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  1. This study analyzes an ensemble of numerical simulations of a heavy rainfall event east of Taiwan on 9 June 2020. Heavy rainfall was produced by quasi-stationary back-building mesoscale convective systems (MCS) associated with a mei-yu front. Global model forecast skill was poor in location and intensity of rainfall. The mesoscale ensemble showed liminal conditions between heavy rainfall or little to no rainfall. The two most accurate and two least accurate ensemble members are selected for analysis via validation against radar-estimated rainfall observations. All members feature moist soundings with low levels of free convection (LFC) and sufficient instability for deep convection. We find that stronger gradients in 100-m θe and θv in the most accurate members associated with a near-surface frontal boundary focus the lifting mechanism for deep, moist convection and enhanced rainfall. As the simulations progress, stronger southerly winds in the least accurate members advect drier mid-level air into the region of interest and shift the near-surface boundary further north and west. Analysis of the verification ensemble mean analysis reveals a strong near-surface frontal boundary similarly positioned as in the most accurate members and dry air aloft more similar to that in the least accurate members, suggesting that the positioningmore »of the frontal boundary is more critical to accurately reproducing rainfall patterns and intensity in this case. The analyses suggest that subtle details in the simulation of frontal boundaries and mesoscale flow structures can lead to bifurcations in producing extreme or almost no rainfall. Implications for improved probabilistic forecasts of heavy rainfall events will be discussed.« less
    Free, publicly-accessible full text available July 1, 2023
  2. Abstract

    The Threespine Stickleback is ancestrally a marine fish, but many marine populations breed in fresh water (i.e., are anadromous), facilitating their colonization of isolated freshwater habitats a few years after they form. Repeated adaptation to fresh water during at least 10 My and continuing today has led to Threespine Stickleback becoming a premier system to study rapid adaptation. Anadromous and freshwater stickleback breed in sympatry and may hybridize, resulting in introgression of freshwater-adaptive alleles into anadromous populations, where they are maintained at low frequencies as ancient standing genetic variation. Anadromous stickleback have accumulated hundreds of freshwater-adaptive alleles that are disbursed as few loci per marine individual and provide the basis for adaptation when they colonize fresh water. Recent whole-lake experiments in lakes around Cook Inlet, Alaska have revealed how astonishingly rapid and repeatable this process is, with the frequency of 40% of the identified freshwater-adaptive alleles increasing from negligible (∼1%) in the marine founder to ≥50% within ten generations in fresh water, and freshwater phenotypes evolving accordingly. These high rates of genomic and phenotypic evolution imply very intense directional selection on phenotypes of heterozygotes. Sexual recombination rapidly assembles freshwater-adaptive alleles that originated in different founders into multilocus freshwater haplotypes, andmore »regions important for adaptation to freshwater have suppressed recombination that keeps advantageous alleles linked within large haploblocks. These large haploblocks are also older and appear to have accumulated linked advantageous mutations. The contemporary evolution of Threespine Stickleback has provided broadly applicable insights into the mechanisms that facilitate rapid adaptation.

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  3. Abstract

    Understanding the mechanisms leading to new traits or additional features in organisms is a fundamental goal of evolutionary biology. We show thatHOXDBregulatory changes have been used repeatedly in different fish genera to alter the length and number of the prominent dorsal spines used to classify stickleback species. InGasterosteus aculeatus(typically ‘three-spine sticklebacks’), a variantHOXDBallele is genetically linked to shortening an existing spine and adding an additional spine. InApeltes quadracus(typically ‘four-spine sticklebacks’), a variantHOXDBallele is associated with lengthening a spine and adding an additional spine in natural populations. The variant alleles alter the same non-coding enhancer region in theHOXDBlocus but do so by diverse mechanisms, including single-nucleotide polymorphisms, deletions and transposable element insertions. The independent regulatory changes are linked to anterior expansion or contraction ofHOXDBexpression. We propose that associated changes in spine lengths and numbers are partial identity transformations in a repeating skeletal series that forms major defensive structures in fish. Our findings support the long-standing hypothesis that naturalHoxgene variation underlies key patterning changes in wild populations and illustrate how different mutational mechanisms affecting the same region may produce opposite gene expression changes with similar phenotypic outcomes.

  4. Abstract

    The landfall of Hurricane Michael (2018) at category-5 intensity occurred after rapid intensification (RI) spanning much of the storm’s lifetime. Four Hurricane Hunter aircraft missions observed the RI period with tail Doppler radar (TDR). Data from each of the 14 aircraft passes through the storm were quality controlled via a combination of interactive and machine-learning techniques. TDR data from each pass were synthesized using the Spline Analysis at Mesoscale Utilizing Radar and Aircraft Instrumentation (SAMURAI) variational wind retrieval technique to yield three-dimensional kinematic fields of the storm to examine inner-core processes during RI. Vorticity and angular momentum increased and concentrated in the eyewall region. A vorticity budget analysis indicates that the tendencies became more axisymmetric over time. In this study, we focus in particular on how the eyewall vorticity tower builds vertically into the upper levels. Horizontal vorticity associated with the vertical gradient of tangential wind was tilted into the vertical by the eyewall updraft to yield a positive vertical vorticity tendency inward atop the existing vorticity tower, which is further developed locally upward and outward along the sloped eyewall through advection and stretching. Observed maintenance of thermal wind balance from a thermodynamic retrieval shows evidence of a strengtheningmore »warm core, which aided in lowering surface pressure and further contributed to the efficient intensification in the latter stages of this RI event.

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  5. Remote sensing observational instruments are critical for better understanding and predicting severe weather. Observational data from such instruments, such as Doppler radar data, for example, are often processed for assimilation into numerical weather prediction models. As such instruments become more sophisticated, the amount of data to be processed grows and requires efficient variational analysis tools. Here we examine the code that implements the popular SAMURAI (Spline Analysis at Mesoscale Utilizing Radar and Aircraft Instrumentation) technique for estimating the atmospheric state for a given set of observations. We employ a number of techniques to significantly improve the code’s performance, including porting it to run on standard HPC clusters, analyzing and optimizing its single-node performance, implementing a more efficient nonlinear optimization method, and enabling the use of GPUs via OpenACC. Our efforts thus far have yielded more than 100x improvement over the original code on large test problems of interest to the community.

    Free, publicly-accessible full text available August 28, 2023