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Boyle, J, Klein S, Zhang G, Xie S, Wei X.  2008.  Climate model forecast experiments for TOGA COARE. Monthly Weather Review. 136:808-832.   10.1175/2007mwr2145.1   AbstractWebsite

Short-term (1-10 day) forecasts are made with climate models to assess the parameterizations of the physical processes. The time period for the integrations is that of the intensive observing period (IOP) of the Tropical Ocean Global Atmosphere Coupled Ocean-Atmosphere Response Experiment (TOGA COARE). The models used are the National Center for Atmospheric Research (NCAR) Community Climate Model, version 3.1 (CAM3.1); CAM3.1 with a modified deep convection parameterization; and the Geophysical Fluid Dynamics Laboratory (GFDL) Atmospheric Model, version 2 (AM2). The models were initialized using the state variables from the 40-yr ECMWF Re-Analysis (ERA-40). The CAM deep convective parameterization fails to demonstrate the sensitivity to the imposed forcing to simulate precipitation patterns associated with the Madden-Julian oscillations (MJOs) present during the period. AM2 and modified CAM3.1 exhibit greater correspondence to the observations at the TOGA COARE site, suggesting that convective parameterizations that have some type of limiter (as do AM2 and the modified CAM3.1) simulate the MJO rainfall with more fidelity than those without. None of the models are able to fully capture the correct phasing of westerly wind bursts with respect to precipitation in the eastward-moving MJO disturbance. Better representation of the diabatic heating and effective static stability profiles is associated with a better MJO simulation. Because the models' errors in the forecast mode bear a resemblance to the errors in the climate mode in simulating the MJO, the forecasts may allow for a better way to dissect the reasons for model error.

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Cai, QQ, Zhang GJ, Zhou TJ.  2013.  Impacts of shallow convection on MJO simulation: A moist static energy and moisture budget analysis. Journal of Climate. 26:2417-2431.   10.1175/jcli-d-12-00127.1   AbstractWebsite

The role of shallow convection in Madden-Julian oscillation (MJO) simulation is examined in terms of the moist static energy (MSE) and moisture budgets. Two experiments are carried out using the NCAR Community Atmosphere Model, version 3.0 (CAM3.0): a "CTL'' run and an "NSC'' run that is the same as the CTL except with shallow convection disabled below 700 hPa between 20 degrees S and 20 degrees N. Although the major features in the mean state of outgoing longwave radiation, 850-hPa winds, and vertical structure of specific humidity are reasonably reproduced in both simulations, moisture and clouds are more confined to the planetary boundary layer in the NSC run. While the CTL run gives a better simulation of the MJO life cycle when compared with the reanalysis data, the NSC shows a substantially weaker MJO signal. Both the reanalysis data and simulations show a recharge-discharge mechanism in the MSE evolution that is dominated by the moisture anomalies. However, in the NSC the development of MSE and moisture anomalies is weaker and confined to a shallow layer at the developing phases, which may prevent further development of deep convection. By conducting the budget analysis on both the MSE and moisture, it is found that the major biases in the NSC run are largely attributed to the vertical and horizontal advection. Without shallow convection, the lack of gradual deepening of upward motion during the developing stage of MJO prevents the lower troposphere above the boundary layer from being preconditioned for deep convection.

Chen, HM, Zhou TJ, Neale RB, Wu XQ, Zhang GJ.  2010.  Performance of the new NCAR CAM3.5 in East Asian summer monsoon simulations: Sensitivity to modifications of the convection scheme. Journal of Climate. 23:3657-3675.   10.1175/2010jcli3022.1   AbstractWebsite

