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  1. Abstract

    The tropical tropospheric temperature is close to but typically cooler than that of the moist adiabat. The negative temperature deviation from the moist adiabat manifests a C-shape profile and is projected to increase and stretch upward under warming in both comprehensive climate models and idealized radiative–convective equilibrium (RCE) simulations. The increased temperature deviation corresponds to a larger convective available potential energy (CAPE) under warming. The extreme convective updraft velocity in RCE increases correspondingly but at a smaller fractional rate than that of CAPE. A conceptual model for the tropical temperature deviation and convective updraft velocities is formulated to understand these features. The model builds on the previous zero-buoyancy model but replaces the bulk zero-buoyancy plume by a spectrum of entraining plumes that have distinct entrainment rates and are positively buoyant until their levels of neutral buoyancy. Besides the negative temperature deviation and its increasing magnitude with warming, this allows the spectral plume model to further predict the C-shape profile as well as its upward stretch with warming. By representing extreme convective updrafts as weakly entraining plumes, the model is able to reproduce the smaller fractional increase in convective velocities with warming as compared to that of CAPE. The smallermore »fractional increase is mainly caused by the upward stretch in the temperature deviation profile with warming, which reduces the ratio between the integrated plume buoyancy and CAPE. The model thus provides a useful tool for understanding the tropical temperature profile and convective updraft velocities.

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  2. Abstract

    Studies have indicated that North Pacific sea surface temperature (SST) variability can significantly modulate El Niño–Southern Oscillation (ENSO), but there has been little effort to put extratropical–tropical interactions into the context of historical events. To quantify the role of the North Pacific in pacing the timing and magnitude of observed ENSO, we use a fully coupled climate model to produce an ensemble of North Pacific Ocean–Global Atmosphere (nPOGA) SST pacemaker simulations. In nPOGA, SST anomalies are restored back to observations in the North Pacific (>15°N) but are free to evolve throughout the rest of the globe. We find that the North Pacific SST has significantly influenced observed ENSO variability, accounting for approximately 15% of the total variance in boreal fall and winter. The connection between the North and tropical Pacific arises from two physical pathways: 1) a wind–evaporation–SST (WES) propagating mechanism, and 2) a Gill-like atmospheric response associated with anomalous deep convection in boreal summer and fall, which we refer to as the summer deep convection (SDC) response. The SDC response accounts for 25% of the observed zonal wind variability around the equatorial date line. On an event-by-event basis, nPOGA most closely reproduces the 2014/15 and the 2015/16 Elmore »Niños. In particular, we show that the 2015 Pacific meridional mode event increased wind forcing along the equator by 20%, potentially contributing to the extreme nature of the 2015/16 El Niño. Our results illustrate the significant role of extratropical noise in pacing the initiation and magnitude of ENSO events and may improve the predictability of ENSO on seasonal time scales.

