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Bin Wang and Hualan Rui


A simple theoretical analysis on the stability of a resting tropical atmosphere to semigeostrophic perturbations is given using a free atmosphere–boundary layer coupled model on an equatorial β-plane.

An unstable mode emerges when sea surface temperature is higher than a critical value. The growing mode is a moist Kelvin wave modified through coupling with a Rossby wave of the lowest meridional index. The modified Rossby modes, however, remain damped even for high SST. The unstable mode selection can be explained in terms of wave energy generation due to the latent heating induced by frictional moisture convergence.

The horizontal mode-coupling has profound impacts on wave instability. It favors the amplification of long planetary-scale waves, slows down eastward propagation, and suppresses unrealistically fast growth of the uncoupled moist Kelvin mode by creating substantial meridional flows. These effects make the coupled unstable mode more resemble observed equatorial intraseasonal disturbances.

The results also demonstrate that when maximum SST moves from the equator to 7.5°N, the growth rate of the unstable wave is significantly reduced, suggesting that the annual march of the “thermal equator” and associated convective heating is likely responsible for annual variations of the equatorial 40–50 day wave activity.

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Hualan Rui and Bin Wang


The development and dynamical structure of intraseasonal low-frequency convection anomalies in the equatorial region are investigated using 10 years (1975–85) of outgoing longwave radiation (OLR) and 7 years (1979–85) of 200 and 850 mb wind data.

The composite OLR anomalies for 36 cases show a four-stage development process: initiation over equatorial Africa, rapid intensification when passing through the Indian Ocean, mature evolution characterized by a weakening in the maritime continent and redevelopment over the western Pacific, and dissipation near the date line in moderate events or emanation from the equator toward North America and southeastern Pacific in strong events.

A noticeable feature in vertical structure is that the 850 mb convergence leads convection and midtropospheric upward motion by about 30 degrees longitude in both developing and mature phases. Equatorial upper- (lower-) level easterly (westerly) anomalies and associated twin anomalous anticyclonic (cyclonic) circulation anomalies couple with equatorial convection anomalies. The wind anomalies, however, generally lag convection anomalies in development and early mature phases, but nearly overlap in late mature phase and slightly lead the convection anomalies in dissipation phase. The upper-level twin cyclonic cells associated with the westerly anomalies in front of the convection travel across eastern Pacific after the convection ceases in the central Pacific, while the low-level wind anomalies die out east of the date line.

The implications of the findings in relation to theoretical hypotheses on low-frequency motion are discussed.

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Xiaomin Xia, Jianjun Wang, Jiabin Ji, Jiexia Zhang, Liqi Chen, and Rui Zhang


Although bacteria are an important biological component of aerosol particles, studies of bacterial communities in remote marine aerosol are largely lacking. In this study, aerosol samples were collected over the western Pacific Ocean, the northern Pacific Ocean, the Arctic Ocean, and the Norwegian Sea during the Fifth Chinese National Arctic Research Expedition (CHINARE 5). The diversity and structure of aerosol bacterial communities, based on 454 pyrosequencing, were explored in these samples. The bacterial community in the aerosols collected over the Pacific Ocean was more diverse than over the Norwegian Sea. Both temporal and spatial variations in aerosol bacterial communities were observed based on phylogenetic analysis. These results suggest that the source of air masses shape bacterial communities in aerosol particles over remote marine regions. Aerosols are clearly important for long-range transport of bacteria. Since potential human pathogens (e.g., Streptococcus sp.) were retrieved in this study, further investigation is needed to evaluate the potential for their long-distance migration via aerosol.

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