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Tetsuzo Yasunari

The concept of “monsoon year” is proposed as a unit year of climatic anomalies (i.e., the climatic year) in the tropics. This monsoon year is defined as one year starting just before the northern summer monsoon season. It is also argued that this climatic year in the tropics is physically based upon the characteristic nature of the coupled ocean/land/atmosphere system over the Asian monsoon/Pacific Ocean sector.

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Hiroki Ichikawa and Tetsuzo Yasunari

Abstract

Five years of Tropical Rainfall Measuring Mission (TRMM) Precipitation Radar (PR) data were used to investigate the time and space characteristics of the diurnal cycle of rainfall over and around Borneo, an island in the Maritime Continent. The diurnal cycle shows a systematic modulation that is associated with intraseasonal variability in the large-scale circulation pattern, with regimes associated with low-level easterlies or westerlies over the island. The lower-tropospheric westerly (easterly) components correspond to periods of active (inactive) convection over the island that are associated with the passage of intraseasonal atmospheric disturbances related to the Madden–Julian oscillation. A striking feature is that rainfall activity propagates to the leeward side of the island between midnight and morning. The inferred phase speed of the propagation is about 3 m s−1 in the easterly regime and 7 m s−1 in the westerly regime. Propagation occurs over the entire island, causing a leeward enhancement of rainfall. The vertical structure of the developed convection/rainfall system differs remarkably between the two regimes. In the easterly regime, stratiform rains are widespread over the island at midnight, whereas in the westerly regime, local convective rainfall dominates. Over offshore regions, convective rainfall initially dominates then gradually decreases in both regimes, while the storms develop into deeper convective systems in the easterly regime. Aside from leeward rainfall propagation, shallow storms develop over the South China Sea region during the westerly regime, resulting in heavy precipitation from midnight through morning.

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Hiroki Ichikawa and Tetsuzo Yasunari

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High-resolution Tropical Rainfall Measuring Mission (TRMM) rainfall data for six wet seasons (December–March) were used to investigate the time and space structure of the diurnal cycle of rainfall over and around New Guinea, a major island of the Maritime Continent. The diurnal cycle shows a systematic modulation associated with intraseasonal variability in the large-scale circulation pattern, with regimes associated with low-level easterlies or westerlies over the island. Lower-tropospheric easterly (westerly) wind components correspond to periods of inactive (active) convection over the islands that are associated with the passage of intraseasonal atmospheric disturbances such as the Madden–Julian oscillation (MJO). A striking feature is the diurnal rainfall that develops over the central mountain ranges in the evening and propagates toward the southwest (northeast) of the island with an inferred phase speed of about 2–3 m s−1 under low-level easterly (westerly) flow. In the case of the easterly regime, diurnal rainfall is strongly concentrated over the southwestern part of the island, inhibited from spreading offshore southwest of New Guinea. Under the westerly regime, in contrast, the rainfall area spread far and wide along the low-level westerlies from the island toward the Pacific Ocean. Significant offshore rainfall propagation extending from the island appears during the night over the north-northeastern coast and moves with a phase speed of about 7–8 m s−1, reaching the open ocean the following day. Possible processes for controlling the variability in diurnal rainfall through the interaction between large-scale circulation and previously denoted complex local circulation over the island are discussed.

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Nobuhiko Endo and Tetsuzo Yasunari

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The climatology and long-term trends of low-cloud conditions over China were examined using the Extended Edited Cloud Report Archive data from 1971 to 1996. Linear regression analysis was applied to time series of clear-sky frequencies and low-cloud frequencies, and low-cloud amounts when present. Over the 26-yr study period, the clear-sky frequency increased over northern China. During summer, the frequency of cumuliform clouds decreased over almost all of China. A significant decrease characterized the trend in cumulonimbus (Cb) frequency; however, the Cb cloud amount when present increased over the Yangtze River basin and southern China. Increasing trends in stratocumulus (Sc) cloud amount when present were also observed over much of China.

