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Southerly Surges on Submonthly Time Scales over the Eastern Indian Ocean during the Southern Hemisphere Winter

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  • 1 Frontier Research Center for Global Change, JAMSTEC, Yokohama, Japan
  • | 2 Hydrospheric Atmospheric Research Center, Nagoya University, Nagoya, and Frontier Research Center for Global Change, JAMSTEC, Yokohama, Japan
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Abstract

Meridional wind surges from the extratropics into the Tropics strongly regulate tropical convective activity. This paper confirms that extratropical forcing manifested as a meridional surge does modulate the tropical atmosphere over the eastern Indian Ocean, and it describes the tropical–extratropical connection in the region.

Surges in the lower atmosphere on submonthly (6–25 days) time scales over the eastern Indian Ocean were examined in tandem with associated tropical convection and large-scale atmospheric fields during the Southern Hemisphere (SH) winter (June–August). Data used in this study are NCEP-2 reanalyses and daily NOAA/Climate Diagnostics Center (CDC) outgoing longwave radiation (OLR) data for 23 yr, from 1979 to 2001. A low-level surge index was calculated using the 850-hPa meridional wind component (υ) averaged over a region where sub–monthly scale υ variance shows a local maximum (17.5°–2.5°S, 87.5°–97.5°E). The surge index defines 62 different surge events. Composites of various components were generated based on the index to define relationships between surge events and large-scale fields.

Low-level southerly surges over the eastern Indian Ocean originate from midlatitude Rossby waves with strong baroclinic development in the entrance region of a subtropical jet core off Australia’s west coast. Strengthened low-level wind surges cause cross-equatorial flow stretching from the subtropical eastern Indian Ocean to the southern Bay of Bengal. Surges are accompanied by the advection of cold, dry air from midlatitudes into the Tropics. A cold and dry front develops at the leading surge edge during the surge period. Two to four days later, as the surge peaks, negative OLR anomalies develop near the key region. The OLR anomalies indicate a local blow up of convection over the tropical eastern Indian Ocean. Convection reflects increased instability in the surge region, which is caused by low-level dry air advection and near-surface moistening that is forced by enhanced sea surface evaporation associated with the surge. The southerly surge on submonthly time scales is an important bridge linking the Tropics and midlatitudes over the Indian Ocean.

Corresponding author address: Dr. Yoshiki Fukutomi, Frontier Research Center for Global Change, Yokohama Institute for Earth Sciences, Japan Agency for Marine-Earth Science and Technology (JAMSTEC), 3173-25 Showa-machi, Kanazawa-ku, Yokohama, Kanagawa 236-0001, Japan. Email: fukutomi@jamstec.go.jp

Abstract

Meridional wind surges from the extratropics into the Tropics strongly regulate tropical convective activity. This paper confirms that extratropical forcing manifested as a meridional surge does modulate the tropical atmosphere over the eastern Indian Ocean, and it describes the tropical–extratropical connection in the region.

Surges in the lower atmosphere on submonthly (6–25 days) time scales over the eastern Indian Ocean were examined in tandem with associated tropical convection and large-scale atmospheric fields during the Southern Hemisphere (SH) winter (June–August). Data used in this study are NCEP-2 reanalyses and daily NOAA/Climate Diagnostics Center (CDC) outgoing longwave radiation (OLR) data for 23 yr, from 1979 to 2001. A low-level surge index was calculated using the 850-hPa meridional wind component (υ) averaged over a region where sub–monthly scale υ variance shows a local maximum (17.5°–2.5°S, 87.5°–97.5°E). The surge index defines 62 different surge events. Composites of various components were generated based on the index to define relationships between surge events and large-scale fields.

Low-level southerly surges over the eastern Indian Ocean originate from midlatitude Rossby waves with strong baroclinic development in the entrance region of a subtropical jet core off Australia’s west coast. Strengthened low-level wind surges cause cross-equatorial flow stretching from the subtropical eastern Indian Ocean to the southern Bay of Bengal. Surges are accompanied by the advection of cold, dry air from midlatitudes into the Tropics. A cold and dry front develops at the leading surge edge during the surge period. Two to four days later, as the surge peaks, negative OLR anomalies develop near the key region. The OLR anomalies indicate a local blow up of convection over the tropical eastern Indian Ocean. Convection reflects increased instability in the surge region, which is caused by low-level dry air advection and near-surface moistening that is forced by enhanced sea surface evaporation associated with the surge. The southerly surge on submonthly time scales is an important bridge linking the Tropics and midlatitudes over the Indian Ocean.

Corresponding author address: Dr. Yoshiki Fukutomi, Frontier Research Center for Global Change, Yokohama Institute for Earth Sciences, Japan Agency for Marine-Earth Science and Technology (JAMSTEC), 3173-25 Showa-machi, Kanazawa-ku, Yokohama, Kanagawa 236-0001, Japan. Email: fukutomi@jamstec.go.jp

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