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Regional Heat Sources and the Active and Break Phases of Boreal Summer Intraseasonal (30–50 Day) Variability

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  • 1 International Pacific Research Center, University of Hawaii at Manoa, Honolulu, Hawaii
  • | 2 PCMDI, Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory, Livermore, California
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Abstract

The boreal summer intraseasonal variability (BSISV) associated with the 30–50-day mode is represented by the coexistence of three components: poleward propagation of convection over the Indian and tropical west Pacific longitudes and eastward propagation along the equator. The hypothesis that the three components influence each other has been investigated using observed outgoing longwave radiation (OLR), NCEP–NCAR reanalysis, and solutions from an idealized linear model. The null hypothesis is that the three components are mutually independent. Cyclostationary EOF (CsEOF) analysis is applied on filtered OLR to extract the life cycle of the BSISV. The dominant CsEOF mode is significantly tied to the observed spatial rainfall pattern associated with the active/break phases over the Indian subcontinent. The components of the heating patterns from CsEOF analysis serve as prescribed forcings for the dry version of the linear model. This allows one to investigate the possible roles that the regional heat sources and sinks play in driving the large-scale monsoon circulation at various stages of the BSISV life cycle. To understand the interactive nature between convection and circulation, the moist version of the model is forced with intraseasonal SST anomalies.

The linear models reproduce the major features of the BSISV seen in the reanalysis. The linear model suggests three new findings: (i) The circulation anomalies that develop as a Rossby wave response to suppressed convection over the equatorial Indian Ocean associated with the previous break phase of the BSISV results in low-level convergence and tropospheric moisture enhancement over the equatorial western Indian Ocean and helps trigger the next active phase of the BSISV. (ii) The development of convection over the tropical west Pacific forces descent anomalies to the west. This, in conjunction with the weakened cross-equatorial flow due to suppressed convective anomalies over the equatorial Indian Ocean, reduces the tropospheric moisture over the Arabian Sea and promotes westerly wind anomalies that do not recurve over India. As a result the low-level cyclonic vorticity shifts from India to Southeast Asia and break conditions are initiated over India. (iii) The circulation anomalies forced by equatorial Indian Ocean convective anomalies significantly influence the active/break phases over the tropical west Pacific.

The model solutions support the hypothesis that the three components of the BSISV influence each other but do not imply that such an influence is responsible for the space–time evolution of the BSISV. Further, the applicability of the model results to the observed system is constrained by the assumption that linear interactions are sufficient to address the BSISV and that air–sea interaction and transient forcing are excluded.

Corresponding author address: Dr. H. Annamalai, IPRC, SOEST, University of Hawaii at Manoa, 1680 East–West Rd., Honolulu, HI 96822. Email: hanna@hawaii.edu

Abstract

The boreal summer intraseasonal variability (BSISV) associated with the 30–50-day mode is represented by the coexistence of three components: poleward propagation of convection over the Indian and tropical west Pacific longitudes and eastward propagation along the equator. The hypothesis that the three components influence each other has been investigated using observed outgoing longwave radiation (OLR), NCEP–NCAR reanalysis, and solutions from an idealized linear model. The null hypothesis is that the three components are mutually independent. Cyclostationary EOF (CsEOF) analysis is applied on filtered OLR to extract the life cycle of the BSISV. The dominant CsEOF mode is significantly tied to the observed spatial rainfall pattern associated with the active/break phases over the Indian subcontinent. The components of the heating patterns from CsEOF analysis serve as prescribed forcings for the dry version of the linear model. This allows one to investigate the possible roles that the regional heat sources and sinks play in driving the large-scale monsoon circulation at various stages of the BSISV life cycle. To understand the interactive nature between convection and circulation, the moist version of the model is forced with intraseasonal SST anomalies.

The linear models reproduce the major features of the BSISV seen in the reanalysis. The linear model suggests three new findings: (i) The circulation anomalies that develop as a Rossby wave response to suppressed convection over the equatorial Indian Ocean associated with the previous break phase of the BSISV results in low-level convergence and tropospheric moisture enhancement over the equatorial western Indian Ocean and helps trigger the next active phase of the BSISV. (ii) The development of convection over the tropical west Pacific forces descent anomalies to the west. This, in conjunction with the weakened cross-equatorial flow due to suppressed convective anomalies over the equatorial Indian Ocean, reduces the tropospheric moisture over the Arabian Sea and promotes westerly wind anomalies that do not recurve over India. As a result the low-level cyclonic vorticity shifts from India to Southeast Asia and break conditions are initiated over India. (iii) The circulation anomalies forced by equatorial Indian Ocean convective anomalies significantly influence the active/break phases over the tropical west Pacific.

The model solutions support the hypothesis that the three components of the BSISV influence each other but do not imply that such an influence is responsible for the space–time evolution of the BSISV. Further, the applicability of the model results to the observed system is constrained by the assumption that linear interactions are sufficient to address the BSISV and that air–sea interaction and transient forcing are excluded.

Corresponding author address: Dr. H. Annamalai, IPRC, SOEST, University of Hawaii at Manoa, 1680 East–West Rd., Honolulu, HI 96822. Email: hanna@hawaii.edu

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