2017 was the warmest year on record for the global ocean according to an updated ocean analysis from Institute of Atmospheric Physics/Chinese Academy of Science. The oceans in the upper 2000 m were 1.51 × 1022 J warmer than the second warmest year of 2015 and 19.19 × 1022 J above the 1981–2010 climatological reference period.
The influence of the Arctic atmosphere on Northern Hemisphere midlatitude tropospheric weather and climate is explored by comparing the skill of two sets of 14-day weather forecast experiments using the ECMWF model with and without relaxation of the Arctic atmosphere towards ERA-Interim reanalysis data during the integration. Two pathways are identified along which the Arctic influences midlatitude weather: a pronounced one over Asia and Eastern Europe, and a secondary one over North America. In general, linkages are found to be strongest (weakest) during boreal winter (summer) when the amplitude of stationary planetary waves over the Northern Hemisphere is strongest (weakest). No discernible Arctic impact is found over the North Atlantic and North Pacific region, which is consistent with predominantly southwesterly flow. An analysis of the flow-dependence of the linkages shows that anomalous northerly flow conditions increase the Arctic influence on midlatitude weather over the continents. Specifically, an anomalous northerly flow from the Kara Sea towards West Asia leads to cold surface temperature anomalies not only over West Asia but also over Eastern and Central Europe. Finally, the results of this study are discussed in the light of potential midlatitude benefits of improved Arctic prediction capabilities.
Conflicting results have been presented regarding the link between Arctic sea-ice loss and midlatitude cooling, particularly over Eurasia. This study analyzes uncoupled (atmosphere-only) and coupled (ocean-atmosphere) simulations by the Climate Forecast System, version 2 (CFSv2), to examine this linkage during the Northern Hemisphere winter, focusing on the simulation of the observed surface cooling trend over Eurasia during the last three decades. The uncoupled simulations are Atmospheric Model Intercomparison Project (AMIP) runs forced with mean seasonal cycles of sea surface temperature (SST) and sea ice, using combinations of SST and sea ice from different time periods to assess the role that each plays individually, and to assess the role of atmospheric internal variability. Coupled runs are used to further investigate the role of internal variability via the analysis of initialized predictions and the evolution of the forecast with lead time. The AMIP simulations show a mean warming response over Eurasia due to SST changes, but little response to changes in sea ice. Individual runs simulate cooler periods over Eurasia, and this is shown to be concurrent with a stronger Siberian high and warming over Greenland. No substantial differences in the variability of Eurasian surface temperatures are found between the different model configurations. In the coupled runs, the region of significant warming over Eurasia is small at short leads, but increases at longer leads. It is concluded that, although the models have some capability in highlighting the temperature variability over Eurasia, the observed cooling may still be a consequence of internal variability.
Professor Duzheng YE (Tu-cheng YEH) was decades ahead of his time in proposing a model experiment to investigate whether abrupt seasonal changes of the general circulation can arise through circulation feedbacks alone, unrelated to underlying inhomogeneities at the lower boundary. Here, we introduce Professor YEH's ideas during the 1950s and 1960s on the general circulation and summarize the results and suggestions of Yeh1959 on abrupt seasonal changes. We then review recent advances in understanding abrupt seasonal changes arising from model experiments like those proposed by Yeh1959. The model experiments show that circulation feedbacks can indeed give rise to abrupt seasonal transitions. In these transitions, large-scale eddies that originate in midlatitudes and interact with the zonal mean flow and meridional overturning circulations in the tropics play central roles.
The variation of the vegetation growing season in the Three-Rivers Headwater Region of the Tibetan Plateau has recently become a controversial topic. One issue is that the estimated local trend in the start of the vegetation growing season (SOS) based on remote sensing data is easily affected by outliers because this data series is short. In this study, we determine that the spring minimum temperature is the most influential factor for SOS. The significant negative linear relationship between the two variables in the region is evaluated using Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer-Normalized Difference Vegetation Index data for 2000-13. We then reconstruct the SOS time series based on the temperature data for 1960-2013. The regional mean SOS shows an advancing trend of 1.42 d (10 yr)-1 during 1960-2013, with the SOS occurring on the 160th and 151st days in 1960 and 2013, respectively. The advancing trend enhances to 6.04 d (10 yr)-1 during the past 14 years. The spatiotemporal variations of the reconstructed SOS data are similar to those deduced from remote sensing data during the past 14 years. The latter exhibit an even larger regional mean trend of SOS [7.98 d (10 yr-1)] during 2000-13. The Arctic Oscillation is found to have significantly influenced the changing SOS, especially for the eastern part of the region, during 2000-13.
