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2006 Vol. 23, No. 6

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Large-Scale Weather Systems: A Future Research Priority
2006, 23(6): 832-841. doi: 10.1007/s00376-006-0832-5
A brief assessment is provided of both the case against and the case for assigning priority to research on large-scale weather systems (LSWS). The three-fold case against is based upon: the emergence of new overarching themes in environmental science; the fresh emphasis upon other sub-disciplines of the atmospheric science; and the mature state of research and prediction of LSWS. The case for is also supported by three arguments. First is the assertion that LSWS research should not merely be an integral but a major component of future research related to both the new overarching themes and the other sub-disciplines. Second recent major developments in LSWS research, as epitomized by the paradigm shifts in the prediction strategy for LSWS and the emergence of the potential vorticity perspective, testify to the theme’s on-going vibrancy. Third the field’s future development, as exemplified by the new international THORPEX (The Observing System Research and Predictability Experiment) programme, embodies a perceptive dovetailing of intellectually challenging fundamental research with directed application(s) of societal and economic benefit. It is thus inferred that LSWS research, far from being in demise, will feature at the forefront of the new relationship between science and society.
High Resolution Global Modeling of the Atmospheric Circulation
2006, 23(6): 842-856. doi: 10.1007/s00376-006-0842-3
An informal review is presented of recent developments in numerical simulation of the global atmospheric circulation with very fine numerical resolution models. The focus is on results obtained recently with versions of the GFDL SKYHI model and the Atmospheric Model for the Earth Simulator (AFES) global atmospheric models. These models have been run with effective horizontal grid resolution of 10–40 km and fine vertical resolution. The results presented demonstrate the utility of such models for the study of a diverse range of phenomena. Specifically the models are shown to simulate the development of tropical cyclones with peak winds and minimum central pressures comparable to those of the most intense hurricanes actually observed. More fundamentally, the spectrum of energy content in the mesoscale in the flow can be reproduced by these models down to near the smallest explicitly-resolved horizontal scales. In the middle atmosphere it is shown that increasing horizontal resolution can lead to significantly improved overall simulation of the global-scale circulation. The application of the models to two specific problems requiring very fine resolution global will be discussed. The spatial and temporal variability of the vertical eddy flux of zonal momentum associated with gravity waves near the tropopause is evaluated in the very fine resolution AFES model. This is a subject of great importance for understanding and modelling the flow in the middle atmosphere. Then the simulation of the small scale variations of the semidiurnal surface pressure oscillation is analyzed, and the signature of significant topographic modulation of the semidiurnal atmospheric tide is identified.
A Cloud-resolving Study on the Role of Cumulus Merger in MCS with Heavy Precipitation
FU Danhong, GUO Xueliang
2006, 23(6): 857-868. doi: 10.1007/s00376-006-0857-9
The cumulus merging processes in generating the mesoscale convective system (MCS) on 23 August 2001 in the Beijing region are studied by using a cloud-resolving mesoscale model of MM5. The results suggest that the merger processes occurred among isolated convective cells formed in high mountain region during southerly moving process play critical role in forming MCS and severe precipitating weather events such as hailfall, heavy rain, downburst and high-frequency lightning in the region. The formation of the MCS experiences multi-scale merging processes from single-cell scale merging to cloud cluster-scale merging, and high core merging. The merger process can apparently alter cloud dynamical and microphysical properties through enhancing both low- and middle-level forcing. Also, lightning flash rates are enhanced by the production of more intense and deeper convective cells by the merger process, especially by which, the more graupel-like ice particles are formed in clouds. The explosive convective development and the late peak lightning flash rate can be found during merging process.
