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Fei Liu and Bin Wang

Abstract

The Madden–Julian oscillation (MJO) is a multiscale system. A skeleton model, developed by Majda and Stechmann, can capture some of planetary-scale aspects of observed features such as slow eastward propagation, nondispersive behavior, and quadrupole-vortex structure. However, the Majda–Stechmann model cannot explain the source of instability and the preferred planetary scale of the MJO. Since the MJO major convection region is leaded by its planetary boundary layer (PBL) moisture convergence, here a frictional skeleton model is built by implementing a slab PBL into the neutral skeleton model. As a skeleton model allowing the scale interaction, this model is only valid for large-scale waves. This study shows that the PBL frictional convergence provides a strong instability source for the long eastward modes, although it also destabilizes very short westward modes. For the long waves (wavenumber less than 5), the PBL Ekman pumping moistens the low troposphere to the east of the MJO convective envelope, and sets up favorable moist conditions to destabilize the MJO and favor only eastward modes. Sensitivity experiments show that a weak PBL friction will enhance the instability slightly. The sea surface temperature (SST) with a maximum at the equator also prefers the long eastward modes. These theoretical analysis results encourage further observations on the PBL regulation of mesosynoptic-scale motions, and exploration of the interaction between PBL and multiscale motions, associated with the MJO to improve the MJO simulation in general circulation models (GCMs).

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Xiouhua Fu and Bin Wang

Abstract

A series of small-perturbation experiments has been conducted to demonstrate that an atmosphere–ocean coupled model and an atmosphere-only model produce significantly different intensities of boreal summer intraseasonal oscillation (BSISO) and phase relationships between convection and underlying SST associated with BSISO. The coupled model not only simulates a stronger BSISO than the atmosphere-only model, but also generates a realistic phase relationship between intraseasonal convection and underlying SST. In the coupled model, positive (negative) SST fluctuations are highly correlated with more (less) precipitation with a time lead of 10 days as in the observations, suggesting that intraseasonal SST is a result of atmospheric convection, but at the same time, positively feeds back to increase the intensity of the convection. In the atmosphere-only model, however, SST is only a boundary forcing for the atmosphere. The intraseasonal convection in the atmosphere-only model is actually less correlated with underlying SST. The maximum correlation between convection and SST occurs when they are in phase with each other, which is in contrast to the observations. These results indicate that an atmosphere–ocean coupled model produces a more realistic ISO compared to an atmosphere-only model.

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Tianming Li and Bin Wang

Abstract

Diagnosis of the dynamic and thermodynamic balances using observed climatological monthly mean data reveals that 1) anisotropic, latitude-dependent Rayleigh friction coefficients lead to much improved modeling of the monthly mean surface wind field for a given monthly mean sea level pressure field, and 2) the annual variation of the vertically averaged lapse rate is important for modeling sea level pressure.

Based on the aforementioned observations, a thermodynamic equilibrium climate model for the tropical Pacific is proposed. In this model, the sea level pressure is thermodynamically determined from sea surface temperature (SST) through a vertically integrated hydrostatic equation in which the vertical mean lapse rate is a function of SST plus a time-independent correction. The surface winds are then computed from sea level pressure gradients through a linear surface momentum balance with anisotropic, latitude-dependent Rayleigh friction coefficients. The precipitation is finally obtained from a moisture budget by taking into account the effects of SST on convective instability.

Despite its simplicity, the model is capable of simulating realistic annual cycles as well as interannual variations of the surface wind, sea level pressure, and precipitation over the tropical Pacific. The success of the model suggests that the tropical atmosphere on a monthly mean time scale is, to the lowest-order approximation, in a thermodynamic equilibrium state in which sea level pressure is primarily controlled by SST and the effects of dynamic feedback on sea level pressure may be parameterized by an empirical SST-lapse rate relationship. Further studies are needed to establish a firm physical basis for the proposed parameterization.

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Gary Grunseich and Bin Wang

Abstract

The fluctuation of Arctic sea ice concentration (SIC) has been associated with changes in ocean circulation, ecology, and Northern Hemisphere climate. Prediction of sea ice melting patterns is of great societal interest, but such prediction remains difficult because the factors controlling year-to-year sea ice variability remain unresolved. Distinct monsoon–Arctic teleconnections modulate summer Arctic SIC largely by changing wind-forced sea ice transport. East Asian monsoon rainfall produces a northward-propagating meridional Rossby wave train extending into the Siberian Arctic. The Indian summer monsoon excites an eastward-propagating circumglobal teleconnection along the subtropical jet, reaching the North Atlantic before bifurcating into the Arctic. The remote Asian monsoon variations induce a dominant dipole sea ice melt pattern in which the North Atlantic–European Arctic contrasts with the Siberian–North American Arctic. The monsoon-related sea ice variations are complementary and comparable in magnitude to locally forced Arctic Oscillation variability. The monsoon–Arctic link will improve seasonal prediction of summer Arctic sea ice and possibly explain long-term sea ice trends associated with the projected increase in Asian monsoon rainfall over the next century.

