Tropical Intraseasonal Oscillation, Super Cloud Clusters, and Cumulus Convection Schemes

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  • 1 Laboratory for Atmospheres, NASA/Goddard Space Flight Center, Greenbelt, Maryland
  • | 2 General Sciences Corporation, Laurel, Maryland
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Abstract

A new framework for interpreting the origin of the tropical intraseasonal oscillation (TISO), which avoids the speed and scale selection problems in the previous theories, is proposed in this study. In this interpretation TISO is viewed as an oscillation driven by an eastward moving convective region. This convective region consists of one or more super cloud clusters originating in the Indian Ocean and terminating in mid-Pacific, and is then followed by another convective region arising in the Indian Ocean in a period of 40–50 days. Additionally, a formal analogy is pointed out between super cloud clusters and the middle-latitude baroclinic wave packets.

This study includes a simulation of TISO in a 2D model to support our interpretation. Experiments were conducted with four different convection schemes. The authors advocate that the successful simulation of TISO depends on the successful simulation of super cloud clusters, which in turn depends on the successful simulation of the life cycle of cloud clusters, which further in turn depends on the choice of cumulus convection scheme. What makes a cumulus convection scheme successful in simulating TISO is discussed.

Abstract

A new framework for interpreting the origin of the tropical intraseasonal oscillation (TISO), which avoids the speed and scale selection problems in the previous theories, is proposed in this study. In this interpretation TISO is viewed as an oscillation driven by an eastward moving convective region. This convective region consists of one or more super cloud clusters originating in the Indian Ocean and terminating in mid-Pacific, and is then followed by another convective region arising in the Indian Ocean in a period of 40–50 days. Additionally, a formal analogy is pointed out between super cloud clusters and the middle-latitude baroclinic wave packets.

This study includes a simulation of TISO in a 2D model to support our interpretation. Experiments were conducted with four different convection schemes. The authors advocate that the successful simulation of TISO depends on the successful simulation of super cloud clusters, which in turn depends on the successful simulation of the life cycle of cloud clusters, which further in turn depends on the choice of cumulus convection scheme. What makes a cumulus convection scheme successful in simulating TISO is discussed.

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