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2018 Vol. 35, No. 8

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Preface to Special Issue on Climate Science for Service Partnership China
Stephen BELCHER, Peter STOTT, Lianchun SONG, Qingchen CHAO, Riyu LU, Tianjun ZHOU
2018, 35(8): 897-898. doi: 10.1007/s00376-018-8002-0
Collating Historic Weather Observations for the East Asian Region: Challenges, Solutions, and Reanalyses
Fiona WILLIAMSON, Rob ALLAN, Guoyu REN, Tsz-cheung LEE, Wing-hong LUI, Hisayuki KUBOTA, Jun MATSUMOTO, Jürg LUTERBACHER, Clive WILKINSON, Kevin WOOD
2018, 35(8): 899-904. doi: 10.1007/s00376-017-7259-z
Development and Pull-through of Climate Science to Services in China
2018, 35(8): 905-908. doi: 10.1007/s00376-018-7255-y
Further-Adjusted Long-Term Temperature Series in China Based on MASH
Zhen LI, Zhongwei YAN, Lijuan CAO, Phil D. JONES
2018, 35(8): 909-917. doi: 10.1007/s00376-018-7280-x
A set of homogenized monthly mean surface air temperature (SAT) series at 32 stations in China back to the 19th century had previously been developed based on the RHtest method by Cao et al., but some inhomogeneities remained in the dataset. The present study produces a further-adjusted and updated dataset based on the Multiple Analysis of Series for Homogenization (MASH) method. The MASH procedure detects 33 monthly temperature records as erroneous outliers and 152 meaningful break points in the monthly SAT series since 1924 at 28 stations. The inhomogeneous parts are then adjusted relative to the latest homogeneous part of the series. The new data show significant warming trends during 1924-2016 at all the stations, ranging from 0.48 to 3.57°C (100 yr)-1, with a regional mean trend of 1.65°C (100 yr)-1; whereas, the previous results ranged from a slight cooling at two stations to considerable warming, up to 4.5°C (100 yr)-1. It is suggested that the further-adjusted data are a better representation of the large-scale pattern of climate change in the region for the past century. The new data are available online at
Seasonal Forecasts of the Summer 2016 Yangtze River Basin Rainfall
Philip E. BETT, Adam A. SCAIFE, Chaofan LI, Chris HEWITT, Nicola GOLDING, Peiqun ZHANG, Nick DUNSTONE, Doug M. SMITH, Hazel E. THORNTON, Riyu LU, Hong-Li REN
2018, 35(8): 918-926. doi: 10.1007/s00376-018-7210-y
The Yangtze River has been subject to heavy flooding throughout history, and in recent times severe floods such as those in 1998 have resulted in heavy loss of life and livelihoods. Dams along the river help to manage flood waters, and are important sources of electricity for the region. Being able to forecast high-impact events at long lead times therefore has enormous potential benefit. Recent improvements in seasonal forecasting mean that dynamical climate models can start to be used directly for operational services. The teleconnection from El Niño to Yangtze River basin rainfall meant that the strong El Niño in winter 2015/16 provided a valuable opportunity to test the application of a dynamical forecast system. This paper therefore presents a case study of a real-time seasonal forecast for the Yangtze River basin, building on previous work demonstrating the retrospective skill of such a forecast. A simple forecasting methodology is presented, in which the forecast probabilities are derived from the historical relationship between hindcast and observations. Its performance for 2016 is discussed. The heavy rainfall in the May-June-July period was correctly forecast well in advance. August saw anomalously low rainfall, and the forecasts for the June-July-August period correctly showed closer to average levels. The forecasts contributed to the confidence of decision-makers across the Yangtze River basin. Trials of climate services such as this help to promote appropriate use of seasonal forecasts, and highlight areas for future improvements.
Interannual Variability of Late-spring Circulation and Diabatic Heating over the Tibetan Plateau Associated with Indian Ocean Forcing
Yu ZHAO, Anmin DUAN, Guoxiong WU
2018, 35(8): 927-941. doi: 10.1007/s00376-018-7217-4
The thermal forcing of the Tibetan Plateau (TP) during boreal spring, which involves surface sensible heating, latent heating released by convection and radiation flux heat, is critical for the seasonal and subseasonal variation of the East Asian summer monsoon. Distinct from the situation in March and April when the TP thermal forcing is modulated by the sea surface temperature anomaly (SSTA) in the North Atlantic, the present study shows that it is altered mainly by the SSTA in the Indian Ocean Basin Mode (IOBM) in May, according to in-situ observations over the TP and MERRA reanalysis data. In the positive phase of the IOBM, a local Hadley circulation is enhanced, with its ascending branch over the southwestern Indian Ocean and a descending one over the southeastern TP, leading to suppressed precipitation and weaker latent heat over the eastern TP. Meanwhile, stronger westerly flow and surface sensible heating emerges over much of the TP, along with slight variations in local net radiation flux due to cancellation between its components. The opposite trends occur in the negative phase of the IOBM. Moreover, the main associated physical processes can be validated by a series of sensitivity experiments based on an atmospheric general circulation model, FAMIL. Therefore, rather than influenced by the remote SSTAs of the northern Atlantic in the early spring, the thermal forcing of the TP is altered by the Indian Ocean SSTA in the late spring on an interannual timescale.
