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Wan-Ling Tseng, Huang-Hsiung Hsu, Noel Keenlyside, Chiung-Wen June Chang, Ben-Jei Tsuang, Chia-Ying Tu, and Li-Chiang Jiang

Abstract

This study uses the atmospheric general circulation model (AGCM) ECHAM5 coupled with the newly developed Snow–Ice–Thermocline model (ECHAM5-SIT) to examine the effects of orography and land–sea contrast on the Madden–Julian oscillation (MJO) in the Maritime Continent (MC) during boreal winter. The ECHAM5-SIT is one of the few AGCMs that realistically simulate the major characteristics of the MJO. Three experiments are conducted with realistic topography, without orography, and with oceans only in the MC region to evaluate the relative effects of orography and land–sea contrast. Orography and land–sea contrast have the following effects on the MJO in the MC: 1) a larger amplitude, 2) a smaller zonal scale, 3) more realistic periodicity and stronger eastward-propagating signals, 4) a stronger southward detour during the eastward propagation, 5) a distorted coupled Kelvin–Rossby wave structure, and 6) larger low-level moisture convergence. The existence of mountainous islands also enhances the mean westerly in the eastern Indian Ocean and the western MC, as well as the moisture content over the MC. This enhancement of mean states contributes to the stronger eastward-propagating MJO. The findings herein suggest that theoretical and empirical studies, which are largely derived from an aquaplanet framework, have likely provided an oversimplified view of the MJO. The effects of mountainous islands should be considered for better understanding and more accurate forecast of the MJO.

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