The Zonal Structure of the Hadley Circulation
2006, 23(6): 869-883. doi: 10.1007/s00376-006-0869-5
A discussion of the mass transport of the Hadley circulation is presented, with regard to its longitudinal structure. Data from the NCEP/NCAR reanalysis data set for the period 1948–2005 is examined, focusing on the solsticial seasons of June–August and December–February. Quantitative estimates have been extracted from the data to observe connections between the zonal mean of the upper tropospheric north/south mass transports and their relationship to the driving factor of tropical precipitation (implying latent heat release) and subsidence in the subtropical high pressure belts. The longitudinal structure of this flow is then examined with regard to these three main variables. The poleward upper tropospheric transport has four (JJA) or three (DJF) main branches, which link regions of major precipitation with corresponding regions of large subsidence, and one (June, July, August) or two (December, January, February) reverse branches. This structure has remained stable over the past sixty years. Although the total upper tropospheric transport in each season is less than the total sinking transport in the target subtropical high pressure belt, this does not apply to the individual branches, the balance being made up by the upper tropospheric reverse transports. An analysis of correlations between all of these various components shows, however, that the complete picture is more complex, with some precipitation regions being linked to subsidence regions outside their own branch.
Polar Vortex Oscillation Viewed in an Isentropic Potential Vorticity Coordinate
REN Rongcai, Ming CAI
2006, 23(6): 884-900. doi: 10.1007/s00376-006-0884-6
The stratospheric polar vortex oscillation (PVO) in the Northern Hemisphere is examined in a semi- Lagrangian -PVLAT coordinate constructed by using daily isentropic potential vorticity maps derived from NCEP/NCAR reanalysis II dataset covering the period from 1979 to 2003. In the semi-Lagrangian -PVLAT coordinate, the variability of the polar vortex is solely attributed to its intensity change because the changes in its location and shape would be naturally absent by following potential vorticity contours on isentropic surfaces. The EOF and regression analyses indicate that the PVO can be described by a pair of poleward and downward propagating modes. These two modes together account for about 82% variance of the daily potential vorticity anomalies over the entire Northern Hemisphere. The power spectral analysis reveals a dominant time scale of about 107 days in the time series of these two modes, representing a complete PVO cycle accompanied with poleward propagating heating anomalies of both positive and negative signs from the equator to the pole. The strong polar vortex corresponds to the arrival of cold anomalies over the polar circle and vice versa. Accompanied with the poleward propagation is a simultaneous downward propagation. The downward propagation time scale is about 20 days in high and low latitudes and about 30 days in mid-latitudes. The zonal wind anomalies lag the poleward and downward propagating temperature anomalies of the opposite sign by 10 days in low and high latitudes and by 20 days in mid-latitudes. The time series of the leading EOF modes also exhibit dominant time scales of 8.7, 16.9, and 33.8 months. They approximately follow a double-periodicity sequence and correspond to the 3-peak extratropical Quasi-Biennial Oscillation (QBO) signal.
Carbon Monoxide Emission and Concentration Models for Chiang Mai Urban Area
2006, 23(6): 901-908. doi: 10.1007/s00376-006-0901-9
An emission inventory containing emissions from traffic and other sources was complied. Based on the analysis, Carbon Monoxide (CO) emissions from traffic play a very important role in CO levels in Chiang Mai area. Analysis showed that CO emissions from traffic during rush hours contributed approximately 90% of total CO emissions. Regional Atmospheric Modeling System (RAMS) was applied to simulate wind fields and temperatures in the Chiang Mai area, and eight cases were selected to study annual variations in wind fields and temperatures. Model results can reflect major features of wind fields and diurnal variations in temperatures. For evaluating the model performance, model results were compared with observed wind speed, wind direction and temperature, which were monitored at a meteorological tower. Comparison showed that model results are in good agreement with observations, and the model captured many of the observed features. HYbrid Particle And Concentration Transport model (HYPACT) was used to simulate CO concentration in the Chiang Mai area. Model results generally agree well with observed CO concentrations at the air quality monitoring stations, and can explain observed CO diurnal variations.
