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Wu, XQ, Liang XZ, Zhang GJ.  2003.  Seasonal migration of ITCZ precipitation across the equator: Why can't GCMs simulate it? Geophysical Research Letters. 30   10.1029/2003gl017198   AbstractWebsite

The secondary meridional circulation induced by convective momentum transport (CMT) within the ascending branch of the Hadley circulation is a missing dynamical mechanism that can cause common failure of general circulation models (GCMs) in simulating seasonal migration of the intertropical convergence zone (ITCZ) precipitation maximum across the equator. This failure is manifested by the model bias that the precipitation peak remains north of the equator during November-March. The CMT-induced secondary circulation, characterized by strong downward motion along the equatorial belt and upward motion south and north of the belt, tends to modify the meridional distribution of precipitation with the strongest impacts during boreal winter and spring. A 20-year GCM simulation with the CMT parameterization successfully reproduces the observed seasonal migration of the ITCZ precipitation across the equator with the peaks near 8degreesN during boreal summer and near 8degreesS during boreal winter.

Zhang, GJ, McFarlane NA.  1995.  Sensitivity of climate simulations to the parameterization of cumulus convection in the Canadian climate centre general circulation model. Atmosphere-Ocean. 33:407-446.   10.1080/07055900.1995.9649539   AbstractWebsite

A simplified cumulus parameterization scheme, suitable for use in GCMs, is presented. This parameterization is based on a plume ensemble concept similar to that originally proposed by Arakawa and Schubert (1974). However, it employs three assumptions which significantly simplify the formulation and implementation of the scheme. It is assumed that an ensemble of convective-scale updrafts with associated saturated downdrafts may exist when the atmosphere is locally conditionally unstable in the lower troposphere. However, the updraft ensemble is comprised only of;hose plumes which are sufficiently buoyant to penetrate through this unstable layer. It is assumed that all such plumes have the same upward mass flux at the base of the convective layer. The third assumption is that moist convection, which occurs only when there is convective available potential energy (CAFE) for reversible ascent of an undiluted parcel from the sub-cloud layer, acts to remove CAFE at an exponential rate with a specified adjustment time scale. The performance of the scheme and its sensitivity to choices of disposable parameters is illustrated by presenting results from a series of idealized single-column model tests. These tests demonstrate that the scheme permits establishment of a quasi-equilibrium between large-scale forcing and convective response. However, it is also shown that the strength of convective downdrafts is an important factor in determining the nature of the equilibrium state. Relatively strong down-drafts give rise to an unsteady irregularly fluctuating state characterized by alternate periods of deep and shallow convection. The effect of using the scheme for GCM climate simulations is illustrated by presenting selected results of a multi-year simulation carried out with the Canadian Climate Centre GCM using the new parameterization (the CONV simulation). Comparison of these results with those for a climate simulation made with the standard model (the CONTROL simulation, as documented by McFarlane et al., 1992) reveals the importance of other parameterized processes in determining the ultimate effect of introducing the new convective scheme. The radiative response to changes in the cloudiness regime is particularly important in this regard.

Zhang, GJ.  1995.  The sensitivity of surface-energy balance to convective parameterization in a general circulation model. Journal of the Atmospheric Sciences. 52:1370-1382.   10.1175/1520-0469(1995)052<1370:TSOSEB>2.0.CO;2   AbstractWebsite

This study investigates the interaction between convection and the surface energy fluxes, and its sensitivity to convective parameterization schemes using a general circulation model. Two simulations of the global circulation averaged annually from 1 June 1985 to 31 May 1986 are performed, with particular emphasis on the tropical Pacific. In the control simulation, a convective scheme that parameterizes convection based on low-level moisture convergence is used. A second experiment employs a parameterization scheme that uses the time rate of change of convective available potential energy (CAFE) to determine convection. When the low-level moisture convergence is used as the closure for convective parameterization, convection and low-level convergence occur near the landmass of Southeast Asia. The large-scale circulation is such that a fairly strong surface wind that provides moisture to fuel convection is located in the western tropical Pacific warm pool regions, giving rise to relatively high latent heat flux there. When the time rate of change of CAFE is used to close convective parameterization, convection and its associated low-level large-scale convergence and weak surface wind speed occur in the warm pool region, resulting in low latent heat flux there. Response of surface solar radiative flux to convection is found to be the largest in the surface energy budget. Convection affects surface radiation through the generation of clouds. In the experiment, more clouds are produced over the tropical oceans, leading to less solar radiation received on the surface. More clouds in the experiment also lead to less net emission of longwave radiation from the ocean surface due to the cloud greenhouse effect, albeit the magnitude is much smaller than that for solar radiation. The large changes in surface latent heat and solar radiative fluxes from the control run to the experiment suggest that the surface energy balance in the atmospheric general circulation model is highly sensitive to convective parameterization.

