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Creators/Authors contains: "Carvalho, Leila M. V."

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  1. Abstract

    Northerly low-level jets (LLJ) along the eastern Andes are important conduits of moisture transport and play central roles in modulating precipitation in South America. This study further investigates the variability of the LLJ during extended austral summers. A new method characterizes the spatial extent of the LLJ and finds four distinct types: Central, Northern, Andes and Peru. We show the existence of specific evolutions such that the LLJ may initiate in the central region, expands along the Andes and terminates in the northern region. Conversely, the LLJ may propagate from north-to-south. The spatiotemporal evolution of the LLJ is remotely forced by Rossby wave trains propagating from the Pacific Ocean towards South America, and the different phases of the wave trains favor the occurrences of Central, Northern or Andes types. Occurrences of Central and Northern types are more frequent in El Niño and La Niña years, respectively. The persistence of precipitation is shown to be directly related to the persistence of the LLJ. Lastly, the Madden-Julian Oscillation plays an important role in generating wave trains modulating the frequency of LLJ, especially the Central type.

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  2. Abstract

    Atmospheric rivers (ARs) reach High Mountain Asia (HMA) about 10 days per month during the winter and spring, resulting in about 20 mm day$$^{-1}$$-1of precipitation. However, a few events may exceed 100 mm day$$^{-1}$$-1, providing most of the total winter precipitation and increasing the risk of precipitation-triggered landslides and flooding, particularly when the height of the height of the 0 $$^{\circ }$$C isotherm, or freezing level is above-average. This study shows that from 1979 to 2015, integrated water vapor transport (IVT) during ARs that reach Western HMA has increased 16% while the freezing level has increased up to 35 m. HMA ARs that have an above-average freezing level result in 10–40% less frozen precipitation compared to ARs with a below-average freezing level. To evaluate the importance of these trends in the characteristics of ARs, we investigate mesoscale processes leading to orographic precipitation using Advanced Weather Research and Forecasting (ARW-WRF) simulations at 6.7 km spatial resolution. We contrast two above- and below- average freezing level AR events with otherwise broadly similar characteristics and show that with a 50–600 m increase in freezing level, the above-average AR resulted in 10–70% less frozen precipitation than the below-average event. This study contributes to a better understanding of climate change-related impacts within HMA’s hydrological cycle and the associated hazards to vulnerable communities living in the region.

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  3. Abstract

    Climatic changes over the central Himalaya are critical for water resources in downstream regions where hundreds of millions of people live. Warming and drying in this region have both occurred in recent decades, but the associated meteorological factors are difficult to diagnose based on observations from unevenly distributed weather stations, reanalyses, and global climate models that poorly reproduce the orographic diurnal cycle. Here, recent trends in the summer diurnal cycle over the central Himalaya are investigated using a 36-year high-resolution dynamical downscaling. We illustrate contrasting trends over the diurnal cycle of circulation and convection over the Himalaya. In the daytime, warming of the slopes has enhanced anabatic upslope winds. At night, clearer skies have radiatively cooled the slopes, enhancing katabatic downslope winds. The enhanced upslope winds have prevented any drying over the mountains in the daytime, while the enhanced downslope winds are associated with significant nocturnal drying at high elevations. This amplification in the diurnal cycle is critical for projecting the future hydroclimate over the region’s complex terrain.

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  4. Abstract

    Coastal Santa Barbara (SB) County in Southern California, characterized by a Mediterranean climate and complex topography, is a region prone to downslope windstorms that create critical fire weather conditions and rapidly spread wildfires. The Santa Ynez Mountains, oriented from east to west, rise abruptly from the coast, separating air masses from the ocean and the Santa Ynez Valley. The juxtaposition of these geographic features generates spatiotemporally variable wind regimes. This study analyzes diurnal‐to‐seasonal wind cycles and extremes in this region using hourly data from eight weather stations and four buoys for the period 1998–2019. Data from a vertical wind profiler at the Santa Barbara airport in Goleta, CA was extracted from August 2016 to September 2020. Air temperature, dew point temperature, and the Fosberg fire weather index are examined at land stations. We show that cycles in wind speed vary spatiotemporally; mountain (valley and coastal) stations exhibit a pronounced semiannual (annual) cycle, and wind maxima is observed during the evening (afternoon) at mountain (valley and coastal) stations. Differences in wind speed percentiles were evident among stations, particularly at and above the 75th percentile. Strong winds recorded at buoys were significantly correlated (betweenr = 0.3–0.5) to land stations. However, cross‐correlational analysis did not reveal any temporal lags between mountain stations and buoys. Distributions of temperature and dew point during extreme winds differed between east and west mountain stations. Significant fire weather conditions were most frequent at mountain stations in Refugio and Montecito, with 5% occurrence in the spring and over 3% occurrence in fall. Weaker summertime winds lowered fire weather conditions at Montecito in the summer.

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  5. Abstract

    The impact of upstream terrain on the diurnal variability of downslope windstorms on the south‐facing slopes of the Santa Ynez Mountains (SYM) is investigated using numerical simulations. These windstorms, called Sundowners due to their typical onset around sunset, have intensified all major wildfires in the area. This study investigates the role of the orography upstream of the SYM in the diurnal behavior of Sundowners. Two types of Sundowners are examined: western sundowners (winds with dominant northwesterly direction) and eastern Sundowners (winds with dominant northeasterly direction). By using semi‐idealized simulations, in which we progressively reduce the upstream terrain, we show that the onset of the lee slope jet occurs in the late afternoon only when the flow approaches the SYM from the northeast, after interacting with a considerably higher mountain barrier. We demonstrate that during the eastern regime, the progressive reduction of the upstream terrain results in strong lee slope winds throughout the day. Conversely, the diurnal cycle of downslope winds during the western regime is less sensitive to the reduction of the upstream terrain. The Sundowner diurnal cycle during the eastern regime can be explained by boundary‐layer processes in the valley and the blocking effect of high mountains upstream of the SYM. These results contribute to a better understanding of the influence of upstream orography in the cycle and intensity of downslope windstorms in coastal mountains.

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  6. Abstract

    Drought conditions significantly impact human and natural systems in the Tropics. Here, multiple observational and reanalysis products and ensembles of simulations from the Coupled Model Intercomparison Project Phase 5 (CMIP5) are analyzed with respect to drought areal extent over tropical land regions and its past and future relationships to the El Niño/Southern Oscillation (ENSO). CMIP5 models forced with prescribed sea surface temperatures compare well to observations in capturing the present day time evolution of the fraction of tropical land area experiencing drought conditions and the scaling of drought area and ENSO, that is, increasing tropical drought area with increasing ENSO warm phase (El Niño) strength. The ensemble of RCP8.5 simulations suggests lower end‐of‐the‐century El Niño strength‐tropical drought area sensitivity. At least some of this lower sensitivity is attributable to atmosphere‐ocean coupling, as historic coupled model simulations also exhibit lower sensitivity compared to the observations.

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