Impact of the Thermal State of the Tropical Western Pacific on Onset Date and Process of the South China Sea Summer Monsoon
HUANG Ronghui, GU Lei, ZHOU Liantong, WU Shangsen
2006, 23(6): 909-924. doi: 10.1007/s00376-007-0100-3
Since the early or late onset of the South China Sea summer monsoon (SCSM) has a large impact on summer monsoon rainfall in East Asia, the mechanism and process of early or late onset of the SCSM are an worthy issue to study. In this paper, the results analyzed by using the observed data show that the onset date and process of the SCSM are closely associated with the thermal state of the tropical western Pacific in spring. When the tropical western Pacific is in a warming state in spring, the western Pacific subtropical high shifts eastward, and twin cyclones are early caused over the Bay of Bengal and Sumatra before the SCSM onset. In this case, the cyclonic circulation located over the Bay of Bengal can be early intensified and become into a strong trough. Thus, the westerly flow and convective activity can be intensified over Sumatra, the Indo-China Peninsula and the South China Sea (SCS) in mid-May. This leads to early onset of the SCSM. In contrast, when the tropical western Pacific is in a cooling state, the western Pacific subtropical high anomalously shifts westward, the twin cyclones located over the equatorial eastern Indian Ocean and Sumatra are weakened, and the twin anomaly anticyclones appear over these regions from late April to mid-May. Thus, the westerly flow and convective activity cannot be early intensified over the Indo-China Peninsula and the SCS. Only when the western Pacific subtropical high moves eastward, the weak trough located over the Bay of Bengal can be intensified and become into a strong trough, the strong southwesterly wind and convective activity can be intensified over the Indo-China Peninsula and the SCS in late May. Thus, this leads to late onset of the SCSM. Moreover, in this paper, the influencing mechanism of the thermal state of the tropical western Pacific on the SCSM onset is discussed further from the Walker circulation anomalies in the different thermal states of the tropical western Pacific.
Atmospheric Circulation Characteristics Associated with the Onset of Asian Summer Monsoon
LI Chongyin, PAN Jing
2006, 23(6): 925-939. doi: 10.1007/s00376-006-0925-1
The onset of the Asian summer monsoon has been a focus in the monsoon study for many years. In this paper, we study the variability and predictability of the Asian summer monsoon onset and demonstrate that this onset is associated with specific atmospheric circulation characteristics. The outbreak of the Asian summer monsoon is found to occur first over the southwestern part of the South China Sea (SCS) and the Malay Peninsula region, and the monsoon onset is closely related to intra-seasonal oscillations in the lower atmosphere. These intra-seasonal oscillations consist of two low-frequency vortex pairs, one located to the east of the Philippines and the other over the tropical eastern Indian Ocean. Prior to the Asian summer monsoon onset, a strong low-frequency westerly emerges over the equatorial Indian Ocean and the low-frequency vortex pair develops symmetrically along the equator. The formation and evolution of these low-frequency vortices are important and serve as a good indicator for the Asian summer monsoon onset. The relationship between the northward jumps of the westerly jet over East Asia and the Asian summer monsoon onset over SCS is investigated. It is shown that the northward jump of the westerly jet occurs twice during the transition from winter to summer and these jumps are closely related to the summer monsoon development. The first northward jump (from 25–28N to around 30N) occurs on 8 May on average, about 7 days ahead of the summer monsoon onset over the SCS. It is found that the reverse of meridional temperature gradient in the upper-middle troposphere (500–200 hPa) and the enhancement and northward movement of the subtropical jet in the Southern Hemispheric subtropics are responsible for the first northward jump of the westerly jet.
