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Zhengyu Liu

Abstract

The probabilistic modal response of vegetation to stochastic precipitation variability is studied in a conceptual climate–ecosystem model. It is found that vegetation can exhibit bimodality in a monostable climate–ecosystem under strong rainfall variability and with soil moisture memory comparable with that of the vegetation. The bimodality of vegetation is generated by a convolution of a nonlinear vegetation response and a colored stochastic noise. The nonlinear vegetation response is such that vegetation becomes insensitive to precipitation variability near either end state (green or desert), providing the potential for two preferred modes. The long memory of soil moisture allows the vegetation to respond to a slow stochastic forcing such that the vegetation tends to grow toward its equilibrium states. The implication of the noise-induced bimodality to abrupt changes in the climate–ecosystem is also discussed.

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Zhengyu Liu

Abstract

A simple theoretical analysis identified three possible interannual positive feedbacks in the extratropics: the upwelling mode, the SST-Sverdrup mode, and the SST-evaporation mode. The upwelling mode becomes unstable when the atmosphere responses to a warm SST anomaly predominantly with a high surface pressure. In contrast, the SST-Sverdrup mode is destabilized when the atmosphere responses to a warm SST with a low pressure. In the region of mean westerly wind, the SST-evaporation mode is unstable when the atmospheric response to a warm SST is a qurater-wavelength to the south. The upwelling mode seems to favor low-latitude regions, while the two SST modes seem to favor midhigh latitudes. It is suggested that the relative position of the stationary atmospheric response to anomalous SST is of crucial importance for the extratropical ocean-atmosphere interaction.

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Zhengyu Liu

Abstract

The response of a thermocline gyre to anomalies in surface wind stress forcing and surface buoyancy forcing is investigated in light of planetary wave dynamics, both analytically and numerically. The author’s theory suggests that anomalous Ekman pumping most efficiently generates the non-Doppler-shift mode, which resembles the first baroclinic mode and has the clearest signal in the sea surface height field and the lower thermocline temperature field. The non-Doppler-shift mode propagates westward rapidly regardless of the mean circulation. In contrast, anomalous surface buoyancy forcing, which can be simulated by an entrainment velocity, produces the strongest response in the advective mode, which resembles the second baroclinic mode and has the largest signature in the upper thermocline temperature field. The advective mode tends to propagate in the direction of the subsurface flow, but its propagation speed may differ substantially from that of the mean flow. The theory is further substantiated by numerical experiments in three ocean models: a 3-layer eddy-resolving quasigeostrophic model, a 2.5-layer primitive equation model, and an oceanic general circulation model. Finally, relevance of the theory to recent observations of decadal variability in the upper ocean and the climate system is also discussed.

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Zhengyu Liu

Abstract

A simple linear coupled ocean–atmosphere model is used to study the equatorial annual cycle. The ocean is a stab mixed-layer model and the atmosphere is the Lindzen–Nigam model. The model is shown to capture most features of the observed equatorial annual cycle. A significant part of the tropical annual cycle is found to be generated by the extratropical annual variability that propagates toward the equator through a coupled ocean–atmosphere wave. The back-pressure effect in the atmosphere model can contribute to several important aspects of the variability, especially in the vicinity of the equator. Comparison with other mechanisms for the equatorial annual cycle is also discussed.

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Zhengyu Liu

Abstract

A simple ventilated thermocline model is used to study the subtropical-tropical mass exchange. It is found that the water subducted in the western subtropical gyre (recirculating window) tends to recirculate within the subtropical gyre. while the water subducted in the eastern part (exchange window) tends to penetrate equatorward. The exchange window expands with an increased easterly wind or basin width on the southern boundary of the subtropical gyre, but shrinks with an increased wind curl within the subtropical gyre.

Furthermore, the total exchange transport increases with the easterly wind or the width of the basin on the southern boundary of the subtropical gyre, but it is independent of subtropical wind. The ventilation mechanism is important in supporting the exchange transport. For wind with realistic strength at the southern boundary, the reduction of the exchange transport is about 15%–30% of the Ekman transport.

