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2015 Vol. 32, No. 8

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Trends of Extreme Precipitation in Eastern China and Their Possible Causes
LIU Run, LIU Shaw Chen, Ralph J. CICERONE, SHIU Chein-Jung, LI Jun, WANG Jingli, ZHANG Yuanhang
2015, 32(8): 1027-1037. doi: 10.1007/s00376-015- 5002-1
Significant increases of heavy precipitation and decreases of light precipitation have been reported over widespread regions of the globe. Global warming and effects of anthropogenic aerosols have both been proposed as possible causes of these changes. We examine data from urban and rural meteorological stations in eastern China (1955-2011) and compare them with Global Precipitation Climatology Project (GPCP) data (1979-2007) and reanalysis data in various latitude zones to study changes in precipitation extremes. Significant decreases in light precipitation and increases in heavy precipitation are found at both rural and urban stations, as well as low latitudes over the ocean, while total precipitation shows little change. Characteristics of these changes and changes in the equatorial zone and other latitudes suggest that global warming rather than aerosol effects is the primary cause of the changes. In eastern China, increases of annual total dry days (28 days) and ≥10 consecutive dry days (36%) are due to the decrease in light precipitation days, thereby establishing a causal link among global warming, changes in precipitation extremes, and higher meteorological risk of floods and droughts. Further, results derived from the GPCP data and reanalysis data suggest that the causal link exists over widespread regions of the globe.
Sensitivity of the Warm Core of Tropical Cyclones to Solar Radiation
GE Xuyang, MA Yue, ZHOU Shunwu, Tim LI
2015, 32(8): 1038-1048. doi: 10.1007/s00376-014-4206-0
To investigate the impacts of solar radiation on tropical cyclone (TC) warm-core structure (i.e., the magnitude and height), a pair of idealized simulations are conducted by specifying different strengths of solar shortwave radiation. It is found that the TC warm core is highly sensitive to the shortwave radiative effect. For the nighttime storm, a tendency for a more intense warm core is found, with an elevated height compared to its daytime counterpart. As pointed out by previous studies, the radiative cooling during nighttime destabilizes the local and large-scale environment and thus promotes deep moist convection, which enhances the TC's intensity. Due to the different inertial stabilities, the diabatic heating in the eyewall will force different secondary circulations. For a strong TC with a deeper vertical structure, this promotes a thin upper-level inflow layer. This inflow carries the lower stratospheric air with high potential temperature and descends adiabatically in the eye, resulting in significant upper-level warming. The Sawyer-Eliassen diagnosis further confirms that the height of the maximum temperature anomaly is likely attributable to the balance among the forced secondary circulations.
Analysis of the Structure and Propagation of a Simulated Squall Line on 14 June 2009
LIU Lu, RAN Lingkun, SUN Xiaogong
2015, 32(8): 1049-1062. doi: 10.1007/s00376-014-4100-9
A squall line on 14 June 2009 in the provinces of Jiangsu and Anhui was well simulated using the Advanced Regional Prediction System (ARPS) model. Based on high resolution spatial and temporal data, a detailed analysis of the structural features and propagation mechanisms of the squall line was conducted. The dynamic and thermodynamic structural characteristics and their causes were analyzed in detail. Unbalanced flows were found to play a key role in initiating gravity waves during the squall line's development. The spread and development of the gravity waves were sustained by convection in the wave-CISK process. The squall line's propagation and development mainly relied on the combined effect of gravity waves at the midlevel and cold outflow along the gust front. New cells were continuously forced by the cold pool outflow and were enhanced and lifted by the intense upward motion. At a particular phase, the new cells merged with the updraft of the gravity waves, leading to an intense updraft that strengthened the squall line.
