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Yun Fan and Huug van den Dool

Abstract

A simple bias correction method was used to correct daily operational ensemble week-1 and week-2 precipitation and 2-m surface air temperature forecasts from the NCEP Global Forecast System (GFS). The study shows some unexpected and striking features of the forecast errors or biases of both precipitation and 2-m surface air temperature from the GFS. They are dominated by relatively large-scale spatial patterns and low-frequency variations that resemble the annual cycle. A large portion of these forecast errors is removable, but the effectiveness is time and space dependent. The bias-corrected week-1 and week-2 ensemble precipitation and 2-m surface air temperature forecasts indicate some improvements over their raw counterparts. However, the overall levels of week-1 and week-2 forecast skill in terms of spatial anomaly correlation and root-mean-square error are still only modest. The dynamical soil moisture forecasts (i.e., land surface hydrological model forced with bias-corrected precipitation and 2-m surface air temperature integrated forward for up to 2 weeks) have very high skill, but hardly beat persistence over the United States. The inability to outperform persistence mainly relates to the skill of the current GFS week-1 and week-2 precipitation forecasts not being above a threshold (i.e., anomaly correlation > 0.5 is required).

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Yun Fan, Huug M. van den Dool, and Wanru Wu

Abstract

Several land surface datasets, such as the observed Illinois soil moisture dataset; three retrospective offline run datasets from the Noah land surface model (LSM), Variable Infiltration Capacity (VIC) LSM, and Climate Prediction Center leaky bucket soil model; and three reanalysis datasets (North American Regional Reanalysis, NCEP/Department of Energy Global Reanalysis, and 40-yr ECMWF Re-Analysis), are used to study the spatial and temporal variability of soil moisture and its response to the major components of land surface hydrologic cycles: precipitation, evaporation, and runoff. Detailed analysis was performed on the evolution of the soil moisture vertical profile. Over Illinois, model simulations are compared to observations, but for the United States as a whole some impressions can be gained by comparing the multiple soil moisture–precipitation–evaporation–runoff datasets to one another. The magnitudes and partitioning of major land surface water balance components on seasonal–interannual time scales have been explored. It appears that evaporation has the most prominent annual cycle but its interannual variability is relatively small. For other water balance components, such as precipitation, runoff, and surface water storage change, the amplitudes of their annual cycles and interannual variations are comparable. This study indicates that all models have a certain capability to reproduce observed soil moisture variability on seasonal–interannual time scales, but offline runs are decidedly better than reanalyses (in terms of validation against observations) and more highly correlated to one another (in terms of intercomparison) in general. However, noticeable differences are also observed, such as the degree of simulated drought severity and the locations affected—this is due to the uncertainty in model physics, input forcing, and mode of running (interactive or offline), which continue to be major issues for land surface modeling.

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Ben P. Kirtman, Yun Fan, and Edwin K. Schneider

Abstract

The Center for Ocean–Land–Atmosphere Studies (COLA) global coupled and anomaly coupled ocean–atmosphere GCM models are described. The ocean and atmosphere components of these coupled models are identical. The only difference between them is in the coupling strategy. The anomaly coupling strategy guarantees that the climatology of the coupled model is close to the observed climatology, whereas the global coupled model suffers from serious climate drift. This climate drift is largest in the eastern tropical Pacific where the coupled model is too warm by as much as 5°C. The climate drift in the coupled model can also be seen by the predominance of an erroneous double intertopical convergence zone (ITCZ) in the eastern tropical Pacific. Despite the climate drift, both models exhibit robust interannual variability in the tropical Pacific. Composite analysis, however, reveals that the characteristics of interannual variability in the coupled and the anomaly coupled models are markedly different. For example, the coupled model exhibits a distinct eastward migration of the ENSO events, whereas the anomaly coupled model is dominated by a standing mode, which is too strongly phase-locked to the annual cycle. Based on diagnostic ocean model simulations, it is shown that an erroneous eastward migration of the annual cycle of thermocline depth and upwelling is responsible for the eastward migration of the ENSO events in the coupled model. The anomaly coupled model has a comparatively weak annual cycle in the thermocline depth and upwelling. These calculations emphasize the importance of correctly simulating the mean state in order to capture realistic ENSO variability.