This study examines pre-industrial control simulations from CMIP5 climate models in an effort to better understand the complex relationships between Arctic sea ice and the stratosphere, and between Arctic sea ice and cold winter temperatures over Eurasia. We present normalized regressions of Arctic sea-ice area against several atmospheric variables at extended lead and lag times. Statistically significant regressions are found at leads and lags, suggesting both atmospheric precursors of, and responses to, low sea ice; but generally, the regressions are stronger when the atmosphere leads sea ice, including a weaker polar stratospheric vortex indicated by positive polar cap height anomalies. Significant positive midlatitude eddy heat flux anomalies are also found to precede low sea ice. We argue that low sea ice and raised polar cap height are both a response to this enhanced midlatitude eddy heat flux. The so-called "warm Arctic, cold continents" anomaly pattern is present one to two months before low sea ice, but is absent in the months following low sea ice, suggesting that the Eurasian cooling and low sea ice are driven by similar processes. Lastly, our results suggest a dependence on the geographic region of low sea ice, with low Barents-Kara Sea ice correlated with a weakened polar stratospheric vortex, whilst low Sea of Okhotsk ice is correlated with a strengthened polar vortex. Overall, the results support a notion that the sea ice, polar stratospheric vortex and Eurasian surface temperatures collectively respond to large-scale changes in tropospheric circulation.
Professor Duzheng YE's name has been familiar to me ever since my postdoctoral years at MIT with Professors Jule CHARNEY and Norman PHILLIPS, back in the late 1960s. I had the enormous pleasure of meeting Professor YE personally in 1992 in Beijing. His concern to promote the very best science and to use it well, and his thinking on multi-level orderly human activities, reminds me not only of the communication skills we need as scientists but also of the multi-level nature of science itself. Here I want to say something (a) about what science is; (b) about why multi-level thinking——and taking more than one viewpoint——is so important for scientific as well as for other forms of understanding; and (c) about what is meant, at a deep level, by "scientific understanding" and trying to communicate it, not only with lay persons but also across professional disciplines. I hope that Professor YE would approve.
In contrast to previous studies that have tended to focus on the influence of the total Arctic sea-ice cover on the East Asian summer tripole rainfall pattern, the present study identifies the Barents Sea as the key region where the June sea-ice variability exerts the most significant impacts on the East Asian August tripole rainfall pattern, and explores the teleconnection mechanisms involved. The results reveal that a reduction in June sea ice excites anomalous upward air motion due to strong near-surface thermal forcing, which further triggers a meridional overturning wave-like pattern extending to midlatitudes. Anomalous downward motion therefore forms over the Caspian Sea, which in turn induces zonally oriented overturning circulation along the subtropical jet stream, exhibiting the east-west Rossby wave train known as the Silk Road pattern. It is suggested that the Bonin high, a subtropical anticyclone predominant near South Korea, shows a significant anomaly due to the eastward extension of the Silk Road pattern to East Asia. As a possible descending branch of the Hadley cell, the Bonin high anomaly ultimately triggers a meridional overturning, establishing the Pacific-Japan pattern. This in turn induces an anomalous anticyclone and cyclone pair over East Asia, and a tripole vertical convection anomaly meridionally oriented over East Asia. Consequently, a tripole rainfall anomaly pattern is observed over East Asia. Results from numerical experiments using version 5 of the Community Atmosphere Model support the interpretation of this chain of events.
Ultraviolet (UV) radiation has significant effects on ecosystems, environments, and human health, as well as atmospheric processes and climate change. Two ultraviolet radiation datasets are described in this paper. One contains hourly observations of UV radiation measured at 40 Chinese Ecosystem Research Network stations from 2005 to 2015. CUV3 broadband radiometers were used to observe the UV radiation, with an accuracy of 5%, which meets the World Meteorology Organization's measurement standards. The extremum method was used to control the quality of the measured datasets. The other dataset contains daily cumulative UV radiation estimates that were calculated using an all-sky estimation model combined with a hybrid model. The reconstructed daily UV radiation data span from 1961 to 2014. The mean absolute bias error and root-mean-square error are smaller than 30% at most stations, and most of the mean bias error values are negative, which indicates underestimation of the UV radiation intensity. These datasets can improve our basic knowledge of the spatial and temporal variations in UV radiation. Additionally, these datasets can be used in studies of potential ozone formation and atmospheric oxidation, as well as simulations of ecological processes.