Relationships among the Monsoon-like Southwest Australian Circulation, the Southern Annular Mode, and Winter Rainfall over Southwest Western Australia
FENG Juan, LI Jianping, Yun LI, ZHU Jianlei, XIE Fei
2015, 32(8): 1063-1076. doi: 10.1007/s00376-014-4142-z
This study examines the relationships among the monsoon-like southwest Australian circulation (SWAC), the Southern Annular Mode (SAM), and southwest Western Australia winter rainfall (SWR), based on observed rainfall, reanalysis datasets, and the results of numerical modeling. By decomposing the SWAC into two components using a linear model, i.e. the component related to SAM (RSAM) and the component unrelated to SAM (SWACI*), we find it is the SWACI* that shows a significant influence on SWR. Similarly, it is the component of SAM associated with SWAC that exhibits an impact on SWR, whereas the component unrelated to SAM. A similar result is obtained in terms of the circulation associated with SWAC and the SAM. These facts suggest the SAM plays an indirect role in influencing SWR, and raise the possibility that SWAC acts as a bridge between the SAM and SWR, by which the SAM passes its influences onto SWR. This is due to the fact that the variations of SWAC are closely linked to the thermal contrast between land and sea across the southern Indian Ocean and southwest Australia. By contrast, the SAM does not significantly relate to this thermal structure, particularly for the component unrelated to SWAC. The variations of surface sea temperature over the southern Indian Ocean contribute to the favored rainfall circulation patterns. This finding is supported by the numerical modeling results. The strong coupling between SWAC and SWR may be instrumental for understanding the interactions between SWR and the southern Indian Ocean, and provides another perspective in examining the variations in SWR.
Assessment of Indices of Temperature Extremes Simulated by Multiple CMIP5 Models over China
DONG Siyan, XU Ying, ZHOU Botao, SHI Ying
2015, 32(8): 1077-1091. doi: 10.1007/s00376-015-4152-5
Given that climate extremes in China might have serious regional and global consequences, an increasing number of studies are examining temperature extremes in China using the Coupled Model Intercomparison Project Phase 5 (CMIP5) models. This paper investigates recent changes in temperature extremes in China using 25 state-of-the-art global climate models participating in CMIP5. Thirteen indices that represent extreme temperature events were chosen and derived by daily maximum and minimum temperatures, including those representing the intensity (absolute indices and threshold indices), duration (duration indices), and frequency (percentile indices) of extreme temperature. The overall performance of each model is summarized by a "portrait" diagram based on relative root-mean-square error, which is the RMSE relative to the median RMSE of all models, revealing the multi-model ensemble simulation to be better than individual model for most indices. Compared with observations, the models are able to capture the main features of the spatial distribution of extreme temperature during 1986-2005. Overall, the CMIP5 models are able to depict the observed indices well, and the spatial structure of the ensemble result is better for threshold indices than frequency indices. The spread amongst the CMIP5 models in different subregions for intensity indices is small and the median CMIP5 is close to observations; however, for the duration and frequency indices there can be wide disagreement regarding the change between models and observations in some regions. The model ensemble also performs well in reproducing the observational trend of temperature extremes. All absolute indices increase over China during 1961-2005.
Estimation of Turbulent Sensible Heat and Momentum Fluxes over a Heterogeneous Urban Area Using a Large Aperture Scintillometer
Sang-Hyun LEE, Jun-Ho LEE, Bo-Young KIM
2015, 32(8): 1092-1105. doi: 10.1007/s00376-015-4236-2
The accurate determination of surface-layer turbulent fluxes over urban areas is critical to understanding urban boundary layer (UBL) evolution. In this study, a remote-sensing technique using a large aperture scintillometer (LAS) was investigated to estimate surface-layer turbulent fluxes over a highly heterogeneous urban area. The LAS system, with an optical path length of 2.1 km, was deployed in an urban area characterized by a complicated land-use mix (residential houses, water body, bare ground, etc.). The turbulent sensible heat (Q H) and momentum fluxes (τ) were estimated from the scintillation measurements obtained from the LAS system during the cold season. Three-dimensional LAS footprint modeling was introduced to identify the source areas ("footprint") of the estimated turbulent fluxes. The analysis results showed that the LAS-derived turbulent fluxes for the highly heterogeneous urban area revealed reasonable temporal variation during daytime on clear days, in comparison to the land-surface process-resolving numerical modeling. A series of sensitivity tests indicated that the overall uncertainty in the LAS-derived daytime Q H was within 20%-30% in terms of the influence of input parameters and the non-dimensional similarity function for the temperature structure function parameter, while the estimation errors in τ were less sensitive to the factors of influence, except aerodynamic roughness length. The 3D LAS footprint modeling characterized the source areas of the LAS-derived turbulent fluxes in the heterogeneous urban area, revealing that the representative spatial scales of the LAS system deployed with the 2.1 km optical path distance ranged from 0.2 to 2 km2 (a "micro-α scale"), depending on local meteorological conditions.
