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The Tropical Madden–Julian Oscillation and the Global Wind Oscillation

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  • 1 NOAA/ESRL/Physical Sciences Division, Boulder, Colorado
  • | 2 NOAA/National Weather Service, Dodge City, Kansas
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Abstract

The global wind oscillation (GWO) is a subseasonal phenomenon encompassing the tropical Madden–Julian oscillation (MJO) and midlatitude processes like meridional momentum transports and mountain torques. A phase space is defined for the GWO following the approach of Wheeler and Hendon for the MJO. In contrast to the oscillatory behavior of the MJO, two red noise processes define the GWO. The red noise spectra have variance at periods that bracket 30–60 or 30–80 days, which are bands used to define the MJO. The correlation between the MJO and GWO is ∼0.5 and cross spectra show well-defined, coherent phase relations in similar frequency bands. However, considerable independent variance exists in the GWO. A basic dynamical distinction occurs in the direction of midlatitude wave energy dispersion, being predominantly meridional during a MJO and zonal during the GWO. This is primarily a winter season feature centered over the Pacific Ocean. A case study during April–May 2007 focuses on the GWO and two ∼30-day duration orbits with extreme anomalies in GWO phase space. The MJO phase space projections for the same time were irregular and, it is argued, partially driven by mountain torques and meridional transports. The case study reveals that multiple physical processes and time scales act to create slowly evolving planetary-scale circulation and tropical convection anomalies.

Corresponding author address: Klaus Weickmann, NOAA/ESRL/Physical Sciences Division, R/PSD1, 325 Broadway, Boulder, CO 80305-3337. Email: klaus.weickmann@noaa.gov

Abstract

The global wind oscillation (GWO) is a subseasonal phenomenon encompassing the tropical Madden–Julian oscillation (MJO) and midlatitude processes like meridional momentum transports and mountain torques. A phase space is defined for the GWO following the approach of Wheeler and Hendon for the MJO. In contrast to the oscillatory behavior of the MJO, two red noise processes define the GWO. The red noise spectra have variance at periods that bracket 30–60 or 30–80 days, which are bands used to define the MJO. The correlation between the MJO and GWO is ∼0.5 and cross spectra show well-defined, coherent phase relations in similar frequency bands. However, considerable independent variance exists in the GWO. A basic dynamical distinction occurs in the direction of midlatitude wave energy dispersion, being predominantly meridional during a MJO and zonal during the GWO. This is primarily a winter season feature centered over the Pacific Ocean. A case study during April–May 2007 focuses on the GWO and two ∼30-day duration orbits with extreme anomalies in GWO phase space. The MJO phase space projections for the same time were irregular and, it is argued, partially driven by mountain torques and meridional transports. The case study reveals that multiple physical processes and time scales act to create slowly evolving planetary-scale circulation and tropical convection anomalies.

Corresponding author address: Klaus Weickmann, NOAA/ESRL/Physical Sciences Division, R/PSD1, 325 Broadway, Boulder, CO 80305-3337. Email: klaus.weickmann@noaa.gov

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