Liang, YS, Wang LN, Zhang GJ, Wu QZ.  2017.  Sensitivity test of parameterizations of subgrid-scale orographic form drag in the NCAR CESM1. Climate Dynamics. 48:3365-3379.   10.1007/s00382-016-3272-7   AbstractWebsite

Turbulent drag caused by subgrid orographic form drag has significant effects on the atmosphere. It is represented through parameterization in large-scale numerical prediction models. An indirect parameterization scheme, the Turbulent Mountain Stress scheme (TMS), is currently used in the National Center for Atmospheric Research Community Earth System Model v1.0.4. In this study we test a direct scheme referred to as BBW04 (Beljaars et al. in Q J R Meteorol Soc 130:1327-1347, 2004., which has been used in several short-term weather forecast models and earth system models. Results indicate that both the indirect and direct schemes increase surface wind stress and improve the model's performance in simulating low-level wind speed over complex orography compared to the simulation without subgrid orographic effect. It is shown that the TMS scheme produces a more intense wind speed adjustment, leading to lower wind speed near the surface. The low-level wind speed by the BBW04 scheme agrees better with the ERA-Interim reanalysis and is more sensitive to complex orography as a direct method. Further, the TMS scheme increases the 2-m temperature and planetary boundary layer height over large areas of tropical and subtropical Northern Hemisphere land.

Leung, K, Velado M, Subramanian A, Zhang GJ, Somerville RCJ, Shen SSP.  2016.  Simulation of high-resolution precipitable water data by a stochastic model with a random trigger. Advances in Data Science and Adaptive Analysis.   10.1142/S2424922X16500066   Abstract

We use a stochastic differential equation (SDE) model with a random precipitation trigger for mass balance to simulate the 20 s temporal resolution column precipitable water vapor (PWV) data during the tropical warm pool international cloud experiment (TWP-ICE) period of January 20 to February 15, 2006 at Darwin, Australia. The trigger is determined by an exponential cumulative distribution function, the time step size in the SDE simulation, and a random precipitation indicator uniformly distributed over [0, 1]. Compared with the observed data, the simulations have similar means, extremes, skewness, kurtosis, and overall shapes of probability distribution, and are temporally well synchronized for increasing and decreasing, but have about 20% lower standard deviation. Based on a 1000-day run, the correlations between the model data and the observations in TWP-ICE period were computed in a moving time window of 25 days and show quasi-periodic variations between (−0.675, 0.697). This shows that the results are robust for the stochastic model simulation of the observed PWV data, whose fractal dimension is 1.9, while the dimension of the simulated data is also about 1.9. This agreement and numerous sensitivity experiments form a test on the feasibility of using an SDE model to simulate precipitation processes in more complex climate models.

Wang, Y, Zhang GJ, He YJ.  2017.  Simulation of precipitation extremes using a stochastic convective parameterization in the NCAR CAM5 under different resolutions. Journal of Geophysical Research-Atmospheres. 122:12875-12891.   10.1002/2017jd026901   AbstractWebsite

