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Atmosphere 2017, 8(12), 256; https://doi.org/10.3390/atmos8120256

Diagnosis of the Tropical Moisture Exports to the Mid-Latitudes and the Role of Atmospheric Steering in the Extreme Precipitation

1
Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering, The Hong Kong University of Science and Technology, Clear Water Bay, Kowloon, Hong Kong 999077, China
2
Department of Computer Science and Engineering, The Hong Kong University of Science and Technology, Clear Water Bay, Kowloon, Hong Kong 999077, China
*
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Received: 22 August 2017 / Revised: 16 December 2017 / Accepted: 17 December 2017 / Published: 19 December 2017
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Water Vapor in the Atmosphere)
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Abstract

Three river basins, i.e., the Yangtze river, the Mississippi river and the Loire river, were presented as case studies to explore the association among atmospheric circulations, moisture exports and extreme precipitations in the mid-latitudes. The major moisture source regions in the tropics for the three river basins are first identified using the Tropical Moisture Exports (TMEs) dataset. The space-time characteristics of their respective moisture sources are presented. Then, the trajectory curve clustering analysis is applied to the TMEs tracks originating from the identified source regions during each basin’s peak TMEs activity and flood seasons. Our results show that the moisture tracks for each basin can be categorized into 3 or 4 clusters with distinct spatial trajectory features. Our further analysis on these clustered trajectories reveals that the contributions of moisture release from different clusters are associated with their trajectory features and travel speeds. In order to understand the role of associated atmospheric steering, daily composites of the geopotential heights anomalies and the vertical integral of moisture flux anomalies from 7 days ahead to the extreme precipitation days (top 5%) are examined. The evolutions of the atmospheric circulation patterns and the moisture fluxes are both consistent with the TMEs tracks that contribute more moisture releases to the study regions. The findings imply that atmospheric steering plays an important role in the moisture transport and release, especially for the extreme precipitations. We also find that the association between TMEs moisture release and precipitation is nonlinear. The extreme precipitation is associated with high TMEs moisture release for all of the three study regions. View Full-Text
Keywords: tropical moisture exports; trajectory curve clustering; atmospheric circulation; moisture convergence; spatial statistics tropical moisture exports; trajectory curve clustering; atmospheric circulation; moisture convergence; spatial statistics
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Lu, M.; Hao, X. Diagnosis of the Tropical Moisture Exports to the Mid-Latitudes and the Role of Atmospheric Steering in the Extreme Precipitation. Atmosphere 2017, 8, 256.

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