The performance of an interim version of the NCAR Community Atmospheric Model (CAM3.5) in simulating the East Asian summer monsoon (EASM) is assessed by comparing model results against observations and reanalyses. Both the climate mean states and seasonal cycle of major EASM components are evaluated. Special attention is paid to the sensitivity of model performance to changes in the convection scheme. This is done by analyzing four CAM3.5 runs with identical dynamical core and physical packages but different modifications to their convection scheme, that is, the original Zhang-McFarlane (ZM) scheme, Neale et al.'s modification (NZM), Wu et al.'s modification (WZM), and Zhang's modification (ZZM). The results show that CAM3.5 can capture the major climate mean states and seasonal features of the EASM circulation system, including reasonable simulations of the Tibetan high in the upper troposphere and the western Pacific subtropical high (WPSH) in the middle and lower troposphere. The main deficiencies are found in monsoon rainfall and the meridional monsoon cell. The weak meridional land-sea thermal contrasts in the model contribute to the weaker monsoon circulation and to insufficient rainfall in both tropical and subtropical regions of EASM. The seasonal migration of rainfall, as well as the northward jump of the WPSH from late spring to summer, is reasonably simulated, except that the northward jump of the monsoon rain belt still needs improvement. Three runs using modified schemes generally improve the model performance in EASM simulation compared to the control run. The monsoon rainfall distribution and its seasonal variation are sensitive to modifications of the ZM convection scheme, which is most likely due to differences in closure assumptions. NZM, which uses a convective available potential energy (CAPE)-based closure assumption,performs better in tropical regions where the rainfall is closely related to CAPE. However, WZM and ZZM, which use quasi-equilibrium (QE) closure, have more realistic subtropical rainfall in the mei-yu/baiu/changma front region, mainly because the rainfall in the subtropics is more sensitive to the rate of destabilization by the large-scale flow.

Chung, CE, Zhang GJ.  2004.  Impact of absorbing aerosol on precipitation: Dynamic aspects in association with convective available potential energy and convective parameterization closure and dependence on aerosol heating profile. Journal of Geophysical Research-Atmospheres. 109   10.1029/2004jd004726   AbstractWebsite

[1] The Indian Ocean Experiment (INDOEX), conducted from 1995 to 2000 to document aerosols in south Asia during winter monsoon season, revealed the existence of a layer of highly absorbing aerosols in the lower troposphere. The observed aerosol has one of the two distinctly different vertical distributions: ( 1) aerosols concentrated in the planetary boundary layer (PBL) below 1.5 km and ( 2) elevated aerosol profile peaking around 3 km. Here we provide the dynamical basis for understanding the direct effects of absorbing aerosols on the large-scale precipitation and the role of the aerosol vertical distribution. This was done through a series of the south Asian aerosol experiments with the National Center for Atmospheric Research Community Climate Model (CCM3), together with different convection parameterization closures, and the Community Atmospheric Model (CAM2). It is found that the land surface temperature underneath the aerosol layer is sensitive to the aerosol vertical distribution: The lifted layer of aerosols results in a significant cooling of the underlying land surface, while the PBL profile makes very little cooling. The mechanism of the aerosol effect on precipitation distribution is investigated by examining the correspondence between the aerosol heating profile, changes of precipitation, and the atmospheric convective instability. The direct aerosol heating of the near-surface air increases the convective available potential energy ( CAPE), whereas the heating above the boundary layer decreases CAPE. Meanwhile, the regionally concentrated low-level aerosol heating tends to cause large-scale rising motion over time, which increases CAPE by decreasing the midlevel temperature. The net CAPE change is small for the lifted profile (i.e., profile elevated above PBL) because the CAPE increase by the midlevel cooling is counteracted by the CAPE decrease through the direct haze heating above the PBL. The precipitation increase averaged over the aerosol area is much larger when the PBL profile is used than when the lifted profile is used in the CCM3 with a CAPE-based convective parameterization closure. The sensitivity of the aerosol effect to convective parameterization closure is tested using a new closure, which is based on the environmental contribution to CAPE (CAPEe). It is shown that when this closure is used in CCM3, the precipitation increase averaged over the aerosol area is small regardless of the vertical profile. This is because the direct heating of either profile decreases CAPEe, opposing the CAPEe increase by the midlevel cooling.

Collier, JC, Zhang GJ.  2007.  Effects of increased horizontal resolution on simulation of the North American monsoon in the NCAR CAM3: An evaluation based on surface, satellite, and reanalysis data. Journal of Climate. 20:1843-1861.   10.1175/jcl14099.1   AbstractWebsite

