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  1. Free, publicly-accessible full text available March 1, 2024
  2. Abstract

    It has long been understood that fog plays an important role in the atmospheric radiation budget and contributes to many transportation related fatalities and injuries. This study utilizes >8,000 Global Surface Summary of the Day (GSOD) ground stations to investigate trends observed in fog‐days over the past 44‐years, and to examine the validity of these trends under varying observational techniques. Results show strong large‐scale regional trends in the GSOD fog‐day data, with the United States (USA) and much of Europe observing ∼20–25% and ∼3–5% decreases respectively in fog‐day occurrence. However, when comparing fog‐day counts to simultaneous visibility, it is evident that several different fog‐day data collection techniques were used throughout the timeseries in many regions. For example, many stations in the USA made data collection changes in the mid 1990s, and again in the mid 2000s. To identify the artifacts from different data collection techniques, a simple method is developed to determine which stations indeed encountered at least one false deviation to the timeseries. After applying the methodology to all GSOD stations, 1,696 stations are identified as being potentially quality long‐term fog‐day stations. Utilizing these stations, more reliable regional trends can be derived over some specific regions. Spain, Australia,more »and China show statistically significant decreases in fog‐day occurrence. India and Japan show increases in fog day occurrence. Further analysis shows that the driving factors of fog such as temperature and moisture have changed regionally during the last four decades and could be linked to the long‐term regional fog‐day trends.

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  3. Abstract

    Understanding convective initiation of the Madden–Julian oscillation (MJO) remains an unmet challenge. MJO initiation has been perceived as a process starting from a convectively suppressed large-scale condition with gradual growth of shallow convection to congestus and to deep convective and stratiform systems that cover a large-scale area. During the DYNAMO field campaign over the Indian Ocean, MJO initiation was observed to start from an existing intertropical convergence zone (ITCZ) south of the equator. This raises a question of what possible role the ITCZ may play in convective initiation of the MJO. This study addresses this question through analysis of satellite observations of precipitation and a global reanalysis product. By setting several criteria, MJO and ITCZ events were objectively identified and grouped according to whether MJO initiation was immediately preceded by an ITCZ. The results demonstrate that an ITCZ is neither a necessary nor sufficient condition for convective initiation of the MJO. Nonetheless, evolution of the large-scale circulation, moisture, and convective characteristics during MJO initiation can be different with and without a preexisting ITCZ. Convective growth begins gradually before and during MJO initiation when there is a preexisting ITCZ whereas it is abrupt and slightly delayed without a preexisting ITCZ.more »Such differences are presumably related to the existing large-scale moist condition of the ITCZ. The results from this study suggest that there are multiple mechanisms for convective initiation of the MJO, which should be considered in theoretical understanding of the MJO.

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  4. Abstract

    A longstanding question for scientists has been whether or not any observable trends or shifts in global lightning activity have occurred since the Industrial Revolution. This study utilized over 8,000 certified ground‐based stations over a 43‐year period, as well as 16 years of Tropical Rainfall Measuring Mission (TRMM) Lightning Imaging Sensor (LIS) data, to provide a better understanding of the processes behind these trends. Ground station results show that many global regions have observed significant increases or decreases in thunder day occurrence. The Amazon, Maritime Continent, India, Congo, Central America, and Argentina display increases in annual thunder days since the 1970s, whereas China, Australia, and the Sahel among others observe decreases in the number of thunder days. The corresponding change in lightning flash density from the TRMM‐LIS, as well as the number of thunderstorm features and lightning flashes per thunderstorm feature, is compared to the thunder day trends during the TRMM lifespan. Results show a positive correlation between the changes of thunder day occurrence and flash density over most regions of the TRMM domain, including the Maritime Continent, China, South Africa, and Argentina. However, there are several regions with disagreements between the flash density and thunder day trends, such asmore »India and Western Africa. The disagreements are related to the changes in the number of flashes per thunderstorm, which suggest other reasons to interpret the long term trends in thunder day occurrence over various regions. Understanding these regional trends in lightning activity is important in understanding the changes of precipitation systems under a varying climate.

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  5. Changes in precipitation amount, intensity and frequency in response to global warming are examined using global high‐resolution (16 km) climate model simulations based on the European Centre for Medium‐range Weather Forecasts (ECMWF) Integrated Forecast System (IFS) conducted under Project Athena.

    Our study shows the increases of zonal‐mean total precipitation in all latitudes except the northern subtropics (15°–30°N) and southern subtropics‐to‐midlatitudes (30°–40°S). The probability distribution function (PDF) changes in different latitudes suggest a higher occurrence of light precipitation (LP; ≤1 mm/day) and heavy precipitation (HP; ≥30 mm/day) at the expense of moderate precipitation reduction (MP; 1–30 mm/day) from Tropics to midlatitudes, but an increase in all categories of precipitation in polar regions.

    On the other hand, the PDF change with global warming in different precipitation climatological zones presents another image. For all regions and seasons examined, there is an HP increase at the cost of MP, but LP varies. The reduced MP in richer precipitation zones resides in the PDF peak intensities, which linearly increase with the precipitation climatology zones. In particular in the Tropics (20°S to 20°N), the precipitation PDF has a flatter distribution (i.e. HP and LP increases with MP reduction) except for the Sahara Desert. In the primarymore »precipitation zones in the subtropics (20°–40°) of both hemispheres, precipitation over land switches toward higher intensity (HP increases, but MP and LP decrease) in both winter and summer, while precipitation over ocean in both seasons shows a flattening trend in the intensity distribution. For the major precipitation zones of the mid‐to‐high latitude belt (40°–70°), PDF of precipitation tends to be flatter over ocean in summer, but switches toward higher intensities over land in both summer and winter, as well as over ocean in winter.

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