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  1. Abstract

    The prediction skill for precipitation anomalies in late spring and summer months—a significant component of extreme climate events—has remained stubbornly low for years. This paper presents a new idea that utilizes information on boreal spring land surface temperature/subsurface temperature (LST/SUBT) anomalies over the Tibetan Plateau (TP) to improve prediction of subsequent summer droughts/floods over several regions over the world, East Asia and North America in particular. The work was performed in the framework of the GEWEX/LS4P Phase I (LS4P-I) experiment, which focused on whether the TP LST/SUBT provides an additional source for subseasonal-to-seasonal (S2S) predictability. The summer 2003, when there were severe drought/flood over the southern/northern part of the Yangtze River basin, respectively, has been selected as the focus case. With the newly developed LST/SUBT initialization method, the observed surface temperature anomaly over the TP has been partially produced by the LS4P-I model ensemble mean, and 8 hotspot regions in the world were identified where June precipitation is significantly associated with anomalies of May TP land temperature. Consideration of the TP LST/SUBT effect has produced about 25–50% of observed precipitation anomalies in most hotspot regions. The multiple models have shown more consistency in the hotspot regions along the Tibetan Plateau-Rocky Mountain Circumglobal (TRC) wave train. The mechanisms for the LST/SUBT effect on the 2003 drought over the southern part of the Yangtze River Basin are discussed. For comparison, the global SST effect has also been tested and 6 regions with significant SST effects were identified in the 2003 case, explaining about 25–50% of precipitation anomalies over most of these regions. This study suggests that the TP LST/SUBT effect is a first-order source of S2S precipitation predictability, and hence it is comparable to that of the SST effect. With the completion of the LS4P-I, the LS4P-II has been launched and the LS4P-II protocol is briefly presented.

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  3. Abstract Subseasonal-to-seasonal (S2S) precipitation prediction in boreal spring and summer months, which contains a significant number of high-signal events, is scientifically challenging and prediction skill has remained poor for years. Tibetan Plateau (TP) spring observed surface ­temperatures show a lag correlation with summer precipitation in several remote regions, but current global land–atmosphere coupled models are unable to represent this behavior due to significant errors in producing observed TP surface temperatures. To address these issues, the Global Energy and Water Exchanges (GEWEX) program launched the “Impact of Initialized Land Temperature and Snowpack on Subseasonal-to-Seasonal Prediction” (LS4P) initiative as a community effort to test the impact of land temperature in high-mountain regions on S2S prediction by climate models: more than 40 institutions worldwide are participating in this project. After using an innovative new land state initialization approach based on observed surface 2-m temperature over the TP in the LS4P experiment, results from a multimodel ensemble provide evidence for a causal relationship in the observed association between the Plateau spring land temperature and summer precipitation over several regions across the world through teleconnections. The influence is underscored by an out-of-phase oscillation between the TP and Rocky Mountain surface temperatures. This study reveals for the first time that high-mountain land temperature could be a substantial source of S2S precipitation predictability, and its effect is probably as large as ocean surface temperature over global “hotspot” regions identified here; the ensemble means in some “hotspots” produce more than 40% of the observed anomalies. This LS4P approach should stimulate more follow-on explorations. 
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  4. Abstract. Subseasonal-to-seasonal (S2S) prediction, especially the prediction of extreme hydroclimate events such as droughts and floods, is not only scientifically challenging, but also has substantial societal impacts. Motivated by preliminary studies, the Global Energy and Water Exchanges(GEWEX)/Global Atmospheric System Study (GASS) has launched a new initiativecalled “Impact of Initialized Land Surface Temperature and Snowpack on Subseasonal to Seasonal Prediction” (LS4P) as the first international grass-roots effort to introduce spring land surface temperature(LST)/subsurface temperature (SUBT) anomalies over high mountain areas as acrucial factor that can lead to significant improvement in precipitationprediction through the remote effects of land–atmosphere interactions. LS4P focuses on process understanding and predictability, and hence it is differentfrom, and complements, other international projects that focus on theoperational S2S prediction. More than 40 groups worldwide have participated in this effort, including 21 Earth system models, 9 regionalclimate models, and 7 data groups. This paper provides an overview of the history and objectives of LS4P, provides the first-phase experimental protocol (LS4P-I) which focuses on the remote effect ofthe Tibetan Plateau, discusses the LST/SUBT initialization, and presents thepreliminary results. Multi-model ensemble experiments and analyses ofobservational data have revealed that the hydroclimatic effect of the springLST on the Tibetan Plateau is not limited to the Yangtze River basin but may have a significant large-scale impact on summer precipitation beyond EastAsia and its S2S prediction. Preliminary studies and analysis have alsoshown that LS4P models are unable to preserve the initialized LST anomaliesin producing the observed anomalies largely for two main reasons: (i) inadequacies in the land models arising from total soil depths which are tooshallow and the use of simplified parameterizations, which both tend to limit the soil memory; (ii) reanalysis data, which are used for initial conditions, have large discrepancies from the observed mean state andanomalies of LST over the Tibetan Plateau. Innovative approaches have beendeveloped to largely overcome these problems. 
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  5. Abstract