Simulation of the North American monsoon system by the National Center for Atmospheric Research (NCAR) Community Atmosphere Model (CAM3) is evaluated in its sensitivity to increasing horizontal resolution. For two resolutions, T42 and T85, rainfall is compared to Tropical Rainfall Measuring Mission (TRMM) satellite-derived and surface gauge-based rainfall rates over the United States and northern Mexico as well as rainfall accumulations in gauges of the North American Monsoon Experiment ( NAME) Enhanced Rain Gauge Network (NERN) in the Sierra Madre Occidental. Simulated upper-tropospheric mass and wind fields are compared to those from NCEP-NCAR reanalyses. The comparison presented herein demonstrates that tropospheric motions associated with the North American monsoon system are sensitive to increasing the horizontal resolution of the model. An increase in resolution from T42 to T85 results in changes to a region of large-scale midtropospheric descent found north and east of the monsoon anticyclone. Relative to its simulation at T42, this region extends farther south and west at T85. Additionally, at T85, the subsidence is stronger. Consistent with the differences in large-scale descent, the T85 simulation of CAM3 is anomalously dry over Texas and northeastern Mexico during the peak monsoon months. Meanwhile, the geographic distribution of rainfall over the Sierra Madre Occidental region of Mexico is more satisfactorily simulated at T85 than at T42 for July and August. Moisture import into this region is greater at T85 than at T42 during these months. A focused study of the Sierra Madre Occidental region in particular shows that, in the regional-average sense, the timing of the peak of the monsoon is relatively insensitive to the horizontal resolution of the model, while a phase bias in the diurnal cycle of monsoon season precipitation is somewhat reduced in the higher-resolution run. At both resolutions, CAM3 poorly simulates the month-to-month evolution of monsoon rainfall over extreme northwestern Mexico and Arizona, though biases are considerably improved at T85.

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.

Collier, JC, Zhang GJ.  2009.  Aerosol direct forcing of the summer Indian monsoon as simulated by the NCAR CAM3. Climate Dynamics. 32:313-332.   10.1007/s00382-008-0464-9   AbstractWebsite

In this study, the effects of aerosols on the simulation of the Indian monsoon by the NCAR Community Atmosphere Model CAM3 are measured and investigated. Monthly mean 3D mass concentrations of soil dust, black and organic carbons, sulfate, and sea salt, as output from the GOCART model, are interpolated to mid-month values and to the horizontal and vertical grids of CAM3. With these mid-month aerosol concentrations, CAM3 is run for a period of approximately 16 months, allowing for one complete episode of the Indian monsoon. Responses to the aerosols are measured by comparing the mean of an ensemble of aerosol-induced monsoon simulations to the mean of an ensemble of CAM3 simulations in which aerosols are omitted, following the method of Lau et al. (2006) in their experiment with the NASA finite volume general circulation model. Additionally, an ensemble of simulations of CAM3 using climatological mid-month aerosol concentrations from the MATCH model is composed for comparison. Results of this experiment indicate that the inclusion of aerosols results in drops in surface temperature and increases in precipitation over central India during the pre-monsoon months of March, April, and May. The presence of aerosols induces tropospheric shortwave heating over central India, which destabilizes the atmosphere for enhanced convection and precipitation. Reduced shortwave heating and enhanced evaporation at the surface during April and May results in reduced terrestrial emission to cool the lower troposphere, relative to simulations with no aerosols. This effect weakens the near-surface cyclonic circulation and, consequently, has a negative feedback on precipitation during the active monsoon months of June and July.

Collier, JC, Zhang GJ.  2005.  US warm-season rainfall in NCAR CAM3: An event-oriented perspective. Geophysical Research Letters. 32   10.1029/2005gl024217   AbstractWebsite

A modified form of the Community Atmosphere Model, ver. 3 (CAM3) developed at the National Center for Atmospheric Research (NCAR) is validated in its warm-season mean precipitation diurnal cycle for two regions of the United States. For all grid boxes of each region, simulated and observed precipitation records over four four-month periods are separated into discrete precipitation events. These events are binned into mutually-exclusive categories, and the diurnal harmonic for each category is estimated. In this way, the model is validated over the spectrum of precipitation episodes, and biases in the overall seasonal-mean diurnal cycle can be attributed to particular kinds of events. The results of the study indicate that the model's total seasonal precipitation is overwhelmingly weighted in the extremely long events and that these events contain the source of any biases in the seasonal mean.

