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Large-Scale Atmospheric and Oceanic Conditions during the 2011–12 DYNAMO Field Campaign

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  • 1 NOAA/Climate Prediction Center, College Park, Maryland
  • | 2 University at Albany, State University of New York, Albany, New York
  • | 3 Cooperative Institute for Climate and Satellites, North Carolina State University, Asheville, North Carolina
  • | 4 Earth System Science Interdisciplinary Center, University of Maryland, College Park, and NOAA/Climate Prediction Center, College Park, Maryland
  • | 5 Rosenstiel School of Marine and Atmospheric Science, University of Miami, Miami, Florida
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Abstract

An international field campaign, Dynamics of the Madden Julian Oscillation (DYNAMO), took place in the Indian Ocean during October 2011–March 2012 to collect observations for the Madden–Julian oscillation (MJO), especially its convective initiation processes. The large-scale atmospheric and oceanic conditions during the campaign are documented here. The ENSO and the Indian Ocean dipole (IOD) states, the monthly mean monsoon circulation and its associated precipitation, humidity, vertical and meridional/zonal overturning cells, and ocean surface currents are discussed. The evolution of MJO events is described using various fields and indices that have been used to subdivide the campaign into three periods. These periods were 1) 17 September–8 December 2011 (period 1), which featured two robust MJO events that circumnavigated the global tropics with a period of less than 45 days; 2) 9 December 2011–31 January 2012, which contained less coherent activity (period 2); and 3) 1 February–12 April 2012, a period that featured the strongest and most slowly propagating MJO event of the campaign (period 3). Activities of convectively coupled atmospheric Kelvin and equatorial Rossby (ER) waves and their interaction with the MJO are discussed. The overview of the atmospheric and oceanic variability during the field campaign raises several scientific issues pertaining to our understanding of the MJO, or lack thereof. Among others, roles of Kelvin and ER waves in MJO convective initiation, convection-circulation decoupling on the MJO scale, applications of MJO filtering methods and indices, and ocean–atmosphere coupling need further research attention.

Corresponding author address: Jon Gottschalck, 5830 University Court, College Park, MD 20740. E-mail: jon.gottschalck@noaa.gov

This article is included in the DYNAMO/CINDY/AMIE/LASP: Processes, Dynamics, and Prediction of MJO Initiation special collection.

Abstract

An international field campaign, Dynamics of the Madden Julian Oscillation (DYNAMO), took place in the Indian Ocean during October 2011–March 2012 to collect observations for the Madden–Julian oscillation (MJO), especially its convective initiation processes. The large-scale atmospheric and oceanic conditions during the campaign are documented here. The ENSO and the Indian Ocean dipole (IOD) states, the monthly mean monsoon circulation and its associated precipitation, humidity, vertical and meridional/zonal overturning cells, and ocean surface currents are discussed. The evolution of MJO events is described using various fields and indices that have been used to subdivide the campaign into three periods. These periods were 1) 17 September–8 December 2011 (period 1), which featured two robust MJO events that circumnavigated the global tropics with a period of less than 45 days; 2) 9 December 2011–31 January 2012, which contained less coherent activity (period 2); and 3) 1 February–12 April 2012, a period that featured the strongest and most slowly propagating MJO event of the campaign (period 3). Activities of convectively coupled atmospheric Kelvin and equatorial Rossby (ER) waves and their interaction with the MJO are discussed. The overview of the atmospheric and oceanic variability during the field campaign raises several scientific issues pertaining to our understanding of the MJO, or lack thereof. Among others, roles of Kelvin and ER waves in MJO convective initiation, convection-circulation decoupling on the MJO scale, applications of MJO filtering methods and indices, and ocean–atmosphere coupling need further research attention.

Corresponding author address: Jon Gottschalck, 5830 University Court, College Park, MD 20740. E-mail: jon.gottschalck@noaa.gov

This article is included in the DYNAMO/CINDY/AMIE/LASP: Processes, Dynamics, and Prediction of MJO Initiation special collection.

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