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James H. Ruppert Jr. and Fuqing Zhang

Abstract

An unfiltered zonal Hovmöller depiction of rainfall in the Maritime Continent (MC) reveals remarkable spatiotemporal continuity of zonally propagating disturbances with a diurnal period, which endure over multiple days and propagate faster than the individual convective storms they coupled with. This phenomenon and its sensitivity to the Madden–Julian oscillation (MJO) during the 2011/12 Dynamics of the MJO (DYNAMO) field campaign is examined here through a well-validated, convection-permitting model simulation conducted on a large domain. We find that these disturbances are zonally propagating diurnal gravity waves excited by vigorous nocturnal mesoscale convective systems over Sumatra and Borneo. These gravity waves are diurnally phase locked: their wavelength very closely matches the distance between these two islands (~1500 km), while their particular zonal phase speed (~±17 m s−1) allows them to propagate this distance in one diurnal cycle. We therefore hypothesize that these waves are amplified by resonant interaction due to diurnal phase locking. While these zonal gravity waves decouple from convection once beyond the MC, their divergent flow signature endures well across the Indian Ocean, provoking the notion that they may influence rainfall at far remote locations. The exact controls over this zonal phase speed remain uncertain; we note, however, that it is roughly consistent with diurnal offshore-propagating modes documented previously. Further study is required to tie this down, and more generally, to understand the sensitivity of these modes to background flow strength and the geography of the MC.

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Satoru Yokoi, Shuichi Mori, Fadli Syamsudin, Urip Haryoko, and Biao Geng

Abstract

The diurnal cycle over tropical coastal waters is characterized by offshore migration of precipitation area during nighttime. This study analyzes in situ observational data collected during the YMC-Sumatra 2017 field campaign around the western coast of Sumatra Island, Indonesia, to examine the offshore migration phenomenon during 5–31 December 2017, when the Research Vessel Mirai was deployed about 90 km off the coast to perform observation. The offshore migration is observed in only less than a half of the 27 days. A comparison of radiosonde data at the vessel between days with and without the offshore migration reveals that vertical wind shear in the lower troposphere is a key environmental condition. In late afternoon of the days with the offshore migration, offshore (northeasterly) wind shear with height with considerable magnitude is observed, which is due to weaker daily mean southwesterly wind in the lower free troposphere, stronger southwesterly wind in the boundary layer, and sea breeze. As this condition is considered favorable for regeneration of convective cells to the offshore side of old ones, these results support an idea that the regeneration process is critical for the offshore migration. The Madden–Julian oscillation and cold surges play some roles in the weakening of the free-tropospheric wind. The migration speed is estimated at 2–3 m s−1, which is lower than that observed in another field campaign conducted in 2015 (Pre-YMC 2015). This difference is partly due to the difference in the environmental wind in the lower to midtroposphere.

Open access
Yan Zhu, Tim Li, Ming Zhao, and Tomoe Nasuno

Abstract

The two-way interaction between Madden–Julian oscillation (MJO) and higher-frequency waves (HFW) over the Maritime Continent (MC) during boreal winter of 1984–2005 is investigated. It is noted from observational analysis that strengthened (weakened) HFW activity appears to the west (east) of and under MJO convection during the MJO active phase and the opposite is seen during the MJO suppressed phase. Sensitivity model experiments indicate that the control of HFW activity by MJO is through change of the background vertical wind shear and specific humidity. The upscale feedbacks from HFW to MJO through nonlinear rectification of condensational heating and eddy momentum transport are also investigated with observational data. A significantly large amount (25%–40%) of positive heating anomaly () at low levels to the east of MJO convection is contributed by nonlinear rectification of HFW. This nonlinear rectification is primarily attributed to eddy meridional moisture advection. A momentum budget diagnosis reveals that 60% of MJO zonal wind tendency at 850 hPa is attributed to the nonlinear interaction of HFW with other scale flows. Among them, the largest contribution arises from eddy zonal momentum flux divergence . Easterly (westerly) vertical shear to the west (east) of MJO convection during the MJO active phase causes the strengthening (weakening) of the HFW zonal wind anomaly. This leads to the increase (decrease) of eddy momentum flux activity to the east (west) of the MJO convection, which causes a positive (negative) eddy zonal momentum flux divergence in the zonal wind transitional region during the MJO active (suppressed) phase, favoring the eastward propagation of the MJO.