Collins, WD, Wang JY, Kiehl JT, Zhang GJ, Cooper DI, Eichinger WE.  1997.  Comparison of tropical ocean-atmosphere fluxes with the NCAR community climate model CCM3. Journal of Climate. 10:3047-3058.   10.1175/1520-0442(1997)010<3047:cotoaf>2.0.co;2   AbstractWebsite

The properties of the marine boundary layer produced by the National Center for Atmospheric Research (NCAR) Community Climate Model version 3 (CCM3) are compared with observations from two experiments in the central and western equatorial Pacific. The main objective of the comparison is determining the accuracy of the ocean-atmosphere fluxes calculated by the model. The vertical thermodynamic structure and the surface fluxes calculated by the CCM3 have been validated against data from the Central Equatorial Pacific Experiment (CEPEX) and the Tropical Ocean Global Atmosphere-Tropical Atmosphere Ocean (TOGA-TAO) buoy array. The mean latent heat flux for the TOGA-TAO array is 92 W m(-2), and the model estimate of latent flux is 109 W m(-2). The bias of 17 W m(-2) is considerably smaller than the overestimation of the Bur by the previous version of the CCM. The improvement in the latent heat flux is due to a reduction in the surface winds caused by nonlocal effects of a new convective parameterization. The agreement between the mean sensible heat flux for the TOGA-TAO array and the model estimate has also been improved in the new version of the model. The current version of the CCM overestimates the sensible heat flux by 3.4 W m(-2). The atmospheric temperature and water vapor mixing ratio from the lowest model layer are within 0.3 K and 0.4 g kg(-1) of measurements obtained from radiosondes. The mean model value of the boundary layer height is within 13 m of the average height derived from a Raman lidar on board a ship in the CEPEX domain. There is some evidence that the biases in the model can be reduced further by modifying the bulk formulation of the surface fluxes.

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Fan, JW, Liu YC, Xu KM, North K, Collis S, Dong XQ, Zhang GJ, Chen Q, Kollias P, Ghan SJ.  2015.  Improving representation of convective transport for scale-aware parameterization: 1. Convection and cloud properties simulated with spectral bin and bulk microphysics. Journal of Geophysical Research-Atmospheres. 120:3485-3509.   10.1002/2014jd022142   AbstractWebsite

The ultimate goal of this study is to improve the representation of convective transport by cumulus parameterization for mesoscale and climate models. As Part 1 of the study, we perform extensive evaluations of cloud-resolving simulations of a squall line and mesoscale convective complexes in midlatitude continent and tropical regions using the Weather Research and Forecasting model with spectral bin microphysics (SBM) and with two double-moment bulk microphysics schemes: a modified Morrison (MOR) and Milbrandt and Yau (MY2). Compared to observations, in general, SBM gives better simulations of precipitation and vertical velocity of convective cores than MOR and MY2 and therefore will be used for analysis of scale dependence of eddy transport in Part 2. The common features of the simulations for all convective systems are (1) the model tends to overestimate convection intensity in the middle and upper troposphere, but SBM can alleviate much of the overestimation and reproduce the observed convection intensity well; (2) the model greatly overestimates Z(e) in convective cores, especially for the weak updraft velocity; and (3) the model performs better for midlatitude convective systems than the tropical system. The modeled mass fluxes of the midlatitude systems are not sensitive to microphysics schemes but are very sensitive for the tropical case indicating strong microphysics modification to convection. Cloud microphysical measurements of rain, snow, and graupel in convective cores will be critically important to further elucidate issues within cloud microphysics schemes.

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Guo, XH, Lu CS, Zhao TL, Liu YG, Zhang GJ, Luo S.  2018.  Observational study of the relationship between entrainment rate and relative dispersion in deep convective clouds. Atmospheric Research. 199:186-192.   10.1016/j.atmosres.2017.09.013   AbstractWebsite

This study investigates the influence of entrainment rate (lambda) on relative dispersion (epsilon) of cloud droplet size distributions (CDSD) in the 99 growing precipitating deep convective clouds during TOGA-COARE. The results show that entrainment suppresses epsilon, which is opposite to the traditional understanding that entrainment-mixing broadens CDSD. To examine how the relationship between epsilon and lambda is affected by droplets with different sizes, CDSDs are divided into three portions with droplet radius < 3.75 mu m (N-1), radius in the range of 3.75-12.75 mu m (N-2) and 12.75-23.25 mu m (N-3), respectively. The results indicate that although the droplet concentration at different sizes generally decrease simultaneously as lambda increases, the variation of standard deviation (sigma) depends mainly on N-3, while the mean radius (r(m)) decreases with decreasing N-3, but increases with decreasing N-1. So the influence of entrainment on CDSD causes a more dramatical decrease in a than that in r(m), and further leads to the decrease of a as entrainment enhances. In addition, a conceptual model of CDSD evolution during entrainment mixing processes is developed to illustrate the possible scenarios entailing different relationships between a and lambda. The number concentration of small droplets and the degree of evaporation of small droplets are found to be key factors that shift the sign (i.e., positive or negative) of the epsilon-lambda relationship.