This paper provides an overview of the impacts of the original works of Professor Duzheng YE on a selected set of observational and model studies with which the present author has been associated over the past several decades. The main themes of these works include atmospheric energy dispersion, air-land interactions over the Tibetan Plateau, and El Niño-related air-sea coupling over East Asia. The dispersive behavior of observed atmospheric fluctuations accompanying cold surge events in East Asia is demonstrated. Cold air outbreaks over Korea and southern China are coincident with the successive downstream development of troughs and ridges, with the group velocity of such wave packets being notably faster than the phase propagation speed of individual troughs and ridges. In a more general context, dispersive features are also discernible from lagged teleconnection charts and cross-spectra of observed and model-simulated geopotential height variations on 10-30-day time scales. Using the output from a high-resolution general circulation model, the relative contributions of condensational, sensible, and radiative heating to the atmospheric energy budget over the Tibetan Plateau are documented. The rapid changes of the upper tropospheric Tibetan anticyclone and East Asian mei-yu ("plum rain") precipitation band associated with the development of the Asian monsoon system are described. The principal anomalies in sea level pressure, surface wind, precipitation and sea surface temperature over southeastern China and the Philippine Sea region during El Niño events are presented. The contributions of remote El Niño-related forcing and local air-sea interaction to the occurrence of these anomalies are assessed.
A modified hydrometeor classification algorithm (HCA) is developed in this study for Chinese polarimetric radars. This algorithm is based on the U.S. operational HCA. Meanwhile, the methodology of statistics-based optimization is proposed including calibration checking, datasets selection, membership functions modification, computation thresholds modification, and effect verification. Zhuhai radar, the first operational polarimetric radar in South China, applies these procedures. The systematic bias of calibration is corrected, the reliability of radar measurements deteriorates when the signal-to-noise ratio is low, and correlation coefficient within the melting layer is usually lower than that of the U.S. WSR-88D radar. Through modification based on statistical analysis of polarimetric variables, the localized HCA especially for Zhuhai is obtained, and it performs well over a one-month test through comparison with sounding and surface observations. The algorithm is then utilized for analysis of a squall line process on 11 May 2014 and is found to provide reasonable details with respect to horizontal and vertical structures, and the HCA results——especially in the mixed rain-hail region——can reflect the life cycle of the squall line. In addition, the kinematic and microphysical processes of cloud evolution and the differences between radar-detected hail and surface observations are also analyzed. The results of this study provide evidence for the improvement of this HCA developed specifically for China.
This paper presents new high-resolution proxies and paleoclimatic reconstructions for studying climate changes in China for the past 2000 years. Multi-proxy synthesized reconstructions show that temperature variation in China has exhibited significant 50-70-yr, 100-120-yr, and 200-250-yr cycles. Results also show that the amplitudes of decadal and centennial temperature variation were 1.3°C and 0.7°C, respectively, with the latter significantly correlated with long-term changes in solar radiation, especially cold periods, which correspond approximately to sunspot minima. The most rapid warming in China occurred over AD 1870-2000, at a rate of 0.56° 0.42°C (100 yr)-1; however, temperatures recorded in the 20th century may not be unprecedented for the last 2000 years, as data show records for the periods AD 981-1100 and AD 1201-70 are comparable to the present. The ensemble means of dryness/wetness spatial patterns in eastern China across all centennial warm periods illustrate a tripole pattern: dry south of 25°N, wet from 25°-30°N, and dry to the north of 30°N. However, for all centennial cold periods, this spatial pattern also exhibits a meridional distribution. The increase in precipitation over the monsoonal regions of China associated with the 20th century warming can primarily be attributed to a mega El Niño-Southern Oscillation and the Atlantic Multidecadal Oscillation. In addition, a significant association between increasing numbers of locusts and dry/cold conditions is found in eastern China. Plague intensity also generally increases in concert with wetness in northern China, while more precipitation is likely to have a negative effect in southern China.
