Centered Composite Analysis of Variations Associated with the Madden–Julian Oscillation

Bryan C. Weare Atmospheric Science Program, University of California, Davis, Davis, California

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Abstract

Centered composite analysis is described and applied to gain a better understanding of the initial phases of the Madden–Julian oscillation (MJO). Centered composite analysis identifies the dates and central locations of key events. The elements of the composite means are centered on these central locations before averages are calculated. In this way much of the spatial fuzziness, which is inherent in traditional composite analysis, is removed. The results for the MJO, based on MJO-filtered outgoing longwave radiation for the reference data and 40-yr ECMWF Re-Analysis (ERA-40) and NCEP–NCAR reanalysis products for the composites, show highly significant composites of unfiltered data for not only zero lag, but also lags back to 20 days before the target events. These composites identify propagating patterns of surface pressure, upper- and lower-troposphere zonal winds, surface temperature, and 850-hPa specific humidity associated with MJO convective events in the Indian Ocean. The propagation characteristics of important features, especially surface pressure, differ substantially for MJO convective anomalies centered over the Indian or western Pacific Oceans. This suggests that distinctly different mechanisms may be dominant in these two regions, and that many earlier analyses may be mixing properties of the two.

Corresponding author address: Bryan C. Weare, Atmospheric Science Program, Dept. of Land, Air and Water Resources, University of California, Davis, 1 Shields Ave., Davis, CA 95616. Email: bcweare@ucdavis.edu

Abstract

Centered composite analysis is described and applied to gain a better understanding of the initial phases of the Madden–Julian oscillation (MJO). Centered composite analysis identifies the dates and central locations of key events. The elements of the composite means are centered on these central locations before averages are calculated. In this way much of the spatial fuzziness, which is inherent in traditional composite analysis, is removed. The results for the MJO, based on MJO-filtered outgoing longwave radiation for the reference data and 40-yr ECMWF Re-Analysis (ERA-40) and NCEP–NCAR reanalysis products for the composites, show highly significant composites of unfiltered data for not only zero lag, but also lags back to 20 days before the target events. These composites identify propagating patterns of surface pressure, upper- and lower-troposphere zonal winds, surface temperature, and 850-hPa specific humidity associated with MJO convective events in the Indian Ocean. The propagation characteristics of important features, especially surface pressure, differ substantially for MJO convective anomalies centered over the Indian or western Pacific Oceans. This suggests that distinctly different mechanisms may be dominant in these two regions, and that many earlier analyses may be mixing properties of the two.

Corresponding author address: Bryan C. Weare, Atmospheric Science Program, Dept. of Land, Air and Water Resources, University of California, Davis, 1 Shields Ave., Davis, CA 95616. Email: bcweare@ucdavis.edu

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