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  • Air–Sea Interactions from the Diurnal to the Intraseasonal during the PISTON, MISOBOB, and CAMP2Ex Observational Campaigns in the Tropics x
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Kerstin Cullen, Emily Shroyer, and Larry O’Neill

Abstract

The Sri Lanka Dome is a cyclonic recirculation feature in the Southwest Monsoon Current system in the southern Bay of Bengal. Cooler sea surface temperature (SST) in the vicinity of this system is often denoted as the Bay of Bengal “Cold Pool.” Although the wind shadow of Sri Lanka creates a region of strong positive wind stress curl, both sea level height dynamics and the distribution of cool SST cannot be explained by wind stress curl alone via traditional Ekman pumping. Moreover, the Cold Pool region is often aligned with the eastern portion of the Sri Lanka Dome, as defined by sea surface height. Previous work has attributed the spatial SST pattern to lateral advection. In this analysis, we explore whether low-latitude weakly nonlinear “vorticity” Ekman pumping could be an explanation for both cooling and observed changes in sea level height in the southwest Bay of Bengal. We show that weakly nonlinear upwelling, calculated from ERA5 and AVISO geostrophic currents, collocates with changes in sea level height (and presumably isopycnals). While the SST signal is sensitive to several factors including the net surface flux, regional upwelling explains changes in AVISO sea level height if the nonlinear terms are included, in both the Sri Lanka Dome and the region of the Southwest Monsoon Current.

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Patrick Orenstein, Baylor Fox-Kemper, Leah Johnson, Qing Li, and Aakash Sane

Abstract

Empirically generated indices are used to evaluate the skill of a global climate model in representing the monsoon intraseasonal oscillation (MISO). This work adapts the method of Suhas et al., an extended empirical orthogonal function (EEOF) analysis of daily rainfall data with the first orthogonal function indicating MISO strength and phase. This method is applied to observed rainfall and Community Earth System Model (CESM1.2) simulation results. Variants of the CESM1.2 including upper ocean parameterizations for Langmuir turbulence and submesoscale mixed layer eddy restratification are used together with the EEOF analysis to explore sensitivity of the MISO to global upper ocean process representations. The skill with which the model variants recreate the MISO strength and persistence is evaluated versus the observed MISO. While all model versions reproduce the northward rainfall propagation traditionally associated with the MISO, a version including both Langmuir turbulence and submesoscale restratification parameterizations provides the most accurate simulations of the time scale of MISO events.

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Peter G. Veals, Adam C. Varble, James O. H. Russell, Joseph C. Hardin, and Edward J. Zipser

Abstract

An aerosol indirect effect on deep convective cores (DCCs), by which increasing aerosol concentration increases cloud-top height via enhanced latent heating and updraft velocity, has been proposed in many studies. However, the magnitude of this effect remains uncertain due to aerosol measurement limitations, modulation of the effect by meteorological conditions, and difficulties untangling meteorological and aerosol effects on DCCs. The Cloud, Aerosol, and Complex Terrain Interactions (CACTI) campaign in 2018–19 produced concentrated aerosol and cloud observations in a location with frequent DCCs, providing an opportunity to examine the proposed aerosol indirect effect on DCC depth in a rigorous and robust manner. For periods throughout the campaign with well-mixed boundary layers, we analyze relationships that exist between aerosol variables (condensation nuclei concentration > 10 nm, 0.4% cloud condensation nuclei concentration, 55–1000-nm aerosol concentration, and aerosol optical depth) and meteorological variables [level of neutral buoyancy (LNB), convective available potential energy, midlevel relative humidity, and deep-layer vertical wind shear] with the maximum radar-echo-top height and cloud-top temperature (CTT) of DCCs. Meteorological variables such as LNB and deep-layer shear are strongly correlated with DCC depth. LNB is also highly correlated with three of the aerosol variables. After accounting for meteorological correlations, increasing values of the aerosol variables [with the exception of one formulation of aerosol optical depth (AOD)] are generally correlated at a statistically significant level with a warmer CTT of DCCs. Therefore, for the study region and period considered, increasing aerosol concentration is mostly associated with a decrease in DCC depth.

