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Time-Spectral Characteristics of Large-Scale Cloud Systems in the Tropical Pacific

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  • 1 Dept. of Meteorology and Space Science and Engineering Center, The University of Wisconsin, Madison 53706
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Abstract

Time series of areal cloud coverage over the central Pacific are studied to determine the large-scale variations of tropical disturbance activity for a four-month period in 1967. The persistent and fluctuating components are found to be more prevalent in regions of high and low mean cloudiness, respectively, with major longitudinal variations in activity most evident in the Southern Hemisphere. Normalized power spectra show that the transient activity occurring in the equatorial zone is dominated by shorter periods of about four days, while longer periods are dominant away from the equator. Coherency magnitudes and phases between different locations indicate that propagating cloud systems are most identifiable at lower frequencies in the Southern Hemisphere, and at somewhat higher frequencies in the Northern Hemisphere. Activity with periods in excess of five days consists largely of both westward and eastward propagation on the planetary wave scale. The shorter periods appear to consist of both synoptic-scale and planetary-scale modes, with westward propagation dominant near the equator.

Abstract

Time series of areal cloud coverage over the central Pacific are studied to determine the large-scale variations of tropical disturbance activity for a four-month period in 1967. The persistent and fluctuating components are found to be more prevalent in regions of high and low mean cloudiness, respectively, with major longitudinal variations in activity most evident in the Southern Hemisphere. Normalized power spectra show that the transient activity occurring in the equatorial zone is dominated by shorter periods of about four days, while longer periods are dominant away from the equator. Coherency magnitudes and phases between different locations indicate that propagating cloud systems are most identifiable at lower frequencies in the Southern Hemisphere, and at somewhat higher frequencies in the Northern Hemisphere. Activity with periods in excess of five days consists largely of both westward and eastward propagation on the planetary wave scale. The shorter periods appear to consist of both synoptic-scale and planetary-scale modes, with westward propagation dominant near the equator.

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