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Johnny Wei-Bing Lin
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Johnny Wei-Bing Lin and J. David Neelin

Abstract

Convective parameterizations in general circulation models (GCMs) generally only aim to simulate the mean or first-order moment of convection; higher moments associated with subgrid variability are not explicitly considered. In this study, an empirically based stochastic convective parameterization is developed that uses an assumed mixed lognormal distribution of rainfall, tuned with parameter values derived from observations, to control selected nonmean statistical properties of convection. Testing of this stochastic convective parameterization reveals that large-scale model dynamics interacts heavily with the convective parameterization, in ways such that the resulting output is fundamentally different from the input. This suggests stochastic parameterizations cannot be calibrated outside of a model's dynamical framework. Implications are discussed for the relative merits of the empirical approach versus another approach that introduces the stochastic process within the framework of the convective parameterization. Inclusion of the variance arising from unresolved scales by stochastic parameterization of convection is found to have a substantial impact upon atmospheric variability in the Tropics, including intraseasonal and longer timescales.

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Johnny Wei-Bing Lin, J. David Neelin, and Ning Zeng

Abstract

An intraseasonal tropical oscillation with a period of 20–80 days is simulated in the Neelin–Zeng Quasi-Equilibrium Tropical Circulation Model. This model is an intermediate-level atmospheric model that includes primitive equation nonlinearity, radiative– convective feedbacks, a simple land model with soil moisture, and a Betts–Miller-type moist convective adjustment parameterization. Vertical temperature and moisture structures in the model are based on quasi-equilibrium profiles taken from deep convective regions. The tropical intraseasonal variability is reasonably broadband. The eastward propagating 20–80-day variability is dominated by zonal wavenumber 1, shows features similar to an irregular Madden–Julian oscillation (MJO), and exhibits amplitude and phase speeds that vary both seasonally and between events. At higher wavenumbers, the model has a distinction between the low-frequency MJO-like band and the moist Kelvin wave band, similar to that found in observations. In the model, it is conjectured that this arises by interaction of the wavenumber-1 moist Kelvin wave with the zonally asymmetric basic state.

Experiments using climatological sea surface temperature forcing are conducted using this model to examine the effects of evaporation–wind feedback and extratropical excitation on the maintenance of intraseasonal variability, with particular attention paid to the low wavenumber mode in the 20–80-day band. These experiments indicate that evaporation–wind feedback partially organizes this intraseasonal variability by reducing damping, but it is not by itself sufficient to sustain this oscillation for the most realistic parameters. Excitation by extratropical variability is a major source of energy for the intraseasonal variability in this model. When midlatitude storms are suppressed, tropical intraseasonal variability is nearly eliminated. However, the eastward propagating intraseasonal signal appears most clearly when midlatitude excitation is aided by the evaporation–wind feedback.

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