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Hatsuki Fujinami and Tetsuzo Yasunari

Abstract

Convective variability at submonthly time scales (7–25 days) over the Yangtze and Huaihe River basins (YHRBs) and associated large-scale atmospheric circulation during the mei-yu season were examined using interpolated outgoing longwave radiation (OLR) and NCEP–NCAR reanalysis data for 12 yr having active submonthly convective fluctuation over the YHRBs within the period 1979–2004. Correlations between convection anomalies over the YHRBs and upper-level streamfunction anomalies at every grid point show two contrasting patterns. One pattern exhibits high correlations along the northern to eastern peripheries of the Tibetan Plateau (defined as the NET pattern), whereas the other has high correlations across the Tibetan Plateau (defined as the AT pattern). Composite analysis of the NET pattern shows slow southward migration of convection anomalies from the northeastern periphery of the Tibetan Plateau to southern China, in relation to southward migration of the mei-yu front caused by simultaneous amplification of upper- and low-level waves north of the YHRBs. In the AT pattern, convection anomalies migrate eastward from the western Tibetan Plateau to the YHRBs. A low-level vortex is created at the lee of the plateau by eastward-moving upper-level wave packets and associated convection from the plateau. Rossby wave trains along the Asian jet characterize the upper-level circulation anomalies in the two patterns. The basic state of the Asian jet during the mei-yu season differs between the two patterns, especially around the Tibetan Plateau. The Asian jet has a northward arclike structure in NET years, while a zonal jet dominates in AT years. These differences could alter the Rossby wave train propagation route. Furthermore, the larger zonal wavenumber of AT waves (∼7–8) than of NET waves (∼6) means faster zonal phase speed relative to the ground in the AT pattern than in the NET pattern. These differences likely explain the meridional amplification of waves north of the YHRBs in the NET pattern and the eastward wave movement across the plateau in the AT pattern.

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Chihiro Miyazaki and Tetsuzo Yasunari

Abstract

To clarify the interannual variability of winter surface air temperature (SAT) over Asia and the surrounding oceans, the authors applied principal component analysis to normalized monthly SATs. The first mode represents the Asian north–south dipole pattern with a node over the Tibetan Plateau. This component has close relationships to the Arctic Oscillation and cold surge variability around Southeast Asia, showing decadal oscillation with signal changes in 1988 and 1997. The second mode is the inner-Asian mode with a center to the north of the Tibetan Plateau. This component connects to fluctuations of not only the western Siberian high but also the Icelandic low, which is associated with the pattern of the polar vortex over Eurasia. A recent warming trend and possible relationship to solar activity are also shown. The modes of Asian SAT variability associated with ENSO are extracted as the north–south dipole mode over the tropical western Pacific and Japan (the third mode) and Silk Road mode (the fourth mode). The two independent modes appear to be caused by different sea surface temperature (SST) anomalies over the western Pacific and Indian Ocean and their associated atmospheric Rossby wave responses: the atmospheric wave trains over both the north and south of the Tibetan Plateau in the third mode, and the atmospheric wave train that propagates toward the Silk Road via Greenland in the fourth mode.

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Yoshiki Fukutomi and Tetsuzo Yasunari

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Meridional wind surges from the extratropics into the Tropics strongly regulate tropical convective activity. This paper confirms that extratropical forcing manifested as a meridional surge does modulate the tropical atmosphere over the eastern Indian Ocean, and it describes the tropical–extratropical connection in the region.

Surges in the lower atmosphere on submonthly (6–25 days) time scales over the eastern Indian Ocean were examined in tandem with associated tropical convection and large-scale atmospheric fields during the Southern Hemisphere (SH) winter (June–August). Data used in this study are NCEP-2 reanalyses and daily NOAA/Climate Diagnostics Center (CDC) outgoing longwave radiation (OLR) data for 23 yr, from 1979 to 2001. A low-level surge index was calculated using the 850-hPa meridional wind component (υ) averaged over a region where sub–monthly scale υ variance shows a local maximum (17.5°–2.5°S, 87.5°–97.5°E). The surge index defines 62 different surge events. Composites of various components were generated based on the index to define relationships between surge events and large-scale fields.

