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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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Dongliang Yuan
,
Xiang Li
,
Zheng Wang
,
Yao Li
,
Jing Wang
,
Ya Yang
,
Xiaoyue Hu
,
Shuwen Tan
,
Hui Zhou
,
Adhitya Kusuma Wardana
,
Dewi Surinati
,
Adi Purwandana
,
Mochamad Furqon Azis Ismail
,
Praditya Avianto
,
Dirham Dirhamsyah
,
Zainal Arifin
, and
Jin-Song von Storch

Abstract

The Maluku Channel is a major opening of the eastern Indonesian Seas to the western Pacific Ocean, the upper-ocean currents of which have rarely been observed historically. During December 2012–November 2016, long time series of the upper Maluku Channel transport are measured successfully for the first time using subsurface oceanic moorings. The measurements show significant intraseasonal-to-interannual variability of over 14 Sv (1 Sv ≡ 106 m3 s−1) in the upper 300 m or so, with a mean transport of 1.04–1.31 Sv northward and a significant southward interannual change of over 3.5 Sv in the spring of 2014. Coincident with the interannual transport change is the Mindanao Current, choked at the entrance of the Indonesian Seas, which is significantly different from its climatological retroflection in fall–winter. A high-resolution numerical simulation suggests that the variations of the Maluku Channel currents are associated with the shifting of the Mindanao Current retroflection. It is suggested that the shifting of the Mindanao Current outside the Sulawesi Sea in the spring of 2014 elevates the sea level at the entrance of the Indonesian Seas, which drives the anomalous transport through the Maluku Channel. The results suggest the importance of the western boundary current nonlinearity in driving the transport variability of the Indonesian Throughflow.

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Casey D. Burleyson
,
Samson M. Hagos
,
Zhe Feng
,
Brandon W. J. Kerns
, and
Daehyun Kim

Abstract

The characteristics of Madden–Julian oscillation (MJO) events that strengthen and weaken over the Maritime Continent (MC) are examined. The real-time multivariate MJO (RMM) index is used to assess changes in global MJO amplitude over the MC. The MJO weakens at least twice as often as it strengthens over the MC, with weakening MJOs being twice as likely during El Niño compared to La Niña years and the reverse for strengthening events. MJO weakening shows a pronounced seasonal cycle that has not been previously documented. During the Northern Hemisphere (NH) summer and fall the RMM index can strengthen over the MC. MJOs that approach the MC during the NH winter typically weaken according to the RMM index. This seasonal cycle corresponds to whether the MJO crosses the MC primarily north or south of the equator. Because of the seasonal cycle, weakening MJOs are characterized by positive sea surface temperature and moist-static energy anomalies in the Southern Hemisphere (SH) of the MC compared to strengthening events. Analysis of the outgoing longwave radiation (OLR) MJO index (OMI) shows that MJO precipitation weakens when it crosses the MC along the equator. A possible explanation of this based on previous results is that the MJO encounters more landmasses and taller mountains when crossing along the equator or in the SH. The new finding of a seasonal cycle in MJO weakening over the MC highlights the importance of sampling MJOs throughout the year in future field campaigns designed to study MJO–MC interactions.

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Ching-Shu Hung
and
Chung-Hsiung Sui

Abstract

The evolution processes for propagating Madden–Julian oscillations with strong magnitude over the Indian Ocean (IO) and Maritime Continent (MC) are investigated through a diagnosis of ECMWF reanalysis data for November–April 1982–2011. A scale-separated lower-tropospheric (1000–700 hPa) moisture budget is analyzed for four stages of composite life cycle: suppressed, cloud developing, convective, and decaying. Overall, the budgets in the IO and MC are dominated by wave-induced boundary layer convergence in the anomalous easterlies (WC) and advection. Starting from the suppressed stage in the central IO, moistening by WC and advection by easterly anomalies contributes to an initiation of the MJO convection in the western IO while surface evaporation and/or shallow convection moistens the central IO. In the following cloud developing and convective stage in the central IO, moistening by WC and advection by the downstream Kelvin–Rossby wave east of central IO lead to eastward propagation of deep convection. In the MC, the suppressed stage coincides with the convective stage in the central IO that promotes anomalous easterlies, subsidence, and enhanced rain rate over islands. Unlike WC and advective moistening in the IO that both occur in the equatorial zone, advective moistening in MC tends to be negative (positive) on windward (leeward) side of the major islands in the equatorial zone and more organized over the Arafura Sea, conducive to a southward detour of the eastward-propagating MJO.

