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Equatorial Waves Including the Madden–Julian Oscillation in TRMM Rainfall and OLR Data

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  • 1 Department of Atmospheric Sciences, Texas A&M University, College Station, Texas
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Abstract

Four years of outgoing longwave radiation (OLR) and rainfall data from the Tropical Rainfall Measuring Mission (TRMM) are investigated to find the dominant large-scale wave modes in the Tropics. By using space– time cross-section analysis and spectral analysis, the longitudinal and latitudinal behaviors of the overall waves and the dominant waves are observed. Despite the noisy nature of precipitation data and the limited sampling by the TRMM satellite, pronounced peaks are found for Kelvin waves, n = 1 equatorial Rossby waves (ER), and mixed Rossby–gravity waves (MRG). Madden–Julian oscillation (MJO) and tropical depression (TD)-type disturbances are also detected. The seasonal evolution of these waves is investigated.

An appendix includes a study of sampling and aliasing errors due to the peculiar space–time sampling pattern of TRMM. It is shown that the waves detected in this study are not artifacts of these sampling features.

The results presented here are compared with previous studies. Consistency with their results gives confidence in the TRMM data for wave studies. The results from this study can be utilized for modeling and testing theories. Also, it may be useful for the future users of the TRMM data to understand the nature of the TRMM satellite sampling.

Corresponding author address: Hye-Kyung Cho, Department of Atmospheric Sciences, Texas A&M University, College Station, TX 77845-3150. Email: hkc@ariel.met.tamu.edu

Abstract

Four years of outgoing longwave radiation (OLR) and rainfall data from the Tropical Rainfall Measuring Mission (TRMM) are investigated to find the dominant large-scale wave modes in the Tropics. By using space– time cross-section analysis and spectral analysis, the longitudinal and latitudinal behaviors of the overall waves and the dominant waves are observed. Despite the noisy nature of precipitation data and the limited sampling by the TRMM satellite, pronounced peaks are found for Kelvin waves, n = 1 equatorial Rossby waves (ER), and mixed Rossby–gravity waves (MRG). Madden–Julian oscillation (MJO) and tropical depression (TD)-type disturbances are also detected. The seasonal evolution of these waves is investigated.

An appendix includes a study of sampling and aliasing errors due to the peculiar space–time sampling pattern of TRMM. It is shown that the waves detected in this study are not artifacts of these sampling features.

The results presented here are compared with previous studies. Consistency with their results gives confidence in the TRMM data for wave studies. The results from this study can be utilized for modeling and testing theories. Also, it may be useful for the future users of the TRMM data to understand the nature of the TRMM satellite sampling.

Corresponding author address: Hye-Kyung Cho, Department of Atmospheric Sciences, Texas A&M University, College Station, TX 77845-3150. Email: hkc@ariel.met.tamu.edu

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