Approaching the distance of 180°, seismic focusing greatly amplifies the normally weak PKIIKP phase (underside reflection from the inner core boundary). Anomalously strong amplitudes of the PKIIKP phase reported previously at near antipodal distances (at seismic station TAM in North Africa) have been interpreted to infer anomalous structure(s) of the inner core boundary (including a sharp drop of compressional wave speed in the bottommost outer core or a near-zero shear wave speed in the topmost inner core). However, our observations of 12 earthquakes located antipodal to TAM (including the previously cited four events) suggest, for several reasons, that the anomalous PKIIKP energy might be a seismic phase misidentification. The anomalous phase appeared at distances less than 179.6° but not at larger distances (~179.8°). The phase appears consistently from antipode to distances less than 160° and has horizontal slowness similar to the PKIKP phase (going straight through the inner core). Its travel times vary greatly and show a systematic difference between two groups of events at different distances. A simple point scatter provides a good match to the travel times and the systematic variation of the anomalous phase at most stations, suggesting that it could originate from scattering off strong heterogeneities in the mantle wedge above the subducting Tonga slab. The phase misidentification suggests that the previously proposed inner core boundary structure(s) based on the anomalous phase need to be re-evaluated.
Cassini observations over the past ten years have revealed that Titan possesses a chemically complex ionosphere. In this study, we investigate the relative contributions of different ion species to the total ion escape on Titan, by dividing all ion species probed by the Cassini Ion Neutral Mass Spectrometer (INMS) into six groups according to their mass-to-charge ratios (M/Z). For the three lightest ion groups, with characteristic M/Z of 22, 41, and 52 daltons , the observed scale heights tend to be lower than the scale heights predicted by assuming diffusive equilibrium; for the three heavier groups, observed and predicted scale heights are in general agreement, implying that most ion escape from Titan is by relatively light species, with M/Z < 60 daltons. A diffusion model is constructed to describe the density distribution of each ion group in regions where the effect of ionospheric chemistry could be neglected. The data model comparison predicts an optimal total ion escape rate of 3.1×1024 s–1, of which more than 99% is contributed by relatively light ions with M/Z < 32 daltons.
We first report on the Love wave tomography of China based on ambient noise cross-correlations. We used 3 years of continuous waveform data recorded by 206 broadband seismic stations on the Chinese Mainland and 36 neighboring global stations and obtained Love wave empirical Green’s functions from cross-correlations of the horizontal components. The Love wave group velocity dispersion measurements were used to construct dispersion maps of 8- to 40-s periods, which were then inverted to obtain a three-dimensional horizontally polarized S-wave (SH) velocity structure. The resolution was approximately 4° × 4° and 8° × 8° for eastern and western China, respectively, and extended to a depth of approximately 50 km. The SH model was generally consistent with a previously published vertically polarized S-wave (SV) model and showed large-scale features that were consistent with geological units, such as the major basins and changes in the crustal thickness across the north-south gravity lineament. The SH and SV models also showed substantial differences, which were used to examine the subsurface radial anisotropy. We define the radial anisotropy parameter as
We determined focal mechanism solutions of 627 earthquakes of magnitude M ≥ 3.0 in Yunnan from January 2008 to May 2018 by using broadband waveforms recorded by 287 permanent and temporary regional stations. The results clearly revealed predominantly strike-slip faulting characteristics for earthquakes in Yunnan, with focal depths concentrated in the top 10 km of the crust. The earthquake mechanisms obtained were combined with the global centroid moment tensor solutions of 80 additional earthquakes from 1976 to 2016 to invert for the regional variations of stress field orientation by using a damped regional-scale stress inversion scheme. Results of the stress field inversion confirmed that the Yunnan region is under a strike–slip stress regime, with both maximum and minimum stress axes being nearly horizontal. The maximum compressional axes are primarily oriented in a northwest-southeast direction, and they experience a clockwise rotation from north to south, whereas the maximum extensional axes are oriented largely northeast-southwest. The maximum compressional axes are in line with the global positioning system–inferred horizontal velocity field and the southeastward escape of the Sichuan–Yunnan Rhombic Block, whereas the maximum extensional axes are consistent with anisotropy derived from SKS splitting. Against the strike–slip background, normal faulting stress regimes can be seen in the Tengchong volcanic area as well as in other areas with complex crisscrossing fault zones.
