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Andrew King
Claire Vincent
Alain Protat
David Karoly
, and
Shuichi Mori


Research on the interaction between the Madden–Julian oscillation (MJO) and rainfall around Jakarta is limited, although the influence of the MJO on increased rainfall is acknowledged as one of the primary causes of flooding in the region. This paper investigates the local rainfall response around Jakarta to the MJO. We used C-band Doppler radar in October–April during 2009–12 to study rain-rate characteristics at much higher resolution than previous analyses. Results show that the MJO strongly modulates rain rates over the region; however, its effect varies depending on topography. During active phases, MJO induces a high rain rate over the ocean and coast, meanwhile during suppressed phases, it generates a high rain rate mainly over the mountains. In phase 2 of the MJO we find the strongest increase in mean and extreme rain rate, which is earlier in the MJO cycle than most studies reported, based on lower-resolution data. This higher rain rate is likely due to increases in convective and stratiform activities. The MJO promotes more stratiform rain once it resides over Indonesia. In phase 5, over the northwestern coast and western part of the radar domain, the MJO might bring forward the peak of the hourly rain rate that occurs in the early morning. This is likely due to a strong westerly flow arising from MJO superimposed westerly monsoonal flow, blocked by the mountains, inducing a strong wind propagating offshore resulting in convection near the coast in the morning. Our study demonstrates the benefits of using high-resolution radar for capturing local responses to the larger-scale forcing of the MJO in Indonesia.

Significance Statement

Rainfall in Jakarta and its surroundings is highly variable and often heavy resulting in devastating floods. In this region, in the wet season, rainfall is influenced by large-scale climate variability including the Madden–Julian oscillation (MJO) characterized by eastward propagation of clouds near the equatorial regions on intraseasonal time scales. The MJO has been known to increase the probability of rainfall occurrence and its magnitude, but we show that the impact differs in varying topography. The frequency and intensity of rainfall increase over land areas including mountains even when MJO has not arrived in Indonesia. Meanwhile, once MJO moves through Indonesia, the frequency and magnitude of the rainfall increases over the northern coast and ocean as well as in the west of the radar domain.

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