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Creators/Authors contains: "Jiang, Xianan"

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  1. Abstract

    A large spread in model estimates of the equilibrium climate sensitivity (ECS), defined as the global mean near-surface air-temperature increase following a doubling of atmospheric CO2concentration, leaves us greatly disadvantaged in guiding policy-making for climate change adaptation and mitigation. In this study, we show that the projected ECS in the latest generation of climate models is highly related to seasonal variations of extratropical low-cloud fraction (LCF) in historical simulations. Marked reduction of extratropical LCF from winter to summer is found in models with ECS > 4.75 K, in accordance with the significant reduction of extratropical LCF under a warming climate in these models. In contrast, a pronounced seasonal cycle of extratropical LCF, as supported by satellite observations, is largely absent in models with ECS < 3.3 K. The distinct seasonality in extratropical LCF in climate models is ascribed to their different prevailing cloud regimes governing the extratropical LCF variability.

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  2. Abstract Key processes associated with the leading intraseasonal variability mode of wintertime surface air temperature (SAT) over Eurasia and the Arctic region are investigated in this study. Characterized by a dipole distribution in SAT anomalies centered over north Eurasia and the Arctic, respectively, and coherent temperature anomalies vertically extending from the surface to 300 hPa, this leading intraseasonal SAT mode and associated circulation have pronounced influences on global surface temperature anomalies including the East Asian winter monsoon region. By taking advantage of realistic simulations of the intraseasonal SAT mode in a global climate model, it is illustrated that temperature anomalies in the troposphere associated with the leading SAT mode are mainly due to dynamic processes, especially via the horizontal advection of winter mean temperature by intraseasonal circulation. While the cloud–radiative feedback is not critical in sustaining the temperature variability in the troposphere, it is found to play a crucial role in coupling temperature anomalies at the surface and in the free atmosphere through anomalous surface downward longwave radiation. The variability in clouds associated with the intraseasonal SAT mode is closely linked to moisture anomalies generated by similar advective processes as for temperature anomalies. Model experiments suggest that this leading intraseasonal SAT mode can be sustained by internal atmospheric processes in the troposphere over the mid- to high latitudes by excluding forcings from Arctic sea ice variability, tropical convective variability, and the stratospheric processes. 
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  3. null (Ed.)
    Abstract The leading interannual mode of winter surface air temperature over the North American (NA) sector, characterized by a “Warm Arctic, Cold Continents” (WACC) pattern, exerts pronounced influences on NA weather and climate, while its underlying mechanisms remain elusive. In this study, the relative roles of surface boundary forcing versus internal atmospheric processes for the formation of the WACC pattern are quantitatively investigated using a combined analysis of observations and large-ensemble atmospheric global climate model simulations. Internal atmospheric variability is found to play an important role in shaping the year-to-year WACC variability, contributing to about half of the total variance. An anomalous SST pattern resembling the North Pacific Mode is identified as a major surface boundary forcing pattern in driving the interannual WACC variability over the NA sector, with a minor contribution from sea ice variability over the Chukchi- Bering Seas. Findings from this study not only lead to improved understanding of underlying physics regulating the interannual WACC variability, but also provide important guidance for improved modeling and prediction of regional climate variability over NA and the Arctic region. 
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  4. null (Ed.)
    Abstract In this study, detailed characteristics of the leading intraseasonal variability mode of boreal winter surface air temperature (SAT) over the North American (NA) sector are investigated. This intraseasonal SAT mode, characterized by two anomalous centers with an opposite sign—one over central NA and another over east Siberia (ES)/Alaska—bears a great resemblance to the “warm Arctic–cold continent” pattern of the interannual SAT variability over NA. This intraseasonal SAT mode and associated circulation exert a pronounced influence on regional weather extremes, including precipitation over the northwest coast of NA, sea ice concentration over the Chukchi and Bering Seas, and extreme warm and cold events over the NA continent and Arctic region. Surface warming and cooling signals of the intraseasonal SAT mode are connected to temperature anomalies in a deep-tropospheric layer up to 300 hPa with a decreasing amplitude with altitude. Particularly, a coupling between the troposphere and stratosphere is found during evolution of the intraseasonal SAT variability, although whether the stratospheric processes are essential in sustaining the leading intraseasonal SAT mode is difficult to determine based on observations alone. Two origins of wave sources are identified in contributing to vertically propagating planetary waves near Alaska: one over ES/Alaska associated with local intraseasonal variability and another from the subtropical North Pacific via Rossby wave trains induced by tropical convective activity over the western Pacific, possibly associated with the Madden–Julian oscillation. 
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  5. Abstract