Do European Blocking Events Precede North Atlantic Oscillation Events?
YAO Yao, LUO Dehai
2015, 32(8): 1106-1118. doi: 10.1007/s00376-015-4209-5
Using a two-dimensional blocking index, the cause and effect relationship between European blocking (EB) events and North Atlantic Oscillation (NAO) events is investigated. It is shown that the EB event frequency is enhanced over Northern (Southern) Europe for negative (positive) phases of the NAO. Enhanced EB events over Northern Europe precede the establishment of negative phase NAO (NAO-) events, while the enhanced frequency of EB events over Southern Europe lags positive phase NAO (NAO+) events. The physical explanation for why enhanced EB events over Northern (Southern) Europe lead (lag) NAO- (NAO+) events is also provided. It is found that the lead-lag relationship between EB events in different regions and the phase of NAO events can be explained in terms of the different latitudinal distribution of zonal wind associated with the different phases of NAO events. For NAO+ events, the self-maintained eastward displacement of intensified midlatitude positive height anomalies owing to the intensified zonal wind can enhance the frequency of EB events over Southern Europe, thus supporting a standpoint that EB events over Southern Europe lag NAO+ events. Over Northern Europe, EB events lead NAO- events because NAO- events arise from the self-maintained westward migration of intensified blocking anticyclones due to the weakened zonal wind in higher latitudes.
A Differential Optical Absorption Spectroscopy Method for X CO2 Retrieval from Ground-Based Fourier Transform Spectrometers Measurements of the Direct Solar Beam
HUO Yanfeng, DUAN Minzheng, TIAN Wenshou, MIN Qilong
2015, 32(8): 1119-1128. doi: 10.1007/s00376-015-4213-9
A differential optical absorption spectroscopy (DOAS)-like algorithm is developed to retrieve the column-averaged dry-air mole fraction of carbon dioxide from ground-based hyper-spectral measurements of the direct solar beam. Different to the spectral fitting method, which minimizes the difference between the observed and simulated spectra, the ratios of multiple channel-pairs——one weak and one strong absorption channel——are used to retrieve X CO2 from measurements of the shortwave infrared (SWIR) band. Based on sensitivity tests, a super channel-pair is carefully selected to reduce the effects of solar lines, water vapor, air temperature, pressure, instrument noise, and frequency shift on retrieval errors. The new algorithm reduces computational cost and the retrievals are less sensitive to temperature and H2O uncertainty than the spectral fitting method. Multi-day Total Carbon Column Observing Network (TCCON) measurements under clear-sky conditions at two sites (Tsukuba and Bremen) are used to derive X CO2 for the algorithm evaluation and validation. The DOAS-like results agree very well with those of the TCCON algorithm after correction of an airmass-dependent bias.
