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Kensuke K. Komatsu and Yoshihiro Tachibana

Abstract

A radiosonde observation method is presented, consisting of simultaneous radiosonde observations at closely spaced multiple sites using balloons with varied buoyancies. This method was employed during a strong wind event (Suzuka-oroshi) on the lee side of the Suzuka mountain range, Japan, to derive the detailed structure of the wind as it crossed the mountains. Batches of six radiosondes were launched simultaneously from a line of four sites, using balloons with three different degrees of buoyancy. The four sites were 13 km apart along a 35-km-long transect roughly aligned with the prevailing wind. The observations documented two flow regimes: a downslope flow perpendicular to the mountain range, similar to a windstorm, and an unexpectedly strong low-level jet flowing parallel to the mountain range. The method was more successful at delineating the first regime than the second. The first regime was well simulated by a numerical experiment, but the second regime was not. The vertical wind associated with the downslope windstorm was inferred from the changing slopes of potential temperature isentropes. Comparison of the balloon ascent rates with these isentropes meanders and the simulated vertical wind showed that fluctuations in balloon ascent rate provide reliable information on the vertical direction of the wind. An analysis of the second regime using a long-term meteorological dataset shows that the onset of the low-level jet is related to the synoptic-scale shift in vorticity from positive to negative in the observation area. This vorticity shift appears to be a useful indicator for the low-level jet regime.

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Yuta Ando, Masayo Ogi, and Yoshihiro Tachibana

Abstract

Negative Arctic Oscillation (AO) and western Pacific (WP) indices persisted from October to December 2012 in the Northern Hemisphere. For the first time, the monthly AO and WP were both negative for three consecutive months since records have been kept. Although in general negative AO and WP phases cause Siberia, East Asia, and Japan to be abnormally cold, Japan was relatively warm in October 2012 even though both the AO and WP were strongly negative. The temperature of the Sea of Japan reached a record-breaking high in October 2012, and it was found that heating by these very warm waters, despite the small size of the Sea of Japan, overwhelmed the cooling effect of the strongly negative AO and WP in October. Linear regression analyses showed that Japan tends to be warm in years when the Sea of Japan is warm. Consequently, the temperature over Japan is controlled by interannual variations of small-scale oceanic phenomena as well as by large-scale atmospheric patterns. Previous studies have ignored such small-scale oceanic influences on island temperatures.

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Kenta Kawasaki, Yoshihiro Tachibana, Tetsu Nakamura, and Koji Yamazaki

Abstract

Summertime temperatures in marginal seas are, in general, colder than on the surrounding continent because of the large contrast in heat capacity between the land and the ocean. The Okhotsk Sea, which is covered by sea ice until early summer, is much colder than the surrounding continent in summer. The Okhotsk Sea is thus located in an area with one of the largest temperature contrasts of all the marginal seas in summertime midlatitudes. Cooled air over the Okhotsk Sea may have an impact on remote summer climates, such as by serving as the source of cold-air advection that results in a poor crop harvest in Japan. Here, we examine the role of the Okhotsk Sea on the early summer climate of the western part of the North Pacific through an ideal numerical experiment by artificially changing the model’s default oceanic condition in the Okhotsk Sea to a condition of land cover. Simulation results reveal that the presence of the Okhotsk Sea increases precipitation of the baiu/mei-yu front through strengthening of the northward moisture flux at the western edge of an intensified North Pacific subtropical high. The Okhotsk influence farther extends toward western North America to which the strengthened jet stream with a storm track extends. This remote influence is achievable through feedback from a transient eddy anomaly that is activated by the surface temperature gradient between the cold Okhotsk Sea and the warm Pacific Ocean. The findings imply that the existence of the Okhotsk Sea strengthens the East Asian summer monsoons.

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Koji Yamazaki, Masayo Ogi, Yoshihiro Tachibana, Tetsu Nakamura, and Kazuhiro Oshima

Abstract

The summer northern annular mode (NAM) and the winter North Atlantic Oscillation (NAO)/winter NAM have a positive correlation from the mid-1960s to the 1980s. Namely, when the winter NAO/NAM is in a positive phase, the following summer NAM tended to be in a positive phase. During the period from the mid-1960s to the 1980s, the NAO/NAM signals extended to the stratosphere in winter. Also, the lower-tropospheric warm anomaly over northern Eurasia in winter associated with the positive phase of NAO/NAM continued into spring. In summer, the annular anomalies in the temperature and 500-hPa height fields appeared, and the high-latitude westerly wind was enhanced following the winter positive NAO/NAM. However, after circa 1990, the seasonal linkage was broken (i.e., the winter-to-summer correlation became insignificant). The stratospheric signal in the winter NAO/NAM became weak and summer signals associated with the winter NAO/NAM almost disappeared. Seasonal evolutions of atmospheric circulation and sea surface temperature (SST) anomalies associated with the winter NAO are examined for an early good-linkage period and a recent poor-linkage period. We discuss the possible causes of the linkage breakdown such as stratospheric ozone, North Atlantic SST, and Atlantic multidecadal oscillation, besides chaotic internal variability in the climate system. Simulations with the Community Earth System Model suggest that the ocean and/or sea ice with interseasonal memories possibly cause the linkage, besides large internal variability through which the linkage can take place by chance.