    Prior research indicates that land use and land cover change (LULCC) in the central United States has led to significant changes in surface climate. The spatial resolution of simulations is particularly relevant in this region due to its influence on model skill in capturing mesoscale convective systems (MCSs) and on representing the spatial heterogeneity. Recent advances in Earth system models (ESMs) make it feasible to use variable resolution (VR) meshes to study regional impacts of LULCC while avoiding inconsistencies introduced by lateral boundary conditions typically seen in limited area models. Here, we present numerical experiments using the Community Earth System Model version 2–VR to evaluate (1) the influence of resolution and land use on model skill and (2) impacts of LULCC over the central United States at different resolutions. These simulations are configured either on the 1° grid or a VR grid with grid refinement to 1/8° over the contiguous United States for the period of 1984–2010 with two alternative land use data sets corresponding to the preindustrial and present day states. Our results show that skill in simulating precipitation over the central United States is primarily dependent on resolution, whereas skill in simulating 2‐m temperature is more dependent on accurate land use. The VR experiments show stronger LULCC‐induced precipitation increases over the Midwest in May and June, corresponding to an increase in the number of MCS‐like features and a more conductive thermodynamic environment for convection. Our study demonstrates the potential of using VR ESMs for hydroclimatic simulations in regions with significant LULCC.

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  6. Abstract

    Aerosols have significant and complex impacts on regional climate in East Asia. Cloud‐aerosol‐precipitation interactions (CAPI) remain most challenging in climate studies. The quantitative understanding of CAPI requires good knowledge of aerosols, ranging from their formation, composition, transport, and their radiative, hygroscopic, and microphysical properties. A comprehensive review is presented here centered on the CAPI based chiefly, but not limited to, publications in the special section named EAST‐AIRcpc concerning (1) observations of aerosol loading and properties, (2) relationships between aerosols and meteorological variables affecting CAPI, (3) mechanisms behind CAPI, and (4) quantification of CAPI and their impact on climate. Heavy aerosol loading in East Asia has significant radiative effects by reducing surface radiation, increasing the air temperature, and lowering the boundary layer height. A key factor is aerosol absorption, which is particularly strong in central China. This absorption can have a wide range of impacts such as creating an imbalance of aerosol radiative forcing at the top and bottom of the atmosphere, leading to inconsistent retrievals of cloud variables from space‐borne and ground‐based instruments. Aerosol radiative forcing can delay or suppress the initiation and development of convective clouds whose microphysics can be further altered by the microphysical effect of aerosols. For the same cloud thickness, the likelihood of precipitation is influenced by aerosols: suppressing light rain and enhancing heavy rain, delaying but intensifying thunderstorms, and reducing the onset of isolated showers in most parts of China. Rainfall has become more inhomogeneous and more extreme in the heavily polluted urban regions.

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