Guo, XH, Lu CS, Zhao TL, Zhang GJ, Liu YG.  2015.  An observational study of entrainment rate in deep convection. Atmosphere. 6:1362-1376.   10.3390/atmos6091362   AbstractWebsite

This study estimates entrainment rate and investigates its relationships with cloud properties in 156 deep convective clouds based on in-situ aircraft observations during the TOGA-COARE (Tropical Ocean Global Atmosphere Coupled Ocean Atmosphere Response Experiment) field campaign over the western Pacific. To the authors' knowledge, this is the first study on the probability density function of entrainment rate, the relationships between entrainment rate and cloud microphysics, and the effects of dry air sources on the calculated entrainment rate in deep convection from an observational perspective. Results show that the probability density function of entrainment rate can be well fitted by lognormal, gamma or Weibull distribution, with coefficients of determination being 0.82, 0.85 and 0.80, respectively. Entrainment tends to reduce temperature, water vapor content and moist static energy in cloud due to evaporative cooling and dilution. Inspection of the relationships between entrainment rate and microphysical properties reveals a negative correlation between volume-mean radius and entrainment rate, suggesting the potential dominance of homogeneous mechanism in the clouds examined. In addition, entrainment rate and environmental water vapor content show similar tendencies of variation with the distance of the assumed environmental air to the cloud edges. Their variation tendencies are non-monotonic due to the relatively short distance between adjacent clouds.

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.

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Huang, XM, Hu CQ, Huang X, Chu Y, Tseng YH, Zhang GJ, Lin YL.  2018.  A long-term tropical mesoscale convective systems dataset based on a novel objective automatic tracking algorithm. Climate Dynamics. 51:3145-3159.   10.1007/s00382-018-4071-0   AbstractWebsite

Mesoscale convective systems (MCSs) are important components of tropical weather systems and the climate system. Long-term data of MCS are of great significance in weather and climate research. Using long-term (1985-2008) global satellite infrared (IR) data, we developed a novel objective automatic tracking algorithm, which combines a Kalman filter (KF) with the conventional area-overlapping method, to generate a comprehensive MCS dataset. The new algorithm can effectively track small and fast-moving MCSs and thus obtain more realistic and complete tracking results than previous studies. A few examples are provided to illustrate the potential application of the dataset with a focus on the diurnal variations of MCSs over land and ocean regions. We find that the MCSs occurring over land tend to initiate in the afternoon with greater intensity, but the oceanic MCSs are more likely to initiate in the early morning with weaker intensity. A double peak in the maximum spatial coverage is noted over the western Pacific, especially over the southwestern Pacific during the austral summer. Oceanic MCSs also persist for approximately 1h longer than their continental counterparts.

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Jensen, MP, Vogelmann AM, Collins WD, Zhang GJ, Luke EP.  2008.  Investigation of regional and seasonal variations in marine boundary layer cloud properties from MODIS observations. Journal of Climate. 21:4955-4973.   10.1175/2008jcli1974.1   AbstractWebsite

To aid in understanding the role that marine boundary layer (MBL) clouds play in climate and assist in improving their representations in general circulation models (GCMs), their long-term microphysical and macroscale characteristics are quantified using observations from the Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroracdiometer (MODIS) instrument aboard the National Aeronautics and Space Administration's (NASA's) Terra satellite. Six years of MODIS pixel-level Cloud products are used from oceanic study regions off the west coasts of California, Peru, the Canary Islands, Angola, and Australia where these cloud types are common. Characterizations are given for their organization (macroscale structure), the associated microphysical properties, and the seasonal dependencies of their variations for scales consistent with the size of a GCM grid box (300 km X 300 km). MBL mesoscale structure is quantified using effective cloud diameter C-D, which is introduced here as a simplified measure of bulk cloud organization; it is straightforward to compute and provides descriptive information beyond that offered by cloud fraction. The interrelationships of these characteristics are explored while considering the influences of the MBL state, such as the occurrence of drizzle. Several commonalities emerge for the five study regions. MBL clouds contain the best natural examples of plane-parallel clouds, but overcast clouds occur in only about 25% of the scenes, which emphasizes the importance of representing broken MBL cloud fields in climate models (that are subgrid scale). During the peak months of cloud occurrence, mesoscale organization (larger C-D) increases such that the fractions of scenes characterized as "overcast" and "clumped" increase at the expense of the "scattered" scenes. Cloud liquid water path and visible optical depth usually trend strongly with C-D, with the largest values occurring for scenes that are drizzling. However, considerable interregional differences exist in these trends, suggesting that different regression functionalities exist for each region. For peak versus off-peak months, the fraction of drizzling scenes (as a function of C-D) are similar for California and Angola, which suggests that a single probability distribution function might be used for their drizzle occurrence in climate models. The patterns are strikingly opposite for Peru and Australia; thus, the contrasts among regions may offer a test bed for model simulations of MBL drizzle occurrence.