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Hemantha W. Wijesekera, W. J. Teague, David W. Wang, Z. R. Hallock, Conrad A. Luecke, Ewa Jarosz, H. J. S. Fernando, S. U. P. Jinadasa, Tommy G. Jensen, Adam Rydbeck, and Maria Flatau

Abstract

Upper-ocean heat content and heat fluxes of 10–60-day intraseasonal oscillations (ISOs) were examined using high-resolution currents and hydrographic fields measured at five deep-water moorings in the central Bay of Bengal (BoB) and satellite observations as part of an international effort examining the role of the ocean on monsoon intraseasonal oscillations (MISOs) in the BoB. Currents, temperature, and salinity were sampled over the upper 600–1200 m from July 2018 to June 2019. The 10–60-day velocity ISOs of magnitudes 20–30 cm s−1 were observed in the upper 200 m, and temperature ISOs as large as 3°C were observed in the thermocline near 100 m. The wavelet cospectral analysis reveals multiple periods of ISOs carrying heat southward. The meridional heat-flux divergence associated with the 10–60-day band was strongest in the central BoB at depths between 40 and 100 m, where the averaged flux divergence over the observational period is as large as 10−7 °C s−1. The vertically integrated heat-flux divergence in the upper 200 m is about 20–30 W m−2, which is comparable to the annual-average net surface heat flux in the northern BoB. Correlations between the heat content over the 26°C isotherm and the outgoing longwave radiation indicate that the atmospheric forcing typically leads changes of the oceanic heat content, but in some instances, during fall–winter months, oceanic heat content leads the atmospheric convection. Our analyses suggest that ISOs play an important role in the upper-ocean heat balance by transporting heat southward, while aiding the air–sea coupling at ISO time scales.

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K. Jossia Joseph, Amit Tandon, R. Venkatesan, J. Thomas Farrar, and Robert A. Weller

Abstract

The inception of a moored buoy network in the northern Indian Ocean in 1997 paved the way for systematic collection of long-term time series observations of meteorological and oceanographic parameters. This buoy network was revamped in 2011 with Ocean Moored buoy Network for north Indian Ocean (OMNI) buoys fitted with additional sensors to better quantify the air–sea fluxes. An intercomparison of OMNI buoy measurements with the nearby Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution (WHOI) mooring during the year 2015 revealed an overestimation of downwelling longwave radiation (LWR↓). Analysis of the OMNI and WHOI radiation sensors at a test station at National Institute of Ocean Technology (NIOT) during 2019 revealed that the accurate and stable amplification of the thermopile voltage records along with the customized datalogger in the WHOI system results in better estimations of LWR↓. The offset in NIOT measured LWR↓ is estimated first by segregating the LWR↓ during clear-sky conditions identified using the downwelling shortwave radiation measurements from the same test station, and second, finding the offset by taking the difference with expected theoretical clear-sky LWR↓. The corrected LWR↓ exhibited good agreement with that of collocated WHOI measurements, with a correlation of 0.93. This method is applied to the OMNI field measurements and again compared with the nearby WHOI mooring measurements, exhibiting a better correlation of 0.95. This work has led to the revamping of radiation measurements in OMNI buoys and provides a reliable method to correct past measurements and improve estimation of air–sea fluxes in the Indian Ocean.

Significance Statement

Downwelling longwave radiation (LWR↓) is an important climate variable for calculating air–sea heat exchange and quantifying Earth’s energy budget. An intercomparison of LWR↓ measurements between ocean observing platforms in the north Indian Ocean revealed a systematic offset in National Institute of Ocean Technology (NIOT) Ocean Moored buoy Network for north Indian Ocean (OMNI) buoys. The observed offset limited our capability to accurately estimate air–sea fluxes in the Indian Ocean. The sensor measurements were compared with a standard reference system, which revealed problems in thermopile amplifier as the root cause of the offset. This work led to the development of a reliable method to correct the offset in LWR↓ and revamping of radiation measurements in NIOT-OMNI buoys. The correction is being applied to the past measurements from 12 OMNI buoys over 8 years to improve the estimation of air–sea fluxes in the Indian Ocean.