The Summer Monsoon Onset over the Tropical Eastern Indian Ocean: The Earliest Onset Process of the Asian Summer Monsoon
DING Yihui, HE Chun
2006, 23(6): 940-950. doi: 10.1007/s00376-006-0940-2
The onset process of the tropical eastern Indian Ocean (TEIO) summer monsoon (TEIOSM) and its relationship with the cross-equatorial flows are investigated via climatological analysis. Climatologically, results indicate that the earliest onset process of the Asian summer monsoon occurs over the TEIO at pentad 22 (April 15–20). Unlike the abrupt onset of the South China Sea (SCS) summer monsoon, the TEIOSM onset process displays a stepwise advance. Moreover, a close relationship between the TEIOSM development and the northward push of the cross-equatorial flows over 80–90E is revealed. A difference vorticity center, together with the counterpart over the southern Indian Ocean, constitutes a pair of difference cyclonic vortices, which strengthens the southwesterly wind over the TEIO and the northerly wind to the west of the Indian Peninsula from the end of March to late May. Therefore, the occurrence of the southwesterly wind over the TEIO is earlier than its counterpart over the tropical western Indian Ocean, and the cross-equatorial flows emerge firstly over the TEIO rather than over the Somali area. The former increases in intensity during its northward propagation, which provides a precondition for the TEIOSM onset and its northward advance.
Characteristics of the Onset of the Asian Summer Monsoon and the Importance of Asian-Australian “Land Bridge”
HE Jinhai, WEN Min, WANG Lijuan, XU Haiming
2006, 23(6): 951-963. doi: 10.1007/s00376-006-0951-z
Based on summarizing previous achievements and using data as long and new as possible, the onset characteristics of Asian summer monsoon and the role of Asian-Australian “land bridge” in the onset of summer monsoon are further discussed. In particular, the earliest onset area of Asian summer monsoon is comparatively analyzed, and the sudden and progressive characteristics of the onset of summer monsoon in different regions are discussed. Furthermore, the relationships among such critical events during the onset of Asian summer monsoon as the splitting of subtropical high belt over the Bay of Bengal (BOB), the initiation of convection over Indo-China Peninsula, the westward advance, reestablishment of South Asian High, and the rapid northward progression of convection originated from Sumatra in early summer are studied. The important impact of the proper collocation of the latent heating over Indo-China Peninsula and the sensible heating over Indian Peninsula on the splitting of the subtropical high belt, the deepening of BOB trough, the activating of Sri Lanka vortex (twin vortexes in the Northern and Southern Hemispheres), and the subsequent onset of South China Sea summer monsoon are emphasized.
Decadal/Interdecadal Variations of the Ocean Temperature and its Impacts on Climate
LI Chongyin, ZHOU Wen, JIA Xiaolong, WANG Xin
2006, 23(6): 964-981. doi: 10.1007/s00376-006-0964-7
Decadal/interdecadal climate variability is an important research focus of the CLIVAR Program and has been paid more attention. Over recent years, a lot of studies in relation to interdecadal climate variations have been also completed by Chinese scientists. This paper presents an overview of some advances in the study of decadal/interdecadal variations of the ocean temperature and its climate impacts, which includes interdecadal climate variability in China, the interdecadal modes of sea surface temperature (SST) anomalies in the North Pacific, and in particular, the impacts of interdecadal SST variations on the Asian monsoon rainfall. As summarized in this paper, some results have been achieved by using climate diagnostic studies of historical climatic datasets. Two fundamental interdecadal SST variability modes (7– 10-years mode and 25–35-years mode) have been identified over the North Pacific associated with different anomalous patterns of atmospheric circulation. The southern Indian Ocean dipole (SIOD) shows a major feature of interdecadal variation, with a positive (negative) phase favoring a weakened (enhanced) Asian summer monsoon in the following summer. It is also found that the China monsoon rainfall exhibits interdecadal variations with more wet (dry) monsoon years in the Yangtze River (South China and North China) before 1976, but vice versa after 1976. The weakened relationship between the Indian summer rainfall and ENSO is a feature of interdecadal variations, suggesting an important role of the interdecadal variation of the SIOD in the climate over the south Asia and southeast Asia. In addition, evidence indicates that the climate shift in the 1960s may be related to the anomalies of the North Atlantic Oscillation (NAO) and North Pacific Oscillation (NPO). Overall, the present research has improved our understanding of the decadal/interdecadal variations of SST and their impacts on the Asian monsoon rainfall. However, the research also highlights a number of problems for future research, in particular the mechanisms responsible for the monsoon long-term predictability, which is a great challenge in climate research.
