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Yuwei Zhang, Donghai Wang, Panmao Zhai, Guojun Gu, and Jinhai He

Abstract

Spatial distributions and seasonal variations of tropospheric water vapor over the Tibetan Plateau and the surrounding areas are explored by means of water vapor products from the high-resolution Atmospheric Infrared Sounder (AIRS) on board the Aqua satellite and the NASA Water Vapor Project (NVAP). Because NVAP has a serious temporal inhomogeneity issue found in previous studies, the AIRS retrieval product is primarily applied here, though similar seasonal variations can be derived in both datasets. Intense horizontal gradients appear along the edges of the plateau in the lower-tropospheric (500–700 hPa) water vapor and columnar precipitable water, in particular over the regions along the southeastern boundary. Rich horizontal structures are also seen within the plateau, but with a weaker gradient. In the mid- to upper troposphere (300–500 hPa), horizontal gradients are relatively weak. It is shown that there is always a deep layer of high water vapor content over the plateau with a peak around 500 hPa, which can extend from the surface to roughly 300 hPa and even to 100 hPa at some locations. This layer of high water vapor content has consistent influence on precipitating processes in the downstream regions such as the valleys of the Yellow and Yangtze Rivers. Estimated vertically integrated water vapor flux and moisture divergence in the two layers (500–700 and 300–500 hPa) further confirm the effect of the Tibetan Plateau on the downstream regions. In particular, the mid- to upper-layer water vapor (300–500 hPa) tends to play an essential role during both the warm and cold seasons, confirmed by the spatial distribution of seasonal-mean precipitation.

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Yuwei Zhang, Donghai Wang, Panmao Zhai, and Guojun Gu

Abstract

The research explores the applicability of the gridded (level 3) monthly tropospheric water vapor (version 5) retrievals from the Atmospheric Infrared Sounder (AIRS) instrument and the Advanced Microwave Sounding Unit (AMSU) on board the NASA Aqua satellite over the Tibetan Plateau by comparing them with carefully processed radiosonde data. Local correlation analyses indicate that below 200 hPa, the AIRS/AMSU monthly water vapor retrievals are highly consistent with radiosondes over the whole plateau region, especially in the southeastern part and between 300 and 600 hPa. Relative deviation analyses further show that the differences between monthly mean AIRS/AMSU water vapor retrieval data and radiosondes are, in general, small below 250 hPa, in particular between 300 and 600 hPa and in high-altitude areas. Combined with a further direct comparison between AIRS/AMSU water vapor vertical retrievals and radiosonde observations averaged over the entire domain, these results suggest that the gridded monthly AIRS/AMSU water vapor retrievals can provide a very good account of spatial patterns and temporal variations in tropospheric water vapor content in the Tibetan Plateau region, in particular below 200 hPa. However, differences between AIRS/AMSU retrievals and radiosondes are seen at various levels, in particular above the level of 250 hPa. Therefore, for detailed quantitative analyses of water budget in the atmosphere and the entire water cycle, AIRS/AMSU retrieval data may need to be corrected or trained using radiosondes. Two fitting functions are derived for warm and cold seasons, although the seasonal difference is generally small.

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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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Jie Li, Tao Tao, Zhonghe Pang, Ming Tan, Yanlong Kong, Wuhui Duan, and Yuwei Zhang

Abstract

Rain samples were collected for isotopic analyses during the entirety of an extreme rainfall event in Beijing, China, on 21 July 2012, the city’s heaviest rainfall event in the past six decades. Four stages of the storm event have been identified with corresponding isotopic characteristics: 1) isotopes deplete as rain increases, 2) isotopes enrich as rain decreases, 3) isotopes quickly deplete as rain increases, and 4) isotopes remain constant as rain reduces to a small amount. The rainout effect dominates the depletion of isotopic composition in stages 1 and 3. The incursion of a new air mass with enriched heavy isotopes was the main cause for the enriched isotopic composition during stage 2. A Rayleigh distillation model was used to describe the isotopic trends during stages 1 and 3. The Rayleigh distillation model and a binary mixing model were used to estimate the initial isotopic composition of different air masses, which were found to be similar to δ 18O of precipitation at nearby Global Network of Isotopes in Precipitation stations representing southwest and southeast trajectories. The results are in agreement with meteorological arrays analysis. This model also indicates that 29% of the initial vapor from the southwest trajectory was precipitated in stage 1, followed by a mixing process between southeast and southwest moisture. In stage 3, up to 56% of mixed moisture was precipitated, among which ~65%–100% was from southeast moisture.

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Peter J. Marinescu, Susan C. van den Heever, Max Heikenfeld, Andrew I. Barrett, Christian Barthlott, Corinna Hoose, Jiwen Fan, Ann M. Fridlind, Toshi Matsui, Annette K. Miltenberger, Philip Stier, Benoit Vie, Bethan A. White, and Yuwei Zhang

Abstract

This study presents results from a model intercomparison project, focusing on the range of responses in deep convective cloud updrafts to varying cloud condensation nuclei (CCN) concentrations among seven state-of-the-art cloud-resolving models. Simulations of scattered convective clouds near Houston, Texas, are conducted, after being initialized with both relatively low and high CCN concentrations. Deep convective updrafts are identified, and trends in the updraft intensity and frequency are assessed. The factors contributing to the vertical velocity tendencies are examined to identify the physical processes associated with the CCN-induced updraft changes. The models show several consistent trends. In general, the changes between the High-CCN and Low-CCN simulations in updraft magnitudes throughout the depth of the troposphere are within 15% for all of the models. All models produce stronger (~+5%–15%) mean updrafts from ~4–7 km above ground level (AGL) in the High-CCN simulations, followed by a waning response up to ~8 km AGL in most of the models. Thermal buoyancy was more sensitive than condensate loading to varying CCN concentrations in most of the models and more impactful in the mean updraft responses. However, there are also differences between the models. The change in the amount of deep convective updrafts varies significantly. Furthermore, approximately half the models demonstrate neutral-to-weaker (~−5% to 0%) updrafts above ~8 km AGL, while the other models show stronger (~+10%) updrafts in the High-CCN simulations. The combination of the CCN-induced impacts on the buoyancy and vertical perturbation pressure gradient terms better explains these middle- and upper-tropospheric updraft trends than the buoyancy terms alone.

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