Jiang, X, Waliser DE, Xavier PK, Petch J, Klingaman NP, Woolnough SJ, Guan B, Bellon G, Crueger T, DeMott C, Hannay C, Lin H, Hu WT, Kim D, Lappen CL, Lu MM, Ma HY, Miyakawa T, Ridout JA, Schubert SD, Scinocca J, Seo KH, Shindo E, Song XL, Stan C, Tseng WL, Wang WQ, Wu TW, Wu XQ, Wyser K, Zhang GJ, Zhu HY.  2015.  Vertical structure and physical processes of the Madden-Julian oscillation: Exploring key model physics in climate simulations. Journal of Geophysical Research-Atmospheres. 120:4718-4748.   10.1002/2014jd022375   AbstractWebsite

Aimed at reducing deficiencies in representing the Madden-Julian oscillation (MJO) in general circulation models (GCMs), a global model evaluation project on vertical structure and physical processes of the MJO was coordinated. In this paper, results from the climate simulation component of this project are reported. It is shown that the MJO remains a great challenge in these latest generation GCMs. The systematic eastward propagation of the MJO is only well simulated in about one fourth of the total participating models. The observed vertical westward tilt with altitude of the MJO is well simulated in good MJO models but not in the poor ones. Damped Kelvin wave responses to the east of convection in the lower troposphere could be responsible for the missing MJO preconditioning process in these poor MJO models. Several process-oriented diagnostics were conducted to discriminate key processes for realistic MJO simulations. While large-scale rainfall partition and low-level mean zonal winds over the Indo-Pacific in a model are not found to be closely associated with its MJO skill, two metrics, including the low-level relative humidity difference between high- and low-rain events and seasonal mean gross moist stability, exhibit statistically significant correlations with the MJO performance. It is further indicated that increased cloud-radiative feedback tends to be associated with reduced amplitude of intraseasonal variability, which is incompatible with the radiative instability theory previously proposed for the MJO. Results in this study confirm that inclusion of air-sea interaction can lead to significant improvement in simulating the MJO.

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.

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Kao, A, Jiang X, Li LM, Trammell JH, Zhang GJ, Su H, Jiang JH, Yung YL.  2018.  A Comparative Study of Atmospheric Moisture Recycling Rate between Observations and Models. Journal of Climate. 31:2389-2398.   10.1175/jcli-d-17-0421.1   AbstractWebsite

Precipitation and column water vapor data from 13 CMIP5 models and observational datasets are used to analyze atmospheric moisture recycling rate from 1988 to 2008. The comparisons between observations and model simulations suggest that most CMIP5 models capture two main characteristics of the recycling rate: 1) long-term decreasing trend of the global-average maritime recycling rate (atmospheric recycling rate over ocean within 608S-608N) and 2) dominant spatial patterns of the temporal variations of the recycling rate (i.e., increasing in the intertropical convergence zone and decreasing in subtropical regions). All models, except one, successfully simulate not only the long-term trend but also the interannual variability of column water vapor. The simulations of precipitation are relatively poor, especially over the relatively short time scales, which lead to the discrepancy of the recycling rate between observations and the CMIP5 models. Comparisons of spatial patterns also suggest that the CMIP5 models simulate column water vapor better than precipitation. The comparative studies indicate the scope of improvement in the simulations of precipitation, especially for the relatively short-time-scale variations, to better simulate the recycling rate of atmospheric moisture, an important indicator of climate change.