With the incorporation of the Plant-Craig stochastic deep convection scheme into the Zhang-McFarlane deterministic parameterization in the Community Atmospheric Model version 5 (CAM5), its impact on extreme precipitation at different resolutions (2 degrees, 1 degrees, and 0.5 degrees) is investigated. CAM5 with the stochastic deep convection scheme (experiment (EXP)) simulates the precipitation extreme indices better than the standard version (control). At 2 degrees and 1 degrees resolutions, EXP increases high percentile (>99th) daily precipitation over the United States, Europe, and China, resulting in a better agreement with observations. However, at 0.5 degrees resolution, due to enhanced grid-scale precipitation with increasing resolution, EXP overestimates extreme precipitation over southeastern U.S. and eastern Europe. The reduced biases in EXP at each resolution benefit from a broader probability distribution function of convective precipitation intensity simulated. Among EXP simulations at different resolutions, if the spatial averaging area over which input quantities used in convective closure are spatially averaged in the stochastic convection scheme is comparable, the modeled convective precipitation intensity decreases with increasing resolution, when gridded to the same resolution, while the total precipitation is not sensitive to model resolution, exhibiting some degree of scale-awareness. Sensitivity tests show that for the same resolution, increasing the size of spatial averaging area decreases convective precipitation but increases the grid-scale precipitation.

Jiang, XN, Waliser DE, Kim D, Zhao M, Sperber KR, Stern WF, Schubert SD, Zhang GJ, Wang WQ, Khairoutdinov M, Neale RB, Lee MI.  2012.  Simulation of the intraseasonal variability over the Eastern Pacific ITCZ in climate models. Climate Dynamics. 39:617-636.   10.1007/s00382-011-1098-x   AbstractWebsite

During boreal summer, convective activity over the eastern Pacific (EPAC) inter-tropical convergence zone (ITCZ) exhibits vigorous intraseasonal variability (ISV). Previous observational studies identified two dominant ISV modes over the EPAC, i.e., a 40-day mode and a quasi-biweekly mode (QBM). The 40-day ISV mode is generally considered a local expression of the Madden-Julian Oscillation. However, in addition to the eastward propagation, northward propagation of the 40-day mode is also evident. The QBM mode bears a smaller spatial scale than the 40-day mode, and is largely characterized by northward propagation. While the ISV over the EPAC exerts significant influences on regional climate/weather systems, investigation of contemporary model capabilities in representing these ISV modes over the EPAC is limited. In this study, the model fidelity in representing these two dominant ISV modes over the EPAC is assessed by analyzing six atmospheric and three coupled general circulation models (GCMs), including one super-parameterized GCM (SPCAM) and one recently developed high-resolution GCM (GFDL HIRAM) with horizontal resolution of about 50 km. While it remains challenging for GCMs to faithfully represent these two ISV modes including their amplitude, evolution patterns, and periodicities, encouraging simulations are also noted. In general, SPCAM and HIRAM exhibit relatively superior skill in representing the two ISV modes over the EPAC. While the advantage of SPCAM is achieved through explicit representation of the cumulus process by the embedded 2-D cloud resolving models, the improved representation in HIRAM could be ascribed to the employment of a strongly entraining plume cumulus scheme, which inhibits the deep convection, and thus effectively enhances the stratiform rainfall. The sensitivity tests based on HIRAM also suggest that fine horizontal resolution could also be conducive to realistically capture the ISV over the EPAC, particularly for the QBM mode. Further analysis illustrates that the observed 40-day ISV mode over the EPAC is closely linked to the eastward propagating ISV signals from the Indian Ocean/Western Pacific, which is in agreement with the general impression that the 40-day ISV mode over the EPAC could be a local expression of the global Madden-Julian Oscillation (MJO). In contrast, the convective signals associated with the 40-day mode over the EPAC in most of the GCM simulations tend to originate between 150A degrees E and 150A degrees W, suggesting the 40-day ISV mode over the EPAC might be sustained without the forcing by the eastward propagating MJO. Further investigation is warranted towards improved understanding of the origin of the ISV over the EPAC.