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Michael B. Natoli and Eric D. Maloney

Abstract

The impact of quasi-biweekly variability in the monsoon southwesterly winds on the precipitation diurnal cycle in the Philippines is examined using CMORPH precipitation, ERA5 data, and outgoing longwave radiation (OLR) fields. Both a case study during the 2018 Propagation of Intraseasonal Tropical Oscillations (PISTON) field campaign and a 23-yr composite analysis are used to understand the effect of the quasi-biweekly oscillation (QBWO) on the diurnal cycle. QBWO events in the west Pacific, identified with an extended EOF index, bring increases in moisture, cloudiness, and westerly winds to the Philippines. Such events are associated with significant variability in daily mean precipitation and the diurnal cycle. It is shown that the modulation of the diurnal cycle by the QBWO is remarkably similar to that by the boreal summer intraseasonal oscillation (BSISO). The diurnal cycle reaches maximum amplitude on the western side of the Philippines on days with average to above-average moisture, sufficient insolation, and weakly offshore prevailing wind. This occurs during the transition period from suppressed to active large-scale convection for both the QBWO and BSISO. Westerly monsoon surges associated with QBWO variability generally exhibit active precipitation over the South China Sea (SCS), but a depressed diurnal cycle. These results highlight that modes of large-scale convective variability in the tropics can have a similar impact on the diurnal cycle if they influence the local-scale environmental background state similarly.

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Emily Shroyer, Amit Tandon, Debasis Sengupta, Harindra J. S. Fernando, Andrew J. Lucas, J. Thomas Farrar, Rajib Chattopadhyay, Simon de Szoeke, Maria Flatau, Adam Rydbeck, Hemantha Wijesekera, Michael McPhaden, Hyodae Seo, Aneesh Subramanian, R Venkatesan, Jossia Joseph, S. Ramsundaram, Arnold L. Gordon, Shannon M. Bohman, Jaynise Pérez, Iury T. Simoes-Sousa, Steven R. Jayne, Robert E. Todd, G. S. Bhat, Matthias Lankhorst, Tamara Schlosser, Katherine Adams, S. U. P Jinadasa, Manikandan Mathur, M. Mohapatra, E. Pattabhi Rama Rao, A. K. Sahai, Rashmi Sharma, Craig Lee, Luc Rainville, Deepak Cherian, Kerstin Cullen, Luca R. Centurioni, Verena Hormann, Jennifer MacKinnon, Uwe Send, Arachaporn Anutaliya, Amy Waterhouse, Garrett S. Black, Jeremy A. Dehart, Kaitlyn M. Woods, Edward Creegan, Gad Levy, Lakshmi H. Kantha, and Bulusu Subrahmanyam

Abstract

In the Bay of Bengal, the warm, dry boreal spring concludes with the onset of the summer monsoon and accompanying southwesterly winds, heavy rains, and variable air–sea fluxes. Here, we summarize the 2018 monsoon onset using observations collected through the multinational Monsoon Intraseasonal Oscillations in the Bay of Bengal (MISO-BoB) program between the United States, India, and Sri Lanka. MISO-BoB aims to improve understanding of monsoon intraseasonal variability, and the 2018 field effort captured the coupled air–sea response during a transition from active-to-break conditions in the central BoB. The active phase of the ∼20-day research cruise was characterized by warm sea surface temperature (SST > 30°C), cold atmospheric outflows with intermittent heavy rainfall, and increasing winds (from 2 to 15 m s−1). Accumulated rainfall exceeded 200 mm with 90% of precipitation occurring during the first week. The following break period was both dry and clear, with persistent 10–12 m s−1 wind and evaporation of 0.2 mm h−1. The evolving environmental state included a deepening ocean mixed layer (from ∼20 to 50 m), cooling SST (by ∼1°C), and warming/drying of the lower to midtroposphere. Local atmospheric development was consistent with phasing of the large-scale intraseasonal oscillation. The upper ocean stores significant heat in the BoB, enough to maintain SST above 29°C despite cooling by surface fluxes and ocean mixing. Comparison with reanalysis indicates biases in air–sea fluxes, which may be related to overly cool prescribed SST. Resolution of such biases offers a path toward improved forecasting of transition periods in the monsoon.