A Review of Ocean-Atmosphere Interaction Studies in China
LIU Qinyu, WU Shu, YANG Jianling, HU Haibo, HU Ruijin, LI Lijuan
2006, 23(6): 982-991. doi: 10.1007/s00376-006-0982-5
A large number of papers have been published and great efforts have been made in the recent 20 years by the Chinese oceanographic and meteorological scientists in the ocean-atmosphere interaction studies. The present paper is an overview of the major achievements made by Chinese scientists and their collaborators in studies of larger scale ocean-atmosphere interaction in the following oceans: the South China Sea, the Tropical Pacific, the Indian Ocean and the North Pacific. Many interesting phenomena and dynamic mechanisms have been discovered and studied in these papers. These achievements have improved our understanding of climate variability and have great implications in climate prediction, and thus are highly relevant to the ongoing international Climate Variability and Predictability (CLIVAR) efforts.
Applications of Conditional Nonlinear Optimal Perturbation in Predictability Study and Sensitivity Analysis of Weather and Climate
MU Mu, DUAN Wansuo, XU Hui, WANG Bo
2006, 23(6): 992-1002. doi: 10.1007/s00376-006-0992-3
Considering the limitation of the linear theory of singular vector (SV), the authors and their collaborators proposed conditional nonlinear optimal perturbation (CNOP) and then applied it in the predictability study and the sensitivity analysis of weather and climate system. To celebrate the 20th anniversary of Chinese National Committee for World Climate Research Programme (WCRP), this paper is devoted to reviewing the main results of these studies. First, CNOP represents the initial perturbation that has largest nonlinear evolution at prediction time, which is different from linear singular vector (LSV) for the large magnitude of initial perturbation or/and the long optimization time interval. Second, CNOP, rather than linear singular vector (LSV), represents the initial anomaly that evolves into ENSO events most probably. It is also the CNOP that induces the most prominent seasonal variation of error growth for ENSO predictability; furthermore, CNOP was applied to investigate the decadal variability of ENSO asymmetry. It is demonstrated that the changing nonlinearity causes the change of ENSO asymmetry. Third, in the studies of the sensitivity and stability of ocean’s thermohaline circulation (THC), the nonlinear asymmetric response of THC to finite amplitude of initial perturbations was revealed by CNOP. Through this approach the passive mechanism of decadal variation of THC was demonstrated; Also the authors studies the instability and sensitivity analysis of grassland ecosystem by using CNOP and show the mechanism of the transitions between the grassland and desert states. Finally, a detailed discussion on the results obtained by CNOP suggests the applicability of CNOP in predictability studies and sensitivity analysis.
Interannual Thermocline Signals and El Ni?no-La Ni?na Turnabout in the Tropical Pacific Ocean
QIAN Weihong, HU Haoran
2006, 23(6): 1003-1019. doi: 10.1007/s00376-006-1003-4
One of the fundamental questions concerning the nature and prediction of the oceanic states in the equatorial eastern Pacific is how the turnabout from a cold water state (La Ni?na) to a warm water state (El Ni?no) takes place, and vice versa. Recent studies show that this turnabout is directly linked to the interannual thermocline variations in the tropical Pacific Ocean basin. An index, as an indicator and precursor to describe interannual thermocline variations and the turnabout of oceanic states in our previous paper (Qian and Hu, 2005), is also used in this study. The index, which shows the maximum subsurface temperature anomaly (MSTA), is derived from the monthly 21-year (1980–2000) expendable XBT dataset in the present study. Results show that the MSTA can be used as a precursor for the occurrences of El Ni?no (or La Ni?na) events. The subsequent analyses of the MSTA propagations in the tropical Pacific suggest a one-year potential predictability for El Ni?no and La Ni?na events by identifying ocean temperature anomalies in the thermocline of the western Pacific Ocean. It also suggests that a closed route cycle with the strongest signal propagation is identified only in the tropical North Pacific Ocean. A positive (or negative) MSTA signal may travel from the western equatorial Pacific to the eastern equatorial Pacific with the strongest signal along the equator. This signal turns northward along the tropical eastern boundary of the basin and then moves westward along the north side of off-equator around 16N. Finally, the signal returns toward the equator along the western boundary of the basin. The turnabout time from an El Ni?no event to a La Ni?na event in the eastern equatorial Pacific depends critically on the speed of the signal traveling along the closed route, and it usually needs about 4 years. This finding may help to predict the occurrence of the El Ni?no or La Ni?na event at least one year in advance.