Zhang, GJ, Mu MQ.  2005.  Simulation of the Madden-Julian oscillation in the NCAR CCM3 using a revised Zhang-McFarlane convection parameterization scheme. Journal of Climate. 18:4046-4064.   10.1175/jcli3508.1   AbstractWebsite

This study presents the simulation of the Madden-Julian oscillation (MJO) in the NCAR CCM3 using a modified Zhang-McFarlane convection parameterization scheme. It is shown that, with the modified scheme, the intraseasonal (20-80 day) variability in precipitation, zonal wind, and outgoing longwave radiation (OLR) is enhanced substantially compared to the standard CCM3 simulation. Using a composite technique based on the empirical orthogonal function (EOF) analysis, the paper demonstrates that the simulated MJOs are in better agreement with the observations than the standard model in many important aspects. The amplitudes of the MJOs in 850-mb zonal wind, precipitation, and OLR are comparable to those of the observations, and the MJOs show clearly eastward propagation from the Indian Ocean to the Pacific. In contrast, the simulated MJOs in the standard CCM3 simulation are weak and have a tendency to propagate westward in the Indian Ocean. Nevertheless, there remain several deficiencies that are yet to be addressed. The time period of the MJOs is shorter, about 30 days, compared to the observed time period of 40 days. The spatial scale of the precipitation signal is smaller than observed. Examination of convective heating from both deep and shallow convection and its relationship with moisture anomalies indicates that near the mature phase of the MJO, regions of shallow convection developing ahead of the deep convection coincide with regions of positive moisture anomalies in the lower troposphere. This is consistent with the recent observations and theoretical development that shallow convection helps to precondition the atmosphere for MJO by moistening the lower troposphere. Sensitivity tests are performed on the individual changes in the modified convection scheme. They show that both change of closure and use of a relative humidity threshold for the convection trigger play important roles in improving the MJO simulation. Use of the new closure leads to the eastward propagation of the MJO and increases the intensity of the MJO signal in the wind field, while imposing a relative humidity threshold enhances the MJO variability in precipitation.

Collier, JC, Zhang GJ.  2006.  Simulation of the North American monsoon by the NCAR CCM3 and its sensitivity to convection parameterization. Journal of Climate. 19:2851-2866.   10.1175/jcli3732.1   AbstractWebsite

Two 9-yr runs of the NCAR Community Climate Model version 3 (CCM3) are compared in their simulations of the North American summer monsoon. In a control simulation, the Zhang-McFarlane deep convection scheme is used. For an experimental simulation, the following modifications to the scheme are implemented. The closure is based on the large-scale forcing of virtual temperature, and a relative humidity threshold on convective parcels lifted from the boundary layer is applied. The sensitivity to these modifications for simulating the North American monsoon is investigated. Model validation relies on hourly precipitation rates from surface gauges over the United States, hourly precipitation rates derived from the combination of microwave and radar measurements from NASA's Tropical Rainfall Measuring Mission (TRMM) satellite over Mexico, and CAPE values as calculated from temperature, specific humidity, and pressure fields from the NCEP-NCAR reanalysis. Results show that the experimental run improves the timing of the monsoon onset and peak in the regions of core monsoon influence considered here, though it increases a negative bias in the peak monsoon intensity in one region of northern Mexico. Sensitivity of the diurnal cycle of precipitation to modifications in the convective scheme is highly geographically dependent. Using a combination of gauge-based rainfall rates and reanalysis-based CAPE, it is found that improvements in the simulated diurnal cycle are confined to a convective regime in which the diurnal evolution of precipitation is observed to lag that of CAPE. For another regime, in which CAPE is observed to be approximately in phase with precipitation, model phase biases increase nearly everywhere. Some of the increased phase biases in the latter regime are primarily because of application of the relative humidity threshold.

Xie, SC, Zhang MH, Branson M, Cederwall RT, Delgenio AD, Eitzen ZA, Ghan SJ, Iacobellis SF, Johnson KL, Khairoutdinov M, Klein SA, Krueger SK, Lin WY, Lohmann U, Miller MA, Randall DA, Somerville RCJ, Sud YC, Walker GK, Wolf A, Wu XQ, Xu KM, Yio JJ, Zhang G, Zhang JH.  2005.  Simulations of midlatitude frontal clouds by single-column and cloud-resolving models during the Atmospheric Radiation Measurement March 2000 cloud intensive operational period. Journal of Geophysical Research-Atmospheres. 110   10.1029/2004jd005119   AbstractWebsite

