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Young-Kwon Lim and Kwang-Yul Kim

Abstract

A new paradigm for climate (one month and longer) prediction is developed and is applied to the 5-day-averaged Asian summer monsoon (ASM) precipitation. The foundation of the method is to identify climate signals (deterministic components) that constitute the ASM system and predict the temporal fluctuations of the amplitudes (stochastic components) of the individual signals. Climate signals were identified via cyclostationary empirical orthogonal function (CSEOF) analysis of the Xie–Arkin pentad precipitation in this study and include the annual cycle, El Niño/La Niña, and the intraseasonal oscillations of the 40–50-day period band (the Madden–Julian oscillation). Prediction is much facilitated by forecasting the slowly undulating amplitude time series of each climate signal rather than the raw precipitation data directly. The new prediction method results in reasonable forecasts of the pentad precipitation for the test period of 1999–2001. Specifically, the propagation of the intraseasonal oscillations is predicted successfully 60 days in advance. The performance of the new method is significantly better than persistence and that of conventional prediction methods in which raw data is predicted directly.

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Young-Kwon Lim and Kwang-Yul Kim

Abstract

This study investigates how ENSO affects the space–time evolution of the Asian summer monsoon (ASM) precipitation and synoptic variables on a 5-day resolution over the entire ASM area. Cyclostationary EOF and regression methods were used to investigate the detailed evolution features associated with ENSO during the prominent life cycle of the ASM (21 May–17 September). This ENSO mode is identified as the third largest component (next to the seasonal cycle and the intraseasonal oscillations with a 40–50-day period) of the ASM rainfall variation.

The ENSO mode reveals that the individual regional monsoons over the ASM domain respond to ENSO in a complex manner. 1) Under the El Niño condition, the early monsoon stage over India, the Bay of Bengal, and the Indochina peninsula is characterized by rainfall deficit, along with a delayed monsoon onset by one or two pentads. This is the result of weakened diabatic heating over the Asian continent and meridional pressure gradient over the Indian Ocean, causing a weak low-tropospheric westerly monsoonal flow and the ensuing moisture transport decrease toward the regional monsoon areas. Onsets of the subsequent regional monsoons are delayed successively by this poorly developed ASM system in the early stage. 2) The Walker circulation anomaly persistently induces an enhanced subsidence over the Maritime Continent, resulting in a drought condition over this region for the entire ASM period. 3) The Hadley circulation anomaly linked to the Walker circulation anomaly over the Tropics drives a rising motion over the subtropical western Pacific, resulting in a wetter south China monsoon. The negative sea level pressure anomaly over the subtropical western Pacific associated with this anomalous Hadley circulation provides an unfavorable condition for the moisture transport toward East Asia, causing drier monsoons over north China, Japan, and Korea regions. 4) This negative sea level pressure anomaly intrudes into India, the Bay of Bengal, and the Indochina peninsula during late July and early August, developing a brief wet period over these regions. In contrast, the physical changes including the onset variation and the monsoon strength addressed above are reversed during La Niña events.

In reality, the observed ASM rainfall anomaly does not necessarily follow the ENSO-related patterns addressed above because of other impacts contributing to the rainfall variations. Although the impact of ENSO is moderately important, a comparison with other impacts demonstrates that the rainfall variations are controlled more by regional-scale intraseasonal oscillations.

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Young-Kwon Lim, Kwang-Yul Kim, and Hee-Sang Lee

Abstract

The principal mode of the seasonal variation of the Asian summer monsoon (ASM) and the temporal and spatial evolution of the corresponding synoptic fields are investigated via cyclostationary EOF analysis. This study uses the 21-yr (1979–99) Xie–Arkin precipitation pentad data and National Centers for Environmental Prediction daily reanalysis data focusing on the period 21 May to 28 August, which covers the prominent life cycle of the ASM. The first mode, representing the seasonal cycle, explains about 20%–40% of the total variability in the parameters considered in the study.