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Jing Yang, Bin Wang, Bin Wang, and Qing Bao

Abstract

The lower reach of the Yangtze River basin (LYRB) is located at the central region of the mei-yu and baiu front, which represents the subtropical East Asian (EA) summer monsoon. Based on the newly released daily rainfall data, two dominant intraseasonal variation (ISV) modes are identified over the LYRB during boreal summer (May–August), with spectral peaks occurring on day 15 (the biweekly mode) and day 24 (the 21–30-day mode). These two modes have comparable intensities, and together they account for above about 57% of the total intraseasonal variance. Both ISV modes exhibit baroclinic structures over the LYRB at their extreme phases.

However, the genesis and evolutions associated with the two modes are different. Considering the genesis of their extreme wet phases over the LYRB, the biweekly mode is initiated by a midlatitude jet stream vorticity anomaly moving southeastward, while the 21–30-day mode is primarily associated with a low-level westward propagation of an anticyclonic anomaly from 145° to 120°E, which reflects the westward extension of the western North Pacific subtropical high (WNPSH). The development of the biweekly mode at LYRB is enhanced by the northwestward movement of a low-level anticyclonic anomaly from the Philippine Sea to the south of Taiwan, which is a result of the enhancement of the WNPSH resulting from its merger with a transient midlatitude high. In contrast, the development of the 21–30-day mode is enhanced by an upper-level trough anomaly moving from Lake Baikal to far east Russia. These two ISV periodicities are also found to be embedded in their corresponding source regions.

The new knowledge on the sources and evolutions of the two major LYRB ISV modes provides empirical predictors for the intraseasonal variation in the subtropical EA summer monsoon.

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Bin Wang, Jing Yang, Tianjun Zhou, and Bin Wang

Abstract

The present paper develops an integral view of the year-to-year variability across the entire Asian–Australian monsoon (A–AM) system, which covers one-third of the global tropics between 40° and 160°E. Using season-reliant empirical orthogonal function (S-EOF) analysis, the authors identified two major modes of variability for the period 1956–2004. The first exhibits a prominent biennial tendency and concurs with the turnabout of El Niño–Southern Oscillation (ENSO), providing a new perspective of the seasonally evolving spatiotemporal structure for tropospheric biennial oscillation. The second mode leads ENSO by one year. The remote El Niño forcing, the monsoon–warm pool ocean interaction, and the influence of the annual cycle are three fundamental factors for understanding the behavior of the first mode. The monsoon–ocean interaction is characterized by a positive feedback between the off-equatorial convectively coupled Rossby waves and the underlying sea surface temperature (SST) “dipole” anomalies.

Since the late 1970s the overall coupling between the A–AM system and ENSO has become strengthened. The relationships between ENSO and the western North Pacific, East Asian, and Indonesian monsoons have all become enhanced during ENSO’s developing, mature, and decaying phases, overriding the weakening of the Indian monsoon–ENSO anticorrelation during the developing phase. Prior to the late 1970s (1956–79), the first mode shows a strong biennial tendency, and the second mode does not lead ENSO. After 1980, the first mode shows a weakening biennial tendency, and the second mode provides a strong precursory signal for ENSO. These interdecadal changes are attributed to increased magnitude and periodicity of ENSO and the strengthened monsoon–ocean interaction.

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Soon-Il An and Bin Wang

Abstract

Conditional maximum covariance analysis is applied to investigate the coherent patterns between the tropical and North Pacific SST and the North Pacific 500-hPa geopotential height anomalies. Two leading modes are identified. One is an intrinsic midlatitude mode, the North Pacific (NP) mode, for which SST anomalies are mainly confined to the extratropical North Pacific. The other is a tropical ocean–atmosphere coupled mode, the ENSO mode, in which an ENSO-like SST pattern dominates the Tropics but extratropical SST anomalies are relatively weak.