Kim, D, Sperber K, Stern W, Waliser D, Kang IS, Maloney E, Wang W, Weickmann K, Benedict J, Khairoutdinov M, Lee MI, Neale R, Suarez M, Thayer-Calder K, Zhang G.  2009.  Application of MJO Simulation Diagnostics to Climate Models. Journal of Climate. 22:6413-6436.   10.1175/2009jcli3063.1   AbstractWebsite

The ability of eight climate models to simulate the Madden-Julian oscillation (MJO) is examined using diagnostics developed by the U. S. Climate Variability and Predictability (CLIVAR) MJO Working Group. Although the MJO signal has been extracted throughout the annual cycle, this study focuses on the boreal winter (November-April) behavior. Initially, maps of the mean state and variance and equatorial space-time spectra of 850-hPa zonal wind and precipitation are compared with observations. Models best represent the intraseasonal space-time spectral peak in the zonal wind compared to that of precipitation. Using the phase-space representation of the multivariate principal components (PCs), the life cycle properties of the simulated MJOs are extracted, including the ability to represent how the MJO evolves from a given subphase and the associated decay time scales. On average, the MJO decay (e-folding) time scale for all models is shorter (similar to 20-29 days) than observations (similar to 31 days). All models are able to produce a leading pair of multivariate principal components that represents eastward propagation of intraseasonal wind and precipitation anomalies, although the fraction of the variance is smaller than observed for all models. In some cases, the dominant time scale of these PCs is outside of the 30-80-day band. Several key variables associated with the model's MJO are investigated, including the surface latent heat flux, boundary layer (925 hPa) moisture convergence, and the vertical structure of moisture. Low-level moisture convergence ahead (east) of convection is associated with eastward propagation in most of the models. A few models are also able to simulate the gradual moistening of the lower troposphere that precedes observed MJO convection, as well as the observed geographical difference in the vertical structure of moisture associated with the MJO. The dependence of rainfall on lower tropospheric relative humidity and the fraction of rainfall that is stratiform are also discussed, including implications these diagnostics have for MJO simulation. Based on having the most realistic intraseasonal multivariate empirical orthogonal functions, principal component power spectra, equatorial eastward propagating outgoing longwave radiation (OLR), latent heat flux, low-level moisture convergence signals, and vertical structure of moisture over the Eastern Hemisphere, the superparameterized Community Atmosphere Model (SPCAM) and the ECHAM4/Ocean Isopycnal Model (OPYC) show the best skill at representing the MJO.

Klingaman, NP, Woolnough SJ, Jiang XN, Waliser D, Xavier PK, Petch J, Caian M, Hannay C, Kim D, Ma HY, Merryfield WJ, Miyakawa T, Pritchard M, Ridout JA, Roehrig R, Shindo E, Vitart F, Wang HL, Cavanaugh NR, Mapes BE, Shelly A, Zhang GJ.  2015.  Vertical structure and physical processes of the Madden-Julian oscillation: Linking hindcast fidelity to simulated diabatic heating and moistening. Journal of Geophysical Research-Atmospheres. 120:4690-4717.   10.1002/2014jd022374   AbstractWebsite

Many theories for the Madden-Julian oscillation (MJO) focus on diabatic processes, particularly the evolution of vertical heating and moistening. Poor MJO performance in weather and climate models is often blamed on biases in these processes and their interactions with the large-scale circulation. We introduce one of the three components of a model evaluation project, which aims to connect MJO fidelity in models to their representations of several physical processes, focusing on diabatic heating and moistening. This component consists of 20day hindcasts, initialized daily during two MJO events in winter 2009-2010. The 13 models exhibit a range of skill: several have accurate forecasts to 20days lead, while others perform similarly to statistical models (8-11days). Models that maintain the observed MJO amplitude accurately predict propagation, but not vice versa. We find no link between hindcast fidelity and the precipitation-moisture relationship, in contrast to other recent studies. There is also no relationship between models' performance and the evolution of their diabatic heating profiles with rain rate. A more robust association emerges between models' fidelity and net moistening: the highest-skill models show a clear transition from low-level moistening for light rainfall to midlevel moistening at moderate rainfall and upper level moistening for heavy rainfall. The midlevel moistening, arising from both dynamics and physics, may be most important. Accurately representing many processes may be necessary but not sufficient for capturing the MJO, which suggests that models fail to predict the MJO for a broad range of reasons and limits the possibility of finding a panacea.

L
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.

