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Feng, M, McPhaden MJ, Xie SP, Hafner J.  2013.  La Nina forces unprecedented Leeuwin Current warming in 2011. Scientific Reports. 3   10.1038/srep01277   AbstractWebsite

Unprecedented warm sea surface temperature (SST) anomalies were observed off the west coast of Australia in February-March 2011. Peak SST during a 2-week period were 5 degrees C warmer than normal, causing widespread coral bleaching and fish kills. Understanding the climatic drivers of this extreme event, which we dub "Ningaloo Nino", is crucial for predicting similar events under the influence of global warming. Here we use observational data and numerical models to demonstrate that the extreme warming was mostly driven by an unseasonable surge of the poleward-flowing Leeuwin Current in austral summer, which transported anomalously warm water southward along the coast. The unusual intensification of the Leeuwin Current was forced remotely by oceanic and atmospheric teleconnections associated with the extraordinary 2010-2011 La Nina. The amplitude of the warming was boosted by both multi-decadal trends in the Pacific toward more La Nina-like conditions and intraseasonal variations in the Indian Ocean.

Wang, YQ, Xie SP, Wang B, Xu HM.  2005.  Large-scale atmospheric forcing by southeast Pacific boundary layer clouds: A regional model study. Journal of Climate. 18:934-951. Abstract
Xie, Q, Wu XY, Yuan WY, Wang DX, Xie SP.  2007.  Life cycle of intraseasonal oscillation of summer SST in the western South China Sea. ACTA OCEANOLOGICA SINICA. 26:1-8. Abstract
Kosaka, Y, Chowdary JS, Xie SP, Min YM, Lee JY.  2012.  Limitations of Seasonal Predictability for Summer Climate over East Asia and the Northwestern Pacific. Journal of Climate. 25:7574-7589.   10.1175/jcli-d-12-00009.-1   Abstract

Predictability of summer climate anomalies over East Asia and the northwestern Pacific is investigated using observations and a multimodel hindcast ensemble initialized on 1 May for the recent 20-30 yr. Summertime East Asia is under the influence of the northwestern Pacific subtropical high (PASH). The Pacific-Japan (PJ) teleconnection pattern, a meridional dipole of sea level pressure variability, affects the northwestern PASH. The forecast models generally capture the association of the PJ pattern with the El Nino-Southern Oscillation (ENSO).|The Silk Road pattern, a wave train along the summer Asian jet, is another dominant teleconnection that influences the northwestern PASH and East Asia. In contrast to the PJ pattern, observational analysis reveals a lack of correlations between the Silk Road pattern and ENSO. Coupled models cannot predict the temporal phase of the Silk Road pattern, despite their ability to reproduce its spatial structure as the leading mode of atmospheric internal variability. Thus, the pattern is rather unpredictable at monthly to seasonal lead, limiting the seasonal predictability for summer in East Asia.|The anomalous summer of 2010 in East Asia is a case in point, illustrating the interference by the Silk Road pattern. Canonical anomalies associated with a decayed El Nino and developing La Nina would have the PJ pattern bring a cold summer to East Asia in 2010. In reality, the Silk Road pattern overwhelmed this tendency, bringing a record-breaking hot summer instead. A dynamical model experiment indicates that European blocking was instrumental in triggering the Silk Road pattern in the 2010 summer.

Hashizume, H, Xie SP, Liu WT, Takeuchi K.  2001.  Local and remote atmospheric response to tropical instability waves: A global view from space. Journal of Geophysical Research-Atmospheres. 106:10173-10185. Abstract
Liu, JW, Xie SP, Yang S, Zhang SP.  2016.  Low-cloud transitions across the Kuroshio Front in the East China Sea. Journal of Climate. 29:4429-4443.   10.1175/jcli-d-15-0589.1   AbstractWebsite

The East China Sea Kuroshio (ECSK) flows in the East Asian monsoon region where the background atmospheric circulation varies significantly with season. A sea surface temperature (SST) front associated with the ECSK becomes narrower and sharper from winter to spring. The present study investigates how low clouds respond to the ECSK front in different seasons by synthesizing spaceborne lidar and surface visual observations. The results reveal prominent cross-frontal transitions in low clouds, which exhibit distinct behavior between winter and spring. In winter, cloud responses are generally confined below 4 km by the strong background descending motion and feature a gradual cloud-top elevation from the cold to the warm flank of the front. The ice clouds on the cold flank of the ECSK front transform into liquid water clouds and rain on the warm flank. The springtime clouds, by contrast, are characterized by a sharp cross-frontal transition with deep clouds reaching up to 7 km over the ECSK. In both winter and spring, the low-cloud morphology exhibits a large transformation from the cold to the warm flank of the ECSK front, including increases in cloud-top height, a decline in smoothness of cloud top, and the transition from stratiform to convective clouds. All this along with the atmospheric soundings indicates that the decoupling of the marine atmospheric boundary layer (MABL) is more prevalent on the warm flank of the front. Thus, long-term observations reveal prominent cross-frontal low-cloud transitions in morphology associated with MABL decoupling that resemble a large-scale cloud-regime transition over the eastern subtropical Pacific.

Liu, JW, Xie SP, Norris JR, Zhang SP.  2014.  Low-level cloud response to the Gulf Stream front in winter using CALIPSO. Journal of Climate. 27:4421-4432.   10.1175/jcli-d-13-00469.1   AbstractWebsite

A sharp sea surface temperature front develops between the warm water of the Gulf Stream and cold continental shelf water in boreal winter. This front has a substantial impact on the marine boundary layer. The present study analyzes and synthesizes satellite observations and reanalysis data to examine how the sea surface temperature front influences the three-dimensional structure of low-level clouds. The Cloud-Aerosol Lidar and Infrared Pathfinder Satellite Observations (CALIPSO) satellite captures a sharp low-level cloud transition across the Gulf Stream front, a structure frequently observed under the northerly condition. Low-level cloud top (<4 km) increases by about 500 m from the cold to the warm flank of the front. The sea surface temperature front induces a secondary low-level circulation through sea level pressure adjustment with ascending motion over the warm water and descending motion over cold water. The secondary circulation further contributes to the cross-frontal transition of low-level clouds. Composite analysis shows that surface meridional advection over the front plays an important role in the development of the marine atmospheric boundary layer and low-level clouds. Under cold northerly advection over the Gulf Stream front, strong near-surface instability leads to a well-mixed boundary layer over the Gulf Stream, causing southward deepening of low-level clouds across the sea surface temperature front. Moreover, the front affects the freezing level by transferring heat to the atmosphere and therefore influences the cross-frontal variation of the cloud phase.