Browse

You are looking at 1 - 10 of 38 items for :

  • Air–Sea Interactions from the Diurnal to the Intraseasonal during the PISTON, MISOBOB, and CAMP2Ex Observational Campaigns in the Tropics x
  • Refine by Access: All Content x
Clear All
Michael B. Natoli
and
Eric D. Maloney

Abstract

The mechanisms regulating the relationship between the tropical island diurnal cycle and large-scale modes of tropical variability such as the boreal summer intraseasonal oscillation (BSISO) are explored in observations and an idealized model. Specifically, the local environmental conditions associated with diurnal cycle variability are explored. Using Luzon Island in the northern Philippines as an observational test case, a novel probabilistic framework is applied to improve the understanding of diurnal cycle variability. High-amplitude diurnal cycle days tend to occur with weak to moderate offshore low-level wind and near to above average column moisture in the local environment. The transition from the BSISO suppressed phase to the active phase is most likely to produce the wind and moisture conditions supportive of a substantial diurnal cycle over western Luzon and the South China Sea (SCS). Thus, the impact of the BSISO on the local diurnal cycle can be understood in terms of the change in the probability of favorable environmental conditions. Idealized high-resolution 3D Cloud Model 1 (CM1) simulations driven by base states derived from BSISO composite profiles are able to reproduce several important features of the observed diurnal cycle variability with BSISO phase, including the strong, land-based diurnal cycle and offshore propagation in the transition phases. Background wind appears to be the primary variable controlling the diurnal cycle response, but ambient moisture distinctly reduces precipitation strength in the suppressed BSISO phase and enhances it in the active phase.

Restricted access
Leah Johnson
,
Baylor Fox-Kemper
,
Qing Li
,
Hieu T. Pham
, and
Sutanu Sarkar

Abstract

This work evaluates the fidelity of various upper-ocean turbulence parameterizations subject to realistic monsoon forcing and presents a finite-time ensemble vector (EV) method to better manage the design and numerical principles of these parameterizations. The EV method emphasizes the dynamics of a turbulence closure multimodel ensemble and is applied to evaluate 10 different ocean surface boundary layer (OSBL) parameterizations within a single-column (SC) model against two boundary layer large-eddy simulations (LES). Both LES include realistic surface forcing, but one includes wind-driven shear turbulence only, while the other includes additional Stokes forcing through the wave-average equations that generate Langmuir turbulence. The finite-time EV framework focuses on what constitutes the local behavior of the mixed layer dynamical system and isolates the forcing and ocean state conditions where turbulence parameterizations most disagree. Identifying disagreement provides the potential to evaluate SC models comparatively against the LES. Observations collected during the 2018 monsoon onset in the Bay of Bengal provide a case study to evaluate models under realistic and variable forcing conditions. The case study results highlight two regimes where models disagree 1) during wind-driven deepening of the mixed layer and 2) under strong diurnal forcing.

Restricted access
C. A. Luecke
,
H. W. Wijesekera
,
E. Jarosz
,
D. W. Wang
,
T. G. Jensen
,
S. U. P. Jinadasa
,
H. J. S. Fernando
, and
W. J. Teague

Abstract

The formation of a sharp oceanic front located south-southeast of Sri Lanka during the southwest monsoon is examined through in situ and remote observations and high-resolution model output. Remote sensing and model output reveal that the front extends approximately 200 km eastward from the southeast coast of Sri Lanka toward the southern Bay of Bengal (BoB). This annually occurring front is associated with the boundary between the southwest monsoon current with high-salinity water to the south, and a weak flow field comprised of relatively fresh BoB water to the north. The front contains a line of high chlorophyll extending from the coastal upwelling zone, often for several hundred kilometers. Elevated turbulent diffusivities ∼10−2 m2 s−1 along with large diapycnal fluxes of heat and salt were found within the front. The formation of the front and vertical transports are linked to local wind stress curl. Large vertical velocities (∼50 m day−1) indicate the importance of ageostrophic, submesoscale processes. To examine these processes, the Ertel potential vorticity (PV) was computed using the observations and numerical model output. The model output shows a ribbon of negative PV along the front between the coastal upwelling zone and two eddies (Sri Lanka Dome and an anticyclonic eddy) typically found in the southern BoB. PV estimates support the view that the flow is susceptible to submesoscale instabilities, which in turn generate high vertical velocities within the front. Frontal upwelling and heightened mixing show that the seasonal front is regionally important to linking the fresh surface water of the BoB with the Arabian Sea.