We report multi-spacecraft observations of ULF waves from Van Allen Probes (RBSP), Magnetospheric Multiscale (MMS), Time History of Events and Macroscale Interactions during Substorm (THEMIS), and Geostationary Operational Environmental Satellites (GOES). On August 31, 2015, global-scale poloidal waves were observed in data from RBSP-B, GOES and THEMIS from L=4 to L=8 over a wide range of magnetic local time (MLT). The polarization states varied towards purely poloidal polarity. In two consecutive orbits over 18 hours, RBSP-A and RBSP-B recorded gradual variation of the polarization states of the poloidal waves; the ratio (|Ba|/|Br|) decreased from 0.82 to 0.13. After the variation of polarization states, the poloidal ULF waves became very purely poloidal waves, localized in both L and MLT. We identify the poloidal wave as second harmonic mode with a large azimuthal wave number (m) of –232. From RBSP particle measurements we find evidence that the high-m poloidal waves during the polarization variations were powered by inward radial gradients and bump-on-tail ion distributions through the N=1 drift-bounce resonance. Most of the time, the dominant free energy source was inward radial gradients, compared with the positive gradient in the energy distribution of the bump-on-tail ion distributions.
The Qilian Orogen Zone (QOZ), located in the north margin of the Tibetan Plateau, is the key area for understanding the deformation and dynamics process of Tibet. Numerous geological and geophysical studies have been carried out on the mechanics of the Tibetan Plateau deformation and uplift; however, the detailed structure and deformation style of the Qilian Orogen Zone have remained uncertain due to poor geophysical data coverage and limited resolution power of inversion algorithms. In this study, we analyze the P-wave velocity structure beneath the Qilian Orogen Zone, obtained by applying multi-scale seismic tomography technique to P-wave arrival time data recorded by regional seismic networks. The seismic tomography algorithm used in this study employs sparsity constraints on the wavelet representation of the velocity model via L1-norm regularization. This algorithm can deal efficiently with uneven-sampled volumes, and obtain multi-scale images of the velocity model. Our results can be summarized as the follows: (1) The crustal velocity structure is strongly inhomogeneous and consistent with the surface geological setting. Significant low-velocity anomalies exist in the crust of northeastern Tibet, and slight high-velocity anomalies exist beneath the Qaidam Basin and Alxa terrane; (2) The Qilian Orogen Zone can be divided into two main parts by the Lajishan Faults: the northwestern part with a low-velocity feature, and the southeastern part with a high-velocity feature at the upper and middle crust; (3) Our tomographic images suggest that northwestern and southeastern Qilian Orogen Zones have undergone different tectonic processes. In the northwest Qilian Orogen Zone, the deformation and growth of the Northern Tibetan Plateau has extended to the Helishan and Beidashan region by northward over-thrusting at the upper crust and thickening in the lower crust. We speculate that in the southeast Qilian Orogen Zone the deformation and growth of the Northern Tibet Plateau were of strike-slip style at the upper crust; in the lower crust, the evidence suggests ductile shear extrusion style and active frontage extension to the Alxa terrane. (4) The multi-scale seismic tomography technique provides multi-scale analysis and sparse constraints, which has allowed to us obtain stable, high-resolution results.