Open access
Chen Li
,
Jing-Jia Luo
,
Shuanglin Li
,
Harry Hendon
,
Oscar Alves
, and
Craig MacLachlan

Abstract

Predictive skills of the Somali cross-equatorial flow (CEF) and the Maritime Continent (MC) CEF during boreal summer are assessed using three ensemble seasonal forecasting systems, including the coarse-resolution Predictive Ocean Atmospheric Model for Australia (POAMA, version 2), the intermediate-resolution Scale Interaction Experiment–Frontier Research Center for Global Change (SINTEX-F), and the high-resolution seasonal prediction version of the Australian Community Climate and Earth System Simulator (ACCESS-S1) model. Retrospective prediction results suggest that prediction of the Somali CEF is more challenging than that of the MC CEF. While both the individual models and the multimodel ensemble (MME) mean show useful skill (with the anomaly correlation coefficient being above 0.5) in predicting the MC CEF up to 5-month lead, only ACCESS-S1 and the MME can skillfully predict the Somali CEF up to 2-month lead. Encouragingly, the CEF seesaw index (defined as the difference of the two CEFs as a measure of the negative phase relation between them) can be skillfully predicted up to 4–5 months ahead by SINTEX-F, ACCESS-S1, and the MME. Among the three models, the high-resolution ACCESS-S1 model generally shows the highest skill in predicting the individual CEFs, the CEF seesaw, as well as the CEF seesaw index–related precipitation anomaly pattern in Asia and northern Australia. Consistent with the strong influence of ENSO on the CEFs, the skill in predicting the CEFs depends on the model’s ability in predicting not only the eastern Pacific SST anomaly but also the anomalous Walker circulation that brings ENSO’s influence to bear on the CEFs.

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Wan-Ling Tseng
,
Huang-Hsiung Hsu
,
Noel Keenlyside
,
Chiung-Wen June Chang
,
Ben-Jei Tsuang
,
Chia-Ying Tu
, and
Li-Chiang Jiang

Abstract

This study uses the atmospheric general circulation model (AGCM) ECHAM5 coupled with the newly developed Snow–Ice–Thermocline model (ECHAM5-SIT) to examine the effects of orography and land–sea contrast on the Madden–Julian oscillation (MJO) in the Maritime Continent (MC) during boreal winter. The ECHAM5-SIT is one of the few AGCMs that realistically simulate the major characteristics of the MJO. Three experiments are conducted with realistic topography, without orography, and with oceans only in the MC region to evaluate the relative effects of orography and land–sea contrast. Orography and land–sea contrast have the following effects on the MJO in the MC: 1) a larger amplitude, 2) a smaller zonal scale, 3) more realistic periodicity and stronger eastward-propagating signals, 4) a stronger southward detour during the eastward propagation, 5) a distorted coupled Kelvin–Rossby wave structure, and 6) larger low-level moisture convergence. The existence of mountainous islands also enhances the mean westerly in the eastern Indian Ocean and the western MC, as well as the moisture content over the MC. This enhancement of mean states contributes to the stronger eastward-propagating MJO. The findings herein suggest that theoretical and empirical studies, which are largely derived from an aquaplanet framework, have likely provided an oversimplified view of the MJO. The effects of mountainous islands should be considered for better understanding and more accurate forecast of the MJO.

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