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Lei Song and Renguang Wu

Abstract

The present study shows that winter cold events over eastern China can be induced by Madden–Julian oscillation (MJO)-associated anomalous convection over the Maritime Continent. We conduct composite analysis separately for identified intraseasonal cold events over eastern China that occur following anomalous convection over the Maritime Continent and the tropical Indian Ocean. For cold events related to anomalous convection over the Maritime Continent, the southward intrusion of cold air into eastern China takes an eastward path in association with an eastward location of an anomalous Siberian high compared to cold events related to anomalous convection over the tropical Indian Ocean. The Maritime Continent convection-related cold events tend to occur with a negative Arctic Oscillation (AO), whereas the relationship between the tropical Indian Ocean convection-related cold events and the AO is weak. Anomalous convective heating over the Maritime Continent triggers a poleward Rossby wave train, which, together with an AO-related southward wave train from northern Eurasia, contributes to the deepening of the East Asian trough. The poleward wave energy dispersion is similarly triggered by anomalous convective heating over the tropical Indian Ocean. In both types of cold events, anomalous tropical heating induces a meridional vertical circulation, with large-scale airmass convergence in the upper midtroposphere and descending of air on the northern branch of the vertical cell over Siberia. The upper-level mass convergence and the radiative cooling over Siberia work together for the enhancement and southeastward expansion of the Siberian high and the southward intrusion of cold anomalies to eastern China.

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Chu-Chun Chen, Min-Hui Lo, Eun-Soon Im, Jin-Yi Yu, Yu-Chiao Liang, Wei-Ting Chen, Iping Tang, Chia-Wei Lan, Ren-Jie Wu, and Rong-You Chien

Abstract

Tropical deforestation can result in substantial changes in local surface energy and water budgets, and thus in atmospheric stability. These effects may in turn yield changes in precipitation. The Maritime Continent (MC) has undergone severe deforestation during the past few decades but it has received less attention than the deforestation in the Amazon and Congo rain forests. In this study, numerical deforestation experiments are conducted with global (i.e., Community Earth System Model) and regional climate models (i.e., Regional Climate Model version 4.6) to investigate precipitation responses to MC deforestation. The results show that the deforestation in the MC region leads to increases in both surface temperature and local precipitation. Atmospheric moisture budget analysis reveals that the enhanced precipitation is associated more with the dynamic component than with the thermodynamic component of the vertical moisture advection term. Further analyses on the vertical profile of moist static energy indicate that the atmospheric instability over the deforested areas is increased as a result of anomalous moistening at approximately 800–850 hPa and anomalous warming extending from the surface to 750 hPa. This instability favors ascending air motions, which enhance low-level moisture convergence. Moreover, the vertical motion increases associated with the MC deforestation are comparable to those generated by La Niña events. These findings offer not only mechanisms to explain the local climatic responses to MC deforestation but also insights into the possible reasons for disagreements among climate models in simulating the precipitation responses.

Open access
Ewan Short, Claire L. Vincent, and Todd P. Lane

Abstract

The diurnal cycle of surface winds throughout the Maritime Continent plays a significant role in the formation of precipitation over the islands of the region and over the surrounding seas. This study investigates the connection between the diurnal cycles of surface wind and offshore precipitation using data from four satellite scatterometer instruments and two satellite precipitation radar instruments. For the first time, data from three scatterometer instruments are combined to yield a more temporally complete picture of the surface wind diurnal cycles over the Maritime Continent’s surrounding seas. The results indicate that land–sea breezes typically propagate over 400 km offshore, produce mean wind perturbations of between 1 and 5 m s−1, and propagate as gravity waves at 25–30 m s−1. Diurnal precipitation cycles are affected through gravity wave propagation processes associated with the land–sea breezes, and through the convergence of land breezes from nearby islands. These observational results are then compared with previous mesoscale modeling results. It is shown that land–sea breezes occur too early, and are too intense in these modeling results, and this may partly explain why these modeling results also exhibit an early, overly intense diurnal precipitation cycle. This study also investigates variations in the diurnal cycle of surface winds at seasonal and intraseasonal time scales. Previous work has suggested that seasonal and intraseasonal variations in surface heating affect the land–sea breeze circulation and diurnal precipitation cycles; we argue that variations in background winds also play a defining role in modulating coastally influenced local winds.

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Anurag Dipankar, Stuart Webster, Xiang-Yu Huang, and Van Quang Doan

Abstract

Biases in simulating the diurnal cycle of convection near the western coast of the island of Sumatra have been investigated using the data from the pilot field campaign of the Years of the Maritime Continent (pre-YMC). The campaign was carried out at a sea [Research Vessel (R/V) Mirai] and a land (Bengkulu, Sumatra) site. Simulations are performed using a tropical configuration of the Met Office model at a grid resolution of 1.5 km in a limited-area mode. The focus of this study is to understand how biases in the input conditions from ECMWF high-resolution deterministic forecast affect the diurnal cycle. Modeled precipitation is found to be delayed and weak, with cold SST bias in the model as the key contributing factor affecting convection at both sites. Colder SST causes a delay in the trigger of convection at Bengkulu by delaying the onset of the local land breeze, which in turn delays the local convergence. The cold outflow from precipitation over the adjacent mountain is also found to be delayed in the model, contributing to the total delay. This delay in the evening convection at Bengkulu is shown to directly affect the timing of nighttime convection at Mirai. Weaker convection at Bengkulu is argued to be due to lower-tropospheric dry humidity bias in the model initial condition. Convection at Mirai is shown to be caused by the convergence of the cold outflow from Bengkulu with the prevailing landward wind over the sea. Both thermodynamic and dynamic conditions near the cold outflow front are found to be less favorable for intense convection in the simulation, the reason for which is argued to be a combination of the cold SST bias and a weaker cold outflow.

