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Richard H. Johnson, Paul E. Ciesielski, and Thomas M. Rickenbach

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Two features of Yanai et al.’s profiles of Q 1 and Q 2—the commonly observed double-peak structure to Q 2 and an inflection in the Q 1 profile below the melting level—are explored using estimates of convective and stratiform rainfall partitioning based on Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) radar reflectivity data collected during TOGA COARE. The MIT radar data allow the Q 1 and Q 2 profiles to be classified according to stratiform rain fraction within the radar domain and, within the limitations of the datasets, allow interpretations to be made about the relative contributions of convective and stratiform precipitation to the mean profiles. The sorting of Q 2 by stratiform rain fraction leads to the confirmation of previous findings that the double-peak structure in the mean profile is a result of a combination of separate contributions of convective and stratiform precipitation. The convective contribution, which has a drying peak in the lower troposphere, combines with a stratiform drying peak aloft and low-level moistening peak to yield a double-peak structure. With respect to the inflection in the Q 1 profile below the 0°C level, this feature appears to be a manifestation of melting. It is the significant horizontal dimension of the stratiform components of tropical convective systems that yields a small but measurable imprint on the large-scale temperature and moisture stratification upon which the computations of Q 1 and Q 2 are based. The authors conclude, then, that the rather subtle features in the Q 1/Q 2 profiles of Yanai et al. are directly linked to the prominence of stratiform precipitation within tropical precipitation systems.

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David A. Randall, Anthony D. Del Genio, Leo J. Donner, William D. Collins, and Stephen A. Klein
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Robert G. Fovell and Wen-wen Tung
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D. D. Turner and R. G. Ellingson
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T. N. Krishnamurti, Ruby Krishnamurti, Anu Simon, Aype Thomas, and Vinay Kumar

This chapter distinguishes the mechanism of tropical convective disturbances, such as a hurricane, from that of the Madden–Julian oscillation (MJO). The hurricane is maintained by organized convection around the azimuth. In a hurricane the organization of convection, the generation of eddy available potential energy, and the transformation of eddy available potential energy into eddy kinetic energy all occur on the scale of the hurricane and these are called “in-scale processes,” which invoke quadratic nonlinearity. The MJO is not a hurricane type of disturbance; organized convection simply does not drive an MJO in the same manner. The maintenance of the MJO is more akin to a multibody problem where the convection is indeed organized on scales of tropical synoptic disturbances that carry a similar organization of convection and carry similar roles for the generation of eddy available potential energy and its conversion to the eddy kinetic energy for their maintenance. The maintenance of the MJO is a scale interaction problem that comes next, where pairs of synoptic-scale disturbances are shown to interact with a member of the MJO time scale, thus contributing to its maintenance. This chapter illustrates the organization of convection, synoptic-scale energetics, and nonlinear scale interactions to show the above aspects for the mechanism of the MJO.

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Yukari N. Takayabu, George N. Kiladis, and Victor Magaña

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Insights by Professor Michio Yanai on tropical waves, which have been vital ingredients for progress in tropical meteorology over the last half-century, are recollected. This study revisits various aspects of research on tropical waves over the last five decades to examine, in Yanai’s words, “the nature of ‘A-scale’ tropical wave disturbances and the interaction of the waves and the ‘B-scale’ phenomena (cloud clusters),” the fundamental problem posed by Yanai at the design phase of the GARP Atlantic Tropical Experiment (GATE) in 1971. The various contributions of Michio Yanai to the current understanding of the dynamics of the tropical atmosphere are briefly reviewed to show how his work has led to several current theories in this field.

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Chih-Pei Chang, Mong-Ming Lu, and Hock Lim

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The Asian monsoon is a planetary-scale circulation system powered by the release of latent heat, but important features of deep convection and rainfall distribution cannot be adequately represented by the large-scale patterns. This is mainly due to the strong influences of terrain that are important across a wide range of horizontal scales, especially over the Maritime Continent where the complex terrain has a dominant effect on the behavior of convective rainfall during the boreal winter monsoon. This chapter is a review and summary of published results on the effects on monsoon convection due to interactions between the Maritime Continent terrain and large-scale transient systems.

The Maritime Continent topographic features strongly affect both the demarcation of the boreal summer and winter monsoon regimes and the asymmetric seasonal marches during the transition seasons. In the western part of the region, the complex interactions that lead to variability in deep convection are primarily controlled by the cold surges and the synoptic-scale Borneo vortex. The Madden–Julian oscillation (MJO) reduces the frequency of weaker surges through an interference with their structure. It also influences convection, particularly on the diurnal cycle and when synoptic activities are weak. When both surges and the Borneo vortex are present, interactions between these circulations with the terrain can cause the strongest convection, which has included Typhoon Vamei (2001), which is the only observed tropical cyclone that developed within 1.5° of the equator.

The cold surges are driven by midlatitude pressure rises associated with the movement of the Siberian high. Rapid strengthening of surge northeasterly winds can be explained as the tropical response via a geostrophic adjustment process to the pressure forcing in the form of an equatorial Rossby wave group. Dispersion of meridional modes leads to a northeast–southwest orientation that allows the surge to stream downstream through the similarly oriented South China Sea. This evolution leads to a cross-equatorial return flow and a cyclonic circulation at the equator, and thus a mechanism for equatorial cyclogenesis. Although the narrow width of the southern South China Sea facilitates strengthening of the cold surge, it also severely restricts the likelihood of cyclone development so that Vamei remains to be the only typhoon observed in the equatorial South China Sea.

Climate variations from El Niño–Southern Oscillation to climate change may impact the interactions between the large-scale motion and Maritime Continent terrain because they lead to changes in the mean flow. The thermodynamic effects on the interaction between MJO and the monsoon surges and Borneo vortex over the complex terrain also need to be addressed. These and other questions such as any possible changes in the likelihood of equatorial tropical cyclogenesis as a result of climate change are all important areas for future research.

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