Drylands are among those regions most sensitive to climate and environmental changes and human-induced perturbations. The most widely accepted definition of the term dryland is a ratio, called the Surface Wetness Index (SWI), of annual precipitation to potential evapotranspiration (PET) being below 0.65. PET is commonly estimated using the Thornthwaite (PET_Th) and Penman-Monteith equations (PET_PM). The present study compared spatiotemporal characteristics of global drylands based on the SWI with PET_Th and PET_PM. Results showed vast differences between PET_Th and PET_PM; however, the SWI derived from the two kinds of PET showed broadly similar characteristics in the interdecadal variability of global and continental drylands, except in North America, with high correlation coefficients ranging from 0.58 to 0.89. It was found that, during 1901-2014, global hyper-arid and semi-arid regions expanded, arid and dry sub-humid regions contracted, and drylands underwent interdecadal fluctuation. This was because precipitation variations made major contributions, whereas PET changes contributed to a much lesser degree. However, distinct differences in the interdecadal variability of semi-arid and dry sub-humid regions were found. This indicated that the influence of PET changes was comparable to that of precipitation variations in the global dry-wet transition zone. Additionally, the contribution of PET changes to the variations in global and continental drylands gradually enhanced with global warming, and the Thornthwaite method was found to be increasingly less applicable under climate change.
This study investigates the variations in the tropical ascending branches (TABs) of Hadley circulations (HCs) during past decades, using a variety of reanalysis datasets. The northern tropical ascending branch (NTAB) and the southern tropical ascending branch (STAB), which are defined as the ascending branches of the Northern Hemisphere HC and Southern Hemisphere HC, respectively, are identified and analyzed regarding their trends and variability. The reanalysis datasets consistently show a persistent increase in STAB during past decades, whereas they show less consistency in NTAB regarding its decadal- to multidecadal variability, which generally features a decreasing trend. These asymmetric trends in STAB and NTAB are attributed to asymmetric trends in the tropical SSTs. The relationship between STAB/NTAB and tropical SSTs is further examined regarding their interannual and decadal- to multidecadal variability. On the interannual time scale, the STAB and NTAB are essentially modulated by the eastern-Pacific type of ENSO, with a strengthened (weakened) STAB (NTAB) under an El Niño condition. On the decadal- to multidecadal time scale, the variability of STAB and NTAB is closely related to the southern tropical SSTs and the meridional asymmetry of global tropical SSTs, respectively. The tropical eastern Pacific SSTs (southern tropical SSTs) dominate the tropical SST-NTAB/STAB relationship on the interannual (decadal- to multidecadal) scale, whereas the NTAB is a passive factor in this relationship. Moreover, a cross-hemispheric relationship between the NTAB/STAB and the HC upper-level meridional winds is revealed.
It is widely recognized that rainfall over the Yangtze River valley (YRV) strengthens considerably during the decaying summer of El Niño, as demonstrated by the catastrophic flooding suffered in the summer of 1998. Nevertheless, the rainfall over the YRV in the summer of 2016 was much weaker than that in 1998, despite the intensity of the 2016 El Niño having been as strong as that in 1998. A thorough comparison of the YRV summer rainfall anomaly between 2016 and 1998 suggests that the difference was caused by the sub-seasonal variation in the YRV rainfall anomaly between these two years, principally in August. The precipitation anomaly was negative in August 2016——different to the positive anomaly of 1998. Further analysis suggests that the weaker YRV rainfall in August 2016 could be attributable to the distinct circulation anomalies over the midlatitudes. The intensified "Silk Road Pattern" and upper-tropospheric geopotential height over the Urals region, both at their strongest since 1980, resulted in an anticyclonic circulation anomaly over midlatitude East Asia with anomalous easterly flow over the middle-to-lower reaches of the YRV in the lower troposphere. This easterly flow reduced the climatological wind, weakened the water vapor transport, and induced the weaker YRV rainfall in August 2016, as compared to that in 1998. Given the unique sub-seasonal variation of the YRV rainfall in summer 2016, more attention should be paid to midlatitude circulation——besides the signal in the tropics——to further our understanding of the predictability and variation of YRV summer rainfall.
