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Xingbao Wang, Yimin Ma, and Noel E. Davidson

Abstract

Multiple secondary eyewall formations (SEFs) and eyewall replacement cycles (ERCs) are simulated with the fifth-generation Pennsylvania State University (PSU)–National Center for Atmospheric Research (NCAR) Mesoscale Model (MM5) at horizontal grid spacing of 0.67 km. The simulated hurricane is initialized from a weak, synthetic vortex in a quiescent environment on an f plane. After spinup and rapid intensification, the hurricane enters a mature phase during which the intensity change is relatively slow. Convective clouds then organize into a ring with a secondary tangential wind maximum at radii beyond the hurricane’s primary eyewall. This secondary eyewall (SE) then contracts and strengthens. The primary eyewall weakens and is eventually replaced by the SE. The hurricane grows in size and the radius of maximum wind (RMW) increases as similar ERCs repeat 5 times during the simulation.

Two existing hypotheses on SEF are evaluated using the simulation output. Then, model diagnostics are used to reveal that crucial linked components of SEF are (i) a broadening of the swirling flow, (ii) the structure of the evolving secondary circulation, and (iii) the structure of the net radial force (NRF) in the boundary layer (with largest contributions from the agradient and frictional forces). During SEF, there exists strong positive NRF in the region of the primary eyewall, a secondary positive maximum over the SEF region, and a minimum between the two. As a response of the boundary layer depth–integrated radial flow to the NRF, a secondary maximum convergence zone (SMCZ) in the boundary layer develops at the SEF radii. Eventually moist convection in the SMCZ becomes active as the SEF develops.

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Yimin Ma, Xinmei Huang, Graham A. Mills, and Kevin Parkyn

Abstract

During a wildfire, a sharp wind change can lead to an abrupt increase in fire activity and change the rate of spread, endangering firefighters working on what had been the flank of the fire. In southeastern Australia, routine forecast of cold-frontal wind change arrival times is a critical component of the fire weather forecasting service, and mesoscale NWP model predictions are integral to this forecast process. An event-based verification method has been developed in order to verify these mesoscale NWP model forecasts of wind changes. The approach is based on fuzzy-rule techniques and objectively determines the timing of significant (fire weather) wind changes from time series of observations at a single surface station.

In this paper these rules are applied to observational and NWP model forecast time series at observation locations over five fire seasons to determine objective “observed wind change times” and “forecast wind change times” for significant frontal wind changes in southeastern Australia. These forecast wind change times are compared with those observed, and also with those determined subjectively by forecasters at the Victorian Regional Forecast Centre. This provides an objective verification of NWP wind change forecasts and a measure of contemporary NWP model skill against which future model improvements may be measured. Case studies of two wind change events at selected stations are also presented to demonstrate some of the strengths, weaknesses, and characteristics of this verification technique.

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Yimin Ma, Noel E. Davidson, Yi Xiao, and Jian-Wen Bao

Abstract

In high-wind conditions, sea spray, in conjunction with a generally decreasing drag coefficient for increasing winds, greatly modulates surface heat and momentum fluxes. It has been suggested that the process can be particularly important for the prediction of tropical cyclones (TCs), yet its robust application in operational forecast systems has remained elusive. A sea spray inclusion scheme and a modified algorithm for momentum exchange have been implemented in the Australian Bureau of Meteorology’s current operational TC model. Forecasts for a limited sample of TCs demonstrate that the revised parameterizations improve initialized and forecast intensities, while mostly maintaining track prediction skill. TC Yasi (2011) has been studied for impacts of the revised parameterization on rapid intensification (RI). Compared with the conventional bulk air–sea exchange parameterization, the revised version simulates a cooler and moister region near the surface in the eyewall/eye region, adjusts the RI evolution by an earlier and stronger subsidence in the eye, and simulates a stronger radial pulsating of the eye and eyewall convection on relatively short time scales. The inclusion of the new scheme enhances RI features characterized by eyewall ascent, radial convergence, and inertial stability inside the radius of azimuthal-mean maximum wind over low- to midlevels, and by a ringlike radial distribution of relative vorticity above the boundary layer. In addition, it allows a higher maximum intensity wind speed based on Emanuel’s maximum potential intensity theory. It is shown that, as expected, this is mainly because of a larger ratio of enthalpy and momentum exchange coefficients.