[1] This study quantitatively evaluates the overall performance of nine single-column models (SCMs) and four cloud-resolving models (CRMs) in simulating a strong midlatitude frontal cloud system taken from the spring 2000 Cloud Intensive Observational Period at the Atmospheric Radiation Measurement ( ARM) Southern Great Plains site. The evaluation data are an analysis product of constrained variational analysis of the ARM observations and the cloud data collected from the ARM ground active remote sensors (i.e., cloud radar, lidar, and laser ceilometers) and satellite retrievals. Both the selected SCMs and CRMs can typically capture the bulk characteristics of the frontal system and the frontal precipitation. However, there are significant differences in detailed structures of the frontal clouds. Both CRMs and SCMs overestimate high thin cirrus clouds before the main frontal passage. During the passage of a front with strong upward motion, CRMs underestimate middle and low clouds while SCMs overestimate clouds at the levels above 765 hPa. All CRMs and some SCMs also underestimated the middle clouds after the frontal passage. There are also large differences in the model simulations of cloud condensates owing to differences in parameterizations; however, the differences among intercompared models are smaller in the CRMs than the SCMs. In general, the CRM-simulated cloud water and ice are comparable with observations, while most SCMs underestimated cloud water. SCMs show huge biases varying from large overestimates to equally large underestimates of cloud ice. Many of these model biases could be traced to the lack of subgrid-scale dynamical structure in the applied forcing fields and the lack of organized mesoscale hydrometeor advections. Other potential reasons for these model errors are also discussed in the paper.

Gutzler, DS, Long LN, Schemm J, Roy SB, Bosilovich M, Collier JC, Kanamitsu M, Kelly P, Lawrence D, Lee MI, Sanchez RL, Mapes B, Mo K, Nunes A, Ritchie EA, Roads J, Schubert S, Wei H, Zhang GJ.  2009.  Simulations of the 2004 North American Monsoon: NAMAP2. Journal of Climate. 22:6716-6740.   10.1175/2009jcli3138.1   AbstractWebsite

The second phase of the North American Monsoon Experiment (NAME) Model Assessment Project (NAMAP2) was carried out to provide a coordinated set of simulations from global and regional models of the 2004 warm season across the North American monsoon domain. This project follows an earlier assessment, called NAMAP, that preceded the 2004 field season of the North American Monsoon Experiment. Six global and four regional models are all forced with prescribed, time-varying ocean surface temperatures. Metrics for model simulation of warm season precipitation processes developed in NAMAP are examined that pertain to the seasonal progression and diurnal cycle of precipitation, monsoon onset, surface turbulent fluxes, and simulation of the low-level jet circulation over the Gulf of California. Assessment of the metrics is shown to be limited by continuing uncertainties in spatially averaged observations, demonstrating that modeling and observational analysis capabilities need to be developed concurrently. Simulations of the core subregion (CORE) of monsoonal precipitation in global models have improved since NAMAP, despite the lack of a proper low-level jet circulation in these simulations. Some regional models run at higher resolution still exhibit the tendency observed in NAMAP to overestimate precipitation in the CORE subregion; this is shown to involve both convective and resolved components of the total precipitation. The variability of precipitation in the Arizona/New Mexico (AZNM) subregion is simulated much better by the regional models compared with the global models, illustrating the importance of transient circulation anomalies (prescribed as lateral boundary conditions) for simulating precipitation in the northern part of the monsoon domain. This suggests that seasonal predictability derivable from lower boundary conditions may be limited in the AZNM subregion.

Zhang, GJ, Zurovac-Jevtic D, Boer ER.  1999.  Spatial characteristics of the tropical cloud systems: comparison between model simulation and satellite observations. Tellus Series a-Dynamic Meteorology and Oceanography. 51:922-936.   10.1034/j.1600-0870.1999.00026.x   AbstractWebsite

