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William R. Boos
,
Alexey Fedorov
, and
Les Muir

Abstract

The behavior of rotating and nonrotating aggregated convection is examined at various horizontal resolutions using the hypohydrostatic, or reduced acceleration in the vertical (RAVE), rescaling. This modification of the equations of motion reduces the scale separation between convective- and larger-scale motions, enabling the simultaneous and explicit representation of both types of flow in a single model without convective parameterization. Without the RAVE rescaling, a dry bias develops when simulations of nonrotating radiative–convective equilibrium are integrated at coarse resolution in domains large enough to permit convective self-aggregation. The rescaling reduces this dry bias, and here it is suggested that the rescaling moistens the troposphere by weakening the amplitude and slowing the group velocity of gravity waves, thus reducing the subsidence drying around aggregated convection. Separate simulations of rotating radiative–convective equilibrium exhibit tropical cyclogenesis; as horizontal resolution is coarsened without the rescaling, the resulting storms intensify more slowly and achieve lower peak intensities. At a given horizontal resolution, using RAVE increases peak storm intensity and reduces the time needed for tropical cyclogenesis—effects here suggested to be caused at least in part by the environmental moistening produced by RAVE. Consequently, the RAVE rescaling has the potential to improve simulations of tropical cyclones and other aggregated convection in models with horizontal resolutions of order 10–100 km.

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Yu Liang
,
Alexey V. Fedorov
,
Vladimir Zeitlin
, and
Patrick Haertel

Abstract

We study the adjustment of the tropical atmosphere to localized surface heating using a Lagrangian atmospheric model (LAM) that simulates a realistic Madden–Julian oscillation (MJO)—the dominant, eastward-propagating mode of tropical intraseasonal variability modulating atmospheric convection. Idealized warm sea surface temperature (SST) anomalies of different aspect ratios and magnitudes are imposed in the equatorial Indian Ocean during MJO-neutral conditions and then maintained for 15 days. The experiments then continue for several more months. Throughout these experiments, we observe a robust generation of an MJO event, evident in precipitation, velocity, temperature, and moisture fields, which becomes a key element of atmospheric adjustment along with the expected Kelvin and Rossby waves. The MJO circulation pattern gradually builds up during the first week, and then starts to propagate eastward at a speed of 5–7 m s−1. The upper-level quadrupole circulation characteristic of the MJO becomes evident around day 14, with two anticyclonic gyres generated by the Gill-type response to convective heating and two cyclonic gyres forced by the excited Kelvin waves and extratropical Rossby wave trains. A moisture budget analysis shows that the eastward propagation of the MJO is controlled largely by the anomalous advection of moisture and by the residual between anomalous moisture accumulation due to converging winds and precipitation. The initial MJO event is followed by successive secondary events, maintaining the MJO for several more cycles. Thus, this study highlights the fundamental role that the MJO can play in the adjustment of the moist equatorial atmosphere to localized surface heating.

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