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Intraseasonal Variability of Surface Fluxes and Sea Surface Temperature in the Tropical Western Pacific and Indian Oceans

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  • 1 Climate Diagnostics Center, University of Colorado, Boulder, Colorado
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Abstract

Composites of sea surface temperature (SST), surface heat, momentum, and freshwater flux anomalies associated with intraseasonal oscillations of convection are developed for the warm pool of the western Pacific and Indian Oceans during 1986–93. The composites are based on empirical orthogonal function analysis of intraseasonally filtered outgoing longwave radiation (OLR), which efficiently extracts the Madden–Julian oscillation (MJO) in convection. Surface fluxes are estimated using gridded analyses from the European Centre for Medium-Range Weather Forecasts, weekly SST, OLR, microwave sounding unit precipitation, and the Tropical Ocean Global Atmosphere Coupled Ocean–Atmosphere Response Experiment (TOGA COARE) bulk flux algorithm. At intraseasonal timescales, these surface flux estimates agree reasonably well with estimates based on mooring observations collected during TOGA COARE.

The amplitude of the composite SST variation produced by the MJO is about 0.25°C in the western Pacific, 0.35°C in the Indonesian region, and 0.15°C in the Indian Ocean. The intraseasonal anomalies of SST and net surface heat flux propagate eastward at about 4 m s−1 along with the convective anomaly. The amplitude of the net surface heat flux variation is 50–70 W m−2 in the western Pacific, with anomalous insolation and latent heat flux making similar contributions. Across the Indian Ocean, the net surface heat flux anomaly is weaker (30–40 W m−2), and anomalous insolation appears to make a greater contribution than anomalous latent heat flux. Across the entire warm pool, the net surface heat flux leads the SST variation by about one-quarter cycle, which is consistent with the notion that surface heat flux variations are driving the SST variations at these intraseasonal timescales. The intraseasonal SST variation, however, is estimated to significantly reduce the amplitude of the latent and sensible heat fluxes produced by the MJO.

Corresponding author address: Dr. Toshiaki Shinoda, Climate Diagnostics Center, University of Colorado, Campus Box 449, Boulder, CO 80309.

Email: ts@cdc.noaa.gov

Abstract

Composites of sea surface temperature (SST), surface heat, momentum, and freshwater flux anomalies associated with intraseasonal oscillations of convection are developed for the warm pool of the western Pacific and Indian Oceans during 1986–93. The composites are based on empirical orthogonal function analysis of intraseasonally filtered outgoing longwave radiation (OLR), which efficiently extracts the Madden–Julian oscillation (MJO) in convection. Surface fluxes are estimated using gridded analyses from the European Centre for Medium-Range Weather Forecasts, weekly SST, OLR, microwave sounding unit precipitation, and the Tropical Ocean Global Atmosphere Coupled Ocean–Atmosphere Response Experiment (TOGA COARE) bulk flux algorithm. At intraseasonal timescales, these surface flux estimates agree reasonably well with estimates based on mooring observations collected during TOGA COARE.

The amplitude of the composite SST variation produced by the MJO is about 0.25°C in the western Pacific, 0.35°C in the Indonesian region, and 0.15°C in the Indian Ocean. The intraseasonal anomalies of SST and net surface heat flux propagate eastward at about 4 m s−1 along with the convective anomaly. The amplitude of the net surface heat flux variation is 50–70 W m−2 in the western Pacific, with anomalous insolation and latent heat flux making similar contributions. Across the Indian Ocean, the net surface heat flux anomaly is weaker (30–40 W m−2), and anomalous insolation appears to make a greater contribution than anomalous latent heat flux. Across the entire warm pool, the net surface heat flux leads the SST variation by about one-quarter cycle, which is consistent with the notion that surface heat flux variations are driving the SST variations at these intraseasonal timescales. The intraseasonal SST variation, however, is estimated to significantly reduce the amplitude of the latent and sensible heat fluxes produced by the MJO.

Corresponding author address: Dr. Toshiaki Shinoda, Climate Diagnostics Center, University of Colorado, Campus Box 449, Boulder, CO 80309.

Email: ts@cdc.noaa.gov

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