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The Boreal Summer Intraseasonal Oscillation Simulated in the NCEP Climate Forecast System: The Effect of Sea Surface Temperature

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  • 1 RS Information Systems, McLean, Virginia, and NOAA/NCEP/Climate Prediction Center, Camp Springs, Maryland
  • | 2 NOAA/NCEP/Climate Prediction Center, Camp Springs, Maryland
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Abstract

Observational evidence has indicated the important role of the interaction of the atmosphere with the sea surface in the development and maintenance of the tropical intraseasonal oscillation (ISO). However, improvements in ISO simulations with fully coupled atmosphere–ocean general circulation models are limited and model dependent. This study further examines the effect of air–sea coupling and the basic-state sea surface temperature (SST) associated with the boreal summer intraseasonal oscillation (BSISO) in a 21-yr free run with the recently developed NCEP coupled Climate Forecast System (CFS) model. For this, the CFS run is compared with an Atmospheric Model Intercomparison Project–type long-term simulation forced by prescribed SST in the NCEP Global Forecast System (GFS) model and flux-corrected version of CFS (referred to as CFSA). The GFS run simulates significantly unorganized BSISO convection anomalies, which exhibit an erroneous standing oscillation. The CFS run with interactive air–sea coupling has limited improvements, including the generation of intraseasonal SST variation preceding the convection anomaly by ∼10 days. However, this simulation still does not show the observed continuous northward propagation over the Indian Ocean due to a cold model bias. The CFSA run removes the cold bias in the Indian Ocean and the simulation of the development and propagation of BSISO anomalies are significantly improved. Enhanced and suppressed convection anomalies exhibit the observed quadrupole-like configuration, and phase relationships between precipitation and surface dynamic and thermodynamic variables for the northward propagation are shown to be coherent and consistent with the observations. It is shown that the surface meridional moisture convergence is an important factor for the northward propagation of the BSISO. On the other hand, both the GFS and CFS runs do not realistically simulate an eastward-propagating equatorial mode. The CFSA run produces a more realistic eastward-propagation mode only over the Indian Ocean and Java Sea due to the improved mean state in SST, low-level winds, and vertical wind shear. Reasons for the failure of farther eastward propagation into the west Pacific in CFSA are discussed. This study reconfirms the significance of air–sea interactions. More importantly, however, the results suggest that in order for the influence of the coupled air–sea interaction to be properly communicated, the mean state SST in the coupled model should be reasonably simulated. This is because the basic-state SST itself acts to sustain BSISO convection and it makes the large-scale dynamical environment (i.e., easterly vertical wind shear or low-level westerly zonal wind) more favorable for the propagation of the moist Rossby–Kelvin wave packet.

* Current affiliation: Division of Earth Environmental System, Atmospheric Science Major, Pusan National University, Busan, South Korea

Corresponding author address: Dr. Kyong-Hwan Seo, Dept. of Atmospheric Sciences, Pusan National University, Busan 609-734, South Korea. Email: khseo@pusan.ac.kr

Abstract

Observational evidence has indicated the important role of the interaction of the atmosphere with the sea surface in the development and maintenance of the tropical intraseasonal oscillation (ISO). However, improvements in ISO simulations with fully coupled atmosphere–ocean general circulation models are limited and model dependent. This study further examines the effect of air–sea coupling and the basic-state sea surface temperature (SST) associated with the boreal summer intraseasonal oscillation (BSISO) in a 21-yr free run with the recently developed NCEP coupled Climate Forecast System (CFS) model. For this, the CFS run is compared with an Atmospheric Model Intercomparison Project–type long-term simulation forced by prescribed SST in the NCEP Global Forecast System (GFS) model and flux-corrected version of CFS (referred to as CFSA). The GFS run simulates significantly unorganized BSISO convection anomalies, which exhibit an erroneous standing oscillation. The CFS run with interactive air–sea coupling has limited improvements, including the generation of intraseasonal SST variation preceding the convection anomaly by ∼10 days. However, this simulation still does not show the observed continuous northward propagation over the Indian Ocean due to a cold model bias. The CFSA run removes the cold bias in the Indian Ocean and the simulation of the development and propagation of BSISO anomalies are significantly improved. Enhanced and suppressed convection anomalies exhibit the observed quadrupole-like configuration, and phase relationships between precipitation and surface dynamic and thermodynamic variables for the northward propagation are shown to be coherent and consistent with the observations. It is shown that the surface meridional moisture convergence is an important factor for the northward propagation of the BSISO. On the other hand, both the GFS and CFS runs do not realistically simulate an eastward-propagating equatorial mode. The CFSA run produces a more realistic eastward-propagation mode only over the Indian Ocean and Java Sea due to the improved mean state in SST, low-level winds, and vertical wind shear. Reasons for the failure of farther eastward propagation into the west Pacific in CFSA are discussed. This study reconfirms the significance of air–sea interactions. More importantly, however, the results suggest that in order for the influence of the coupled air–sea interaction to be properly communicated, the mean state SST in the coupled model should be reasonably simulated. This is because the basic-state SST itself acts to sustain BSISO convection and it makes the large-scale dynamical environment (i.e., easterly vertical wind shear or low-level westerly zonal wind) more favorable for the propagation of the moist Rossby–Kelvin wave packet.

* Current affiliation: Division of Earth Environmental System, Atmospheric Science Major, Pusan National University, Busan, South Korea

Corresponding author address: Dr. Kyong-Hwan Seo, Dept. of Atmospheric Sciences, Pusan National University, Busan 609-734, South Korea. Email: khseo@pusan.ac.kr

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