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Sunil Kumar Pariyar
,
Noel Keenlyside
,
Bhuwan Chandra Bhatt
, and
Nour-Eddine Omrani

Abstract

The space–time structure of intraseasonal (10–90 day) rainfall variability in the western tropical Pacific is studied using daily 3B42 TRMM and ERA-Interim reanalysis data for the period 1998–2014. Empirical orthogonal function (EOF) analysis of 10–90-day filtered daily rainfall anomalies identifies two leading modes in both May–October and November–April; together these modes explain about 11%–12% of the total intraseasonal variance over the domain in both seasons and up to 60% over large areas of the western Pacific in both climatological periods. The two leading modes in May–October are linearly related to each other and both are well correlated with the Madden–Julian oscillation (MJO) indices. Although the two leading EOF modes in November–April are linearly independent of each other, both show statistically significant correlations with the MJO. The phase composites of 30–80-day filtered data show that the two leading modes are associated with strong eastward and northward propagation of rainfall anomalies in May–October, and eastward and southward propagation of rainfall anomalies in November–April. The eastward propagation of rainfall anomalies in both seasons and southeastward propagation related with EOF2 in November–April is linked to the development of low-level moisture flux convergence ahead of the active convection. Similarly, the northward propagation in May–October is also connected with low-level moisture flux convergence, but surface wind and evaporation variations are also important. The wind–evaporation–SST feedback mechanism drives the southeastward propagation of rainfall anomalies associated with EOF1 in November–April. The different mechanisms for southeastward propagation associated with two leading modes in November–April suggest dynamically different relations with the MJO.

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Rong-Hua Zhang
,
Stephen E. Zebiak
,
Richard Kleeman
, and
Noel Keenlyside

Abstract

A new intermediate coupled model (ICM) is presented and employed to make retrospective predictions of tropical Pacific sea surface temperature (SST) anomalies. The ocean dynamics is an extension of the McCreary baroclinic modal model to include varying stratification and certain nonlinear effects. A standard configuration is chosen with 10 baroclinic modes plus two surface layers, which are governed by Ekman dynamics and simulate the combined effects of the higher baroclinic modes from 11 to 30. A nonlinear correction associated with vertical advection of zonal momentum is incorporated and applied (diagnostically) only within the two surface layers, forced by the linear part through nonlinear advection terms. As a result of these improvements, the model realistically simulates the mean equatorial circulation and its variability. The ocean thermodynamics include an SST anomaly model with an empirical parameterization for the temperature of subsurface water entrained into the mixed layer (Te ), which is optimally calculated in terms of sea surface height (SSH) anomalies using an empirical orthogonal function (EOF) analysis technique from historical data. The ocean model is then coupled to a statistical atmospheric model that estimates wind stress (τ) anomalies based on a singular value decomposition (SVD) analysis between SST anomalies observed and τ anomalies simulated from ECHAM4.5 (24-member ensemble mean). The coupled system exhibits realistic interannual variability associated with El Niño, including a predominant standing pattern of SST anomalies along the equator and coherent phase relationships among different atmosphere–ocean anomaly fields with a dominant 3-yr oscillation period.

Twelve-month hindcasts/forecasts are made during the period 1963–2002, starting each month. Only observed SST anomalies are used to initialize the coupled predictions. As compared to other prediction systems, this coupled model has relatively small systematic errors in the predicted SST anomalies, and its SST prediction skill is apparently competitive with that of most advanced coupled systems incorporating sophisticated ocean data assimilation. One striking feature is that the model skill surpasses that of persistence at all lead times over the central equatorial Pacific. Prediction skill is strongly dependent on the season, with the correlations attaining a minimum in spring and a maximum in fall. Cross-validation experiments are performed to examine the sensitivity of the prediction skill to the data periods selected for training the empirical Te model. It is demonstrated that the artificial skill introduced by using a dependently constructed Te model is not significant. Independent forecasts are made for the period 1997–2002 when no dependent data are included in constructing the two empirical models (Te and τ). The coupled model has reasonable success in predicting transition to warm phase and to cold phase in the spring of 1997 and 1998, respectively. Potential problems and further improvements are discussed with the new intermediate prediction system.

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Shunya Koseki
,
Benjamin Pohl
,
Bhuwan Chandra Bhatt
,
Noel Keenlyside
, and
Arielle Stela Nkwinkwa Njouodo

Abstract

Adopting a state-of-the-art numerical model system, we investigate how the diurnal variations in precipitation and local breeze systems are characterized by lower-boundary conditions related to the Drakensberg highland and warm SST associated with the Agulhas Current. A control simulation can simulate the hydrometeorological climates in the region realistically, but the terrestrial rainfall is overestimated. During daytime, the precipitation is confined to the Drakensberg highland, and there is an onshore local breeze, while during midnight to morning, the rainfall is confined to the Agulhas Current, and the breeze is offshore. These variations are captured by the numerical simulation, although the timing of maximum rainfall is early over the land and delayed over the ocean. The sensitivity experiment in which the Drakensberg is absent shows a drastic modification in the diurnal variations over land and ocean. The terrestrial precipitation is largely decreased around the Drakensberg and is largest along the coast during daytime. The nocturnal marine precipitation along the Agulhas Current is also reduced. Although the daily residual breeze is still pronounced even without the Drakensberg, wind speed is weakened. We attribute this to the reduction of precipitation. In another sensitivity experiment with smoothened warm SST due to the Agulhas Current, the amplitudes of diurnal variations are not modified remarkably, but the coastal rainfall is diminished to some extent due to less evaporation along the Agulhas Current. This study concludes that the Drakensberg plays a crucial role for the diurnal cycle, and the impact of the Agulhas Current is limited on the diurnal cycle of the coastal precipitation in this region.

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