Significance Statement

Within the ocean, motions span extraordinarily wide ranges of sizes and time scales. In this study we focus on a narrow, intensified feature called a front. This front occurs in the southern Bay of Bengal during the summer monsoon and forms a boundary between fresher water to the north and saltier water to the south. Features such as this are difficult to study, however, by combining observations made from ships and satellites with output from numerical models of the ocean, we are able to better understand the front. This is important because fronts like the one studied here play a role in determining the pathways of heat within the ocean, which, in turn, may feedback into the atmosphere and weather patterns.

Open access
Jaynise M. Pérez Valentín
,
Harindra J. S. Fernando
,
G. S. Bhat
,
Hemantha W. Wijesekera
,
Jayesh Phadtare
, and
Edgar Gonzalez

Abstract

The relationship between eastward-propagating convective equatorial signals (CES) along the equatorial Indian Ocean (EIO) and the northward-propagating monsoon intraseasonal oscillations (MISOs) in the Bay of Bengal (BOB) was studied using observational datasets acquired during the 2018 and 2019 MISO-BOB field campaigns. Convective envelopes of MISOs originating from just south of the BOB were associated with both strong and weak eastward CES (average speed ∼6.4 m s−1). Strong CES contributed to ∼20% of the precipitation budget of BOB, and they spurred northward-propagating convective signals that matched the canonical speed of MISOs (1–2 m s−1). In contrast, weak CES contributed to ∼14% of the BOB precipitation budget, and they dissipated without significant northward propagation. Eastward-propagating intraseasonal oscillations (ISOs; period 30–60 days) and convectively coupled Kelvin waves (CCKWs; period 4–15 days) accounted for most precipitation variability across the EIO during the 2019 boreal summer as compared with that of 2018. An agreement could be noted between high moisture content in the midtroposphere and the active phases of CCKWs and ISOs for two observational locations in the BOB. Basin-scale thermodynamic conditions prior to the arrival of strong or weak CES revealed warmer or cooler sea surface temperatures, respectively. Flux measurements aboard a research vessel suggest that the evolution of MISOs associated with strong CES are signified by local enhanced air–sea interactions, in particular the supply of local moisture and sensible heat, which could enhance deep convection and further moisten the upper troposphere.

Significance Statement

Eastward-propagating convective signals along the equatorial Indian Ocean and their relationship to the northward-propagating spells of rainfall that lead to moisture variability in the Bay of Bengal are studied for the 2018 and 2019 southwest monsoon seasons using observational datasets acquired during field campaigns. Strong convective equatorial signals spurred northward-propagating convection, as compared with weak signals that dissipated without significant northward propagation. Wave spectral analysis showed CCKWs (period 4–15 days), and eastward ISOs (period 30–60 days) accounted for most of the precipitation variability, with the former dominating during the 2018 boreal summer. High moisture periods observed from radiosonde measurements show agreement with the active phases of CCKWs and ISOs.

Free access
Adam V. Rydbeck
,
Jonathan A. Christophersen
,
Maria K. Flatau
,
Matthew A. Janiga
,
Tommy G. Jensen
,
Carolyn A. Reynolds
,
James A. Ridout
,
Travis A. Smith
, and
Hemantha Wijesekera

Abstract

Moist static energy (MSE) and ocean heat content (OHC) in the tropics are inextricably linked. The processes by which sources and sinks of OHC modulate column integrated MSE in the Indian Ocean (IO) are explored through a reformulation of the MSE budget using atmosphere and ocean reanalysis data. In the reframed MSE budget, interfacial air–sea turbulent and radiative fluxes are replaced for information on upper ocean dynamics, thus “mooring” the MSE tendency to the subsurface ocean. On subseasonal time scales, ocean forcing is largely responsible for the amplification of MSE anomalies across the IO, with basin average growth rates of 10% day−1. Local OHC depletion is the leading contributor to anomalous MSE amplification with average rates of 12% day−1. Along the equator, MSE is amplified by OHC vertical advection. Ocean forcing only weakly reduces the propagation tendency of MSE anomalies (−2% day−1), with propagation predominantly resulting from atmosphere forcing (10% day−1). OHC in the IO acts as an MSE reservoir that is expended during periods of enhanced intraseasonal atmosphere convection and recharged during periods of suppressed convection. Because OHC is an MSE source during enhanced intraseasonal convection periods, it largely offsets the negative MSE tendency produced by horizontal advection in the atmosphere. The opposite effect occurs during suppressed convection periods, where OHC is a sink of MSE and counters the positive MSE tendency produced by horizontal advection in the atmosphere.

