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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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Kenneth G. Hughes, James N. Moum, Emily L. Shroyer, and William D. Smyth

Abstract

In low winds (2 m s−1), diurnal warm layers form, but shear in the near-surface jet is too weak to generate shear instability and mixing. In high winds (8 m s−1), surface heat is rapidly mixed downward and diurnal warm layers do not form. Under moderate winds of 3–5 m s−1, the jet persists for several hours in a state that is susceptible to shear instability. We observe low Richardson numbers of Ri ≈ 0.1 in the top 2 m between 1000 and 1600 local time (LT) (from 4 h after sunrise to 2 h before sunset). Despite Ri being well below the Ri = ¼ threshold, instabilities do not grow quickly, nor do they overturn. The stabilizing influence of the sea surface limits growth, a result demonstrated by both linear stability analysis and two-dimensional simulations initialized from observed profiles. In some cases, growth rates are sufficiently small (≪1 h−1) that mixing is not expected even though Ri < ¼. This changes around 1600–1700 LT. Thereafter, convective cooling causes the region of unstable flow to move downward, away from the surface. This allows shear instabilities to grow an order-of-magnitude faster and mix effectively. We corroborate the overall observed diurnal cycle of instability with a freely evolving, two-dimensional simulation that is initialized from rest before sunrise.

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C. A. Luecke, H. W. Wijesekera, E. Jarosz, D. W. Wang, J. C. Wesson, S. U. P. Jinadasa, H. J. S. Fernando, and W. J. Teague

Abstract

Long-term measurements of turbulent kinetic energy dissipation rate (ε), and turbulent temperature variance dissipation rate (χ T) in the thermocline, along with currents, temperature, and salinity were made at two subsurface moorings in the southern Bay of Bengal (BoB). This is a part of a major international program, conducted between July 2018 and June 2019, for investigating the role of the BoB on the monsoon intraseasonal oscillations. One mooring was located on the typical path of the Southwest Monsoon Current (SMC), and the other was in a region where the Sri Lanka dome is typically found during the summer monsoon. Microstructure and finescale estimates of vertical diffusivity revealed the long-term subthermocline mixing patterns in the southern BoB. Enhanced turbulence and large eddy diffusivities were observed within the SMC during the passage of a subsurface-intensified anticyclonic eddy. During this time, background shear and strain appeared to influence high-frequency motions such as near-inertial waves and internal tides, leading to increased mixing. Near the Sri Lanka dome, enhanced dissipation occurred at the margins of the cyclonic feature. Turbulent mixing was enhanced with the passage of Rossby waves and eddies. During these events, values of χ T exceeding 10−4 °C2 s−1 were recorded concurrently with ε values exceeding 10−5 W kg−1. Inferred diffusivity peaked well above background values of 10−6 m2 s−1, leading to an annually averaged diffusivity near 10−4 m2 s−1. Turbulence appeared low throughout much of the deployment period. Most of the mixing occurred in spurts during isolated events.

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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 hours 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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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 (MCS’s) 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. MCS’s 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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Adam H. Sobel, Janet Sprintall, Eric D. Maloney, Zane K. Martin, Shuguang Wang, Simon P. de Szoeke, Benjamin C. Trabing, and Steven A. Rutledge

Abstract

The Propagation of Intraseasonal Tropical Oscillations (PISTON) experiment conducted a field campaign in August–October 2018. The R/V Thomas G. Thompson made two cruises in the western North Pacific region north of Palau and east of the Philippines. Using select field observations and global observational and reanalysis datasets, this study describes the large-scale state and evolution of the atmosphere and ocean during these cruises. Intraseasonal variability was weak during the field program, except for a period of suppressed convection in October. Tropical cyclone activity, on the other hand, was strong. Variability at the ship location was characterized by periods of low-level easterly atmospheric flow with embedded westward propagating synoptic-scale atmospheric disturbances, punctuated by periods of strong low-level westerly winds that were both connected to the Asian monsoon westerlies and associated with tropical cyclones. In the most dramatic case, westerlies persisted for days during and after tropical cyclone Jebi had passed to the north of the ship. In these periods, the sea surface temperature was reduced by a couple of degrees by both wind mixing and net surface heat fluxes that were strongly (~200 W m−2) out of the ocean, due to both large latent heat flux and cloud shading associated with widespread deep convection. Underway conductivity–temperature transects showed dramatic cooling and deepening of the ocean mixed layer and erosion of the barrier layer after the passage of Typhoon Mangkhut due to entrainment of cooler water from below. Strong zonal currents observed over at least the upper 400 m were likely related to the generation and propagation of near-inertial currents.

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Simon P. de Szoeke

Abstract

A small integrated oceanographic thermometer with a nominal response time of 1 s was affixed to a floating hose “sea snake” towed near the bow of a research vessel. The sensor measured the near-surface ocean temperature accurately and in agreement with other platforms. The effect of conduction and evaporation is modeled for a sensor impulsively alternated between water and air. Large thermal mass makes most sea snake thermometers insensitive to temperature impulses. The smaller 1-s thermometer cooled by evaporation, but the sensor never reached the wet-bulb temperature. The cooling was less than 6% of the (~2.7°C) difference between the ocean temperature and the wet-bulb temperature in 99% of 2-s−1 samples. Filtering outliers, such as with a median, effectively removes the evaporative cooling effect from 1- or 10-min average temperatures.

