Remote Forcing versus Local Feedback of East Pacific Intraseasonal Variability during Boreal Summer

Adam V. Rydbeck Department of Atmospheric Science, Colorado State University, Fort Collins, Colorado

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Eric D. Maloney Department of Atmospheric Science, Colorado State University, Fort Collins, Colorado

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Shang-Ping Xie International Pacific Research Center, University of Hawaii at Manoa, Honolulu, Hawaii

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Jan Hafner International Pacific Research Center, University of Hawaii at Manoa, Honolulu, Hawaii

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Jeffrey Shaman Department of Environmental Health Sciences, Columbia University, New York, New York

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Abstract

During boreal summer (June–October), interactions between intraseasonal variability in the Eastern Hemisphere and east Pacific warm pool are often described as a local amplification of the Madden–Julian oscillation (MJO), the dominant mode of tropical intraseasonal variability. The MJO in the Eastern Hemisphere emits eastward-propagating dry Kelvin waves that are a source of rapid communication with the east Pacific. However, the precise mechanism by and degree to which intraseasonal variability in the Eastern Hemisphere interacts with the east Pacific are not well understood. To quantify the relationship, sensitivity tests in two separate models are used: the National Center for Atmospheric Research (NCAR) Community Atmosphere Model (CAM) and the International Pacific Research Center Regional Atmosphere Model (IRAM). Different methods are employed to isolate the east Pacific from outside intraseasonal signals in each model. When isolated from Kelvin wave fronts associated with the MJO, the CAM produces similar east Pacific intraseasonal variability to observations. In the CAM, the communication of intraseasonal signals by Kelvin waves does not appear necessary to the initiation and maintenance of east Pacific intraseasonal variability, suggesting that such events can be independent of the MJO. However, communication by MJO-initiated Kelvin waves provides a possible phase locking mechanism between hemispheres. When the east Pacific is isolated from all remote intraseasonal signals in the IRAM, intraseasonal events there are weak and incoherent. In the IRAM communication across the Pacific appears necessary to the representation of east Pacific intraseasonal variability. However, the IRAM contains an important bias in the climatological low-level winds that may suppress east Pacific intraseasonal events.

Corresponding author address: Adam V. Rydbeck, Dept. of Atmospheric Science, Colorado State University, 1371 Campus Delivery, Fort Collins, CO 80523-1371. E-mail: arydbeck@atmos.colostate.edu

Abstract

During boreal summer (June–October), interactions between intraseasonal variability in the Eastern Hemisphere and east Pacific warm pool are often described as a local amplification of the Madden–Julian oscillation (MJO), the dominant mode of tropical intraseasonal variability. The MJO in the Eastern Hemisphere emits eastward-propagating dry Kelvin waves that are a source of rapid communication with the east Pacific. However, the precise mechanism by and degree to which intraseasonal variability in the Eastern Hemisphere interacts with the east Pacific are not well understood. To quantify the relationship, sensitivity tests in two separate models are used: the National Center for Atmospheric Research (NCAR) Community Atmosphere Model (CAM) and the International Pacific Research Center Regional Atmosphere Model (IRAM). Different methods are employed to isolate the east Pacific from outside intraseasonal signals in each model. When isolated from Kelvin wave fronts associated with the MJO, the CAM produces similar east Pacific intraseasonal variability to observations. In the CAM, the communication of intraseasonal signals by Kelvin waves does not appear necessary to the initiation and maintenance of east Pacific intraseasonal variability, suggesting that such events can be independent of the MJO. However, communication by MJO-initiated Kelvin waves provides a possible phase locking mechanism between hemispheres. When the east Pacific is isolated from all remote intraseasonal signals in the IRAM, intraseasonal events there are weak and incoherent. In the IRAM communication across the Pacific appears necessary to the representation of east Pacific intraseasonal variability. However, the IRAM contains an important bias in the climatological low-level winds that may suppress east Pacific intraseasonal events.

Corresponding author address: Adam V. Rydbeck, Dept. of Atmospheric Science, Colorado State University, 1371 Campus Delivery, Fort Collins, CO 80523-1371. E-mail: arydbeck@atmos.colostate.edu
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