Open access
Yolande L. Serra
,
Steven A. Rutledge
,
Kyle Chudler
, and
Chidong Zhang

Abstract

This study evaluates rainfall, cloudiness, and related fields in the European Centre for Medium-Range Weather Forecasts fifth-generation climate reanalysis (ERA5) and the National Aeronautics and Space Administration’s Modern-Era Retrospective Analysis for Research and Applications, version 2 (MERRA-2), gridded global reanalysis products against observations from the Office of Naval Research’s Propagation of Intraseasonal Tropical Oscillations (PISTON) field campaign. We focus on the first PISTON cruise, which took place from August to October 2018 in the northern equatorial western Pacific Ocean. We find biases in the mean surface heat and radiative fluxes consistent with observed biases in high and low cloud fraction and convective activity in the reanalyses. Biases in the high, middle, and low cloud fraction are also consistent with the biases in the thermodynamic profiles, with positive biases in upper-level humidity associated with excessive high cloud in both products, whereas negative biases in humidity above the boundary layer are associated with too few low and middle clouds and increased static stability. ERA5 exhibits a profile that is more top-heavy than that of MERRA-2 during periods dominated by MCSs and stronger upward motion during rainy periods, consistent with higher total rainfall in this product during PISTON. The coarser grid size in MERRA-2 relative to ERA5 and the fact that MERRA-2 did not assimilate PISTON data likely both contribute to the overall larger biases seen in MERRA-2. The observed biases in the reanalyses during PISTON have also been seen in comparisons of these products with satellite data, suggesting that the results of this study are more broadly applicable.

Free access
Michael B. Natoli
and
Eric D. Maloney

Abstract

The impact of the environmental background wind on the diurnal cycle near tropical islands is examined in observations and an idealized model. Luzon Island in the northern Philippines is used as an observational test case. Composite diurnal cycles of CMORPH precipitation are constructed based on an index derived from the first empirical orthogonal function (EOF) of ERA5 zonal wind profiles. A strong precipitation diurnal cycle and pronounced offshore propagation in the leeward direction tends to occur on days with a weak, offshore prevailing wind. Strong background winds, particularly in the onshore direction, are associated with a suppressed diurnal cycle. Idealized high-resolution 2D Cloud Model 1 (CM1) simulations test the dependence of the diurnal cycle on environmental wind speed and direction by nudging the model base state toward composite profiles derived from the reanalysis zonal wind index. These simulations can qualitatively replicate the observed development, strength, and offshore propagation of diurnally generated convection under varying wind regimes. Under strong background winds, the land–sea contrast is reduced, which leads to a substantial reduction in the strength of the sea-breeze circulation and precipitation diurnal cycle. Weak offshore prevailing winds favor a strong diurnal cycle and offshore leeward propagation, with the direction of propagation highly sensitive to the background wind in the lower free troposphere. Offshore propagation speed appears consistent with density current theory rather than a direct coupling to a single gravity wave mode, though gravity waves may contribute to a destabilization of the offshore environment.

Free access
Iury T. Simoes-Sousa
,
Amit Tandon
,
Jared Buckley
,
Debasis Sengupta
,
Sree Lekha J.
,
Emily Shroyer
, and
Simon P. de Szoeke

Abstract

Atmospheric cold pools, generated by evaporative downdrafts from precipitating clouds, are ubiquitous in the Bay of Bengal. We use data from three moorings near 18°N to characterize a total of 465 cold pools. The cold pools are all dry, with a typical temperature drop of 2°C (maximum 5°C) and specific humidity drop of 1 g kg−1 (maximum = 6 g kg−1). Most cold pools last 1.5–3.5 h (maximum = 14 h). Cold pools occur almost every day in the north bay from April to November, principally in the late morning, associated with intense precipitation that accounts for 80% of total rain. They increase the latent heat flux to the atmosphere by about 32 W m−2 (median), although the instantaneous enhancement of latent heat flux for individual cold pools reaches 150 W m−2. During the rainiest month (July), the cold pools occur 21% of the time and contribute nearly 14% to the mean evaporation. A composite analysis of all cold pools shows that the temperature and specific humidity anomalies are responsible for ∼90% of the enhancement of sensible and latent heat flux, while variations in wind speed are responsible for the remainder. Depending on their gust-front speed, the estimated height of the cold pools primarily ranges from 850 to 3200 m, with taller fronts more likely to occur during the summer monsoon season (June–September). Our results indicate that the realistic representation of cold pools in climate models is likely to be important for improved simulation of air–sea fluxes and monsoon rainfall.