The pronounced feature in the present study is that the seasonal evolution of the sea level pressure anomaly contrast between the Asian continent and the surrounding oceans is the governing mechanism for the ASM evolution. The northward migration of the low pressure anomaly from the Indian Ocean and the moisture transport by a low-level westerly (Somali jet) toward India describes the evolution of the precipitation field over India, the Bay of Bengal, and the Indochina peninsula. Over the Pacific Ocean, a high pressure anomaly to the south of the precipitation band between 25° and 40°N pushes it northward, characterizing the onset and evolution of regional monsoons (mei-yu, baiu, and changma) in east Asia. It is shown that the high pressure anomaly intruding into southern China and farther west to the Bay of Bengal from mid-June to mid-July accelerates the low-level wind along the coastal line of Asia, where the pressure gradient becomes maximum. It provides a favorable condition for moisture transport toward the east Asian monsoon region.

Two major moisture sources, the Indian Ocean and the western Pacific Ocean, are found during the monsoon period. Evolutions of anomalous moisture transport patterns toward India, the Indochina peninsula, and east Asia show unique characteristics from one another. While precipitation over the Indian region is persistently affected by the Indian Ocean, the Indochina peninsula is dominated by the western Pacific Ocean in the early monsoon period followed by the effect of the Indian Ocean (mid June to mid July) and the cooperation of the two sources afterward. The east Asian monsoon regions are influenced by both sources from the onset of their monsoons. After late July, the latter source affects the east Asian monsoon more due to the northward movement of a high pressure anomaly (late July) together with the development of a low pressure anomaly over the subtropical western Pacific region.

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Young-Kwon Lim, Robin M. Kovach, Steven Pawson, and Guillaume Vernieres

Abstract

The 2015/16 El Niño is analyzed using atmospheric and oceanic analysis produced using the Goddard Earth Observing System (GEOS) data assimilation systems. As well as describing the structure of the event, a theme of this work is to compare and contrast it with two other strong El Niños, in 1982/83 and 1997/98. These three El Niño events are included in the Modern-Era Retrospective Analysis for Research and Applications (MERRA) and in the more recent MERRA-2 reanalyses. MERRA-2 allows a comparison of fields derived from the underlying GEOS model, facilitating a more detailed comparison of physical forcing mechanisms in the El Niño events. Various atmospheric and oceanic structures indicate that the 2015/16 El Niño maximized in the Niño-3.4 region, with a large region of warming over most of the Pacific and Indian Oceans. The eastern tropical Indian Ocean, Maritime Continent, and western tropical Pacific are found to be less dry in boreal winter, compared to the earlier two strong events. Whereas the 2015/16 El Niño had an earlier occurrence of the equatorial Pacific warming and was the strongest event on record in the central Pacific, the 1997/98 event exhibited a more rapid growth due to stronger westerly wind bursts and the Madden–Julian oscillation during spring, making it the strongest El Niño in the eastern Pacific. Compared to 1982/83 and 1997/98, the 2015/16 event had a shallower thermocline over the eastern Pacific with a weaker zonal contrast of subsurface water temperatures along the equatorial Pacific. While the three major ENSO events have similarities, each is unique when looking at the atmosphere and ocean surface and subsurface.

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Young-Kwon Lim, Ming Cai, Eugenia Kalnay, and Liming Zhou

Abstract

The impact of different surface vegetations on long-term surface temperature change is estimated by subtracting reanalysis trends in monthly surface temperature anomalies from observation trends over the last four decades. This is done using two reanalyses, namely, the 40-yr ECMWF (ERA-40) and NCEP–NCAR I (NNR), and two observation datasets, namely, Climatic Research Unit (CRU) and Global Historical Climate Network (GHCN). The basis of the observation minus reanalysis (OMR) approach is that the NNR reanalysis surface fields, and to a lesser extent the ERA-40, are insensitive to surface processes associated with different vegetation types and their changes because the NNR does not use surface observations over land, whereas ERA-40 only uses surface temperature observations indirectly, in order to initialize soil temperature and moisture. As a result, the OMR trends can provide an estimate of surface effects on the observed temperature trends missing in the reanalyses. The OMR trends obtained from observation minus NNR show a strong and coherent sensitivity to the independently estimated surface vegetation from normalized difference vegetation index (NDVI). The correlation between the OMR trend and the NDVI indicates that the OMR trend decreases with surface vegetation, with a correlation < −0.5, indicating that there is a stronger surface response to global warming in arid regions, whereas the OMR response is reduced in highly vegetated areas. The OMR trend averaged over the desert areas (0 < NDVI < 0.1) shows a much larger increase of temperature (∼0.4°C decade−1) than over tropical forest areas (NDVI > 0.4) where the OMR trend is nearly zero. Areas of intermediate vegetation (0.1 < NDVI < 0.4), which are mostly found over midlatitudes, reveal moderate OMR trends (approximately 0.1°–0.3°C decade−1). The OMR trends are also very sensitive to the seasonal vegetation change. While the OMR trends have little seasonal dependence over deserts and tropical forests, whose vegetation state remains rather constant throughout the year, the OMR trends over the midlatitudes, in particular Europe and North America, exhibit strong seasonal variation in response to the NDVI fluctuations associated with deciduous vegetation. The OMR trend rises up approximately to 0.2°–0.3°C decade−1 in winter and early spring when the vegetation cover is low, and is only 0.1°C decade−1 in summer and early autumn with high vegetation. However, the Asian inlands (Russia, northern China with Tibet, and Mongolia) do not show this strong OMR variation despite their midlatitude location, because of the relatively permanent aridity of these regions.