Li, LJ, Wang B, Zhang GJ.  2015.  The role of moist processes in shortwave radiative feedback during ENSO in the CMIP5 models. Journal of Climate. 28:9892-9908.   10.1175/jcli-d-15-0276.1   AbstractWebsite

The weak negative shortwave (SW) radiative feedback (sw) during El Nino-Southern Oscillation (ENSO) over the equatorial Pacific is a common problem in the models participating in phase 5 of the Coupled Model Intercomparison Project (CMIP5). In this study, the causes for the (sw) biases are analyzed using three-dimensional cloud fraction and liquid water path (LWP) provided by the 17 CMIP5 models and the relative roles of convective and stratiform rainfall feedbacks in (sw) are explored. Results show that the underestimate of SW feedback is primarily associated with too negative cloud fraction and LWP feedbacks in the boundary layers, together with insufficient middle and/or high cloud and dynamics feedbacks, in both the CMIP and Atmospheric Model Intercomparsion Project (AMIP) runs, the latter being somewhat better. The underestimations of SW feedbacks are due to both weak negative SW responses to El Nino, especially in the CMIP runs, and strong positive SW responses to La Nina, consistent with their biases in cloud fraction, LWP, and dynamics responses to El Nino and La Nina. The convective rainfall feedback, which is largely reduced owing to the excessive cold tongue in the CMIP runs compared with their AMIP counterparts, contributes more to the difference of SW feedback (mainly under El Nino conditions) between the CMIP and AMIP runs, while the stratiform rainfall plays a more important role in SW feedback during La Nina.

Li, LJ, Wang B, Zhang GJ.  2014.  The role of nonconvective condensation processes in response of surface shortwave cloud radiative forcing to El Nino warming. Journal of Climate. 27:6721-6736.   10.1175/jcli-d-13-00632.1   AbstractWebsite

The weak response of surface shortwave cloud radiative forcing (SWCF) to El Nino over the equatorial Pacific remains a common problem in many contemporary climate models. This study shows that two versions of the Grid-Point Atmospheric Model of the Institute of Atmospheric Physics (IAP)/State Key Laboratory of Numerical Modeling for Atmospheric Sciences and Geophysical Fluid Dynamics (LASG) (GAMIL) produce distinctly different surface SWCF response to El Nino. The earlier version, GAMIL1, underestimates this response, whereas the latest version, GAMIL2, simulates it well. To understand the causes for the different SWCF responses between the two simulations, the authors analyze the underlying physical mechanisms. Results indicate the enhanced stratiform condensation and evaporation in GAMIL2 play a key role in improving the simulations of multiyear annual mean water vapor (or relative humidity), cloud fraction, and incloud liquid water path (ICLWP) and hence in reducing the biases of SWCF and rainfall responses to El Nino due to all of the improved dynamical (vertical velocity at 500 hPa), cloud amount, and liquid water path (LWP) responses. The largest contribution to the SWCF response improvement in GAMIL2 is from LWP in the Nino-4 region and from low-cloud cover and LWP in the Nino-3 region. Furthermore, as a crucial factor in the low-cloud response, the atmospheric stability change in the lower layers is significantly influenced by the nonconvective heating variation during La Nina.

Li, G, Zhang GJ.  2008.  Understanding biases in shortwave cloud radiative forcing in the national center for atmospheric research community atmosphere model (CAM3) during El Nino. Journal of Geophysical Research-Atmospheres. 113   10.1029/2007jd008963   AbstractWebsite

This study aims to understand the weak response of shortwave cloud radiative forcing (SWCF) to El Nino in the NCAR CAM3. Observations from ERBE and CERES show strong negative SWCF in the central and eastern equatorial Pacific during El Nino. The standard CAM3 simulation at T42 resolution severely underestimates this response, with even wrong sign in the eastern Pacific. However, an experimental simulation at the same resolution, but with a modified convection parameterization scheme, simulates the cloud shortwave response to El Nino well, although the improvement in the eastern Pacific is not as significant as in the western and central Pacific. To unravel the mechanistic differences in SWCF response to El Nino between the two simulations, the authors analyze the cloud amount, cloud liquid water path (LWP), cloud ice water path (IWP), and convective and large-scale precipitation. It is shown that positive LWP anomalies are mainly responsible for the improved SWCF response to El Nino in the experimental simulation. Interaction among deep convection, shallow convection and low-level clouds is explored to explain this result. Negative LWP anomalies, largely due to reduced cloud water content and amount of low clouds during El Nino in the standard CAM3, weaken the SWCF response. Comparison with a higher-resolution simulation of CAM3 at T85 shows that the T85 simulation produces realistic SWCF response through greatly increased cloud water and ice content in the middle and upper troposphere, while reduced low-level cloud water content remains a problem.

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.