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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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Kyle Chudler and Steven A. Rutledge

Abstract

The Propagation of Intraseasonal Oscillations (PISTON) field campaign took place in the waters of the western tropical North Pacific during the late-summer and early-fall of 2018 and 2019. During both research cruises, the Colorado State University SEA-POL polarimetric C-Band weather radar obtained continuous 3D measurements of oceanic precipitation systems. This study provides an overview of the variability in convection observed during the PISTON cruises, and relates this variability to large-scale atmospheric conditions. Using an objective classification algorithm, precipitation features are identified and labeled by their size (isolated/sub-MCS/MCS) and degree of convective organization (nonlinear/linear). It is shown that although large mesoscale convective systems (MCS’s) occurred infrequently (present in 13% of radar scans), they contributed a disproportionately large portion (56%) of the total rain volume. Conversely, small isolated features were present in 91% of scans, yet these features contributed just 11% of the total rain volume, with the bulk of the rainfall owing to warm rain production. Convective rain rates and 30-dBZ echo top heights increased with feature size and degree of organization. MCS’s occurred more frequently in periods of low-level southwesterly winds, and when low-level wind shear was enhanced. By compositing radar and sounding data by phases of easterly waves (of which there were several in 2018), troughs are shown to be associated with increased precipitation and a higher relative frequency of MCS feature occurrence, while ridges are shown to be associated with decreased precipitation and a higher relative frequency of isolated convective features.

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Adam H. Sobel, Janet Sprintall, Eric D. Maloney, Zane K. Martin, Shuguang Wang, Simon P. de Szoeke, Benjamin C. Trabing, and Steven A. Rutledge

Abstract

The Propagation of Intraseasonal Tropical Oscillations (PISTON) experiment conducted a field campaign in August–October 2018. The R/V Thomas G. Thompson made two cruises in the western North Pacific region north of Palau and east of the Philippines. Using select field observations and global observational and reanalysis datasets, this study describes the large-scale state and evolution of the atmosphere and ocean during these cruises. Intraseasonal variability was weak during the field program, except for a period of suppressed convection in October. Tropical cyclone activity, on the other hand, was strong. Variability at the ship location was characterized by periods of low-level easterly atmospheric flow with embedded westward propagating synoptic-scale atmospheric disturbances, punctuated by periods of strong low-level westerly winds that were both connected to the Asian monsoon westerlies and associated with tropical cyclones. In the most dramatic case, westerlies persisted for days during and after tropical cyclone Jebi had passed to the north of the ship. In these periods, the sea surface temperature was reduced by a couple of degrees by both wind mixing and net surface heat fluxes that were strongly (~200 W m−2) out of the ocean, due to both large latent heat flux and cloud shading associated with widespread deep convection. Underway conductivity–temperature transects showed dramatic cooling and deepening of the ocean mixed layer and erosion of the barrier layer after the passage of Typhoon Mangkhut due to entrainment of cooler water from below. Strong zonal currents observed over at least the upper 400 m were likely related to the generation and propagation of near-inertial currents.

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Wei-Ting Chen, Shih-Pei Hsu, Yuan-Huai Tsai, and Chung-Hsiung Sui

ABSTRACT

We studied the scale interactions of the convectively coupled Kelvin waves (KWs) over the South China Sea (SCS) and Maritime Continent (MC) during December 2016. Three KWs were observed near the equator in this month while the Madden–Julian oscillation (MJO) was inactive. The impacts of these KWs on the rainfall variability of various time scales are diagnosed, including synoptic disturbances, diurnal cycle (DC), and the onset of the Australian monsoon. Four interaction events between the KWs and the westward-propagating waves over the off-equatorial regions were examined; two events led to KW enhancements and the other two contributed to the formation of a tropical depression/tropical cyclone. Over the KW convectively active region of the MC, the DC of precipitation was enhanced in major islands and neighboring oceans. Over the land, the DC hot spots were modulated depending on the background winds and the terrain effects. Over the ocean, the “coastal regime” of the DC appeared at specific coastal areas. Last, the Australian summer monsoon onset occurred with the passage of a KW, which provided favorable conditions of low-level westerlies and initial convection over southern MC and the Arafura Sea. This effect may be helped by the warm sea surface temperature anomalies associated with the La Niña condition of this month. The current results showcase that KWs and their associated scale interactions can provide useful references for weather monitoring and forecast of this region when the MJO is absent.

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Corinne B. Trott, Bulusu Subrahmanyam, Heather L. Roman-Stork, V. S. N. Murty, and C. Gnanaseelan

Abstract

Intraseasonal oscillations (ISOs) significantly impact southwest monsoon precipitation and Bay of Bengal (BoB) variability. The response of ISOs in sea surface salinity (SSS) to those in the atmosphere is investigated in the BoB from 2005 to 2017. The three intraseasonal processes examined in this study are the 30–90-day and 10–20-day ISOs and 3–7-day synoptic weather signals. A variety of salinity data from NASA’s Soil Moisture Active Passive (SMAP) and the European Space Agency’s (ESA’s) Soil Moisture and Ocean Salinity (SMOS) satellite missions and from reanalysis using the Hybrid Coordinate Ocean Model (HYCOM) and operational analysis of Climate Forecast System version 2 (CFSv2) were utilized for the study. It is found that the 30–90-day ISO salinity signal propagates northward following the northward propagation of convection and precipitation ISOs. The 10–20-day ISO in SSS and precipitation deviate largely in the northern BoB wherein the river runoff largely impacts the SSS. The weather systems strongly impact the 3–7-day signal in SSS prior to and after the southwest monsoon. Overall, we find that satellite salinity products captured better the SSS signal of ISO due to inherent inclusion of river runoff and mixed layer processes. CFSv2, in particular, underestimates the SSS signal due to the misrepresentation of river runoff in the model. This study highlights the need to include realistic riverine freshwater influx for better model simulations, as accurate salinity simulation is mandatory for the representation of air–sea coupling in models.

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Wei-Ting Chen, Chien-Ming Wu, and Hsi-Yen Ma

Abstract

The present study aims to identify the precipitation bias associated with the interactions among fast physical processes in the Community Atmospheric Model, version 5 (CAM5), during the abrupt onset of the South China Sea (SCS) summer monsoon, a key precursor of the overall East Asia summer monsoon (EASM). The multiyear hindcast approach is utilized to obtain the well-constrained synoptic-scale horizontal circulation each year during the onset period from the years 1998 to 2012. In the pre-onset period, the ocean precipitation over the SCS is insufficiently suppressed in CAM5 hindcasts and thus weaker land–ocean precipitation contrasts. This is associated with the weaker and shallower convection simulated over the surrounding land, producing weaker local circulation within the SCS basin. In the post-onset period, rainfall of the organized convection over the Philippine coastal ocean is underestimated in the hindcasts, with overestimated upper-level heating. These biases are further elaborated as the underrepresentation of the convection diurnal cycle and coastal convection systems, as well as the issue of precipitation sensitivity to environmental moisture during the SCS onset period. The biases identified in hindcasts are consistent with the general bias of the EASM in the climate simulation of CAM5. The current results highlight that the appropriate representation of land–ocean–convection interactions over coastal areas can potentially improve the simulation of seasonal transition over the monsoon regions.

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