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Meng-Pai Hung, Jia-Lin Lin, Wanqiu Wang, Daehyun Kim, Toshiaki Shinoda, and Scott J. Weaver


This study evaluates the simulation of the Madden–Julian oscillation (MJO) and convectively coupled equatorial waves (CCEWs) in 20 models from the Coupled Model Intercomparison Project (CMIP) phase 5 (CMIP5) in the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) Fifth Assessment Report (AR5) and compares the results with the simulation of CMIP phase 3 (CMIP3) models in the IPCC Fourth Assessment Report (AR4). The results show that the CMIP5 models exhibit an overall improvement over the CMIP3 models in the simulation of tropical intraseasonal variability, especially the MJO and several CCEWs. The CMIP5 models generally produce larger total intraseasonal (2–128 day) variance of precipitation than the CMIP3 models, as well as larger variances of Kelvin, equatorial Rossby (ER), and eastward inertio-gravity (EIG) waves. Nearly all models have signals of the CCEWs, with Kelvin and mixed Rossby–gravity (MRG) and EIG waves being especially prominent. The phase speeds, as scaled to equivalent depths, are close to the observed value in 10 of the 20 models, suggesting that these models produce sufficient reduction in their effective static stability by diabatic heating. The CMIP5 models generally produce larger MJO variance than the CMIP3 models, as well as a more realistic ratio between the variance of the eastward MJO and that of its westward counterpart. About one-third of the CMIP5 models generate the spectral peak of MJO precipitation between 30 and 70 days; however, the model MJO period tends to be longer than observations as part of an overreddened spectrum, which in turn is associated with too strong persistence of equatorial precipitation. Only one of the 20 models is able to simulate a realistic eastward propagation of the MJO.

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