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George N. Kiladis
,
Juliana Dias
,
Katherine H. Straub
,
Matthew C. Wheeler
,
Stefan N. Tulich
,
Kazuyoshi Kikuchi
,
Klaus M. Weickmann
, and
Michael J. Ventrice

Abstract

Two univariate indices of the Madden–Julian oscillation (MJO) based on outgoing longwave radiation (OLR) are developed to track the convective component of the MJO while taking into account the seasonal cycle. These are compared with the all-season Real-time Multivariate MJO (RMM) index of Wheeler and Hendon derived from a multivariate EOF of circulation and OLR. The gross features of the OLR and circulation of composite MJOs are similar regardless of the index, although RMM is characterized by stronger circulation. Diversity in the amplitude and phase of individual MJO events between the indices is much more evident; this is demonstrated using examples from the Dynamics of the Madden–Julian Oscillation (DYNAMO) field campaign and the Year of Tropical Convection (YOTC) virtual campaign. The use of different indices can lead to quite disparate conclusions concerning MJO timing and strength, and even as to whether or not an MJO has occurred. A disadvantage of using daily OLR as an EOF basis is that it is a much noisier field than the large-scale circulation, and filtering is necessary to obtain stable results through the annual cycle. While a drawback of filtering is that it cannot be done in real time, a reasonable approximation to the original fully filtered index can be obtained by following an endpoint smoothing method. When the convective signal is of primary interest, the authors advocate the use of satellite-based metrics for retrospective analysis of the MJO for individual cases, as well as for the analysis of model skill in initiating and evolving the MJO.

Full access
Michael J. Ventrice
,
Matthew C. Wheeler
,
Harry H. Hendon
,
Carl J. Schreck III
,
Chris D. Thorncroft
, and
George N. Kiladis

Abstract

A new Madden–Julian oscillation (MJO) index is developed from a combined empirical orthogonal function (EOF) analysis of meridionally averaged 200-hPa velocity potential (VP200), 200-hPa zonal wind (U200), and 850-hPa zonal wind (U850). Like the Wheeler–Hendon Real-time Multivariate MJO (RMM) index, which was developed in the same way except using outgoing longwave radiation (OLR) data instead of VP200, daily data are projected onto the leading pair of EOFs to produce the two-component index. This new index is called the velocity potential MJO (VPM) indices and its properties are quantitatively compared to RMM. Compared to the RMM index, the VPM index detects larger-amplitude MJO-associated signals during boreal summer. This includes a slightly stronger and more coherent modulation of Atlantic tropical cyclones. This result is attributed to the fact that velocity potential preferentially emphasizes the planetary-scale aspects of the divergent circulation, thereby spreading the convectively driven component of the MJO’s signal across the entire globe. VP200 thus deemphasizes the convective signal of the MJO over the Indian Ocean warm pool, where the OLR variability associated with the MJO is concentrated, and enhances the signal over the relatively drier longitudes of the equatorial Pacific and Atlantic. This work provides a useful framework for systematic analysis of the strengths and weaknesses of different MJO indices.

Full access
George N. Kiladis
,
Juliana Dias
,
Katherine H. Straub
,
Matthew C. Wheeler
,
Stefan N. Tulich
,
Kazuyoshi Kikuchi
,
Klaus M. Weickmann
, and
Michael J. Ventrice
Free access
Sally L. Lavender
,
Tim Cowan
,
Matthew Hawcroft
,
Matthew C. Wheeler
,
Chelsea Jarvis
,
David Cobon
,
Hanh Nguyen
,
Debra Hudson
,
S. Sharmila
,
Andrew G. Marshall
,
Catherine de Burgh-Day
,
Sean Milton
,
Alison Stirling
,
Oscar Alves
, and
Harry H. Hendon

Abstract

Since 2017, the Northern Australia Climate Program (NACP) has assisted the pastoral grazing industry to better manage drought risk and climate variability. The NACP funding is sourced from the beef cattle industry, government, and academia, representing the program’s broad range of aims and target beneficiaries. The program funds scientists in the United Kingdom and Australia, in addition to extension advisers called “Climate Mates” across a region that supports 15 million head of cattle. Many Climate Mates are employed in the cattle sector and have existing relationships in their communities and capacity to meaningfully engage with the program’s intended beneficiaries—red meat producers. The NACP is a prime example of a successful end-to-end program, integrating climate model improvements (research) with tailored forecast products (development), through to direct stakeholder engagement (extension), on-ground application of technologies (adoption), and improvement in industry and community resilience (impact). The climate information needs of stakeholders also feed back to the research and development components, ensuring the scientific research directly addresses end-user requirements. For any scientific research program, ensuring that research output has measurable real-world impact represents a key challenge. This is more difficult in cases where the scientific research is several steps away from the customer’s needs. This paper gives an overview of the NACP and research highlights, discussing how the end-to-end framework could be adapted and applied in other regions and industries. It seeks to provide a roadmap for other groups to follow to produce more targeted research with identifiable real-world benefits.

