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Hyemi Kim
and
James J. Benedict

Abstract

Studies have indicated exaggerated Maritime Continent (MC) barrier effect in simulations of the Madden–Julian oscillation (MJO), a dominant source of subseasonal predictability in the tropics. This issue has plagued the modeling and operational forecasting communities for decades, while the sensitivity of MC barrier on MJO predictability has not been addressed quantitatively. In this study, perfect-model ensemble forecasts are conducted with an aquaplanet configuration of the Community Earth System Model version 2 (CESM2) in which both basic state and tropical modes of variability are reasonably simulated with a warm pool–like SST distribution. When water-covered terrain mimicking MC landmasses is added to the warm pool–like SST framework, the eastward propagation of the MJO is disturbed by the prescribed MC aqua-mountain. The MJO predictability estimate with the perfect-model experiment is about 6 weeks but reduces to about 4 weeks when the MJO is impeded by the MC aqua-mountain. Given that the recent operational forecasts show an average of 3–4 weeks of MJO prediction skill, we can conclude that improving the MJO propagation crossing the MC could improve the MJO skill to 5–6 weeks, close to the potential predictability found in this study (6 weeks). Therefore, more effort toward understanding and improving the MJO propagation is needed to enhance the MJO and MJO-related forecasts to improve the subseasonal-to-seasonal prediction.

Restricted access
Chen Chen
,
Sandeep Sahany
,
Aurel F. Moise
,
Xin Rong Chua
,
Muhammad E. Hassim
,
Gerald Lim
, and
Venkatraman Prasanna

Abstract

The Maritime Continent (MC), located in the heart of the Indo-Pacific warm pool, plays an important role in the global climate. However, the future MC climate is largely unknown, in particular the ENSO–rainfall teleconnection. ENSO induces a zonal dipole pattern of rainfall variability across the Indo-Pacific Ocean, that is, positive variability in the tropical Pacific and negative variability toward the MC. Here, new CMIP6 models robustly project that, for both land and sea rainfall, the negative ENSO teleconnection over the MC (drier during El Niño and wetter during La Niña) could intensify significantly under the Shared Socioeconomic Pathway 5–8.5 (SSP585) warming scenario. A strengthened teleconnection may cause enhanced droughts and flooding, leading to agricultural impacts and altering rainfall predictability over the region. Models also project that both the Indo-Pacific rainfall center and the zero crossing of dipole-like rainfall variability shift eastward; these adjustments are more notable during boreal summer than during winter. All these projections are robustly supported by the model agreement and scale up with the warming trend.

Open access
Yihao Zhou
,
Shuguang Wang
,
Juan Fang
, and
Da Yang

Abstract

The Maritime Continent disrupts eastward propagation of the Madden–Julian oscillation (MJO). This study surveys the impact of the disruption—often known as the barrier effect—on the MJO teleconnections. The MJO propagation may be broadly categorized based on whether the MJO precipitation crosses the Maritime Continent (MC) during extended boreal winter seasons: successfully propagating across the MC (MJO-C) or being blocked by the MC (MJO-B). Compositing atmospheric circulation upon these two categories reveals that precipitation anomalies of MJO-C are stronger and more coherent than those of MJO-B, while their phase speed and lifetime are comparable. MJO-C and MJO-B excite distinct extratropical responses due to their diabatic heating in the deep tropics. Midlatitude circulation displays stronger and long-lasting negative geopotential anomalies in the northern Pacific Ocean 5–14 days after phase 7–8 of MJO-C, but significantly weaker anomalies from MJO-B. The extratropical water vapor transport during MJO-B and MJO-C differs markedly after phase 2. The Pacific–North American (PNA) pattern and North Atlantic Oscillation (NAO) both show significant response after phase 6 of MJO-C as its precipitation anomaly over the tropical Pacific during this period is stronger, while MJO-B has little impact on both. Surface air temperatures (SAT) at high latitudes during MJO-B and MJO-C are also significantly different. SAT is weaker and delayed in MJO-B in comparison to MJO-C, likely due to different meridional eddy heat fluxes.