Assessment and Assimilation of FY-3 Humidity Sounders and Imager in the UK Met Office Global Model
2018, 35(8): 942-954. doi: 10.1007/s00376-018-7266-8
China's FengYun 3 (FY-3) polar orbiting satellites are set to become an important source of observational data for numerical weather prediction (NWP), atmospheric reanalyses, and climate monitoring studies over the next two decades. As part of the Climate Science for Service Partnership China (CSSP China) program, FY-3B Microwave Humidity Sounder 1 (MWHS-1) and FY-3C MWHS-2 observations have been thoroughly assessed and prepared for operational assimilation. This represents the first time observations from China's polar orbiting satellites have been used in the UK's global NWP model. Since 2016, continuous data quality monitoring has shown occasional bias changes found to be correlated to changes in the energy supply scheme regulating the platform heating system and other transient anomalies. Nonetheless, MWHS-1 and MWHS-2 significantly contribute to the 24-h forecast error reduction by 0.3% and 0.6%, respectively, and the combination of both instruments is shown to improve the fit to the model background of independent sounders by up to 1%. The observations from the Microwave Radiation Imager (MWRI) also are a potentially significant source of benefits for NWP models, but a solar-dependent bias observed in the instrument half-orbits has prevented their assimilation. This paper presents the bases of a correction scheme developed at the Met Office for the purpose of a future assimilation of MWRI data.
Skillful Seasonal Forecasts of Summer Surface Air Temperature in Western China by Global Seasonal Forecast System Version 5
Chaofan LI, Riyu LU, Philip E. BETT, Adam A. SCAIFE, Nicola MARTIN
2018, 35(8): 955-964. doi: 10.1007/s00376-018-7291-7
Variations of surface air temperature (SAT) are key in affecting the hydrological cycle, ecosystems and agriculture in western China in summer. This study assesses the seasonal forecast skill and reliability of SAT in western China, using the GloSea5 operational forecast system from the UK Met Office. Useful predictions are demonstrated, with considerable skill over most regions of western China. The temporal correlation coefficients of SAT between model predictions and observations are larger than 0.6, in both northwestern China and the Tibetan Plateau. There are two important sources of skill for these predictions in western China: interannual variation of SST in the western Pacific and the SST trend in the tropical Pacific. The tropical SST change in the recent two decades, with a warming in the western Pacific and cooling in the eastern Pacific, which is reproduced well by the forecast system, provides a large contribution to the skill of SAT in northwestern China. Additionally, the interannual variation of SST in the western Pacific gives rise to the reliable prediction of SAT around the Tibetan Plateau. It modulates convection around the Maritime Continent and further modulates the variation of SAT on the Tibetan Plateau via the surrounding circulation. This process is evident irrespective of detrending both in observations and the model predictions, and acts as a source of skill in predictions for the Tibetan Plateau. The predictability and reliability demonstrated in this study is potentially useful for climate services providing early warning of extreme climate events and could imply useful economic benefits.
Comparison of a Manual and an Automated Tracking Method for Tibetan Plateau Vortices
Julia CURIO, Yongren CHEN, Reinhard SCHIEMANN, Andrew G. TURNER, Kai Chi WONG, Kevin HODGES, Yueqing LI
2018, 35(8): 965-980. doi: 10.1007/s00376-018-7278-4
Tibetan Plateau vortices (TPVs) are mesoscale cyclones originating over the Tibetan Plateau (TP) during the extended summer season (April-September). Most TPVs stay on the TP, but a small number can move off the TP to the east. TPVs are known to be one of the main precipitation-bearing systems on the TP and moving-off TPVs have been associated with heavy precipitation and flooding downstream of the TP (e.g., in Sichuan province or over the Yangtze River Valley). Identifying and tracking TPVs is difficult because of their comparatively small horizontal extent (400-800 km) and the limited availability of soundings over the TP, which in turn constitutes a challenge for short-term predictions of TPV-related impacts and for the climatological study of TPVs. In this study, (i) manual tracking (MT) results using radiosonde data from a network over and downstream of the TP are compared with (ii) results obtained by an automated tracking (AT) algorithm applied to ERA-Interim data. Ten MT-TPV cases are selected based on method (i) and matched to and compared with the corresponding AT-TPVs identified with method (ii). Conversely, ten AT-TPVs are selected and compared with the corresponding MT-TPVs. In general, the comparison shows good results in cases where the underlying data are in good agreement, but considerable differences are also seen in some cases and explained in terms of differences in the tracking methods, data availability/coverage and disagreement between sounding and ERA-Interim data. Recommendations are given for future efforts in TPV detection and tracking, including in an operational weather forecasting context.