    With widespread influence on global climate and weather extremes, the Madden-Julian Oscillation (MJO) plays a crucial role in subseasonal prediction. Our latest global climate models (GCMs), however, have great difficulty in realistically simulating the MJO. This model inability is largely due to problems in representation of MJO’s cumulus organization. This study, based on a series of idealized aqua-planet model experiments using an atmospheric-only GCM, clearly demonstrates that MJO propagation is strongly modulated by the large-scale background state in which the lower-tropospheric mean moisture gradient and zonal winds are critical. Therefore, when tuning climate models to achieve improved MJO simulations, particular attention needs to be placed on the model large-scale mean state that is also significantly affected by cumulus parameterizations. This study indicates that model biases in representing MJO propagation may be related to the widely reported double-ITCZ (intertropical convergence zone) problem in climate models.

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  6. To assess deep convective parameterizations in a variety of GCMs and examine the fast-time-scale convective transition, a set of statistics characterizing the pickup of precipitation as a function of column water vapor (CWV), PDFs and joint PDFs of CWV and precipitation, and the dependence of the moisture–precipitation relation on tropospheric temperature is evaluated using the hourly output of two versions of the GFDL Atmospheric Model, version 4 (AM4), NCAR CAM5 and superparameterized CAM (SPCAM). The 6-hourly output from the MJO Task Force (MJOTF)/GEWEX Atmospheric System Study (GASS) project is also analyzed. Contrasting statistics produced from individual models that primarily differ in representations of moist convection suggest that convective transition statistics can substantially distinguish differences in convective representation and its interaction with the large-scale flow, while models that differ only in spatial–temporal resolution, microphysics, or ocean–atmosphere coupling result in similar statistics. Most of the models simulate some version of the observed sharp increase in precipitation as CWV exceeds a critical value, as well as that convective onset occurs at higher CWV but at lower column RH as temperature increases. While some models quantitatively capture these observed features and associated probability distributions, considerable intermodel spread and departures from observations in various aspects of the precipitation–CWV relationship are noted. For instance, in many of the models, the transition from the low-CWV, nonprecipitating regime to the moist regime for CWV around and above critical is less abrupt than in observations. Additionally, some models overproduce drizzle at low CWV, and some require CWV higher than observed for strong precipitation. For many of the models, it is particularly challenging to simulate the probability distributions of CWV at high temperature. 
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  7. Abstract

    While no significant long‐term trend in the propagation speed of the Madden‐Julian Oscillation (MJO) in boreal winter is found during the past decades, pronounced year‐to‐year variability of the MJO phase speed is illustrated by analyzing a century‐long record data set. During the winters when fast MJO propagation is observed, the MJO exhibits a much larger zonal‐scale than that during the winters with slow propagation. A broader extension in MJO circulation effectively induces stronger and broader lower‐tropospheric moistening (drying) to the east (west) of MJO through horizontal moisture advection, prompting a faster MJO phase speed. The larger MJO zonal‐scale during the fast MJO propagation winters is coincident with anomalously increased background sea surface temperatures and precipitable water over both the western Indian Ocean and central/eastern Pacific, reminiscent of an expansion of the Indo‐Pacific warm pool. A fundamental question remains open regarding the key processes that determine the zonal‐scale of MJO organization.

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  8. Abstract

    While the observed decline of sea ice over the Chukchi‐Bering Sea (CBS) has coincided with the “warm‐Arctic, cold‐continent” (WACC) pattern over the North America (NA) sector, there is a debate on the causes of the WACC pattern. Here we present a very similar WACC pattern over the NA sector on both interannual and subseasonal time scales. Lead‐lag regression analyses on the shorter time scale indicate that an anomalous anticyclonic circulation over Alaska/Yukon in conjunction with the downward surface turbulent heat flux and long‐wave radiation anomalies over CBS leads the formation of the WACC pattern by about 1–2 days, while the latter further leads CBS sea ice reduction by about 3 days. These results indicate that atmospheric variability may play an active role in driving both the WACC pattern over NA and CBS sea ice variability.

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  9. Abstract

    Since its discovery in the early 1970s, the crucial role of the Madden‐Julian Oscillation (MJO) in the global hydrological cycle and its tremendous influence on high‐impact climate and weather extremes have been well recognized. The MJO also serves as a primary source of predictability for global Earth system variability on subseasonal time scales. The MJO remains poorly represented in our state‐of‐the‐art climate and weather forecasting models, however. Moreover, despite the advances made in recent decades, theories for the MJO still disagree at a fundamental level. The problems of understanding and modeling the MJO have attracted significant interest from the research community. As a part of the AGU's Centennial collection, this article provides a review of recent progress, particularly over the last decade, in observational, modeling, and theoretical study of the MJO. A brief outlook for near‐future MJO research directions is also provided.

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