Low-level southerly surges over the eastern Indian Ocean originate from midlatitude Rossby waves with strong baroclinic development in the entrance region of a subtropical jet core off Australia’s west coast. Strengthened low-level wind surges cause cross-equatorial flow stretching from the subtropical eastern Indian Ocean to the southern Bay of Bengal. Surges are accompanied by the advection of cold, dry air from midlatitudes into the Tropics. A cold and dry front develops at the leading surge edge during the surge period. Two to four days later, as the surge peaks, negative OLR anomalies develop near the key region. The OLR anomalies indicate a local blow up of convection over the tropical eastern Indian Ocean. Convection reflects increased instability in the surge region, which is caused by low-level dry air advection and near-surface moistening that is forced by enhanced sea surface evaporation associated with the surge. The southerly surge on submonthly time scales is an important bridge linking the Tropics and midlatitudes over the Indian Ocean.

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Hiroshi G. Takahashi and Tetsuzo Yasunari

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This study investigated the climatological pentad mean annual cycle of rainfall in Thailand and the associated atmospheric circulation fields. The data used included two different data of rainfall: rain gauge data for Thailand from the Thai Meteorological Department and satellite-derived rainfall data from the Climate Prediction Center (CPC) Merged Analysis of Precipitation (CMAP).

Climatological mean pentad values of rainfall taken over 50 yr clearly show a distinct climatological monsoon break (CMB) occurring over Thailand in late June. The occurrence of the CMB coincides with a drastic change of large-scale monsoon circulation in the seasonal march. The CMB is a significant singularity in the seasonal march of the Southeast Asia monsoon, which divides the rainy season into the early monsoon and the later monsoon over the Indochina Peninsula.

A quasi-stationary ridge dynamically induced by the north–south-oriented mountain range in Indochina is likely to cause the CMB. The formation of the strong ridge over the mountain ranges of Indochina is preceded by a sudden enhancement (northward expansion) of the upstream monsoon westerlies along a latitudinal band between 15° and 20°N in late June. The CMB also has an impact downstream. The orographically induced stationary Rossby waves enhance the cyclonic circulation to the lee of Indochina, and over the South China Sea. The enhancement of cyclonic circulation may be responsible for the summer monsoon rains peaking in late June over the South China Sea and the western North Pacific, and in the baiu front.

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Kenneth R. Sperber and Tetsuzo Yasunari
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Daisuke Hatsuzuka, Tetsuzo Yasunari, and Hatsuki Fujinami

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Characteristics of low pressure systems (LPSs) responsible for submonthly-scale (7–25 days) intraseasonal oscillation (ISO) in rainfall over Bangladesh and their impact on the amplitude of active peaks are investigated for 29 summer monsoon seasons. Extreme and moderate active peaks are obtained based on the amplitude of 7–25-day-filtered rainfall series. By detecting the LPSs that formed over the Indian monsoon region, it was found that about 59% (62%) of extreme (moderate) active peaks of rainfall are related to LPSs. These LPSs have horizontal scale of about 600 km and vertical scale of about 9 km. For the extreme active peak, the locations of the LPS centers are clustered significantly over and around Bangladesh, accompanied by the maximum convergence in the southeast sector of the LPSs. After their formation, they tend to remain almost stationary over and around Bangladesh. In contrast, for the moderate active peak, the LPS centers are located over the Ganges Plain around 85°E, and the maximum convergence of the LPSs occurs around their centers. This difference in the convergence fields is closely associated with the geographical features to the north and east of Bangladesh and the horizontal scale of the LPSs. These features suggest that the amplitude of the active peaks in the submonthly-scale ISO is modulated by small differences in the locations of the LPS centers. These findings suggest that improved predictions of both genesis location and the tracks of the LPSs are crucial to forecasting seasonal rainfall over Bangladesh.

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