This study analyzes the variability of northern Eurasian snow cover (SC) in autumn and the impacts of atmospheric circulation changes. The region of large SC variability displays a southward shift from September to November, following the seasonal progression of the transition zones of surface air temperature (SAT). The dominant pattern of SC variability in September and October features a zonal distribution, and that in November displays an obvious west-east contrast. Surface air cooling and snowfall increase are two factors for larger SC. The relative contribution of SAT and snowfall changes to SC, however, varies with the region and depends upon the season. The downward longwave radiation and atmospheric heat advection play important roles in SAT changes. Anomalous convergence of water vapor flux contributes to enhanced snowfall. The changes in downward longwave radiation are associated with those in atmospheric water content and column thickness. Changes in snowfall and the transport of atmospheric moisture determine the atmospheric moisture content in September and October, and the snowfall appears to be a main factor for atmospheric moisture change in November. These results indicate that atmospheric circulation changes play an important role in snow variability over northern Eurasia in autumn. Overall, the coupling between autumn Eurasian snow and atmospheric circulation may not be driven by external forcing.
Using radiosonde measurements from 26 July to 30 July 2014 at Baiqi over the Inner Mongolia grassland of China, the vertical structure of shallow cumulus (SCu) clouds and associated environmental conditions were investigated. The cloud base height and the cloud top height of SCu was 3.4 km and 5 km, respectively. The temperature of the SCu layer was less than 0°C. The horizontal advection of specific humidity was smaller than the vertical transport in the atmosphere below 5 km. Above 5 km, the thermodynamic structure of the atmosphere remained stable. At the interface of the cloud layer and free air atmosphere, there was obvious wind shear and a temperature inversion (∼2.9°C). Comparisons of environmental parameters associated with cumulus congestus, rain and clear days, showed that the formation of SCu was characterized by a higher Bowen ratio (high sensible heat flux and low latent heat flux), which indicated intensive turbulence in the boundary layer. The formation of SCu was associated with the boundary layer height exceeding the lifting condensation level. The maintenance of SCu was likely associated with the lower convective available potential energy, weak wind shear, and weak subsidence of the synoptic system, which did not favor the dramatic vertical development of SCu and thereby the transformation of SCu to cumulus congestus.
The link between boreal winter cooling over the midlatitudes of Asia and the Barents Oscillation (BO) since the late 1980s is discussed in this study, based on five datasets. Results indicate that there is a large-scale boreal winter cooling during 1990-2015 over the Asian midlatitudes, and that it is a part of the decadal oscillations of long-term surface air temperature (SAT) anomalies. The SAT anomalies over the Asian midlatitudes are significantly correlated with the BO in boreal winter. When the BO is in its positive phase, anomalously high sea level pressure over the Barents region, with a clockwise wind anomaly, causes cold air from the high latitudes to move over the midlatitudes of Asia, resulting in anomalous cold conditions in that region. Therefore, the recent increasing trend of the BO has contributed to recent winter cooling over the Asian midlatitudes.
The anomalous behavior of the western Pacific subtropical high (WPSH) in El Niño developing summer is studied based on the composite results of eight major El Niño events during 1979-2013. It is shown that the WPSH tends to retreat eastwards with weak intensity during the developing summer. The anomaly exhibits an intraseasonal variation with a weaker anomaly in June and July and a stronger anomaly in August, indicating that different underlying physical mechanisms may be responsible for the anomalous WPSH during early and late summer periods. In June and July, owing to the cold advection anomaly characterized as a weak northerly anomaly from high latitudes, geopotential height in East Asia is reduced and the WPSH tends to retreat eastwards slightly. By contrast, enhanced convection over the warm pool in August makes the atmosphere more sensitive to El Niño forcing. Consequently, a cyclonic anomaly in the western Pacific is induced, which is consistent with the seasonal march of atmospheric circulation from July to August. Accordingly, geopotential height in the western Pacific is reduced significantly, and the WPSH tends to retreat eastwards remarkably in August. Different from the developing summer, geopotential height in the decaying summer over East Asia and the western Pacific tends to enhance and extend northwards from June to August consistently, reaching the maximum anomaly in August. Therefore, the seasonal march plays an important role in the WPSH anomaly for both the developing and decaying summer.