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Jorge Arevalo, Josh Welty, Yun Fan, and Xubin Zeng

Abstract

Droughts are a worldwide concern, thus assessment efforts are conducted by many centers around the world, mainly through simple drought indices, which usually neglect important hydrometeorological processes or require variables available only from complex land surface models (LSMs). The U.S. Climate Prediction Center (CPC) uses the Leaky Bucket (LB) water-balance model to postprocess temperature and precipitation, providing soil moisture (SM) anomalies to assess drought conditions. However, despite its crucial role in the water cycle, snowpack has been neglected by LB and most drought indices. Taking advantage of the high-quality snow water equivalent (SWE) data from The University of Arizona (UA), a single-layer snow scheme, forced by daily temperature and precipitation only, is developed for LB implementation and tested with two independent forcing datasets. Compared against the UA and SNOTEL SWE data over CONUS, LB outperforms a sophisticated LSM (Noah/NLDAS-2), with the median LB versus SNOTEL correlation (RMSE) about 40% (26%) higher (lower) than that from Noah/NLDAS-2, with only slight differences due to different forcing datasets. The changes in the temporal variability of SM due to the snowpack treatment lead to improved temporal and spatial distribution of drought conditions in the LB simulations compared to the reference U.S. Drought Monitor maps, highlighting the importance of snowpack inclusion in drought assessment. The simplicity but reasonable reliability of the LB with snowpack treatment makes it suitable for drought monitoring and forecasting in both snow-covered and snow-free areas, while only requiring precipitation and temperature data (markedly less than other water-balance-based indices).

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Yun Lin, Jiwen Fan, Jong-Hoon Jeong, Yuwei Zhang, Cameron R. Homeyer, and Jingyu Wang

Abstract

Changes in land surface and aerosol characteristics from urbanization can affect dynamic and microphysical properties of severe storms, thus affecting hazardous weather events resulting from these storms such as hail and tornadoes. We examine the joint and individual effects of urban land and anthropogenic aerosols of Kansas City on a severe convective storm observed during the 2015 Plains Elevated Convection At Night (PECAN) field campaign, focusing on storm evolution, convective intensity, and hail characteristics. The simulations are carried out at the cloud-resolving scale (1 km) using a version of WRF-Chem in which the spectral-bin microphysics (SBM) is coupled with the Model for Simulating Aerosol Interactions and Chemistry (MOSAIC). It is found that the urban land effect of Kansas City initiated a much stronger convective cell and the storm got further intensified when interacting with stronger turbulence induced by the urban land. The urban land effect also changed the storm path by diverting the storm toward the city, mainly resulting from enhanced urban land-induced convergence in the urban area and around the urban–rural boundaries. The joint effect of urban land and anthropogenic aerosols enhances occurrences of both severe hail and significant severe hail by ~20% by enhancing hail formation and growth from riming. Overall the urban land effect on convective intensity and hail is relatively larger than the anthropogenic aerosol effect, but the joint effect is more notable than either of the individual effects, emphasizing the importance of considering both effects in evaluating urbanization effects.

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Yun Fan, M. R. Allen, D. L. T. Anderson, and M. A. Balmaseda

Abstract

The predictability of any complex, inhomogeneous system depends critically on the definition of analysis and forecast errors. A simple and efficient singular vector analysis is used to study the predictability of a coupled model of El Niño–Southern Oscillation (ENSO). Error growth is found to depend critically on the desired properties of the forecast errors (“where and what one wants to predict”), as well as on the properties of the analysis error (“what information is available for that prediction”) and choice of optimization time. The time evolution of singular values and singular vectors shows that the predictability of the coupled model is clearly related to the seasonal cycle and to the phase of ENSO. It is found that the use of an approximation to the analysis error covariance to define the relative importance of errors in different variables gives very different results to the more frequently used “energy norm,” and indicates a much larger role for sea surface temperature information in seasonal (3–6-month timescale) predictability. Seasonal variations in the predictability of the coupled model are also investigated, addressing in particular the question of whether seasonal variations in the dominant singular values (the “spring predictability barrier”) may be largely due to the seasonality in the variance of SST anomalies.

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Dong-Peng Guo, Peng Zhao, Ren-Tai Yao, Yun-Peng Li, Ji-Min Hu, and Dan Fan

Abstract

In this paper, the kε renormalization group (RNG) turbulence model is used to simulate the flow and dispersion of pollutants emitted from a source at the top of a cubic building under neutral and stable atmospheric stratifications, the results of which were compared with corresponding wind tunnel experiment results. When atmosphere stratification is stable, the separation zones on the sides and at the top of a building are relatively smaller than those under neutral conditions, and the effect of the building in the horizontal direction is stronger than that in the vertical direction. The variation in turbulent kinetic energy under stable conditions is significantly lower than that under neutral conditions. The effect of atmospheric stratification on the turbulent kinetic energy becomes gradually more prominent with increased distance. When atmosphere conditions are stable, the vertical distribution of the plume is smaller than that of neutral conditions, but the lateral spread and near-ground concentration are slightly larger than those of neutral conditions, mainly because stable atmospheric stratification suppresses the vertical motions of airflow and increases the horizontal spread of the plume.

