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Biao Geng and Masaki Katsumata

Abstract

In this study, we examined the variations of precipitation morphology and rainfall in relation to the simultaneous passages of a Madden-Julian Oscillation (MJO) event and convectively coupled equatorial waves (CCEWs) observed during the Years of the Maritime Continent pilot study. We utilized globally merged infrared brightness temperature data and the radiosonde and radar data observed aboard the research vessel Mirai at 4°4′S, 101°54′E. As well as the observed MJO event, equatorial Rossby waves (ERWs), Kelvin waves (KWs), and mixed Rossby-gravity waves (MRGWs) were identified. The radar data exhibited high-frequency variation, mainly caused by KWs and MRGWs, and low-frequency variation, mainly caused by the MJO and ERWs. The MRGWs predominantly modulated convective echo areas and both convective and stratiform volumetric rainfall. In contrast, the MJO event had little influence on the variance of convective echoes. Moreover, stratiform echo areas and volumetric rainfall were more strongly modulated by the combined effects of the MJO, ERWs, KWs, and MRGWs than their convective counterparts. The intense development of stratiform echo areas and volumetric rainfall was coherent with the superimposition of the active phases of the MJO event and all the analyzed CCEWs. The strongest development and a significant reduction of convective echo-top heights before and after the peak MJO date, respectively, were coherent with the passages of ERWs and MRGWs, which were the dominant wave types in modulating echo-top heights. Thus, it appears that the superimposition of the CCEWs on the MJO event exerted complex modulations on the convective activities within the MJO event.

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Joshua Chun Kwang Lee, Anurag Dipankar, and Xiang-Yu Huang

Abstract

The diurnal cycle is the most prominent mode of rainfall variability in the Tropics, governed mainly by the strong solar heating and land-sea interactions which trigger convection. Over the western Maritime Continent, complex orographic and coastal effects can also play an important role. Weather and climate models often struggle to represent these physical processes, resulting in substantial model biases in simulations over the region. For numerical weather prediction, these biases manifest themselves in the initial conditions, leading to phase and amplitude errors in the diurnal cycle of precipitation. Using a tropical convective-scale data assimilation system, we assimilate 3-hourly radiosonde data from the pilot field campaign of the Years of Maritime Continent, in addition to existing available observations, to diagnose the model biases and assess the relative impacts of the additional wind, temperature and moisture information on the simulated diurnal cycle of precipitation over the western coast of Sumatra. We show how assimilating such high frequency in-situ observations can improve the simulated diurnal cycle, verified against satellite-derived precipitation, radar-derived precipitation and rain gauge data. The improvements are due to a better representation of the sea breeze and increased available moisture in the lowest 4 km prior to peak convection. Assimilating wind information alone was sufficient to improve the simulations. We also highlight how during the assimilation, certain multivariate background error constraints and moisture addition in an ad-hoc manner can negatively impact the simulations. Other approaches should be explored to better exploit information from such high frequency observations over this region.

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Beata Latos, Thierry Lefort, Maria K. Flatau, Piotr J. Flatau, Donaldi S. Permana, Dariusz B. Baranowski, Jaka A. I. Paski, Erwin Makmur, Eko Sulystyo, Philippe Peyrillé, Zhe Feng, Adrian J. Matthews, and Jerome M. Schmidt

Abstract

On the basis of detailed analysis of a case study and long-term climatology, it is shown that equatorial waves and their interactions serve as precursors for extreme rain and flood events in the central Maritime Continent region of southwest Sulawesi, Indonesia. Meteorological conditions on 22 January 2019 leading to heavy rainfall and devastating flooding in this area are studied. It is shown that a convectively coupled Kelvin wave (CCKW) and a convectively coupled equatorial Rossby wave (CCERW) embedded within the larger-scale envelope of the Madden–Julian oscillation (MJO) enhanced convective phase, contributed to the onset of a mesoscale convective system that developed over the Java Sea. Low-level convergence from the CCKW forced mesoscale convective organization and orographic ascent of moist air over the slopes of southwest Sulawesi. Climatological analysis shows that 92% of December–February floods and 76% of extreme rain events in this region were immediately preceded by positive low-level westerly wind anomalies. It is estimated that both CCKWs and CCERWs propagating over Sulawesi double the chance of floods and extreme rain event development, while the probability of such hazardous events occurring during their combined activity is 8 times greater than on a random day. While the MJO is a key component shaping tropical atmospheric variability, it is shown that its usefulness as a single factor for extreme weather-driven hazard prediction is limited.

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Arun Kumar, Jieshun Zhu, and Wanqiu Wang

Abstract

In this paper, the question of potential predictability in meteorological variables associated with skillful prediction of the Madden–Julian oscillation (MJO) during boreal winter is analyzed. The analysis is motivated by the fact that dynamical prediction systems are now capable of predicting MJO up to 30 days or earlier (measured in terms of anomaly correlation for RMM indices). Translating recent gains in MJO prediction skill and relating them back to potential for predicting meteorological variables—for example, precipitation and surface temperature—is not straightforward because of a chain of steps that go into the computation and evaluation of RMM indices. This paper assesses potential predictability in meteorological variables that could be attributed to skillful prediction of the MJO. The analysis is based on the observational data alone and assesses the upper limit of MJO-associated predictability that could be achieved.

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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.

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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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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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Satoru Yokoi, Shuichi Mori, Masaki Katsumata, Biao Geng, Kazuaki Yasunaga, Fadli Syamsudin, Nurhayati, and Kunio Yoneyama

Abstract

This study analyzes data obtained by intensive observation during a pilot field campaign of the Years of the Maritime Continent Project (Pre-YMC) to investigate the diurnal cycle of precipitation in the western coastal area of Sumatra Island. The diurnal cycle during the campaign period (November–December 2015) is found to have a number of similarities with statistical behavior of the diurnal cycle as revealed by previous studies, such as afternoon precipitation over land, nighttime offshore migration of the precipitation zone, and dependency on Madden–Julian oscillation (MJO) phase. Composite analyses of radiosonde soundings from the Research Vessel (R/V) Mirai, deployed about 50 km off the coast, demonstrate that the lower free troposphere starts cooling in late afternoon (a couple of hours earlier than the cooling in the boundary layer), making the lower troposphere more unstable just before precipitation starts to increase. As the nighttime offshore precipitation tends to be more vigorous on days when the cooling in the lower free troposphere is larger, it is possible that the destabilization due to the cooling contributes to the offshore migration of the precipitation zone via enhancement of convective activity. Comparison of potential temperature and water vapor mixing ratio tendencies suggests that this cooling is substantially due to vertical advection by an ascent motion, which is possibly a component of shallow gravity waves. These results support the idea that gravity waves emanating from convective systems over land play a significant role in the offshore migration of the precipitation zone.

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