The Dynamics of the Madden–Julian Oscillation (MJO) (DYNAMO) field campaign over the central Indian Ocean captured three strong MJO events during October–December 2011. Using the conventional budget approach of Yanai et al. surface rainfall P0 is computed as a residual from the vertically integrated form of the moisture budget equation. This budget-derived P0 is spatially averaged over the Gan Island NCAR S-PolKa radar domain and compared with rainfall estimates from the radar itself. To isolate the MJO signal, these rainfall time series are low-pass (LP) filtered and a three-MJO composite is created based on the time of maximum LP-filtered S-PolKa rainfall for each event. A comparison of the two composite rainfall estimates shows that the budget rainfall overestimates the radar rainfall by ∼15% in the MJO buildup stage and underestimates radar rainfall by ∼8% in the MJO decay stage. These rainfall differences suggest that hydrometeor (clouds and rain) storage and advection effects, which are neglected in the budget approach, are likely significant. Satellite and ground-based observations are used to investigate these hydrometeor storage and advection effects. While the findings are qualitatively consistent with expectations from theory, they fall short of explaining their full magnitude, suggesting even more refined experimental designs and measurements will be needed to adequately address this issue.
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This article is included in the DYNAMO/CINDY/AMIE/LASP: Processes, Dynamics, and Prediction of MJO Initiation Special Collection.