Severe flooding occurred in southern and northern China during the summer of 2016 when the 2015 super El Niño decayed to a normal condition. However, the mean precipitation during summer (June-July-August) 2016 does not show significant anomalies, suggesting that —— over East Asia (EA) —— seasonal mean anomalies have limited value in representing hydrological hazards. Scrutinizing season-evolving precipitation anomalies associated with 16 El Niño episodes during 1957-2016 reveals that, over EA, the spatiotemporal patterns among the four categories of El Niño events are quite variable, due to a large range of variability in the intensity and evolution of El Niño events and remarkable subseasonal migration of the rainfall anomalies. The only robust seasonal signal is the dry anomalies over central North China during the El Niño developing summer. Distinguishing strong and weak El Niño impacts is important. Only strong El Niño events can persistently enhance EA subtropical frontal precipitation from the peak season of El Niño to the ensuing summer, by stimulating intense interaction between the anomalous western Pacific anticyclone (WPAC) and underlying dipolar sea surface temperature anomalies in the Indo-Pacific warm pool, thereby maintaining the WPAC and leading to a prolonged El Niño impact on EA. A weak El Niño may also enhance the post-El Niño summer rainfall over EA, but through a different physical process: the WPAC re-emerges as a forced response to the rapid cooling in the eastern Pacific. The results suggest that the skillful prediction of rainfall over continental EA requires the accurate prediction of not only the strength and evolution of El Niño, but also the subseasonal migration of EA rainfall anomalies.
We identify that the projected uncertainty of the pan-Arctic sea-ice concentration (SIC) is strongly coupled with the Eurasian circulation in the boreal winter (December-March; DJFM), based on a singular value decomposition (SVD) analysis of the forced response of 11 CMIP5 models. In the models showing a stronger sea-ice decline, the Polar cell becomes weaker and there is an anomalous increase in the sea level pressure (SLP) along 60°N, including the Urals-Siberia region and the Iceland low region. There is an accompanying weakening of both the midlatitude westerly winds and the Ferrell cell, where the SVD signals are also related to anomalous sea surface temperature warming in the midlatitude North Atlantic. In the Mediterranean region, the anomalous circulation response shows a decreasing SLP and increasing precipitation. The anomalous SLP responses over the Euro-Atlantic region project on to the negative North Atlantic Oscillation-like pattern. Altogether, pan-Arctic SIC decline could strongly impact the winter Eurasian climate, but we should be cautious about the causality of their linkage.
Clouds are critical to the global radiation budget and hydrological cycle, but knowledge is still poor concerning the observed climatology of cloud-base height (CBH) in China. Based on fine-resolution sounding observations from the China Radiosonde Network (CRN), the method used to estimate CBH was modified, and uncertainty analyses indicated that the CBH is good enough. The accuracy of CBH estimation is verified by the comparison between the sounding-derived CBHs and those estimated from the micro-pulse lidar and millimeter-wave cloud radar. As such, the CBH climatology was compiled for the period 2006-16. Overall, the CBH exhibits large geographic variability across China, at both 0800 Local Standard Time (LST) and 2000 LST, irrespective of season. In addition, the summertime cloud base tends to be elevated to higher altitudes in dry regions [i.e., Inner Mongolia and the North China Plain (NCP)]. By comparison, the Tibetan Plateau (TP), Pearl River Delta (PRD) and Sichuan Basin (SCB) have relatively low CBHs (<2.4 km above ground level). In terms of seasonality, the CBH reaches its maximum in summer and minimum in winter. A low cloud base tends to occur frequently (>70%) over the TP, PRD and SCB. In contrast, at most sites over the Yangtze River Delta (YRD) and the NCP, about half the cloud belongs to the high-cloud category. The CBH does not exhibit marked diurnal variation in summer, throughout all CRN sites, probably due to the persistent cloud coverage caused by the East Asia Summer Monsson. To the best of our knowledge, this is the first CBH climatology produced from sounding measurements in China, and provides a useful reference for obtaining observational cloud base information.