Reduced Sensitivity of Tropical Cyclone Intensity and Size to Sea Surface Temperature in a Radiative-Convective Equilibrium Environment
Shuai WANG, Ralf TOUMI
2018, 35(8): 981-993. doi: 10.1007/s00376-018-7277-5
It has been challenging to project the tropical cyclone (TC) intensity, structure and destructive potential changes in a warming climate. Here, we compare the sensitivities of TC intensity, size and destructive potential to sea surface warming with and without a pre-storm atmospheric adjustment to an idealized state of Radiative-Convective Equilibrium (RCE). Without RCE, we find large responses of TC intensity, size and destructive potential to sea surface temperature (SST) changes, which is in line with some previous studies. However, in an environment under RCE, the TC size is almost insensitive to SST changes, and the sensitivity of intensity is also much reduced to 3% °C-1-4% °C-1. Without the pre-storm RCE adjustment, the mean destructive potential measured by the integrated power dissipation increases by about 25% °C-1 during the mature stage. However, in an environment under RCE, the sensitivity of destructive potential to sea surface warming does not change significantly. Further analyses show that the reduced response of TC intensity and size to sea surface warming under RCE can be explained by the reduced thermodynamic disequilibrium between the air boundary layer and the sea surface due to the RCE adjustment. When conducting regional-scale sea surface warming experiments for TC case studies, without any RCE adjustment the TC response is likely to be unrealistically exaggerated. The TC intensity-temperature sensitivity under RCE is very similar to those found in coupled climate model simulations. This suggests global mean intensity projections under climate change can be understood in terms of a thermodynamic response to temperature with only a minor contribution from any changes in large-scale dynamics.
Impacts of Anthropogenic Forcings and El Niño on Chinese Extreme Temperatures
2018, 35(8): 994-1002. doi: 10.1007/s00376-018-7258-8
This study investigates the potential influences of anthropogenic forcings and natural variability on the risk of summer extreme temperatures over China. We use three multi-thousand-member ensemble simulations with different forcings (with or without anthropogenic greenhouse gases and aerosol emissions) to evaluate the human impact, and with sea surface temperature patterns from three different years around the El Niño-Southern Oscillation (ENSO) 2015/16 event (years 2014, 2015 and 2016) to evaluate the impact of natural variability. A generalized extreme value (GEV) distribution is used to fit the ensemble results. Based on these model results, we find that, during the peak of ENSO (2015), daytime extreme temperatures are smaller over the central China region compared to a normal year (2014). During 2016, the risk of nighttime extreme temperatures is largely increased over the eastern coastal region. Both anomalies are of the same magnitude as the anthropogenic influence. Thus, ENSO can amplify or counterbalance (at a regional and annual scale) anthropogenic effects on extreme summer temperatures over China. Changes are mainly due to changes in the GEV location parameter. Thus, anomalies are due to a shift in the distributions and not to a change in temperature variability.
Effect of Horizontal Resolution on the Representation of the Global Monsoon Annual Cycle in AGCMs
Lixia ZHANG, Tianjun ZHOU, Nicholas P. KLINGAMAN, Peili WU, Malcolm ROBERTS
2018, 35(8): 1003-1020. doi: 10.1007/s00376-018-7273-9
The sensitivity of the representation of the global monsoon annual cycle to horizontal resolution is compared in three AGCMs: the Met Office Unified Model-Global Atmosphere 3.0; the Meteorological Research Institute AGCM3; and the Global High Resolution AGCM from the Geophysical Fluid Dynamics Laboratory. For each model, we use two horizontal resolution configurations for the period 1998-2008. Increasing resolution consistently improves simulated precipitation and low-level circulation of the annual mean and the first two annual cycle modes, as measured by the pattern correlation coefficient and equitable threat score. Improvements in simulating the summer monsoon onset and withdrawal are region-dependent. No consistent response to resolution is found in simulating summer monsoon retreat. Regionally, increased resolution reduces the positive bias in simulated annual mean precipitation, the two annual-cycle modes over the West African monsoon and Northwestern Pacific monsoon. An overestimation of the solstitial mode and an underestimation of the equinoctial asymmetric mode of the East Asian monsoon are reduced in all high-resolution configurations. Systematic errors exist in lower-resolution models for simulating the onset and withdrawal of the summer monsoon. Higher resolution models consistently improve the early summer monsoon onset over East Asia and West Africa, but substantial differences exist in the responses over the Indian monsoon region, where biases differ across the three low-resolution AGCMs. This study demonstrates the importance of a multi-model comparison when examining the added value of resolution and the importance of model physical parameterizations for simulation of the Indian monsoon.