Study on the Trace Species in the Stratosphere and Their Impact on Climate
CHEN Yuejuan, ZHOU Renjun, SHI Chunhua, BI Yun
2006, 23(6): 1020-1039. doi: 10.1007/s00376-006-1020-3
The trace gases (O3, HCl, CH4, H2O, NO, NO2) in the stratosphere play an important role, not only in the photochemical processes in which the ozone layer destroyed, but also in the radiative processes. In this paper, we review the works on the distribution and variation of the trace gases in the stratosphere and their impact on climate, which have been carried out at the University of Science and Technology of China in the recent 20 years. The Halogen Occultation Experiment (HALOE) data were used to analyse the distribution and variation of the mixing ratio of these trace gases and the temperature trends in the stratosphere in the most recent decade. And the reanalyzed National Centers of Environmental Prediction (NCEP)/NCAR data were also used to give the temperature trends and compared with the results from HALOE data. Numerical simulations were also carried out to study the impact of ozone depletion on the global climate. In this review, the distributions of the trace gases, especially those over the Qinghai-Xizang Plateau, are discussed, and the variations and trends for the trace gases in various levels in the stratosphere have been given for the most recent decade. The temperature variation and the cooling trend obtained from HALOE data in the middle and lower stratosphere for the last 13 years are significant, which agree well with the results from NCEP/NCAR data. While the temperature trend in the upper stratosphere in this period do not seem to have much cooling. The numerical simulations show that either the Antarctic ozone hole or the ozone valley over Qinghai-Xizang Plateau affect not only the temperature and circulation in the stratosphere, but also the temperature, pressure and wind fields in the troposphere, then lead to the global climate change.
Paleoclimate Modelling at the Institute of Atmospheric Physics, Chinese Academy of Sciences
JIANG Dabang, ZHANG Zhongshi
2006, 23(6): 1040-1049. doi: 10.1007/s00376-006-1040-z
Paleoclimate modelling is one of the core topics in the Past Global Changes project under the International Geosphere-Biosphere Programme and has received much attention worldwide in recent decades. Here we summarize the research on the Paleoclimate modeling, including the Holocene, Last Glacial Maximum, and pre-Quaternary climate intervals or events performed at the Institute of Atmospheric Physics under the Chinese Academy of Sciences (IAP/CAS) for over one decade. As an attempt to review these academic activities, we emphasize that vegetation and ocean feedbacks can amplify East Asian climate response to the Earth’s orbital parameters and atmospheric CO2 concentration at the mid-Holocene. At the Last Glacial Maximum, additional cooling in interior China is caused by the feedback effects of East Asian vegetation and the ice sheet over the Tibetan Plateau, and the regional climate model RegCM2 generally reduces data-model discrepancies in East Asia. The simulated mid-Pliocene climate is characterized by warmer and drier conditions as well as significantly weakened summer and winter monsoon systems in interior China. On a tectonic timescale, both the Tibetan Plateau uplift and the Paratethys Sea retreat play important roles in the formation of East Asian monsoon-dominant environmental pattern during the Cenozoic.