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Yun Fan, Vladimir Krasnopolsky, Huug van den Dool, Chung-Yu Wu, and Jon Gottschalck

Abstract

Forecast skill from dynamical forecast models decreases quickly with projection time due to various errors. Therefore, post-processing methods, from simple bias correction methods to more complicated multiple linear regression-based Model Output Statistics, are used to improve raw model forecasts. Usually, these methods show clear forecast improvement over the raw model forecasts, especially for short-range weather forecasts. However, linear approaches have limitations because the relationship between predictands and predictors may be nonlinear. This is even truer for extended range forecasts, such as Week 3-4 forecasts.

In this study, neural network techniques are used to seek or model the relationships between a set of predictors and predictands, and eventually to improve Week 3-4 precipitation and 2-meter temperature forecasts made by the NOAA NCEP Climate Forecast System. Benefitting from advances in machine learning techniques in recent years, more flexible and capable machine learning algorithms and availability of big datasets enable us not only to explore nonlinear features or relationships within a given large dataset, but also to extract more sophisticated pattern relationships and co-variabilities hidden within the multi-dimensional predictors and predictands. Then these more sophisticated relationships and high-level statistical information are used to correct the model Week 3-4 precipitation and 2-meter temperature forecasts. The results show that to some extent neural network techniques can significantly improve the Week 3-4 forecast accuracy and greatly increase the efficiency over the traditional multiple linear regression methods.

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Song Yang, Zuqiang Zhang, Vernon E. Kousky, R. Wayne Higgins, Soo-Hyun Yoo, Jianyin Liang, and Yun Fan

Abstract

Analysis of the retrospective ensemble predictions (hindcasts) of the NCEP Climate Forecast System (CFS) indicates that the model successfully simulates many major features of the Asian summer monsoon including the climatology and interannual variability of major precipitation centers and atmospheric circulation systems. The model captures the onset of the monsoon better than the retreat of the monsoon, and it simulates the seasonal march of monsoon rainfall over Southeast Asia more realistically than that over South Asia. The CFS predicts the major dynamical monsoon indices and monsoon precipitation patterns several months in advance. It also depicts the interactive oceanic–atmospheric processes associated with the precipitation anomalies reasonably well at different time leads. Overall, the skill of monsoon prediction by the CFS mainly comes from the impact of El Niño–Southern Oscillation (ENSO).

The CFS produces weaker-than-observed large-scale monsoon circulation, due partially to the cold bias over the Asian continent. It tends to overemphasize the relationship between ENSO and the Asian monsoon, as well as the impact of ENSO on the Asian and Indo-Pacific climate. A higher-resolution version of the CFS (T126) captures the climatology and variability of the Asian monsoon more realistically than does the current resolution version (T62). The largest improvement occurs in the simulations of precipitation near the Tibetan Plateau and over the tropical Indian Ocean associated with the zonal dipole mode structure. The analysis suggests that NCEP’s next operational model may perform better in simulating and predicting the monsoon climate over Asia and the Indo-Pacific Oceans.

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Yu Ren, Haipeng Yu, Chenxi Liu, Yongli He, Jianping Huang, Lixia Zhang, Huancui Hu, Qiang Zhang, Siyu Chen, Xiaoyue Liu, Meng Zhang, Yun Wei, Yaoxian Yan, Weiwei Fan, and Jie Zhou

Abstract

Central Asia (CA; 35°–55°N, 55°–90°E) has been experiencing a significant warming trend during the past five decades, which has been accompanied by intensified local hydrological changes. Accurate identification of variations in hydroclimatic conditions and understanding the driving mechanisms are of great importance for water resource management. Here, we attempted to quantify dry/wet variations by using precipitation minus evapotranspiration (P − E) and attributed the variations based on the atmosphere and surface water balances. Our results indicated that the dry season became drier while the wet season became wetter in CA for 1982–2019. The land surface water budget revealed precipitation (96.84%) and vapor pressure deficit (2.26%) as the primary contributing factors for the wet season. For the dry season, precipitation (95.43%), net radiation (3.51%), and vapor pressure deficit (−2.64%) were dominant factors. From the perspective of the atmospheric water budget, net inflow moisture flux was enhanced by a rate of 72.85 kg m−1 s−1 in the wet season, which was mainly transported from midwestern Eurasia. The increase in precipitation induced by the external cycle was 11.93 mm (6 months)−1. In contrast, the drying trend during the dry season was measured by a decrease in the net inflow moisture flux (74.41 kg m−1 s−1) and reduced external moisture from midwestern Eurasia. An increase in precipitation during the dry season can be attributed to an enhancement in local evapotranspiration, accompanied by a 4.69% increase in the recycling ratio. The compounding enhancements between wet and dry seasons ultimately contribute to an increasing frequency of both droughts and floods.

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