Many observational studies have shown that deformation, like vertical vorticity and divergence, is closely related to the occurrence and distribution of strong precipitation. In this paper, to involve deformation in precipitation diagnosis, a new parameter called potential deformation (PD) is derived and then applied to precipitation detection within a simulated mesoscale convective system (MCS). It is shown that PD includes both stretching deformation and shearing deformation and shares similar characteristics with deformation insofar as it does not change with the rotating coordinate. Diagnosis of the simulated MCS reveals that PD performs well in tracing the MCS' precipitation. In terms of their distributional pattern, the large-value areas of PD are similar to the precipitation in the different development stages of the MCS. A detailed analysis of the physical processes contained within the PD shows that it can reflect the three-dimensional moisture variation, vertical wind shear and wind deformation within the MCS. These structures are usually a comprehensive reflection of the characteristics of the surface cold pool, rear inflow jet, downward cold air flow and upward warm moist flow within the precipitating convective cells. For this reason, the PD shows much stronger anomalies in the precipitating atmosphere than the non-precipitating atmosphere, which implies considerable potential for its application in detecting heavy precipitation within MCSs.
This study uses multiple sea surface temperature (SST) datasets to perform a parallel comparison of three super El Niños and their effects on the stratosphere. The results show that, different from ordinary El Niños, warm SST anomalies appear earliest in the western tropical Pacific and precede the super El Niño peak by more than 18 months. In the previous winter, relative to the mature phase of El Niño, as a precursor, North Pacific Oscillation-like circulation anomalies are observed. A Pacific-North America (PNA) teleconnection appears in the extratropical troposphere during the mature phase, in spite of the subtle differences between the intensities, as well as the zonal position, of the PNA lobes. Related to the negative rainfall response over the tropical Indian Ocean, the PNA teleconnection in the winter of 1997/98 is the strongest among the three super El Niños. The northern winter stratosphere shows large anomalies in the polar cap temperature and the circumpolar westerly, if the interferences from other factors are linearly filtered from the circulation data. Associated with the positive PNA response in a super El Niño winter, positive polar cap temperature anomalies and circumpolar easterly anomalies, though different in timing, are also observed in the mature winters of the three super El Niños. The stratospheric polar vortex in the next winter relative to the 1982/83 and 1997/98 events is also anomalously weaker and warmer, and the stratospheric circulation conditions remain to be seen in the coming winter following the mature phase of the 2015/16 event.
Aerosol-cloud-radiation interactions represent one of the largest uncertainties in the current climate assessment. Much of the complexity arises from the non-monotonic responses of clouds, precipitation and radiative fluxes to aerosol perturbations under various meteorological conditions. In this study, an aerosol-aware WRF model is used to investigate the microphysical and radiative effects of aerosols in three weather systems during the March 2000 Cloud Intensive Observational Period campaign at the US Southern Great Plains. Three simulated cloud ensembles include a low-pressure deep convective cloud system, a collection of less-precipitating stratus and shallow cumulus, and a cold frontal passage. The WRF simulations are evaluated by several ground-based measurements. The microphysical properties of cloud hydrometeors, such as their mass and number concentrations, generally show monotonic trends as a function of cloud condensation nuclei concentrations. Aerosol radiative effects do not influence the trends of cloud microphysics, except for the stratus and shallow cumulus cases where aerosol semi-direct effects are identified. The precipitation changes by aerosols vary with the cloud types and their evolving stages, with a prominent aerosol invigoration effect and associated enhanced precipitation from the convective sources. The simulated aerosol direct effect suppresses precipitation in all three cases but does not overturn the aerosol indirect effect. Cloud fraction exhibits much smaller sensitivity (typically less than 2%) to aerosol perturbations, and the responses vary with aerosol concentrations and cloud regimes. The surface shortwave radiation shows a monotonic decrease by increasing aerosols, while the magnitude of the decrease depends on the cloud type.
The tropical Pacific has begun to experience a new type of El Niño, which has occurred particularly frequently during the last decade, referred to as the central Pacific (CP) El Niño. Various coupled models with different degrees of complexity have been used to make real-time El Niño predictions, but high uncertainty still exists in their forecasts. It remains unknown as to how much of this uncertainty is specifically related to the new CP-type El Niño and how much is common to both this type and the conventional Eastern Pacific (EP)-type El Niño. In this study, the deterministic performance of an El Niño-Southern Oscillation (ENSO) ensemble prediction system is examined for the two types of El Niño. Ensemble hindcasts are run for the nine EP El Niño events and twelve CP El Niño events that have occurred since 1950. The results show that (1) the skill scores for the EP events are significantly better than those for the CP events, at all lead times; (2) the systematic forecast biases come mostly from the prediction of the CP events; and (3) the systematic error is characterized by an overly warm eastern Pacific during the spring season, indicating a stronger spring prediction barrier for the CP El Niño. Further improvements to coupled atmosphere-ocean models in terms of CP El Niño prediction should be recognized as a key and high-priority task for the climate prediction community.
