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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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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.

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

Abstract

Cloud-resolving simulations are used to evaluate the importance of topography to the diurnal cycle (DC) of precipitation (DCP) over Luzon, Philippines, and surrounding ocean during the July–August 2016 boreal summer intraseasonal oscillation (BSISO) event. Composites of surface precipitation for each 30-min time increment during the day are made to determine the mean DCP. The mean DCP is computed separately for suppressed and active BSISO conditions and compared across three simulations with varying topography—flat, true, and doubled topographic height. The magnitude of the topographic height helps to dictate the timing, intensity, and location of diurnal precipitation over and near Luzon. For example, the mean DCP in the true topography run peaks 1.5 h later, is broader by 1 h, and has a 9% larger amplitude during active conditions relative to suppressed conditions. By contrast, the flat run mean DCP is earlier and narrower by 0.5 h with a 5% smaller amplitude during active conditions versus suppressed conditions. Within the suppressed or active BSISO conditions, the mean DCP peak and amplitude increase as the topographic height increases. The presence of elevated topography focuses precipitation over the coastal mountains during suppressed conditions, while dictating which side of the domain (i.e., east Luzon and the Philippine Sea vs west Luzon and the South China Sea) more precipitation occurs in during active conditions. These topographic-induced changes are discussed in terms of mechanical and thermodynamic forcing differences between the two large-scale BSISO regimes for the three runs.

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Michael B. Natoli and Eric D. Maloney

Abstract

Precipitation in the region surrounding the South China Sea over land and coastal waters exhibits a strong diurnal cycle associated with a land–sea temperature contrast that drives a sea-breeze circulation. The boreal summer intraseasonal oscillation (BSISO) is an important modulator of diurnal precipitation patterns, an understanding of which is a primary goal of the field campaign Propagation of Intraseasonal Tropical Oscillations (PISTON). Using 21 years of CMORPH precipitation for Luzon Island in the northern Philippines, it is shown that the diurnal cycle amplitude is generally maximized over land roughly 1 week before the arrival of the broader oceanic convective envelope associated with the BSISO. A strong diurnal cycle in coastal waters is observed in the transition from the inactive to active phase, associated with offshore propagation of the diurnal cycle. The diurnal cycle amplitude is in phase with daily mean precipitation over Mindanao but is nearly out of phase over Luzon. The BSISO influence on the diurnal cycle on the eastern side of topography is nearly opposite to that on the western side. Using wind, moisture, and radiation products from the ERA5 reanalysis, it is proposed that the enhanced diurnal cycle west of the mountains during BSISO suppressed phases is related to increased insolation and weaker prevailing onshore winds that promote a stronger sea-breeze circulation when compared with the May–October mean state. Offshore propagation is suppressed until ambient midlevel moisture increases over the surrounding oceans during the transition to the active BSISO phase. In BSISO enhanced phases, strong low-level winds and increased cloudiness suppress the sea-breeze circulation.

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Adam V. Rydbeck, Tommy G. Jensen, and Matthew R. Igel

Abstract

The atmospheric response to sea surface temperature (SST) variations forced by oceanic downwelling equatorial Rossby waves is investigated using an idealized convection-resolving model. Downwelling equatorial Rossby waves sharpen SST gradients in the western Indian Ocean. Changes in SST cause the atmosphere to hydrostatically adjust, subsequently modulating the low-level wind field. In an idealized cloud model, surface wind speeds, surface moisture fluxes, and low-level precipitable water maximize near regions of strongest SST gradients, not necessarily in regions of warmest SST. Simulations utilizing the steepened SST gradient representative of periods with oceanic downwelling equatorial Rossby waves show enhanced patterns of surface convergence and precipitation that are linked to a strengthened zonally overturning circulation. During these conditions, convection is highly organized, clustering near the maximum SST gradient and ascending branch of the SST-induced overturning circulation. When the SST gradient is reduced, as occurs during periods of weak or absent oceanic equatorial Rossby waves, convection is much less organized and total rainfall is decreased. This demonstrates the previously observed upscale organization of convection and rainfall associated with oceanic downwelling equatorial Rossby waves in the western Indian Ocean. These results suggest that the enhancement of surface fluxes that results from a steepening of the SST gradient is the leading mechanism by which oceanic equatorial Rossby waves prime the atmospheric boundary layer for rapid convective development.

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