Open access
Casey R. Densmore, Elizabeth R. Sanabia, and Bradford S. Barrett

Abstract

The quasi-biennial oscillation (QBO) is stratified by stratospheric zonal wind direction and height into four phase pairs [easterly midstratospheric winds (QBOEM), easterly lower-stratospheric winds, westerly midstratospheric winds (QBOWM), and westerly lower-stratospheric winds] using an empirical orthogonal function analysis of daily stratospheric (100–10 hPa) zonal wind data during 1980–2017. Madden–Julian oscillation (MJO) events in which the MJO convective envelope moved eastward across the Maritime Continent (MC) during 1980–2017 are identified using the Real-time Multivariate MJO (RMM) index and the outgoing longwave radiation (OLR) MJO index (OMI). Comparison of RMM amplitudes by the QBO phase pair over the MC (RMM phases 4 and 5) reveals that boreal winter MJO events have the strongest amplitudes during QBOEM and the weakest amplitudes during QBOWM, which is consistent with QBO-driven differences in upper-tropospheric lower-stratospheric (UTLS) static stability. Additionally, boreal winter RMM events over the MC strengthen during QBOEM and weaken during QBOWM. In the OMI, those amplitude changes generally shift eastward to the eastern MC and western Pacific Ocean, which may result from differences in RMM and OMI index methodologies. During boreal summer, as the northeastward-propagating boreal summer intraseasonal oscillation (BSISO) becomes the dominant mode of intraseasonal variability, these relationships are reversed. Zonal differences in UTLS stability anomalies are consistent with amplitude changes of eastward-propagating MJO events across the MC during boreal winter, and meridional stability differences are consistent with amplitude changes of northeastward-propagating BSISO events during boreal summer. Results remain consistent when stratifying by neutral ENSO phase.

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Hironari Kanamori, Tomo’omi Kumagai, Hatsuki Fujinami, Tetsuya Hiyama, and Tetsuzo Yasunari

Abstract

This study investigated atmospheric water cycles over several time scales to understand the maintenance processes that control heavy precipitation over the islands of the Maritime Continent. Large island regions can be divided into land, coastal, and ocean areas based on the characteristics of both the hydrologic cycle and the diurnal variation in precipitation. Within the Maritime Continent, the major islands of Borneo and New Guinea exhibit different hydrologic cycles. Large-scale circulation variations, such as the seasonal cycle and the Madden–Julian oscillation, have a lesser effect on the hydrologic cycle over Borneo than over New Guinea because the effects depend on their shapes and locations. The impact of diurnal variations on both regional-scale circulation and water exchange between land and coastal regions is pronounced over both islands. The recycling ratio of precipitation, which can be related to stronger diurnal variation in the atmospheric water cycle that results from enhanced evapotranspiration over tropical rain forests, is higher over Borneo than over New Guinea.

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Claire L. Vincent and Todd P. Lane

Abstract

Diabatic heating in the Maritime Continent region is controlled by a unique blend of mesoscale variability associated with steep topography and complex coastlines and intraseasonal variability associated with propagating planetary-scale disturbances. In this study, the diabatic heating from a 10-yr austral summer simulation over the Maritime Continent with a 4-km horizontal grid length is analyzed with respect to diurnal, spatial, and intraseasonal variations. Results are compared, where possible, to analogous estimates from the TRMM precipitation radar. We show that the heating budget is largely a balance between latent heating and vertical advection, with rays of heating and cooling extending upward and outward from the coast evident in the advection terms, consistent with the gravity wave representation of the tropical sea breeze. By classifying rainfall into convective and stratiform components, it is shown that simulated convective heating over Sumatra peaks in MJO phases 2 and 3, while simulated stratiform heating peaks in phase 4. Similarly, spectral latent heating estimates from the TRMM Precipitation Radar show that stratiform heating peaks in phases 3 and 4, while convective heating peaks in phases 2 and 3. It is also shown that stratiform precipitation plays a greater role in offshore precipitation during the night, albeit with embedded convective cores, than over the land during the day. These results emphasize the importance of achieving a realistic representation of convective and stratiform processes in high-resolution simulations in the tropics, both for total rainfall estimates and for realistic latent heating.

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