Significance Statement

Atmospheric cold pools form over the ocean when falling rain evaporates, leading to a dense cold air mass spreading over the surface. They impact air–sea heat exchanges over tropical regions and give rise to new rainstorms. We analyze data from three fixed, closely spaced buoys to describe cold pools and investigate their role in rainfall and air–sea interactions in the northern Bay of Bengal (Indian Ocean). We find that cold pools are associated with about 80% of all rain and are important for ocean–atmosphere heat and moisture exchange, especially from April to November. We estimate the speed of cold pools and derive their heights (850–3200 m) using theory.

Free access
A. Anutaliya
,
U. Send
,
J. L. McClean
,
J. Sprintall
,
M. Lankhorst
,
C. M. Lee
,
L. Rainville
,
W. N. C. Priyadarshani
, and
S. U. P. Jinadasa

Abstract

Boundary currents along the Sri Lankan eastern and southern coasts serve as a pathway for salt exchange between the Bay of Bengal and the Arabian Sea basins in the northern Indian Ocean, which are characterized by their contrasting salinities. Measurements from two pairs of pressure-sensing inverted echo sounders (PIES) deployed along the Sri Lankan eastern and southern coasts as well as satellite measurements are used to understand the variability of these boundary currents and the associated salt transport. The volume transport in the surface (0–200-m depth) layer exhibits a seasonal cycle associated with the monsoonal wind reversal and interannual variability associated with the Indian Ocean dipole (IOD). In this layer, the boundary currents transport low-salinity water out of the Bay of Bengal during the northeast monsoon and transport high-salinity water into the Bay of Bengal during the fall monsoon transition of some years (e.g., 2015 and 2018). The Bay of Bengal salt input increases during the 2016 negative IOD as the eastward flow of high-salinity water during the fall monsoon transition intensifies, whereas the effect of the 2015/16 El Niño on the Bay of Bengal salt input is still unclear. The time-mean eddy salt flux over the upper 200 m estimated for the April 2015–March 2019 period along the eastern coast accounts for 9% of the salt budget required to balance an estimated 0.13 Sv (1 Sv ≡ 106 m3 s−1) of annual freshwater input into the Bay of Bengal. The time-mean eddy salt flux over the upper 200 m estimated for the December 2015–November 2019 period along the southern coast accounts for 27% of that same salt budget.

Significance Statement

In the northern Indian Ocean, the highly saline Arabian Sea undergoes extreme evaporation while the Bay of Bengal (BoB) receives excess freshwater input. The focus of this study is the role of the observed time-variable circulation around Sri Lanka that permits the exchange between these basins to maintain their salinity distributions. The circulation fluctuates seasonally following the monsoon wind reversal and interannually in response to large-scale climate modes. The BoB freshwater export around Sri Lanka occurs during the northeast monsoon, whereas saline water import occurs during the fall monsoon transition of some years. However, rapid changes in both water volume transport and salt exchange can occur. The circulation over 0–200-m depth transports ∼9%–27% of the BoB salt budget.

Free access
Kyle Chudler
,
Steven A. Rutledge
, and
Brenda Dolan

Abstract

Isolated warm-rain cells are an important feature over the tropical oceans. Although warm rain is typically associated with relatively small raindrops, large raindrops (>4.5 mm in diameter) have been observed in some cases. Previous studies have examined warm rain cells with large drops on a case-study basis, but they have yet to be investigated in a broader, statistical sense. During the recent Propagation of Intraseasonal Oscillations (PISTON) field campaign, a C-band polarimetric radar routinely measured extreme values of differential reflectivity in small, isolated convection, indicating the presence of large drops. Using an objective feature identification and tracking algorithm, this study offers new insights to the structure and frequency of cells containing large drops. Cells with high differential reflectivity (>3.5 dB) were present in 24% of all radar scans. The cells were typically small (8-km2 mean area), short lived (usually <10 min), and shallow (3.7-km mean height). High differential reflectivity was more often found on the upwind side of the cells, suggesting a size sorting mechanism was operating establishing a low concentration of large drops on the upwind side. Differential reflectivity also tended to increase at lower altitudes, which is hypothesized to be due to continued drop growth and increasing temperature (increasing the dielectric constant of water). Rapid vertical cross-section radar scans, as well as transects made by a Learjet aircraft with onboard particle probes, are also used to analyze these cells, and support the conclusions drawn from statistical analysis.

Free access