Open access
Kenneth G. Hughes, James N. Moum, and Emily L. Shroyer

Abstract

Penetration of solar radiation in the upper few meters of the ocean creates a near-surface, stratified diurnal warm layer. Wind stress accelerates a diurnal jet in this layer. Turbulence generated at the diurnal thermocline, where the shear of the diurnal jet is concentrated, redistributes heat downward via mixing. New measurements of temperature and turbulence from fast thermistors on a surface-following platform depict the details of this sequence in both time and depth. Temporally, the sequence at a fixed depth follows a counterclockwise path in logϵ–logN parameter space. This path also captures the evolution of buoyancy Reynolds number (a proxy for the anisotropy of the turbulence) and Ozmidov scale (a proxy for the outer vertical length scale of turbulence in the absence of the free surface). Vertically, the solar heat flux always leads to heating of fluid parcels in the upper few meters, whereas the turbulent heat flux divergence changes sign across the depth of maximum vertical temperature gradient, cooling fluid parcels above and heating fluid parcels below. In general, our measurements of fluid parcel heating or cooling rates of order 0.1°C h−1 are consistent with our estimates of heat flux divergence. In weak winds (<2 m s−1), sea surface temperature (SST) is controlled by the depth-dependent absorption of solar radiation. In stronger winds, turbulent mixing controls SST.

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Jai Sukhatme, Dipanjan Chaudhuri, Jennifer MacKinnon, S. Shivaprasad, and Debasis Sengupta

Abstract

Horizontal currents in the Bay of Bengal were measured on eight cruises covering a total of 8600 km using a 300-kHz acoustic Doppler current profiler (ADCP). The cruises are distributed over multiple seasons and regions of the Bay. Horizontal wavenumber spectra of these currents over depths of 12–54 m and wavelengths from 2 to 400 km were decomposed into rotational and divergent components assuming isotropy. An average of across- and along-track spectra over all cruises shows that the spectral slope of horizontal kinetic energy for wavelengths of 10–80-km scales with an exponent of −1.7 ± 0.05, which transitions to a steeper slope for wavelengths above 80 km. The rotational component is significantly larger than the divergent component at scales greater than 80 km, while the ratio of the two is nearly constant with a mean of 1.16 ± 0.4 between 10 and 80 km. The measurements show a fair amount of variability and spectral levels vary between cruises by about a factor of 5 over 10–100 km. Velocity differences over 10–80 km show probability density functions and structure functions with stretched exponential behavior and anomalous scaling. Comparisons with the Garrett–Munk internal wave spectrum indicate that inertia–gravity waves account for only a modest fraction of the kinetic energy between 10 and 80 km. These constraints suggest that the near-surface flow in the Bay is primarily balanced and follows a forward enstrophy transfer quasigeostrophic regime for wavelengths greater than approximately 80 km, with a larger role for unbalanced rotating stratified turbulence and internal waves at smaller scales.

Free access
Kyle Chudler, Weixin Xu, and Steven A. Rutledge

Abstract

During the boreal summer, satellite-based precipitation estimates indicate a distinct maximum in rainfall off the west coast of the island of Luzon in the Philippines. Also occurring during the summer months is the boreal summer intraseasonal oscillation (BSISO), a main driver of intraseasonal variability in the region. This study investigates the diurnal variability of convective intensity, morphology, and precipitation coverage offshore and over the island of Luzon. The results are then composited by BSISO activity. Results of this study indicate that offshore precipitation is markedly increased during active BSISO phases, when strong low-level southwesterly monsoon winds bring increased moisture and enhanced convergence upwind of the island’s high terrain. A key finding of this work is the existence of an afternoon maximum in convection over Luzon even during active BSISO phases, when solar heating and instability are apparently reduced due to enhanced cloud cover. This result is important, as previous studies have shown in other areas of the tropics afternoon convection over landmasses is a key component to offshore precipitation. Although offshore precipitation is maximized in the evening hours during active phases, results indicate that precipitation frequently occurs over the ocean around the clock (both as organized systems and isolated, shallow showers), possibly owing to an increase in sensible and latent heat fluxes, vertical wind shear, and convergence of the monsoon flow with land features.

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Benjamin A. Toms, Susan C. van den Heever, Emily M. Riley Dellaripa, Stephen M. Saleeby, and Eric D. Maloney

Abstract

While the boreal summer Madden–Julian oscillation (MJO) is commonly defined as a planetary-scale disturbance, the convective elements that constitute its cloud dipole exhibit pronounced variability in their morphology. We therefore investigate the relationship between the intraseasonal cloud anomaly of the MJO and the convective elements that populate its interior by simulating a boreal summer MJO event over the Maritime Continent using a cloud-resolving model. A progressive relationship between convective cell morphology and the MJO within the convectively enhanced region of the MJO was identified and characterized as follows: anomalously long-lasting cells in the initial phases, followed by an increased number of cells in the intermediate phases, progressing into more expansive cells in the terminal phases. A progressive relationship does not seem to exist within the convectively suppressed region of the MJO within the simulated domain, however. Within the convectively enhanced region of the MJO, the progressive relationship is partially explained by the evolution of bulk atmospheric characteristics, such as instability and wind shear. Positive midlevel moisture anomalies coincide with anomalously long-lasting convective cells, which is hypothesized to further cascade into an increase in convective cell volume, although variability in the number of convective cells seems to be related to an unidentified variable. This intraseasonal relationship between convective cell morphology and the boreal summer MJO within the Maritime Continent may have broader implications for the large-scale structure and evolution of the MJO, related to both convective moistening and cloud-radiative feedbacks.

Free access