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Young-Kwon Lim, Siegfried D. Schubert, Yehui Chang, and Hailan Wang

Abstract

This study examines the within-season monthly variation of the El Niño response over North America during December–March using the NASA/GEOS model. In agreement with previous studies, the skill of 1-month-lead GEOS coupled model forecasts of precipitation over North America is largest (smallest) for February (January), with similar results in uncoupled mode. A key finding is that the relatively poor January skill is the result of the model placing the main circulation anomaly over the northeast Pacific slightly to the west of the observed, resulting in precipitation anomalies that lie off the coast instead of over land as observed. In contrast, during February the observed circulation anomaly over the northeast Pacific shifts westward, lining up with the predicted anomaly, which is essentially unchanged from January, resulting in both the observed and predicted precipitation anomalies remaining off the coast. Furthermore, the largest precipitation anomalies occur along the southern tier of states associated with an eastward extended jet—something that the models capture reasonably well. Simulations with a stationary wave model indicate that the placement of January El Niño response to the west of the observed over the northeast Pacific is the result of biases in the January climatological stationary waves, rather than errors in the tropical Pacific El Niño heating anomalies in January. Furthermore, evidence is provided that the relatively poor simulation of the observed January climatology, characterized by a strengthened North Pacific jet and enhanced ridge over western North America, can be traced back to biases in the January climatology heating over the Tibet region and the tropical western Pacific.

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In-Sik Kang, Chang-Hoi Ho, Young-Kwon Lim, and K-M. Lau

Abstract

Principal modes of climatological variation of the Asian summer monsoon are investigated. Data used in this study include the high cloud fraction produced by the International Satellite Cloud Climatology Project and sea level pressure, and 850- and 200-mb geopotential heights from ECMWF analysis for the five summers of 1985–89. It is shown that the seasonal evolution of the Asian summer monsoon is adequately described by a few leading EOFs. These EOFs capture the variations of regional rainbands over the East Asian and Indian regions.

The first mode is characterized by an increase in large-scale cloud over India and the subtropical western Pacific until mid-August. The second mode depicts large-scale cloud variations associated with the East Asian rainband referred to as Mei Yu and Baiu. This mode is associated with the development of summer monsoon circulation: a low pressure system over the Asian continent and a subtropical high over the Pacific. The third eigenmode is characterized by zonal cloud bands from northern India, crossing the Korean peninsula to Japan, and dryness over the oceans in the south of cloud bands. This mode is related to the mature phase of Changma rainy season in Korea associated with the northward movement of cloud bands and circulation systems from the subtropical western Pacific. This mode appears as a first principal mode of climatological intraseasonal oscillation (CISO) over the entire Asian monsoon region. The CISO mode has a timescale of about 2 months.

The northward moving CISO also appears in the 850- and 200-mb geopotential height fields as a first mode of each dataset. Based on the height variations of the CISO mode, it is suggested that the extratropical CISO during summer is related to a regional index cycle associated with the variation of north–south temperature gradient in East Asia.