Leader propagation is a fundamental issue in lightning physics. The propagation characteristics of positive leaders and negative leaders are summarized and compared based on data from high-speed camera and electromagnetic field in rocket-triggered lightning and tower-initiated lightning discharges; available channel base current data recorded in rocket-triggered lightning are also used. The negative leaders propagate in a stepped fashion accompanied by many branches. The stems ahead of the negative leader tip determine the manner and direction of the leader propagation, and even the branching and winding of the lightning channel. The impulsive current, electromagnetic field, and related optical images suggest that the positive leader may develop in a step-like fashion at its initial stage of triggered lightning. However, the stepping processes of the positive leader are obviously different from those of the negative leader. Tower-initiated lightning revealed that the most conspicuous characteristics of the stepwise positive leader involve the intermittent brush-like corona zone in front of the leader tip and the luminosity enhancement of the channel behind the tip. In rocket-triggered lightning flashes, the charge transferred during an individual step for the negative leader was nearly an order greater than for the positive counterpart. The successive streamers ahead of the leader tip are essential for both negative and positive leader propagation, and the stems could be formed from one or more streamers in the previous negative streamer zone with the main leader channel dim. High-resolution observation of tower lightning also revealed a new type of bidirectional recoil leader, with polarity contrary to the traditional one, traversing in negative channels associated with tower-initiated and rocket-triggered lightning.
The triangulation of red sprites was obtained, based on concurrent observations over a mesoscale convective system (MCS) in North China from two stations separated by about 450 km. In addition, broadband sferics from the sprite-producing lightning were measured at five ground stations, making it possible to locate and identify the individual causative lightning discharges for different elements in this dancing sprite event. The results of our analyses indicate that the sprites were produced above the trailing stratiform region of the MCS, and their parent strokes were located mainly in the peripheral area of the stratiform. The lateral offset between sprites and causative strokes ranges from a few km to more than 50 km. In a particularly bright sprite, with a distinct halo feature and streamers descending down to an altitude of approximately 48 km, the sprite current signal identified in the electric sferic, measured at a range of about 1,110 km, peaked at approximately 1 ms after the return stroke.
The radiances scattered or emitted by clouds demonstrate diverse features at different wavelengths due to different cloud physical structures. This paper presents a method (the smallest-radiance-distance method, SRaDM) of revealing the physical structures of clouds. The method is based on multi-spectral radiances measured by the Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer (MODIS) onboard Aqua. The principle and methodology of SRaDM is deduced and provided in this paper. Correlation analysis based on data from MODIS and Cloud Profiling Radar (onboard CloudSat), collected from January 2007 to December 2010 over an ocean area (15°N–45°N, 145°E–165°E), led to selection of radiances at 13 wavebands of MODIS that demonstrated high sensitivity to cloud physical structures; radiances at the selected wavebands were subjected to SRaDM. The Standardized Euclidean distance is introduced to quantify the degree of changes in multi-spectral radiances (termed Drd) and in physical structures (termed Dst) between cloud profiles. Statistics based on numerous cloud profiles show that Drd decreases monotonically with a decrease in Dst, which implies that small Drd always accompanies small Dst. According to the law of Drd and Dst, the new method, SRaDM, for revealing physical structures of clouds from the collocation of cloud profiles of similar multi-spectral radiances, is presented. Then, two successful experiments are presented in which cloud physical structures are captured using multi-spectral radiances. SRaDM provides a way to obtain knowledge of the physical structures of clouds over relatively larger areas, and is a new approach to obtaining 3D cloud fields.
Observations of a quasi-90-day oscillation in the mesosphere and lower thermosphere (MLT) region from April 2011 to December 2014 are presented in this study. There is clear evidence of a quasi-90-day oscillation in temperatures obtained from the Kunming meteor radar (25.6°N, 103.8°E) and Sounding of the Atmosphere using Broadband Emission Radiometry (SABER), as well as in wind observed by the Kunming meteor radar. The quasi-90-day oscillation appears to be a prominent feature in the temperatures and meridional wind tides and presents quite regular cycles that occur approximately twice per year. The amplitudes and phases of the quasi-90-day oscillation in the SABER temperature show a feature similar to that of upward-propagated diurnal tides, which have a vertical wavelength of ~20 km above 70 km. In the lower atmosphere, a similar 90-day variability is presented in the surface latent heat flux and correlates with the temperature in the MLT region. Similar to the quasi-90-day oscillation in temperature, a 90-day variability of ozone (O3) is also present in the MLT region and is considered to be driven by a similar variability in the upwardly-propagated diurnal tides generated in the lower atmosphere. Moreover, the 90-day variability in the absorption of ultraviolet (UV) radiation by daytime O3 in the MLT region is an in situ source of the quasi-90-day oscillation in the MLT temperature.