The characteristics of raindrop size distribution (DSD) over the Tibetan Plateau and southern China are studied in this paper, using the DSD data from April to August 2014 collected by HSC-PS32 disdrometers in Nagqu and Yangjiang, comprising a total of 9430 and 6366 1-min raindrop spectra, respectively. The raindrop spectra, characteristics of parameter variations with rainfall rate, and the relationships between reflectivity factor (Z) and rainfall rate (R) are analyzed, as well as their DSD changes with precipitation type and rainfall rate. The results show that the average raindrop spectra appear to be one-peak curves, the number concentration for larger drops increase significantly with rainfall rate, and its value over southern China is much higher, especially in convective rain. Standardized Gamma distributions better describe DSD for larger drops, especially for convective rain in southern China. All three Gamma parameters for stratiform precipitation over the Tibetan Plateau are much higher, while its shape parameter (μ) and mass-weighted mean diameter (D m), for convective precipitation, are less. In terms of parameter variation with rainfall rate, the normalized intercept parameter (N w) over the Tibetan Plateau for stratiform rain increases with rainfall rate, which is opposite to the situation in convective rain. The μ over the Tibetan Plateau for stratiform and convective precipitation types decreases with an increase in rainfall rate, which is opposite to the case for D m variation. In Z-R relationships, like "Z=ARb", the coefficient A over the Tibetan Plateau is smaller, while its b is higher, when the rain type transfers from stratiform to convective ones. Furthermore, with an increase in rainfall rate, parameters A and b over southern China increase gradually, while A over the Tibetan Plateau decreases substantially, which differs from the findings of previous studies. In terms of geographic location and climate over the Tibetan Plateau and southern China, the precipitation in the pre-flood seasons is dominated by strong convective rain, while weak convective rain occurs frequently in northern Tibet with lower humidity and higher altitude.
The ECMWF has been assimilating Feng-Yun-3B (FY-3B) satellite microwave humidity sounder (MWHS) data over ocean in an operational forecasting system since 24 September 2014. It is more difficult, however, to assimilate microwave observations over land and sea ice than over the open ocean due to higher uncertainties in land surface temperature, surface emissivity and less effective cloud screening. We compare approaches in which the emissivity is retrieved dynamically from MWHS channel 1 [150 GHz (vertical polarization)] with the use of an evolving emissivity atlas from 89 GHz observations from the MWHS onboard NOAA and EUMETSAT satellites. The assimilation of the additional data over land improves the fit of short-range forecasts to other observations, notably ATMS (Advanced Technology Microwave Sounder) humidity channels, and the forecast impacts are mainly neutral to slightly positive over the first five days. The forecast impacts are better in boreal summer and the Southern Hemisphere. These results suggest that the techniques tested allow for effective assimilation of MWHS/FY-3B data over land.
The Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer (MODIS) sensor onboard NASA's Aqua satellite has been collecting valuable data about the Earth system for more than 14 years, and one of the benefits of this is that it has made it possible to detect the long-term variation in aerosol loading across the globe. However, the long-term aerosol optical depth (AOD) trends derived from MODIS need careful validation and assessment, especially over land. Using AOD products with at least 70 months' worth of measurements collected during 2002-15 at 53 Aerosol Robotic Network (AERONET) sites over land, Mann-Kendall (MK) trends in AOD were derived and taken as the ground truth data for evaluating the corresponding results from MODIS onboard Aqua. The results showed that the AERONET AOD trends over all sites in Europe and North America, as well as most sites in Africa and Asia, can be reproduced by MODIS/Aqua. However, disagreement in AOD trends between MODIS and AERONET was found at a few sites in Australia and South America. The AOD trends calculated from AERONET instantaneous data at the MODIS overpass times were consistent with those from AERONET daily data, which suggests that the AOD trends derived from satellite measurements of 1-2 overpasses may be representative of those from daily measurements.