The NP and ENSO modes exhibit distinct spatial and temporal characteristics. For the NP mode, atmospheric variation leads to changes in SST, while for the ENSO mode the opposite is true. The NP mode displays a persistence barrier during August–September whereas the ENSO mode has a March–April persistence barrier. The upper-tropospheric jet stream associated with the NP and ENSO mode intensifies, respectively, over the central North Pacific and the subtropical northeastern Pacific; consequently, the transient activities maximize in their corresponding jet exit regions. The expansion coefficients of the 500-hPa geopotential height associated with the two modes appear to be significantly correlated. However, by reducing the high-frequency part (e.g., shorter than the interannual time scale) in expansion coefficients, the correlation becomes insignificant, indicating that the significant correlation results from high-frequency signals that are unrelated to the corresponding SST variation. The results presented here suggest that the intrinsic coupled mode in the midlatitude North Pacific may be distinguished from the forced mode by remote ENSO, especially on the interannual time scale.

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Susan Kemball-Cook and Bin Wang

Abstract

A composite study of the life cycle of the boreal summer intraseasonal oscillation (BSISO) was performed using data from the National Centers for Environmental Prediction–National Center for Atmospheric Research reanalysis and National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration polar-orbiting satellites. Because of pronounced differences in their climatologies, the boreal summer periods May–June (MJ) and August–October (AO) were composited separately. Characteristics of the BSISO life cycle common to MJ and AO were initiation and eastward propagation of the convective anomaly over the Indian Ocean, followed by poleward propagation, with the northward-moving branch having greater amplitude than the southward-moving branch. The transition of convection from the Indian Ocean to the western Pacific occurred next, followed by dissipation of the current cycle and initiation of the subsequent cycle. The MJ and AO life cycles were found to have several significant differences. The MJ shows strong eastward movement of convection along the equator in both the Indian and western Pacific Oceans. Convection in AO has a weaker eastward-propagating signal along the equator and displays a discontinuous jump from the Indian Ocean to the western Pacific. In marked contrast to MJ, AO shows strong northwestward propagation of convection in the western Pacific during the latter half of the BSISO life cycle. The change in the BSISO life cycle from MJ to AO reflects the seasonal shift in the distributions of vertical wind shear and low-level specific humidity from early to late summer. Rossby waves emitted by equatorial convection play a critical role in the BSISO in both the Indian and western Pacific Oceans. These waves are instrumental in the northward propagation of convection in MJ and AO. Both MJ and AO composites suggest that air–sea interactions are present in the BSISO, fostering both eastward and northward propagation of convective anomalies in the Indian Ocean and in the western Pacific. The complexity and pronounced seasonal dependence of the BSISO reflected in the composites suggest that its simulation is a rigorous test for general circulation models.

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Justin D. Ventham and Bin Wang

Abstract

NCEP–NCAR reanalysis data are used to identify large-scale environmental flow patterns around western North Pacific tropical storms with the goal of finding a signal for those most favorable for rapid intensification, based on the hypothesis that aspects of the horizontal flow influence tropical cyclone intensification at an early stage of development. Based on the finding that intensification rate is a strong function of initial intensity (Joint Typhoon Warning Center best track), very rapid, rapid, and slow 24-h intensification periods from a weak tropical storm stage (35 kt) are defined. By using composite analysis and scalar EOF analysis of the zonal wind around these subsets, a form of the lower-level (850 mb) combined monsoon confluence–shearline pattern is found to occur dominantly for the very rapid cases. Based on the strength of the signal, it may provide a new rapid intensification predictor for operational use. At 200 mb the importance of the location of the tropical storm under a region of flow splitting into the midlatitude westerlies to the north and the subequatorial trough to the south is identified as a common criterion for the onset of rapid intensification. Cases in which interactions with upper-level troughs occurred, prior to and during slow and rapid intensification, are studied and strong similarities to prior Atlantic studies are found.

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Soon-Il An and Bin Wang

Abstract

The peaks of El Niño in the Cane–Zebiak (CZ) model tend to appear most frequently around November when the ocean Rossby waves, which were amplified during the previous unstable season (February–May), turn back to the eastern Pacific and when the local instability in the eastern Pacific is very weak. The peaks of La Niña in the CZ model occur most frequently in boreal summer, in contrast to the observed counterpart that usually occurs in boreal winter. Sensitivity experiments indicate that the phase locking of the La Niña to boreal summer is primarily caused by seasonal variations of the tropical convergence zone, which regulate convective heating through atmospheric convergence feedback. The observed thermocline and the wind anomalies in the western Pacific exhibit considerable seasonal variations. These were missed in the original CZ model. In a modified CZ model that includes the seasonal variations of the western Pacific wind anomalies and the basic-state thermocline depth, the peaks of La Niña preferably occur in boreal winter, suggesting that the seasonal variation of the western Pacific surface wind anomalies and the mean thermocline depth are critical factors for the phase locking of the mature La Niña to boreal winter. The mechanisms by which these factors affect ENSO phase locking are also discussed.

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