Simulation of the Equatorially Asymmetric Mode of the Hadley Circulation in CMIP5 Models
FENG Juan, LI Jianping, ZHU Jianlei, LI Fei, SUN Cheng
2015, 32(8): 1129-1142. doi: 10.1007/s00376-015-4157-0
The tropical Hadley circulation (HC) plays an important role in influencing the climate in the tropics and extra-tropics. The realism of the climatological characteristics, spatial structure, and temporal evolution of the long-term variation of the principal mode of the annual mean HC (i.e., the equatorially asymmetric mode, EAM) was examined in model simulations from the Coupled Model Intercomparison Project Phase 5 (CMIP5). The results showed that all the models are moderately successful in capturing the HC's climatological features, including the spatial pattern, meridional extent, and intensity, but not the spatial or temporal variation of the EAM. The possible reasons for the poor simulation of the long-term variability of the EAM were explored. None of the models can successfully capture the differences in the warming rate between the tropical Southern Hemisphere (SH) and Northern Hemisphere (NH), which is considered to be an important driver for the variation of the AM. Most of the models produce a faster warming in the NH than in the SH, which is the reverse of the observed trend. This leads to a reversed trend in the meridional gradient between the SH and NH, and contributes to the poor simulation of EAM variability. Thus, this aspect of the models should be improved to provide better simulations of the variability of the HC. This study suggests a possible reason for the poor simulation of the HC, which may be helpful for improving the skill of the CMIP5 models in the future.
Study on Multi-Scale Blending Initial Condition Perturbations for a Regional Ensemble Prediction System
ZHANG Hanbin, CHEN Jing, ZHI Xiefei, WANG Yi, WANG Yanan
2015, 32(8): 1143-1155. doi: 10.1007/s00376-015-4232-6
An initial conditions (ICs) perturbation method was developed with the aim to improve an operational regional ensemble prediction system (REPS). Three issues were identified and investigated: (2) the impacts of perturbation scale on the ensemble spread and forecast skill of the REPS; (3) the scale characteristic of the IC perturbations of the REPS; and (4) whether the REPS's skill could be improved by adding large-scale information to the IC perturbations. Numerical experiments were conducted to reveal the impact of perturbation scale on the ensemble spread and forecast skill. The scales of IC perturbations from the REPS and an operational global ensemble prediction system (GEPS) were analyzed. A "multi-scale blending" (MSB) IC perturbation scheme was developed, and the main findings can be summarized as follows: The growth rates of the ensemble spread of the REPS are sensitive to the scale of the IC perturbations; the ensemble forecast skills can benefit from large-scale perturbations; the global ensemble IC perturbations exhibit more power at larger scales, while the regional ensemble IC perturbations contain more power at smaller scales; the MSB method can generate IC perturbations by combining the small-scale component from the REPS and the large-scale component from the GEPS; the energy norm growth of the MSB-generated perturbations can be appropriate at all forecast lead times; and the MSB-based REPS shows higher skill than the original system, as determined by ensemble forecast verification.
Performance of the Seasonal Forecasting of the Asian Summer Monsoon by BCC_CSM1.1(m)
LIU Xiangwen, WU Tongwen, YANG Song, JIE Weihua, NIE Suping, LI Qiaoping, CHENG Yanjie, LIANG Xiaoyun
2015, 32(8): 1156-1172. doi: 10.1007/s00376-015-4194-8
This paper provides a comprehensive assessment of Asian summer monsoon prediction skill as a function of lead time and its relationship to sea surface temperature prediction using the seasonal hindcasts of the Beijing Climate Center Climate System Model, BCC_CSM1.1(m). For the South and Southeast Asian summer monsoon, reasonable skill is found in the model's forecasting of certain aspects of monsoon climatology and spatiotemporal variability. Nevertheless, deficiencies such as significant forecast errors over the tropical western North Pacific and the eastern equatorial Indian Ocean are also found. In particular, overestimation of the connections of some dynamical monsoon indices with large-scale circulation and precipitation patterns exists in most ensemble mean forecasts, even for short lead-time forecasts. Variations of SST, measured by the first mode over the tropical Pacific and Indian oceans, as well as the spatiotemporal features over the Niño3.4 region, are overall well predicted. However, this does not necessarily translate into successful forecasts of the Asian summer monsoon by the model. Diagnostics of the relationships between monsoon and SST show that difficulties in predicting the South Asian monsoon can be mainly attributed to the limited regional response of monsoon in observations but the extensive and exaggerated response in predictions due partially to the application of ensemble average forecasting methods. In contrast, in spite of a similar deficiency, the Southeast Asian monsoon can still be forecasted reasonably, probably because of its closer relationship with large-scale circulation patterns and El Niño-Southern Oscillation.