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Marie-Dominique Leroux, Noel E. Davidson, Yimin Ma, and Jeffrey D. Kepert

Abstract

The impact of initial structure on storm evolution is examined for the case of a tropical storm entering rapid intensification. At the onset of rapid intensification, satellite cloud signatures suggest that the structural organization of Typhoon Sinlaku (2008) was dominated by a primary band of convection present at outer radii. The development of the eyewall subsequently occurred within this band of deep convection.

Numerical forecasts of Sinlaku are initialized at 15- and 5-km resolution using a broad range of vortex scales, at a time when the storm was still weak and its structure not clearly defined. Evidence is presented that beta propagation played a key role in changing the storm’s motion under weak environmental steering. It is found that the track forecast improves over the period when beta propagation is prominent if the vortex is initialized with a large radius of maximum wind (RMW), corresponding with the primary outer cloud band. The initial vortex structure is also suggested to play a critical role in the pathway to rapid intensification, and in the formation of the eyewall for the defined environmental forcing. With an initially large RMW, the forecast captures the evolution of structure and intensity more skillfully. Eyewall formation inside the primary outer convective band for the weak storm is illustrated and some possible dynamical interpretations are discussed.

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Noel E. Davidson, Yi Xiao, Yimin Ma, Harry C. Weber, Xudong Sun, Lawrie J. Rikus, Jeff D. Kepert, Peter X. Steinle, Gary S. Dietachmayer, Charlie C. F. Lok, James Fraser, Joan Fernon, and Hakeem Shaik

Abstract

The Australian Community Climate and Earth System Simulator (ACCESS) has been adapted for operational and research applications on tropical cyclones. The base system runs at a resolution of 0.11° and 50 levels. The domain is relocatable and nested in coarser-resolution ACCESS forecasts. Initialization consists of five cycles of four-dimensional variational data assimilation (4DVAR) over 24 h. Forecasts to 72 h are made. Without vortex specification, initial conditions usually contain a weak and misplaced circulation pattern. Significant effort has been devoted to building physically based, synthetic inner-core structures, validated using historical dropsonde data and surface analyses from the Atlantic. Based on estimates of central pressure and storm size, vortex specification is used to filter the analyzed circulation from the original analysis, construct an inner core of the storm, locate it to the observed position, and merge it with the large-scale analysis at outer radii.

Using all available conventional observations and only synthetic surface pressure observations from the idealized vortex to correct the initial location and structure of the storm, the 4DVAR builds a balanced, intense 3D vortex with maximum wind at the radius of maximum wind and with a well-developed secondary circulation. Mean track and intensity errors for Australian region and northwest Pacific storms have been encouraging, as are recent real-time results from the Australian National Meteorological and Oceanographic Centre. The system became fully operational in November 2011. From preliminary diagnostics, some interesting structure change features are illustrated. Current limitations, future enhancements, and research applications are also discussed.

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Ping Zhao, Xiangde Xu, Fei Chen, Xueliang Guo, Xiangdong Zheng, Liping Liu, Yang Hong, Yueqing Li, Zuo La, Hao Peng, Linzhi Zhong, Yaoming Ma, Shihao Tang, Yimin Liu, Huizhi Liu, Yaohui Li, Qiang Zhang, Zeyong Hu, Jihua Sun, Shengjun Zhang, Lixin Dong, Hezhen Zhang, Yang Zhao, Xiaolu Yan, An Xiao, Wei Wan, Yu Liu, Junming Chen, Ge Liu, Yangzong Zhaxi, and Xiuji Zhou