A Lagrangian cloud classification algorithm is applied to the cloud fields in the tropical Pacific simulated by a high-resolution regional atmospheric model. The purpose of this work is to assess the model's ability to reproduce the observed spatial characteristics of the tropical cloud systems. The cloud systems are broadly grouped into three categories: deep clouds, mid-level clouds and low clouds. The deep clouds are further divided into mesoscale convective systems and non-mesoscale convective systems. It is shown that the model is able to simulate the total cloud cover for each category reasonably well. However, when the cloud cover is broken down into contributions from cloud systems of different sizes, it is shown that the simulated cloud size distribution is biased toward large cloud systems, with contribution from relatively small cloud systems significantly under-represented in the model for both deep and mid-level clouds. The number distribution and area contribution to the cloud cover from mesoscale convective systems are very well simulated compared to the satellite observations, so are low clouds as well. The dependence of the cloud physical properties on cloud scale is examined. It is found that cloud liquid water path, rainfall, and ocean surface sensible and latent heat fluxes have a clear dependence on cloud types and scale. This is of particular interest to studies of the cloud effects on surface energy budget and hydrological cycle. The diurnal variation of the cloud population and area is also examined. The model exhibits a varying degree of success in simulating the diurnal variation of the cloud number and area. The observed early morning maximum cloud cover in deep convective cloud systems is qualitatively simulated. However, the afternoon secondary maximum is missing in the model simulation. The diurnal variation of the tropospheric temperature is well reproduced by the model while simulation of the diurnal variation of the moisture held is poor. The implication of this comparison between model simulation and observations on cloud parameterization is discussed.

Wang, Y, Zhang GJ, Craig GC.  2016.  Stochastic convective parameterization improving the simulation of tropical precipitation variability. Geophysical Research Letters. 43:6612-6619.   10.1002/2016gl069818   AbstractWebsite

The Plant-Craig (PC) stochastic convective parameterization scheme is implemented into the National Center for Atmospheric Research Community Atmosphere Model version 5 (CAM5) to couple with the Zhang-McFarlane deterministic convection scheme. To evaluate its impact on tropical precipitation simulation, two experiments are conducted: one with the standard CAM5 and the other with the stochastic scheme incorporated. Results show that the PC stochastic parameterization decreases the frequency of weak precipitation and increases the frequency of strong precipitation, resulting in better agreement with observations. The most striking improvement is in the probability distribution function (PDF) of precipitation intensity, with the well-known too-much-drizzle problem in CAM5 largely eliminated. In the global tropical belt, the precipitation intensity PDF from the simulation agrees remarkably well with that of Tropical Rainfall Measuring Mission observations. The stochastic scheme also yields a similar magnitude of intraseasonal variability of precipitation to observations and improves the simulation of the eastward propagating intraseasonal signals of precipitation and zonal wind.

Zhang, GJ, Grossman RL.  1996.  Surface evaporation during the central equatorial Pacific experiment: A climate-scale perspective. Journal of Climate. 9:2522-2537.   10.1175/1520-0442(1996)009<2522:sedtce>2.0.co;2   AbstractWebsite

This study is directed to evaluating the feedback between evaporation (F-L) and sea surface temperature (T-s) in the equatorial Pacific Ocean by looking at the components that control dF(L)/dT(s), the variation of evaporation with T-s. First eddy correlation evaporation estimates obtained during long (similar to 1000-1500 km), low-level (30 m) traverses of the central equatorial Pacific by research aircraft during the Central Equatorial Pacific Experiment (CEPEX) are analyzed. From this limited dataset, extension to climate space- and timescales is made by comparing the aircraft measurements to bulk aerodynamic estimates to F-L using mean values from both the aircraft and Tropical Atmosphere-Ocean buoys. Variation of surface evaporation with T-s is shown to be affected not only to surface saturation humidity deficit and its dependence on T-s, but also by variations of wind speed with T-s. Depending on the relative importance of the two contributions, surface evaporation can either increase or decrease with T-s. Intercomparison between the aircraft data and the buoy data indicates that the humidity deficit effect is dominant during CEPEX, and in low T-s, where surface winds are only weakly related to T-s: the effect of wind speed variation with T-s is much more important in the 2-yr buoy data for T-s greater than or equal to 301 K. The discrepancy between the evaporation feedback in CEPEX and that from the 2-yr buoy data is shown to be largely due to oversampling of high winds and high evaporation during CEPEX for 302 less than or equal to T, < 303 K. The long-term buoy data show that for T-s < 301 K, dF(L)/dT(s) = +9 W m(-2) K-1, while for 304 K > T-c greater than or equal to 301 K, dF(L)/dT(s) = -13 W m(-2) K-1. Furthermore, observations of F-L are well below the values necessary for evaporation to be the primary limiting factor in the regulation of T-s in the equatorial Pacific.