Free access
Michelle L. L’Heureux
,
Michael K. Tippett
,
Matthew C. Wheeler
,
Hanh Nguyen
,
Sugata Narsey
,
Nathaniel Johnson
,
Zeng-Zhen Hu
,
Andrew B. Watkins
,
Chris Lucas
,
Catherine Ganter
,
Emily Becker
,
Wanqiu Wang
, and
Tom Di Liberto

Abstract

El Niño–Southern Oscillation (ENSO) is often characterized through the use of sea surface temperature (SST) departures from their climatological values, as in the Niño-3.4 index. However, this approach is problematic in a changing climate when the climatology itself is varying. To address this issue, van Oldenborgh et al. proposed a relative Niño-3.4 SST index, which subtracts the tropical mean SST anomaly from the Niño-3.4 index and multiplies by a scaling factor. We extend their work by providing a simplified calculation procedure for the scaling factor, and confirm that the relative index demonstrates reduced sensitivity to climate change and multidecadal variability. In particular, we show in three observational SST datasets that the relative index provides a more consistent classification of historical El Niño and La Niña oceanic conditions that is more robust across climatological periods compared to the nonrelative index. Forecast skill of the relative Niño-3.4 index in the North American Multimodel Ensemble (NMME) and ACCESS-S2 is slightly reduced for targets during the first half of the year because subtracting the tropical mean removes a source of additional skill. For targets in the second half of the year, the relative and nonrelative indices are equally skillful. Observed ENSO teleconnections in 200-hPa geopotential height and precipitation during key seasons are sharper and explain more variability over Australia and the contiguous United States when computed with the relative index. Overall, the relative Niño-3.4 index provides a more robust option for real-time monitoring and forecasting ENSO in a changing climate.

Significance Statement

The goal of this study is to further explore a relative sea surface temperature index for monitoring and prediction of El Niño–Southern Oscillation. Sea surface temperature indices are typically computed as a difference from a 30-yr climatological average, and El Niño and La Niña events occur when values exceed a certain threshold. This method is suitable when the climate is stationary. However, because of climate change and other lower-frequency variations, historical El Niño and La Niña events are reclassified depending on which climatological period is selected. A relative index is investigated to ameliorate this problem.

Restricted access
Jia-Lin Lin
,
George N. Kiladis
,
Brian E. Mapes
,
Klaus M. Weickmann
,
Kenneth R. Sperber
,
Wuyin Lin
,
Matthew C. Wheeler
,
Siegfried D. Schubert
,
Anthony Del Genio
,
Leo J. Donner
,
Seita Emori
,
Jean-Francois Gueremy
,
Frederic Hourdin
,
Philip J. Rasch
,
Erich Roeckner
, and
John F. Scinocca

Abstract

This study evaluates the tropical intraseasonal variability, especially the fidelity of Madden–Julian oscillation (MJO) simulations, in 14 coupled general circulation models (GCMs) participating in the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) Fourth Assessment Report (AR4). Eight years of daily precipitation from each model’s twentieth-century climate simulation are analyzed and compared with daily satellite-retrieved precipitation. Space–time spectral analysis is used to obtain the variance and phase speed of dominant convectively coupled equatorial waves, including the MJO, Kelvin, equatorial Rossby (ER), mixed Rossby–gravity (MRG), and eastward inertio–gravity (EIG) and westward inertio–gravity (WIG) waves. The variance and propagation of the MJO, defined as the eastward wavenumbers 1–6, 30–70-day mode, are examined in detail.

The results show that current state-of-the-art GCMs still have significant problems and display a wide range of skill in simulating the tropical intraseasonal variability. The total intraseasonal (2–128 day) variance of precipitation is too weak in most of the models. About half of the models have signals of convectively coupled equatorial waves, with Kelvin and MRG–EIG waves especially prominent. However, the variances are generally too weak for all wave modes except the EIG wave, and the phase speeds are generally too fast, being scaled to excessively deep equivalent depths. An interesting result is that this scaling is consistent within a given model across modes, in that both the symmetric and antisymmetric modes scale similarly to a certain equivalent depth. Excessively deep equivalent depths suggest that these models may not have a large enough reduction in their “effective static stability” by diabatic heating.

The MJO variance approaches the observed value in only 2 of the 14 models, but is less than half of the observed value in the other 12 models. The ratio between the eastward MJO variance and the variance of its westward counterpart is too small in most of the models, which is consistent with the lack of highly coherent eastward propagation of the MJO in many models. Moreover, the MJO variance in 13 of the 14 models does not come from a pronounced spectral peak, but usually comes from part of an overreddened spectrum, which in turn is associated with too strong persistence of equatorial precipitation. The two models that arguably do best at simulating the MJO are the only ones having convective closures/triggers linked in some way to moisture convergence.

Full access
Taneil Uttal
,
Judith A. Curry
,
Miles G. McPhee
,
Donald K. Perovich
,
Richard E. Moritz
,
James A. Maslanik
,
Peter S. Guest
,
Harry L. Stern
,
James A. Moore
,
Rene Turenne
,
Andreas Heiberg
,
Mark. C. Serreze
,
Donald P. Wylie
,
Ola G. Persson
,
Clayton A. Paulson
,
Christopher Halle
,
James H. Morison
,
Patricia A. Wheeler
,
Alexander Makshtas
,
Harold Welch
,
Matthew D. Shupe
,
Janet M. Intrieri
,
Knut Stamnes
,
Ronald W. Lindsey
,
Robert Pinkel
,
W. Scott Pegau
,
Timothy P. Stanton
, and
Thomas C. Grenfeld

A summary is presented of the Surface Heat Budget of the Arctic Ocean (SHEBA) project, with a focus on the field experiment that was conducted from October 1997 to October 1998. The primary objective of the field work was to collect ocean, ice, and atmospheric datasets over a full annual cycle that could be used to understand the processes controlling surface heat exchanges—in particular, the ice–albedo feedback and cloud–radiation feedback. This information is being used to improve formulations of arctic ice–ocean–atmosphere processes in climate models and thereby improve simulations of present and future arctic climate. The experiment was deployed from an ice breaker that was frozen into the ice pack and allowed to drift for the duration of the experiment. This research platform allowed the use of an extensive suite of instruments that directly measured ocean, atmosphere, and ice properties from both the ship and the ice pack in the immediate vicinity of the ship. This summary describes the project goals, experimental design, instrumentation, and the resulting datasets. Examples of various data products available from the SHEBA project are presented.

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