Free access
Daniel Argüeso
,
A. Di Luca
,
N. C. Jourdain
,
R. Romero
, and
V. Homar

Abstract

The Maritime Continent is one of the most challenging regions for atmospheric models. Processes that modulate deep convection are poorly represented in models, which affects their ability to simulate precipitation features accurately. Thus, future projections of precipitation over the region are prone to large uncertainties. One of the key players in modeling tropical precipitation is the convective representation, and hence convection-permitting experiments have contributed to improve aspects of precipitation in models. This improvement creates opportunities to explore the physical processes that govern rainfall in the Maritime Continent, as well as their role in a warming climate. Here, we examine the response to climate change of models with explicit and parameterized convection and how that reflects in precipitation changes. We focus on the intensification of spatial contrasts as precursors of changes in mean and extreme precipitation in the tropical archipelago. Our results show that the broad picture is similar in both model setups, where islands will undergo an increase in mean and extreme precipitation in a warmer climate and the ocean will see less rain. However, the magnitude and spatial structure of such changes, as well as the projection of rainfall percentiles, are different across model experiments. We suggest that while the primary effect of climate change is thermodynamical and it is similarly reproduced by both model configurations, dynamical effects are represented quite differently in explicit and parameterized convection experiments. In this study, we link such differences to horizontal and vertical spatial contrasts and how convective representations translate them into precipitation changes.

Full access
Sang-Ki Lee
,
Hosmay Lopez
,
Gregory R. Foltz
,
Eun-Pa Lim
,
Dongmin Kim
,
Sarah M. Larson
,
Kandaga Pujiana
,
Denis L. Volkov
,
Soumi Chakravorty
, and
Fabian A. Gomez

Abstract

A phenomenon referred to here as Java–Sumatra Niño/Niña (JSN or JS Niño/Niña) is characterized by the appearance of warm/cold sea surface temperature anomalies (SSTAs) in the coastal upwelling region off Java–Sumatra in the southeastern equatorial Indian Ocean. JSN develops in July–September and sometimes as a precursor to the Indian Ocean dipole, but often without corresponding SSTAs in the western equatorial Indian Ocean. Although its spatiotemporal evolution varies considerably between individual events, JSN is essentially an intrinsic mode of variability driven by local atmosphere–ocean positive feedback, and thus does not rely on remote forcing from the Pacific for its emergence. JSN is an important driver of climate variability over the tropical Indian Ocean and the surrounding continents. Notably, JS Niña events developing in July–September project onto the South and Southeast Asian summer monsoons, increasing the probability of heavy rainfall and flooding across the most heavily populated regions of the world.

Full access
Shuguang Wang
and
Adam H. Sobel

Abstract

The Madden–Julian oscillation (MJO) and the boreal summer intraseasonal oscillation (BSISO) are fundamental modes of variability in the tropical atmosphere on the intraseasonal time scale. A linear model, using a moist shallow water equation set on an equatorial beta plane, is developed to provide a unified treatment of the two modes and to understand their growth and propagation over the Indian Ocean. Moisture is assumed to increase linearly with longitude and to decrease quadratically with latitude. Solutions are obtained through linear stability analysis, considering the gravest (n = 1) meridional mode with nonzero meridional velocity. Anomalies in zonal moisture advection and surface fluxes are both proportional to those in zonal wind, but of opposite sign. With observation-based estimates for both effects, the zonal advection dominates, and drives the planetary-scale instability. With a sufficiently small meridional moisture gradient, the horizontal structure exhibits oscillations with latitude and a northwest–southeast horizontal tilt in the Northern Hemisphere, qualitatively resembling the observed BSISO. As the meridional moisture gradient increases, the horizontal tilt decreases and the spatial pattern transforms toward the “swallowtail” structure associated with the MJO, with cyclonic gyres in both hemispheres straddling the equatorial precipitation maximum. These results suggest that the magnitude of the meridional moisture gradient shapes the horizontal structures, leading to the transformation from the BSISO-like tilted horizontal structure to the MJO-like neutral wave structure as the meridional moisture gradient changes with the seasons. The existence and behavior of these intraseasonal modes can be understood as a consequence of phase speed matching between the equatorial mode with zero meridional velocity (analogous to the dry Kelvin wave) and a local off-equatorial component that is characterized by considering an otherwise similar system on an f plane.

Full access
Yun-Lan Chen
,
Chung-Hsiung Sui
,
Chih-Pei Chang
, and
Kai-Chih Tseng

