mankin Mak, Yi Lu, and Yi Deng
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Mankin Mak, Yi Lu, and Yi Deng

Abstract

With the Weather Research and Forecasting (WRF) Model specifically configured to simulate the intensification and evolution of an extratropical baroclinic wave, this study first investigates why cold fronts are characteristically longer, narrower, and more intense than warm fronts in the extratropical atmosphere. It is found that the differential thermal advection by the geostrophic and ageostrophic wind components in the two frontal regions results in a greater thermal contrast across the cold front. The length of the cold front is essentially the length scale of the intensifying baroclinic wave (i.e., on the order of radius of deformation). The frontal system as a whole moves eastward under the influence of a steering flow. In addition, the cold front outpaces the warm front eastward, making the western portion of the warm front progressively occluded and the eastern portion of the warm front shorter. The dynamical processes tend to move the cold front eastward, whereas the diabatic heating processes tend to move it westward, contributing to the narrowness of the cold front.

This study also investigates whether, how, and why an upper-level front (ULF) would synergistically interact with a surface front (SF). It is found that a favorable circumstance for such interaction to occur in an observed extratropical cyclone and in the WRF Model simulation is when the ULF and SF are roughly parallel to one another with the ULF aloft located a few hundred kilometers to the west of the SF. The relative importance of “forcing” for the ageostrophic circulation associated with the geostrophic circulation, diabatic heating, and friction are diagnosed in such interaction.

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Mankin Mak, Yi Lu, and Yi Deng

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This paper reports a diagnosis of the structure and dynamics of upper-level fronts (ULFs) simulated with a high-resolution Weather Research and Forecasting Model with diabatic heating versus one without diabatic heating. The ULFs of both simulations develop in about 6 days as integral parts of intensifying baroclinic waves. Each has a curvilinear structure along the southern edge of a relatively narrow long tongue of high potential vorticity in which stratospheric air is subducted to different tropospheric levels by synoptic-scale subsidence. It resembles a veil in the sky of varying thickness across the midsection upstream of the trough of the baroclinic wave.

The 3D frontogenetical function is shown to be a necessary and sufficient metric for quantifying the rate of development of ULFs. Its value is mostly associated with the contribution of the 3D ageostrophic velocity component. Upper-level frontogenesis is attributable to the joint direct influence of the vortex-stretching process and the deformation property of the 3D ageostrophic flow component. The model also generates a spectrum of vertically propagating mesoscale gravity waves. The ULFs simulated with and without diabatic heating processes are qualitatively similar. The ULF is considerably more intense when there is heating. The heating, however, does not make a significant direct contribution to but indirectly does so through its impacts on the subsidence field of the baroclinic wave.

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Bradley M. Hegyi and Yi Deng

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The role of high-frequency and low-frequency eddies in the melt onset of Arctic sea ice is investigated through an examination of eddy effects on lower-tropospheric (1000–500 hPa) meridional heat transport into the Arctic and local surface downwelling shortwave and longwave radiation. Total and eddy components of the meridional heat transport into the Arctic from 1979 to 2012 are calculated from reanalysis data, and surface radiation data are acquired from the NASA Clouds and the Earth’s Radiant Energy System (CERES) project dataset. There is a significant positive correlation between the mean initial melt date and the September sea ice minimum extent, with each quantity characterized by a negative trend. Spatially, the earlier mean melt onset date is primarily found in a region bounded by 90°E and 130°W. The decline in this region is steplike and not associated with an increase in meridional heat transport but with an earlier appearance of above-freezing temperatures in the troposphere. In most years, discrete short-duration episodes of melt onset over a large area occur. In an investigation of two of these melt episodes, a positive total meridional heat transport is associated with the peak melt, with the product of high-frequency eddy wind and mean temperature fields being the most important contributor. Additionally, there is a key positive anomaly in surface downwelling longwave radiation immediately preceding the peak melt that is associated with increased cloud cover and precipitable water. These results suggest the importance of carefully considering and properly representing atmospheric eddies when modeling the melt onset of Arctic sea ice.

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