Abstract

This paper presents the background, scientific objectives, experimental design, and preliminary achievements of the Third Tibetan Plateau (TP) Atmospheric Scientific Experiment (TIPEX-III) for 8–10 years. It began in 2013 and has expanded plateau-scale observation networks by adding observation stations in data-scarce areas; executed integrated observation missions for the land surface, planetary boundary layer, cloud–precipitation, and troposphere–stratosphere exchange processes by coordinating ground-based, air-based, and satellite facilities; and achieved noticeable progress in data applications. A new estimation gives a smaller bulk transfer coefficient of surface sensible heat over the TP, which results in a reduction of the possibly overestimated heat intensity found in previous studies. Summer cloud–precipitation microphysical characteristics and cloud radiative effects over the TP are distinguished from those over the downstream plains. Warm rain processes play important roles in the development of cloud and precipitation over the TP. The lower-tropospheric ozone maximum over the northeastern TP is attributed to the regional photochemistry and long-range ozone transports, and the heterogeneous chemical processes of depleting ozone near the tropopause might not be a dominant mechanism for the summer upper-tropospheric–lower-stratospheric ozone valley over the southeastern TP. The TP thermodynamic function not only affects the local atmospheric water maintenance and the downstream precipitation and haze events but also modifies extratropical atmospheric teleconnections like the Asia–Pacific Oscillation, subtropical anticyclones over the North Pacific and Atlantic, and temperature and precipitation over Africa, Asia, and North America. These findings provide new insights into understanding land–atmosphere coupled processes over the TP and their effects, improving model parameterization schemes, and enhancing weather and climate forecast skills.

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Tandong Yao, Yongkang Xue, Deliang Chen, Fahu Chen, Lonnie Thompson, Peng Cui, Toshio Koike, William K.-M. Lau, Dennis Lettenmaier, Volker Mosbrugger, Renhe Zhang, Baiqing Xu, Jeff Dozier, Thomas Gillespie, Yu Gu, Shichang Kang, Shilong Piao, Shiori Sugimoto, Kenichi Ueno, Lei Wang, Weicai Wang, Fan Zhang, Yongwei Sheng, Weidong Guo, Ailikun, Xiaoxin Yang, Yaoming Ma, Samuel S. P. Shen, Zhongbo Su, Fei Chen, Shunlin Liang, Yimin Liu, Vijay P. Singh, Kun Yang, Daqing Yang, Xinquan Zhao, Yun Qian, Yu Zhang, and Qian Li

Abstract

The Third Pole (TP) is experiencing rapid warming and is currently in its warmest period in the past 2,000 years. This paper reviews the latest development in multidisciplinary TP research associated with this warming. The rapid warming facilitates intense and broad glacier melt over most of the TP, although some glaciers in the northwest are advancing. By heating the atmosphere and reducing snow/ice albedo, aerosols also contribute to the glaciers melting. Glacier melt is accompanied by lake expansion and intensification of the water cycle over the TP. Precipitation has increased over the eastern and northwestern TP. Meanwhile, the TP is greening and most regions are experiencing advancing phenological trends, although over the southwest there is a spring phenological delay mainly in response to the recent decline in spring precipitation. Atmospheric and terrestrial thermal and dynamical processes over the TP affect the Asian monsoon at different scales. Recent evidence indicates substantial roles that mesoscale convective systems play in the TP’s precipitation as well as an association between soil moisture anomalies in the TP and the Indian monsoon. Moreover, an increase in geohazard events has been associated with recent environmental changes, some of which have had catastrophic consequences caused by glacial lake outbursts and landslides. Active debris flows are growing in both frequency of occurrences and spatial scale. Meanwhile, new types of disasters, such as the twin ice avalanches in Ali in 2016, are now appearing in the region. Adaptation and mitigation measures should be taken to help societies’ preparation for future environmental challenges. Some key issues for future TP studies are also discussed.

Open access