Abstract

This paper studies the influences of the Madden–Julian oscillation (MJO) on East Asian (EA) winter rainfall using the singular value decomposition (SVD) approach. This method uses two-dimensional instead of latitudinally averaged variables in the commonly used real-time multivariate MJO (RMM) index. A comparison of the two approaches is made using the same OLR and zonal wind data over 37 boreal winter seasons of December–March. The SVD composite reveals a more conspicuous and coherent variation throughout the MJO cycle, while the RMM composite is more ambiguous. In particular, the SVD analysis identifies the convection anomalies over the Maritime Continent and the subtropical western Pacific (MCWP) as a major cause of enhanced rainfall in EA at RMM phases 8 and 1. This is at least one-eighth of a cycle earlier than the phases of convection development over the Indian Ocean (IO) that were emphasized by previous studies. A linearized global baroclinic model is used to demonstrate the mechanism of MJO forcing on EA rainfall during various phases, with a focus on the MCWP cooling. The result shows that the anomalous MCWP cooling and the resultant low-level anticyclonic flow interact with the East Asian jet, leading to an overall weakened EA winter monsoon circulation. The associated anomalous overturning circulation, with ascending motion and low-level horizontal moisture convergence in EA, contributes to the enhanced rainfall. This model result supports the interpretation of the SVD analysis, in that the MCWP cooling induced anomalous meridional circulation is a more direct cause of enhanced EA rainfall than the IO heating (or the IO–MCWP heating dipole) induced Rossby wave teleconnection.

Full access
Daehyun Kang
,
Daehyun Kim
,
Min-Seop Ahn
, and
Soon-Il An

Abstract

This study investigates the role of the background meridional moisture gradient (MMG) on the propagation of the Madden–Julian oscillation (MJO) across the Maritime Continent (MC) region. It is found that the interannual variability of the seasonal mean MMG over the southern MC area is associated with the meridional expansion and contraction of the moist area in the vicinity of the MC. Sea surface temperature anomalies associated with relatively high and low seasonal mean MMG exhibit patterns that resemble those of El Niño–Southern Oscillation. By contrasting the years with anomalously low and high MMG, we show that MJO propagation through the MC is enhanced (suppressed) in years with higher (lower) seasonal mean MMG, although the effect is less robust when MMG anomalies are weak. Column-integrated moisture budget analysis further shows that sufficiently large MMG anomalies affect MJO activity by modulating the meridional advection of the mean moisture via MJO wind anomalies. Our results suggest that the background moisture distribution has a strong control over the propagation characteristics of the MJO in the MC region.

Full access
Lei Zhou
,
Ruomei Ruan
, and
Raghu Murtugudde

Abstract

Madden–Julian oscillations (MJOs) are a major component of tropical intraseasonal variabilities. There are two paths for MJOs across the Maritime Continent; one is a detoured route into the Southern Hemisphere and the other one is around the equator across the Maritime Continent. Here, it is shown that the detoured and nondetoured MJOs have significantly different impacts on the South Pacific convergence zone (SPCZ). The detoured MJOs trigger strong cross-equatorial meridional winds from the Northern Hemisphere into the Southern Hemisphere. The associated meridional moisture and energy transports due to the background states carried by the intraseasonal meridional winds are favorable for reinforcing the SPCZ. In contrast, the influences of nondetoured MJOs on either hemisphere or the meridional transports across the equator are much weaker. The detoured MJOs can extend their impacts to the surrounding regions by shedding Rossby waves. Due to different background vorticity during detoured MJOs in boreal winter, more ray paths of Rossby waves traverse the Maritime Continent connecting the southern Pacific Ocean and the eastern Indian Ocean, but far fewer Rossby wave paths traverse Australia. Further studies on such processes are expected to contribute to a better understanding of extreme climate and natural disasters on the rim of the southern Pacific and Indian Oceans.

Free access
Marvin Xiang Ce Seow
,
Yushi Morioka
, and
Tomoki Tozuka

Abstract

Influences from the tropical Pacific and Indian Oceans and atmospheric internal variability on the South China Sea (SCS) atmospheric circulation and cold tongue (CT) variabilities in boreal winter and the relative roles of remote forcings at interannual time scales are studied using observational data, reanalysis products, and coupled model experiments. In the observation, strong CT years are accompanied by local cyclonic wind anomalies, which are an equatorial Rossby wave response to enhanced convection over the warmer-than-normal western equatorial Pacific associated with La Niña. Also, the cyclonic wind anomalies are an atmospheric Kelvin wave response to diabatic cooling anomalies linked to both the decaying late fall negative Indian Ocean dipole (IOD) and winter atmospheric internal variability. Partially coupled experiments reveal that both the tropical Pacific air–sea coupling and atmospheric internal variability positively contribute to the coupled variability of the SCS CT, while the air–sea coupling over the tropical Indian Ocean weakens such variabilities. The northwest Pacific anticyclonic wind anomalies that usually precede El Niño–Southern Oscillation–independent negative IOD generated under the tropical Indian Ocean air–sea coupling undermine such variabilities.

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