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B. Praveen Kumar, Eric D’Asaro, N. Sureshkumar, E. Pattabhi Rama Rao, and M. Ravichandran

Abstract

We use profiles from a Lagrangian float in the north Indian Ocean to explore the usefulness of Thorpe analysis methods to measure vertical scales and dissipation rates in the ocean surface boundary layer. An rms Thorpe length scale L T and an energy dissipation rate ε T were computed by resorting the measured density profiles. These are compared to the mixed layer depth (MLD) computed with different density thresholds, the Monin–Obukhov (MO) length L MO computed from the ERA5 reanalysis values of wind stress, and buoyancy flux B 0 and dissipation rates ε from historical microstructure data. The Thorpe length scale L T is found to accurately match MLD for small (<0.005 kg m−3) density thresholds, but not for larger thresholds, because these do not detect the warm diurnal layers. We use ξ = L T/|L MO| to classify the boundary layer turbulence during nighttime convection. In our data, 90% of points from the Bay of Bengal (Arabian Sea) satisfy ξ < 1 (1 < ξ <10), indicating that wind forcing is (both wind forcing and convection are) driving the turbulence. Over the measured range of ξ, ε T decreases with decreasing ξ, i.e., more wind forcing, while ε increases, clearly showing that ε/ε T decreases with increasing ξ. This is explained by a new scaling for ξ ≪ 1, ε T = 1.15B 0 ξ 0.5 compared to the historical scaling ε = 0.64B 0 + 1.76ξ −1. For ξ ≪ 1 we expect ε = ε T. Similar calculations may be possible using routine Argo float and ship data, allowing more detailed global measurements of ε T, thereby providing large-scale tests of turbulence scaling in boundary layers.

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Kyle Chudler and Steven A. Rutledge

Abstract

The Propagation of Intraseasonal Oscillations (PISTON) field campaign took place in the waters of the western tropical North Pacific during the late summer and early fall of 2018 and 2019. During both research cruises, the Colorado State University SEA-POL polarimetric C-band weather radar obtained continuous 3D measurements of oceanic precipitation systems. This study provides an overview of the variability in convection observed during the PISTON cruises, and relates this variability to large-scale atmospheric conditions. Using an objective classification algorithm, precipitation features are identified and labeled by their size (isolated, sub-MCS, MCS) and degree of convective organization (nonlinear, linear). It is shown that although large mesoscale convective systems (MCSs) occurred infrequently (present in 13% of radar scans), they contributed a disproportionately large portion (56%) of the total rain volume. Conversely, small isolated features were present in 91% of scans, yet these features contributed just 11% of the total rain volume, with the bulk of the rainfall owing to warm rain production. Convective rain rates and 30-dBZ echo-top heights increased with feature size and degree of organization. MCSs occurred more frequently in periods of low-level southwesterly winds, and when low-level wind shear was enhanced. By compositing radar and sounding data by phases of easterly waves (of which there were several in 2018), troughs are shown to be associated with increased precipitation and a higher relative frequency of MCS feature occurrence, while ridges are shown to be associated with decreased precipitation and a higher relative frequency of isolated convective features.

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Benjamin C. Trabing and Michael M. Bell

Abstract

A growing body of work has documented the existence of diurnal oscillations in the tropical cyclone outflow layer. These diurnal pulses have been examined primarily using satellites or numerical models, and detailed full tropospheric observations or case study analyses of diurnal pulses are lacking. Questions remain on the vertical extent of diurnal pulses and whether diurnal pulses are coupled to convective bands or constrained to the outflow layer. During the Propagation of Intraseasonal Tropical Oscillations (PISTON) field campaign, diurnal oscillations in the upper-level clouds were observed during Typhoon Kong-rey’s (2018) rapid intensification. Over a 3.5-day period where a broad distribution of cold upper-level clouds was overhead, detailed observations of Typhoon Kong-rey’s rainbands show that convection had reduced echo tops but enhanced reflectivity and differential reflectivity aloft compared to other observations during PISTON. Shortwave heating in the upper levels increased the stability profile in an overall favorable thermodynamic environment for convection during the day, which could help to explain the diurnal differences in convective structure. Under the cirrus canopy, nocturnal convection was deeper and daytime convection shallower in contrast to the rest of the PISTON dataset. Diurnal oscillations in the brightness temperatures were found to be coupled to radially outward propagating convective rainbands that were preceded ~6 h by outflow jets. The cooling pulses occurred earlier than found in previous studies. The pulses were asymmetric spatially, which is likely due to a combination of the vertical wind shear and storm intensity.

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