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Hatsumi Nishikawa, Yoshihiro Tachibana, Yoshimi Kawai, Mayumi K. Yoshioka, and Hisashi Nakamura

Abstract

Simultaneous launches of radiosondes were conducted from three research vessels aligned meridionally across a sea surface temperature (SST) front on the flank of the Kuroshio Extension. The soundings carried out every 2 h over 5 days in early July 2012 provided a unique opportunity in capturing unambiguous data on anomalous easterly winds derived from a pronounced meridional SST gradient. The data indicate that a meridional contrast in surface heat fluxes from the underlying ocean enhanced the air temperature anomaly across the SST front, which was observed from the surface up to 300-m altitude. Correspondingly, high and low pressure anomalies that reached 800-m altitude formed on the north and south sides of the SST front, respectively. These temperature and pressure anomalies were maintained even during the passage of synoptic-scale disturbances. Although the free-tropospheric winds are overall westerly, winds below the 1000-m level were easterly due to geostrophic anomalies driven by the northward pressure gradient near the surface. During periods of the northerlies at the surface, especially over the warmer side of the SST front, the wind direction changed in a clockwise direction from 1500 m to the surface, in the opposite sense to the Ekman spiral. The vertical wind shear is apparently in the thermal wind balance ascribed to the meridional contrast in air temperature derived from the SST anomaly.

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Masato I. Nodzu, Shin-Ya Ogino, Yoshihiro Tachibana, and Manabu D. Yamanaka

Abstract

In this study operational rawinsonde data are used to investigate climatological features of seasonal variations in static stability in order to understand the behavior of temperature inversion layers, that is, extremely stable layers in the lower troposphere over the Indochina Peninsula region, at the southeastern edge of the Asian continent. Static stability was evaluated from the vertical gradient in potential temperature (Δθz).

Stable (Δθz > 10 K km−1) and unstable (Δθz < 1 K km−1) layers frequently appear over the Indochina Peninsula region during boreal winter. Temporal and vertical variations in stability during the boreal winter can be categorized into three characteristic types, type I: the mean height of stable layers increases from 2 to 5 km from the dry to the rainy season over inland areas of the Indochina Peninsula and southern China; type II: similar to type I, with the additional occurrence of stable layers at a height of ∼1 km, mainly over coastal areas of the Indochina Peninsula; and type III: stable layers at a height of ∼2 km, mainly over the Malay Peninsula. We did not find any significant seasonal change in the vertical distribution of stable layers over the Malay Peninsula.

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Yasushi Fujiyoshi, Tatsuo Endoh, Tomomi Yamada, Kazuhisa Tsuboki, Yoshihiro Tachibana, and Gorow Wakahama

Abstract

A best-fit power-law relationship (Z = 427 R 1.09) between 1-minute integrated averages of snowfall rate (R) and radar reflectivity factor (Z) was determined on the basis of observations made by using high sensitivity snow gauges (accuracy 0.03 mm h−1) and a radar (wavelength 3.2 cm, beamwidth 1.1°) of three 1987 Sapporo snowstorms. The relationship Z = 554R 0.88, using 30-minute integrated averages of Z and R, produced the best radar estimate of total snowfall. The ratio of the estimated to the observed amount of snowfall decreased with increasing density of new fallen snow ρ, the ratio roughly equaling 1, when ρ ≈ 0.05 g cm−3.

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Kazutoshi Sato, Atsuyoshi Manda, Qoosaku Moteki, Kensuke K. Komatsu, Koto Ogata, Hatsumi Nishikawa, Miki Oshika, Yuriko Otomi, Shiori Kunoki, Hisao Kanehara, Takashi Aoshima, Kenichi Shimizu, Jun Uchida, Masako Shimoda, Mitsuharu Yagi, Shoshiro Minobe, and Yoshihiro Tachibana

Abstract

Two mesoscale convective events in the baiu frontal zone (BFZ) were documented, based on intensive atmospheric soundings and oceanic castings in the East China Sea during May 2011, in addition to continuous surface meteorological observations, satellite products, and objective analyses. These events occurred while the BFZ was nearly stagnant and a mesolow was deepening in the zone. Near-surface southerlies associated with the low-level jet transported a warm, humid air mass from south of the BFZ. Enhanced evaporation, which was mainly attributable to the high sea surface temperature of the Kuroshio, augmented the moisture content of the air mass and helped maintain a convectively unstable stratification in the lower troposphere around the BFZ.

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