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Nakbin Choi, Myong-In Lee, Dong-Hyun Cha, Young-Kwon Lim, and Kyu-Myong Kim

Abstract

The heat wave in East Asia is examined by using empirical orthogonal function analysis to isolate dominant heat-wave patterns in the ground-based temperature observations over the Korean Peninsula and China and related large-scale atmospheric circulations obtained from the National Centers for Environmental Prediction–National Center for Atmospheric Research Reanalysis 1 during 1973–2012. This study focuses particularly on the interannual variability of heat waves and its decadal change. The analysis identifies two major atmospheric teleconnection patterns playing an important role in developing typical heat-wave patterns in East Asia—the Scandinavian (SCAND) and the circumglobal teleconnection (CGT) patterns, which exhibit a significant decadal change in the interannual variability in the mid-1990s. Before the mid-1990s, heat-wave occurrence was closely related to the CGT pattern, whereas the SCAND pattern is more crucial to explain heat-wave variability in the recent period. The stationary wave model experiments suggest an intensification of the SCAND pattern in the recent period driven by an increase in land–atmosphere interaction over Eurasia and decadal change in the dominant heat-wave patterns in East Asia.

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Young-Kwon Lim, Siegfried D. Schubert, Yehui Chang, Andrea M. Molod, and Steven Pawson

Abstract

The factors impacting western U.S. winter precipitation during the 2015/16 El Niño are investigated using the Modern-Era Retrospective Analysis for Research and Applications, version 2 (MERRA-2), data, and simulations with the Goddard Earth Observing System, version 5 (GEOS-5), atmospheric general circulation model forced with specified sea surface temperatures (SSTs). Results reveal that the simulated response to the tropical Pacific SST associated with the 2015/16 El Niño was to produce wetter than normal conditions over much of the North American west coast including California—a result at odds with the negative precipitation anomalies observed over much of the southwestern United States. It is shown that two factors acted to partly counter the canonical ENSO response in that region. First, a potentially predictable but modest response to the unusually strong and persistent warm SST in the northeastern Pacific decreased precipitation in the southwestern United States by increasing sea level pressure, driving anticyclonic circulation and atmospheric descent, and reducing moisture transport into that region. Second, large-scale unforced (by SST) components of atmospheric variability (consisting of the leading modes of unpredictable intraensemble variability) resembling the positive phase of the North Atlantic Oscillation and Arctic Oscillation are found to be an important contributor to the drying over the western United States. While a statistical reconstruction of the precipitation from our simulations that account for internal atmospheric variability does much to close the gap between the ensemble-mean and observed precipitation in the southwestern United States, some differences remain, indicating that model error is also playing a role.

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Young-Kwon Lim, Siegfried D. Schubert, Oreste Reale, Andrea M. Molod, Max J. Suarez, and Benjamin M. Auer

Abstract

Interannual variations in seasonal tropical cyclone (TC) activity (e.g., genesis frequency and location, track pattern, and landfall) over the Atlantic are explored by employing observationally constrained simulations with the NASA Goddard Earth Observing System, version 5 (GEOS-5), atmospheric general circulation model. The climate modes investigated are El Niño–Southern Oscillation (ENSO), the North Atlantic Oscillation (NAO), and the Atlantic meridional mode (AMM).

The results show that the NAO and AMM can strongly modify and even oppose the well-known ENSO impacts, like in 2005, when a strong positive AMM (associated with warm SSTs and a negative SLP anomaly over the western tropical Atlantic) led to a very active TC season with enhanced TC genesis over the Caribbean Sea and a number of landfalls over North America, under a neutral ENSO condition. On the other end, the weak TC activity during 2013 (characterized by weak negative Niño index) appears caused by a NAO-induced positive SLP anomaly with enhanced vertical wind shear over the tropical North Atlantic. During 2010, the combined impact of the three modes produced positive SST anomalies across the entire low-latitudinal Atlantic and a weaker subtropical high, leading to more early recurvers and thus fewer landfalls despite enhanced TC genesis. The study provides evidence that TC number and track are very sensitive to the relative phases and intensities of these three modes and not just to ENSO alone. Examination of seasonal predictability reveals that the predictive skill of the three modes is limited over tropics to subtropics, with the AMM having the highest predictability over the North Atlantic, followed by ENSO and NAO.

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