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Atmospheric Convergence Feedback in a Simple Model for El Niño

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  • 1 Lamont-Doherty Geological Observatory, Palisades, NY 10964
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Abstract

A parameterization is developed for the feedback between dynamics and heating associated with moisture convergence in the tropical atmospheric boundary layer. The feedback improves the ability of a simple model to simulate observed anomalies of the tropical atmosphere during El Niño events. In particular, two features of the observations are reproduced by including the feedback process: the smaller scale of atmospheric anomalies as compared to SST anomalies, and the focusing of the anomalies in the vicinity of the mean convergence zones. The principal remaining shortcomings of the model are discussed.

Abstract

A parameterization is developed for the feedback between dynamics and heating associated with moisture convergence in the tropical atmospheric boundary layer. The feedback improves the ability of a simple model to simulate observed anomalies of the tropical atmosphere during El Niño events. In particular, two features of the observations are reproduced by including the feedback process: the smaller scale of atmospheric anomalies as compared to SST anomalies, and the focusing of the anomalies in the vicinity of the mean convergence zones. The principal remaining shortcomings of the model are discussed.

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