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  3. Free, publicly-accessible full text available November 17, 2023
  4. Abstract This study quantifies the contributions of tropical sea surface temperature (SST) variations during the boreal warm season to the interannual-to-decadal variability in tropical cyclone genesis frequency (TCGF) over the Northern Hemisphere ocean basins. The first seven leading modes of tropical SST variability are found to affect basinwide TCGF in one or more basins, and are related to canonical El Niño–Southern Oscillation (ENSO), global warming (GW), the Pacific meridional mode (PMM), Atlantic multidecadal oscillation (AMO), Pacific decadal oscillation (PDO), and the Atlantic meridional mode (AMM). These modes account for approximately 58%, 50%, and 56% of the variance in basinwide TCGF during 1969–2018 over the North Atlantic (NA), northeast Pacific (NEP), and northwest Pacific (NWP) Oceans, respectively. The SST effect is weak on TCGF variability in the north Indian Ocean. The SST modes dominating TCGF variability differ among the basins: ENSO, the AMO, AMM, and GW are dominant for the NA; ENSO and the AMO for the NEP; and the PMM, interannual AMO, and GW for the NWP. A specific mode may have opposite effects on TCGF in different basins, particularly between the NA and NEP. Sliding-window multiple linear regression analyses show that the SST effects on basinwide TCGF are stablemore »in time in the NA and NWP, but have strengthened since the 1990s in the NEP. The SST effects on local TC genesis and occurrence frequency are also explored, and the underlying physical mechanisms are examined by diagnosing a genesis potential index and its components.« less
    Free, publicly-accessible full text available July 15, 2023
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  6. Abstract The summer intraseasonal oscillation (ISO) is characterized by a northward-moving rainband in the Indo–western Pacific warm pool region. The physical origin of the ISO is not fully understood, as it is masked by strong interaction of convection and circulation. This study examines intraseasonal to interannual variability during June–August over the Indo–western Pacific warm pool region. The results show that the tropical northwest Pacific anomalous anticyclone (NWP-AAC) is a fundamental mode on both intraseasonal and interannual time scales, destabilized by the monsoon mean state, specifically through barotropic energy conversion and convective feedback in the low-level confluence between the monsoon westerlies and easterly trade winds. On the interannual time scale, the NWP-AAC shows a biennial tendency, reversing phase from the summer of El Niño to the summer that follows; the AAC in post–El Niño summer is excited indirectly through sea surface temperature anomalies in the Indo–NWP. On the intraseasonal time scale, the column-integrated moisture advection causes the NWP-AAC-related convection to propagate northward. Our results provide a unifying view of multiscale Asian summer monsoon variability, with important implications for subseasonal to seasonal prediction.
  7. Abstract Investigating Pacific Meridional Modes (PMM) without the influence of tropical Pacific variability is technically difficult if based on observations or fully coupled model simulations due to their overlapping spatial structures. To confront this issue, the present study investigates both North (NPMM) and South PMM (SPMM) in terms of their associated atmospheric forcing and response processes based on a mechanically decoupled climate model simulation. In this experiment, the climatological wind stress is prescribed over the tropical Pacific, which effectively removes dynamically coupled tropical Pacific variability (e.g., the El Niño-Southern Oscillation). Interannual NPMM in this experiment is forced not only by the North Pacific Oscillation, but also by a North Pacific tripole (NPT) pattern of atmospheric internal variability, which primarily forces decadal NPMM variability. Interannual and decadal variability of the SPMM is partly forced by the South Pacific Oscillation. In turn, both interannual and decadal NPMM variability can excite atmospheric teleconnections over the Northern Hemisphere extratropics by influencing the meridional displacement of the climatological intertropical convergence zone throughout the whole year. Similarly, both interannual and decadal SPMM variability can also excite atmospheric teleconnections over the Southern Hemisphere extratropics by extending/shrinking the climatological South Pacific convergence zone in all seasons. Our resultsmore »highlight a new poleward pathway by which both the NPMM and SPMM feed back to the extratropical climate, in addition to the equatorward influence on tropical Pacific variability.« less
  8. Heavy monsoon rainfall ravaged a large swath of East Asia in summer 2020. Severe flooding of the Yangtze River displaced millions of residents in the midst of a historic public health crisis. This extreme rainy season was not anticipated from El Niño conditions. Using observations and model experiments, we show that the record strong Indian Ocean Dipole event in 2019 is an important contributor to the extreme Yangtze flooding of 2020. This Indian Ocean mode and a weak El Niño in the Pacific excite downwelling oceanic Rossby waves that propagate slowly westward south of the equator. At a mooring in the Southwest Indian Ocean, the thermocline deepens by a record 70 m in late 2019. The deepened thermocline helps sustain the Indian Ocean warming through the 2020 summer. The Indian Ocean warming forces an anomalous anticyclone in the lower troposphere over the Indo-Northwest Pacific region and intensifies the upper-level westerly jet over East Asia, leading to heavy summer rainfall in the Yangtze Basin. These coupled ocean-atmosphere processes beyond the equatorial Pacific provide predictability. Indeed, dynamic models initialized with observed ocean state predicted the heavy summer rainfall in the Yangtze Basin as early as April 2020.