Precipitation observations collected at weather stations in eastern China, the NCEP/NCAR reanalysis data, the tropical cyclone (TC) Best Track Dataset, and a sensitivity numerical experiment were used in the present study to investigate the role in the East Asian summer monsoon (EASM) system played by frequent TC activities over the western North Pacific (WNP). Results indicated that, in active TC years, the EASM is stronger and the southerly winds in the lower troposphere advance farther north and reach higher latitudes. Meanwhile, the monsoon rain belt remains in the lower and middle reaches of the Yangtze River valley for a relatively short period, leading to less precipitation there. Both the western Pacific subtropical high and the South Asian high weaken with the northward shift of the ridgelines for both high-pressure systems as well as the East Asian subtropical upper-level jet. Therefore, the impacts of frequent TC activities over the WNP on each individual component of the EASM are in phase with those of the stronger EASM itself, amplifying features of the already strengthened EASM.
A discrepancy remains in the first two leading empirical orthogonal function (EOF) modes of the tropical Pacific sea surface temperature anomaly (SSTA) based on observations since the 1980s. The EOF1 mode, representing the El Niño-Southern Oscillation (ENSO), is a robust result. However, the EOF2 features either El Niño Modoki (EM) or ENSO evolution during different periods, which is probably associated with the impacts of global warming. The underlying question is what the EOF2 mode of the tropical Pacific would be without global warming. Using the CMIP5 preindustrial scenario to exclude the influence of global warming, we find that the EOF1 mode of the tropical Pacific SSTA represents ENSO and that the EOF2 mode is not EM. According to the lead–lag correlation between the ENSO and EOF2 modes, the linkage between these two modes is as follows: …El Niño → EOF2 → La Niña → –EOF2 → El Niño…. By analyzing the evolution of sea surface temperature, surface wind, and subsurface ocean temperature anomalies, we find the mechanism linking the ENSO and EOF2 modes is the air–sea interaction associated with the ENSO cycle. This result suggests that the EOF2 mode represents an aspect of ENSO evolution under preindustrial conditions. Therefore, this study further indicates that the EM is probably due to the influence of global warming.
This study compares the climatology and long-term trend of northern winter stratospheric residual mean meridional circulation (RMMC), as well as its responses to El Niño-Southern Oscillation (ENSO), stratospheric Quasi Biennial Oscillation (QBO), and solar cycle in ten reanalyses and a stratosphere-resolving model, CESM1-WACCM. The RMMC is a large-scale meridional circulation cell in the stratosphere, usually referred to as the estimate of the Brewer Dobson circulation (BDC). The distribution of the BDC is generally consistent among multiple reanalyses except that the NOAA twentieth century reanalysis (20RC) largely underestimates it. Most reanalyses (except ERA40 and ERA-Interim) show a strengthening trend for the BDC during 1979–2010. All reanalyses and CESM1-WACCM consistently reveal that the deep branch of the BDC is significantly enhanced in El Niño winters as more waves from the troposphere dissipate in the stratospheric polar vortex region. A secondary circulation cell is coupled to the temperature anomalies below the QBO easterly center at 50 hPa with tropical upwelling/cooling and midlatitude downwelling/warming, and similar secondary circulation cells also appear between 50–10 hPa and above 10 hPa to balance the temperature anomalies. The direct BDC response to QBO in the upper stratosphere creates a barrier near 30°N to prevent waves from propagating to midlatitudes, contributing to the weakening of the polar vortex. The shallow branch of the BDC in the lower stratosphere is intensified during solar minima, and the downwelling warms the Arctic lower stratosphere. The stratospheric responses to QBO and solar cycle in most reanalyses are generally consistent except in the two 20CRs.