On Northern Hemisphere Wave Patterns Associated with Winter Rainfall Events in China
Claudia Christine STEPHAN, Yan Ho NG, Nicholas P. KLINGAMAN
2018, 35(8): 1021-1034. doi: 10.1007/s00376-018-7267-7
During extended winter (November-April), 43% of the intraseasonal rainfall variability in China is explained by three spatial patterns of temporally coherent rainfall. These patterns were identified with empirical orthogonal teleconnection (EOT) analysis of observed 1982-2007 pentad rainfall anomalies and connected to midlatitude disturbances. However, examination of individual strong EOT events shows that there is substantial inter-event variability in their dynamical evolution, which implies that precursor patterns found in regressions cannot serve as useful predictors. To understand the physical nature and origins of the extratropical precursors, the EOT technique is applied to six simulations of the Met Office Unified Model at horizontal resolutions of 200-40 km, with and without air-sea coupling. All simulations reproduce the observed precursor patterns in regressions, indicating robust underlying dynamical processes. Further investigation into the dynamics associated with observed patterns shows that Rossby wave dynamics can explain the large inter-event variability. The results suggest that the apparently slowly evolving or quasi-stationary waves in regression analysis are a statistical amalgamation of more rapidly propagating waves with a variety of origins and properties.
Indian Ocean SST modes and Their Impacts as Simulated in BCC_CSM1.1(m) and HadGEM3
Bo LU, Hong-Li REN, Rosie EADE, Martin ANDREWS
2018, 35(8): 1035-1048. doi: 10.1007/s00376-018-7279-3
The sea surface temperature anomalies (SSTAs) in the tropical Indian Ocean (TIO) show two dominant modes at interannual time scales, referred to as the Indian Ocean basin mode (IOBM) and dipole mode (IOD). Recent studies have shown that the IOBM and IOD not only affect the local climate, but also induce remarkable influences in East Asia via teleconnections. In this study, we assess simulations of the IOBM and IOD, as well as their teleconnections, using the operational seasonal prediction models from the Met Office (HadGEM3) and Beijing Climate Center [BCC_CSM1.1(m)]. It is demonstrated that the spatial patterns and seasonal cycles are generally reproduced by the control simulations of BCC_CSM1.1(m) and HadGEM3, although spectra biases exist. The relationship between the TIO SSTA and El Niño is successfully simulated by both models, including the persistent IOBM warming following El Niño and the IOD-El Niño interactions. BCC_CSM1.1(m) and HadGEM3 are capable of simulating the observed local impact of the IOBM, such as the strengthening of the South Asian high. The influences of the IOBM on Yangtze River rainfall are also captured well by both models, although this teleconnection is slightly weaker in BCC_CSM1.1(m) due to the underestimation of the northwestern Pacific subtropical high. The local effect of the IOD on East African rainfall is reproduced by both models. However, the remote control of the IOD on rainfall over southwestern China is not clear in either model. It is shown that the realistic simulations of TIO SST modes and their teleconnections give rise to the source of skillful seasonal predictions over China.
Different Asian Monsoon Rainfall Responses to Idealized Orography Sensitivity Experiments in the HadGEM3-GA6 and FGOALS-FAMIL Global Climate Models
Kai Chi WONG, Senfeng LIU, Andrew G. TURNER, Reinhard K. SCHIEMANN
2018, 35(8): 1049-1062. doi: 10.1007/s00376-018-7269-5
Recent work has shown the dominance of the Himalaya in supporting the Indian summer monsoon (ISM), perhaps by surface sensible heating along its southern slope and by mechanical blocking acting to separate moist tropical flow from drier midlatitude air. Previous studies have also shown that Indian summer rainfall is largely unaffected in sensitivity experiments that remove only the Tibetan Plateau. However, given the large biases in simulating the monsoon in CMIP5 models, such results may be model dependent. This study investigates the impact of orographic forcing from the Tibetan Plateau, Himalaya and Iranian Plateau on the ISM and East Asian summer monsoon (EASM) in the UK Met Office's HadGEM3-GA6 and China's Institute of Atmospheric Physics FGOALS-FAMIL global climate models. The models chosen feature opposite-signed biases in their simulation of the ISM rainfall and circulation climatology. The changes to ISM and EASM circulation across the sensitivity experiments are similar in both models and consistent with previous studies. However, considerable differences exist in the rainfall responses over India and China, and in the detailed aspects such as onset and retreat dates. In particular, the models show opposing changes in Indian monsoon rainfall when the Himalaya and Tibetan Plateau orography are removed. Our results show that a multi-model approach, as suggested in the forthcoming Global Monsoon Model Intercomparison Project (GMMIP) associated with CMIP6, is needed to clarify the impact of orographic forcing on the Asian monsoon and to fully understand the implications of model systematic error.
