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Ryosuke Okugawa
,
Kazuaki Yasunaga
,
Atsushi Hamada
, and
Satoru Yokoi

Abstract

Large amounts of tropical precipitation have been observed as significantly concentrated over the western coast of Sumatra Island. In the present study, we used a cloud-resolving model to perform 14-day numerical simulations and reproduce the distinctive precipitation distributions over western Sumatra Island and adjacent areas. The control experiment, in which the warmer sea surface temperature (SST) near the coast was incorporated and the terminal velocity and effective radius of ice clouds were parameterized to be temperature dependent, adequately reproduced the precipitation concentration as well as the diurnal cycles of precipitation. We then used the column-integrated frozen moist static energy budget equation, which is virtually equivalent to the column-integrated moisture budget equation under the weak temperature gradient assumption, to formulate sensitivity experiments focusing on the effects of coastal SST and upper-level ice clouds. Analysis of the time-averaged fields revealed that the column-integrated moisture and precipitation in the coast were significantly reduced when a cooler coastal SST or larger ice cloud particle size was assumed. Based on the comparison of the sensitivity experiments and in situ observations, we speculate that ice clouds, which are exported from inland convection that is strictly regulated by solar radiation, promote the accumulation of moisture in the coastal region by mitigating radiative cooling. Together with the moisture and heat supplied by the warm ocean surface, they contribute to the large amounts of precipitation here.

Open access
Sopia Lestari
,
Andrew King
,
Claire Vincent
,
Alain Protat
,
David Karoly
, and
Shuichi Mori

Abstract

Research on the interaction between the Madden–Julian oscillation (MJO) and rainfall around Jakarta is limited, although the influence of the MJO on increased rainfall is acknowledged as one of the primary causes of flooding in the region. This paper investigates the local rainfall response around Jakarta to the MJO. We used C-band Doppler radar in October–April during 2009–12 to study rain-rate characteristics at much higher resolution than previous analyses. Results show that the MJO strongly modulates rain rates over the region; however, its effect varies depending on topography. During active phases, MJO induces a high rain rate over the ocean and coast, meanwhile during suppressed phases, it generates a high rain rate mainly over the mountains. In phase 2 of the MJO we find the strongest increase in mean and extreme rain rate, which is earlier in the MJO cycle than most studies reported, based on lower-resolution data. This higher rain rate is likely due to increases in convective and stratiform activities. The MJO promotes more stratiform rain once it resides over Indonesia. In phase 5, over the northwestern coast and western part of the radar domain, the MJO might bring forward the peak of the hourly rain rate that occurs in the early morning. This is likely due to a strong westerly flow arising from MJO superimposed westerly monsoonal flow, blocked by the mountains, inducing a strong wind propagating offshore resulting in convection near the coast in the morning. Our study demonstrates the benefits of using high-resolution radar for capturing local responses to the larger-scale forcing of the MJO in Indonesia.

Significance Statement

Rainfall in Jakarta and its surroundings is highly variable and often heavy resulting in devastating floods. In this region, in the wet season, rainfall is influenced by large-scale climate variability including the Madden–Julian oscillation (MJO) characterized by eastward propagation of clouds near the equatorial regions on intraseasonal time scales. The MJO has been known to increase the probability of rainfall occurrence and its magnitude, but we show that the impact differs in varying topography. The frequency and intensity of rainfall increase over land areas including mountains even when MJO has not arrived in Indonesia. Meanwhile, once MJO moves through Indonesia, the frequency and magnitude of the rainfall increases over the northern coast and ocean as well as in the west of the radar domain.

Full access
Ning Zhao
,
Peiming Wu
,
Satoru Yokoi
, and
Miki Hattori

Abstract

This study investigated the diurnal cycle of convection over Sumatra Island in an active phase of the Madden–Julian oscillation (MJO) during the Pre-Years of the Maritime Continent (YMC) observation campaign in December 2015 based on in situ and satellite observations and a convection-permitting numerical model. Observations suggest that before the active phase of the MJO in early December, convection occurred frequently over the island during the afternoon and at midnight. By contrast, during the active phase of the MJO in mid-December, afternoon convection over the island was delayed and suppressed, and midnight convection was suppressed. Numerical experiments also successfully replicated the main features of the observed modulations. In general, during the active phase of the MJO, the troposphere became drier in the Sumatra region. While the clouds reduced the solar radiation over the land, the sea breeze was also found to be delayed and weakened. As a result, the afternoon convection initiation was delayed and weakened. Further analyses suggested that the sea breeze was weakened mainly due to the orographic stagnation effect rather than the slightly reduced land–sea temperature contrast. On the other hand, the increased stratiform-anvil clouds induced the anomalous evaporative cooling in the midtroposphere and generated island-scale subsidence during the nighttime, which finally led to the suppression of inland convection. Overall, our study reveals the modulation of diurnal convection over Sumatra Island by an active phase of the MJO and also shows the potential role of land–sea interaction in convection initiation and maintenance.

Open access
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 that 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.

Open access
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.

Open access
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.

Full access
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.

Full access
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.

Open access
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.

Full access
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