The Role of Longwave Radiation and Boundary Layer Thermodynamics in Forcing Tropical Surface Winds

Xiouhua Fu Department of Meteorology, School of Ocean and Earth Science and Technology, University of Hawaii at Manoa, Honolulu, Hawaii

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Bin Wang Department of Meteorology, School of Ocean and Earth Science and Technology, University of Hawaii at Manoa, Honolulu, Hawaii

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Abstract

This paper reveals major deficiencies of the existing intermediate climate models for tropical surface winds and elaborates the important roles of cloud-longwave radiational forcing and boundary layer thermodynamics in driving the tropical surface winds.

The heat sink associated with the cloud-longwave radiation is demonstrated as an important driving force for boreal summer northeast trades and Indian Ocean southwest monsoons. Over the western North Pacific and Atlantic Oceans, low cloudiness and high sea surface temperature enhance longwave radiation cooling, strengthening subtropical high and associated trades. On the other hand, in the regions of heavy rainfall over South Asia, reduced cloud-longwave radiation cooling enhances monsoon trough and associated southwest monsoons. The boundary layer thermodynamic processes, primarily both the surface heat fluxes and the vertical temperature advection, are shown to be critical for a realistic simulation of the intertropical convergence zone, the equatorial surface winds, and associated divergence field.

To successfully simulate the tropical surface winds, it is essential for intermediate models to adequately describe the feedback of the boundary layer frictional convergence to convective heat source, cloud-longwave radiation forcing, boundary layer temperature gradient forcing, and their interactions. The capability and limitations of the intermediate tropical climate model in reproducing both climatology and interannual variations are discussed.

* School of Ocean and Earth Science and Technology Publication Number 4729.

Corresponding author address: Dr. Bin Wang, Department of Meteorology, University of Hawaii at Manoa, 2525 Correa Road, Honolulu, HI 96822.

Email: bwang@loihi.soest.hawaii.edu

Abstract

This paper reveals major deficiencies of the existing intermediate climate models for tropical surface winds and elaborates the important roles of cloud-longwave radiational forcing and boundary layer thermodynamics in driving the tropical surface winds.

The heat sink associated with the cloud-longwave radiation is demonstrated as an important driving force for boreal summer northeast trades and Indian Ocean southwest monsoons. Over the western North Pacific and Atlantic Oceans, low cloudiness and high sea surface temperature enhance longwave radiation cooling, strengthening subtropical high and associated trades. On the other hand, in the regions of heavy rainfall over South Asia, reduced cloud-longwave radiation cooling enhances monsoon trough and associated southwest monsoons. The boundary layer thermodynamic processes, primarily both the surface heat fluxes and the vertical temperature advection, are shown to be critical for a realistic simulation of the intertropical convergence zone, the equatorial surface winds, and associated divergence field.

To successfully simulate the tropical surface winds, it is essential for intermediate models to adequately describe the feedback of the boundary layer frictional convergence to convective heat source, cloud-longwave radiation forcing, boundary layer temperature gradient forcing, and their interactions. The capability and limitations of the intermediate tropical climate model in reproducing both climatology and interannual variations are discussed.

* School of Ocean and Earth Science and Technology Publication Number 4729.

Corresponding author address: Dr. Bin Wang, Department of Meteorology, University of Hawaii at Manoa, 2525 Correa Road, Honolulu, HI 96822.

Email: bwang@loihi.soest.hawaii.edu

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