Finally, relative to the exchange transport in the interior of the ocean, the exchange transport through the low-latitude western boundary current decreases with increased total exchange transport.

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Zhengyu Liu

Abstract

The effect of annual wind migration on the inertial recirculation is investigated using quasigeostrophic models. It is found that recirculation cells can he suppressed significantly by the wind migration. The two key dynamic conditions for the suppression are 1) the mismatch of formation timescales between the western boundary current and recirculation, and 2) the interaction between the two neighboring recirculation cells, which is related to chaotic intercell transport. The first condition tends to disconnect the potential vorticity anomaly source on the western boundary from the recirculation cell, while the second condition can generate strong eddy enstrophy flux and therefore the mixing of potential vorticity anomalies. Both conditions tend to destroy the potential vorticity anomaly, and in turn the recirculation.

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Zhengyu Liu

Abstract

The study of a forced delayed oscillator ENSO model suggests that the intensity of ENSO can be suppressed significantly by an external periodic forcing due to the nonlinear mechanism of frequency entrainment. This suppression of ENSO is most effective for ENSOs in the regime of unstable self-exciting oscillation and for forcing of frequencies close to that of ENSO. In particular, an annual cycle forcing can suppress ENSO substantially. This ENSO suppression effect by an external annual cycle is in contrast to the effect of the seasonal change of the coupled instability: the latter predominantly generates the seasonal phase locking of ENSO but has little effect on the amplitude of ENSO. Potential implications are also discussed for the evolution of ENSO in the Holocene and the observed monsoon–ENSO relationship.

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Zhengyu Liu

Abstract

A theory of tropical climatology is used to study the role of ocean in the response of tropical climatology to global warming. Special emphasis is given to the response of the west–east SST contrast along the equator. The transient response of tropical sea surface temperature to a global warming is shown to have two distinctive stages: a fast surface adjustment stage of years and a slow thermocline adjustment stage of decades.

Under a global warming heat flux that does not vary much in space, the initial response is always an enhanced west–east SST contrast. The final equilibrium response, however, depends on the effective latitudinal differential heating. The west–east SST contrast increases for an enhanced latitudinal differential heating, and vise versa.

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Zhengyu Liu

Abstract

Thermocline variability forced by zonally uniform Ekman pumping with annual to decadal periods is investigated. Both analytical and numerical solutions are obtained by the method of characteristics. As found in Part I, there is little thermocline variability in the ventilated zone or pool zone. In contrast, strong variability may exist in the shadow zone.

For annual forcings, nonlinearity is negligible. However, the linear solution is influenced substantially by the basic-state thermocline structure. As a result, local responses dominate for a shallow interface, while remote Rossby waves dominate for a deep interface.

Under a strong decadal forcing, nonlinearity may become important. The time-mean thermocline in the shadow zone is shallower than the steady thermocline under the mean Ekman pumping, particularly in the western part of a shadow zone where the mean deviation may reach the order often meters. This shallower mean thermocline is caused by the nonlinear Rossby wave.

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Zhengyu Liu

Abstract

A two-layer quasigeostrophic model is used to investigate the influence of stratification on the inertial recirculation in a full basin model. It is found that the barotropic transport of the inertial recirculation is intensified significantly through barotropic–baroclinic interactions in the presence of a shallow thermocline or a strong stratification. Weakly nonlinear theories and numerical experiments show that a strong baroclinic–barotropic interaction intensifies the advection of potential vorticity anomaly toward the inertial recirculation and therefore forces a stronger recirculation. Furthermore, from the potential vorticity point of view, our model recirculations belong to the generalized “modonlike” recirculation (with dQ/d ψ < 0). The increased zonal penetration of recirculation cells with stratification is not caused by the internal dynamics of the recirculation cells. Instead, it is caused by the increased advection of potential vorticity anomaly—an external forcing to the recirculation cells.

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