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Mechanism of the Northward-Propagating Intraseasonal Oscillation: Insights from a Zonally Symmetric Model

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  • 1 Department of Meteorology, School of Ocean and Earth Science and Technology, University of Hawaii at Manoa, Honolulu, Hawaii
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Abstract

The propagation and initiation mechanisms of the boreal summer intraseasonal oscillation (BSISO) in the south Asian summer monsoon are examined with a zonally symmetric atmospheric model. In the axially symmetric model the effects of zonally propagating atmospheric waves are intentionally excluded. The model specifies mean flows and depicts the lowest baroclinic mode and a barotropic mode in the free troposphere. The two vertical modes are coupled by the time-mean vertical wind shear. The model atmosphere produces a 15–20-day oscillation, which is characterized by northward propagation of convection from south of the equator to the Indian monsoon trough region and a reinitiation of convection in the region between 10°S and the equator.

The northward propagation in the model is produced by the free troposphere barotropic divergence, which leads convection by about a quarter of a cycle. The vertical advection of summer-mean easterly vertical wind shear by perturbation vertical motion inside the convective region induces barotropic divergence (convergence) to the north (south) of convection. This barotropic divergence triggers the moisture convergence in the boundary layer to the north of convection, causing the northward propagation of precipitation.

The development of convection in the Southern Hemisphere near the equator is also produced by the development of the barotropic divergence in the free troposphere. When the BSISO convection is located in the Indian monsoon trough region, it creates Hadley-type anomalous circulation. This Hadley-type circulation interacts with the monsoon flow through the meridional and vertical advections creating anomalous barotropic divergence and boundary layer convergence.

Corresponding author address: Dr. Hae-Kyung Lee Drbohlav, Istituto Nazionale di Geofisica e Vulcanologia Via Donato Creti 12, 40128 Bologna, Italy. Email: hael@bo.ingv.it

Abstract

The propagation and initiation mechanisms of the boreal summer intraseasonal oscillation (BSISO) in the south Asian summer monsoon are examined with a zonally symmetric atmospheric model. In the axially symmetric model the effects of zonally propagating atmospheric waves are intentionally excluded. The model specifies mean flows and depicts the lowest baroclinic mode and a barotropic mode in the free troposphere. The two vertical modes are coupled by the time-mean vertical wind shear. The model atmosphere produces a 15–20-day oscillation, which is characterized by northward propagation of convection from south of the equator to the Indian monsoon trough region and a reinitiation of convection in the region between 10°S and the equator.

The northward propagation in the model is produced by the free troposphere barotropic divergence, which leads convection by about a quarter of a cycle. The vertical advection of summer-mean easterly vertical wind shear by perturbation vertical motion inside the convective region induces barotropic divergence (convergence) to the north (south) of convection. This barotropic divergence triggers the moisture convergence in the boundary layer to the north of convection, causing the northward propagation of precipitation.

The development of convection in the Southern Hemisphere near the equator is also produced by the development of the barotropic divergence in the free troposphere. When the BSISO convection is located in the Indian monsoon trough region, it creates Hadley-type anomalous circulation. This Hadley-type circulation interacts with the monsoon flow through the meridional and vertical advections creating anomalous barotropic divergence and boundary layer convergence.

Corresponding author address: Dr. Hae-Kyung Lee Drbohlav, Istituto Nazionale di Geofisica e Vulcanologia Via Donato Creti 12, 40128 Bologna, Italy. Email: hael@bo.ingv.it

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