Publications

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2017
Merrifield, A, Lehner F, Xie SP, Deser C.  2017.  Removing Circulation Effects to Assess Central US Land-Atmosphere Interactions in the CESM Large Ensemble. Geophysical Research Letters. 44:9938-9946.   10.1002/2017gl074831   AbstractWebsite

Interannual variability of summer surface air temperature (SAT) in the central United States (U.S.) is influenced by atmospheric circulation and land surface feedbacks. Here a method of dynamical adjustment is used to remove the effects of circulation on summer SAT variability over North America in the Community Earth System Model Large Ensemble. The residual SAT variability is shown to reflect thermodynamic feedbacks associated with land surface conditions. In particular, the central U.S. is a hot spot of land-atmosphere interaction, with residual SAT accounting for more than half of the total SAT variability. Within the hot spot, residual SAT anomalies show higher month-to-month persistence through the warm season and a redder spectrum than dynamically induced SAT anomalies. Residual SAT variability in this region is also shown to be related to preseason soil moisture conditions, surface flux variability, and local atmospheric pressure anomalies.

Kilpatrick, T, Xie SP, Nasuno T.  2017.  Diurnal Convection-Wind Coupling in the Bay of Bengal. Journal of Geophysical Research-Atmospheres. 122:9705-9720.   10.1002/2017jd027271   AbstractWebsite

Satellite observations of infrared brightness temperature and rainfall have shown offshore propagation of diurnal rainfall signals in some coastal areas of the tropics, suggesting that diurnal rainfall is coupled to land-sea breeze circulations. Here we utilize satellite observations of surface winds and rainfall to show the offshore copropagation of land breeze and diurnal rainfall signals for 300-400 km from the east coast of India into the Bay of Bengal. The wind observations are from the 2003 Quick Scatterometer (QuikSCAT)-SeaWinds "tandem mission" and from 17 years of the Tropical Rainfall Measuring Mission (TRMM) Microwave Imager (TMI); the rainfall observations are from the TRMM 3B42 product and from TMI. The surface wind convergence maximum leads the rainfall maximum by 1-2 h in the western part of the bay, implying that the land breeze forces the diurnal cycle of rainfall. The phase speed of the offshore propagation is approximately 18 m s(-1), consistent with a deep hydrostatic gravity wave forced by diurnal heating over India. Comparisons with a cloud system-resolving atmospheric model and the ERA-Interim reanalysis indicate that the models realistically simulate the surface land breeze but greatly underestimate the amplitude of the rainfall diurnal cycle. The satellite observations presented in this study therefore provide a benchmark for model representation of this important atmosphere-ocean-land surface interaction. Plain Language Summary Satellite rainfall observations show a strong diurnal cycle in the Bay of Bengal during the summer monsoon. Here for the first time we utilize concurrent satellite observations of surface winds and rainfall to demonstrate the interaction between the land-sea breeze, forced by the diurnal cycle of solar heating over India, and diurnal rainfall over the Bay of Bengal. The observations are consistent with the land breeze acting as a forcing mechanism for the diurnal cycle of rainfall over the bay and, therefore, illuminate an important atmosphere-ocean-land surface interaction that is poorly represented in many climate models.

Zhou, WY, Xie SP.  2017.  Intermodel spread around the Kuroshio-Oyashio Extension region in coupled GCMs caused by meridional variation of the westerly jet from atmospheric GCMs. Journal of Climate. 30:4589-4599.   10.1175/jcli-d-16-0831.1   AbstractWebsite

The Kuroshio-Oyashio Extension (KOE) is a region of energetic oceanic mesoscale eddies and vigorous air-sea interaction that can influence climate variability over the northwest Pacific and East Asia. General circulation models (GCMs) exhibit considerable differences in their simulated climatology around the KOE region. Specifically, there are substantial intermodel spreads in both sea surface temperature (SST) and the upper-level westerly jet. In this study, the cause for such large spreads is studied by analyzing 21 pairs of coupled and atmospheric GCMs from phase 5 of the Coupled Model Intercomparison Project (CMIP5). It is found that the intermodel spread of the climatological westerly jet among coupled GCMs is largely inherited from their atmospheric models rather than being due to their SST difference as previously thought. An anomalous equatorward shift in the simulated westerly jet can give rise to a cold SST bias around the KOE region as follows. The equatorward jet shift induces cyclonic surface wind anomalies over the North Pacific, which not only enhance the turbulent heat fluxes out of the ocean south of the KOE but also drive an anomalous cyclonic ocean circulation that brings colder (warmer) water into the north (south) of the KOE. The KOE region is consequently cooled due to both the atmospheric and oceanic effects. Such processes are demonstrated through idealized perturbation experiments using an ocean model. The results herein point to reducing atmospheric model errors in the westerly jet as the way forward to improve the coupled simulations around the KOE region.

Xie, SP, Zhou ZQ.  2017.  Seasonal modulations of El Nino-related atmospheric variability: Indo-Western Pacific Ocean feedback. Journal of Climate. 30:3461-3472.   10.1175/jcli-d-16-0713.1   AbstractWebsite

The spatial structure of atmospheric anomalies associated with El Nino-Southern Oscillation varies with season because of the seasonal variations in sea surface temperature (SST) anomaly pattern and in the climatological basic state. The latter effect is demonstrated using an atmospheric model forced with a time-invariant pattern of El Nino warming over the equatorial Pacific. The seasonal modulation is most pronounced over the north Indian Ocean to northwest Pacific where the monsoonal winds vary from northeasterly in winter to southwesterly in summer. Specifically, the constant El Nino run captures the abrupt transition from a summer cyclonic to winter anticyclonic anomalous circulation over the northwest Pacific, in support of the combination mode idea that emphasizes nonlinear interactions of equatorial Pacific SST forcing and the climatological seasonal cycle. In post-El Nino summers when equatorial Pacific warming has dissipated, SST anomalies over the Indo-northwest Pacific Oceans dominate and anchor the coherent persisting anomalous anticyclonic circulation. A conceptual model is presented that incorporates the combination mode in the existing framework of regional Indo-western Pacific Ocean coupling.