Representation of the ENSO Combination Mode and its Asymmetric SST Response in Different Resolutions of HadGEM3
Jianghua WAN, Hongli REN, Peili WU
2018, 35(8): 1063-1076. doi: 10.1007/s00376-018-7285-5
Previous studies have revealed a combination mode (C-mode) occurring in the Indo-Pacific region, arising from nonlinear interactions between ENSO and the western Pacific warm pool annual cycle. This paper evaluates the simulation of this C-mode and its asymmetric SST response in HadGEM3 and its resolution sensitivity using three sets of simulations at horizontal resolutions of N96, N216 and N512. The results show that HadGEM3 can capture well the spatial pattern of the C-mode associated surface wind anomalies, as well as the asymmetric response of SST in the tropical Pacific, but it strongly overestimates the explained variability of the C-mode compared to the ENSO mode. The model with the three resolutions is able to reproduce the distinct spectral peaks of the C-mode at the near annual combination frequencies, but the performance in simulating the longer periods is not satisfactory, presumably due to the unrealistic simulation of the ENSO mode. Increasing the horizontal resolution can improve the consistency between atmospheric and oceanic representations of the C-mode, but not necessarily enhance the accuracy of C-mode simulation compared with observation.
Assessing Global Warming Induced Changes in Summer Rainfall Variability over Eastern China Using the Latest Hadley Centre Climate Model HadGEM3-GC2
Yawen DUAN, Peili WU, Xiaolong CHEN, Zhuguo MA
2018, 35(8): 1077-1093. doi: 10.1007/s00376-018-7264-x
Summer precipitation anomalies over eastern China are characterized spatially by meridionally banded structures fluctuating on interannual and interdecadal timescales, leading to regional droughts and floods. In addition to long-term trends, how these patterns may change under global warming has important implications for agricultural planning and water resources over this densely populated area. Using the latest Hadley Centre climate model, HadGEM3-GC2, this paper investigates the potential response of summer precipitation patterns over this region, by comparing the leading modes between a 4×CO2 simulation and the model's pre-industrial control simulation. Empirical Orthogonal Function (EOF) analyses show that the first two leading modes account for about 20% of summer rainfall variability. EOF1 is a monopole mode associated with the developing phase of ENSO events and EOF2 is a dipole mode associated with the decaying phase of ENSO. Under 4×CO2 forcing, the dipole mode with a south-north orientation becomes dominant because of a strengthened influence from excessive warming of the Indian Ocean. On interdecadal time scales, the first EOF looks very different from the control simulation, showing a dipole mode of east-west contrast with enhanced influence from high latitudes.
Increasing Flash Floods in a Drying Climate over Southwest China
Chan XIAO, Peili WU, Lixia ZHANG, Robin T. CLARK
2018, 35(8): 1094-1099. doi: 10.1007/s00376-018-7275-7
In a globally warming world, subtropical regions are generally expected to become drier while the tropics and mid-high latitudes become wetter. In line with this, Southwest China, close to 25°N, is expected to become increasingly prone to drought if annual mean precipitation decreases. However, despite this trend, changes in the temporal distribution of moisture supply might actually result in increased extreme rainfall in the region, whose climate is characterized by distinct dry and wet seasons. Using hourly and daily gauge observations, rainfall intensity changes since 1971 are examined for a network of 142 locations in the region. From the analysis, dry season changes are negligible but wet season changes exhibit a significantly strong downward trend [-2.4% (10 yr)-1], particularly during the past 15 years [-17.7% (10 yr)-1]. However, the intensity of events during the wettest of 5% hours appears to steadily increase during the whole period [1.4% (10 yr)-1], tying in with government statistical reports of recent droughts and flooding. If the opposing trends are a consequence of a warming climate, it is reasonable to expect the contradictory trend to continue with an enhanced risk of flash flooding in coming decades in the region concerned.