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Lu Wang, Tim Li, and Tomoe Nasuno

Abstract

There are contrasting views concerning the impact of Rossby wave component of MJO flow on its eastward propagation. One view (called “drag effect”) argues that because Rossby waves propagate westward, a stronger Rossby wave component slows down the eastward propagation. The other view (called “acceleration effect”) argues that a stronger Rossby wave enhances east–west asymmetry of moist static energy (MSE) tendency and thus favors the eastward propagation. This study aims to resolve this issue through diagnosis of both idealized aquaplanet simulations and 26 models from the MJO Task Force/GEWEX Atmospheric System Studies (MJOTF/GASS). In the aquaplanet experiments, three sets of zonally uniform, equatorially symmetric SST distributions are specified. The MJO phase speed is faster in the presence of a narrower SST meridional profile, in which both the Rossby and the Kelvin wave components are stronger and the east–west asymmetry of MSE tendency is larger. A further analysis of the 26 general circulation models reveals that the MJO propagation skill and phase speed are positively correlated to both the Rossby wave and the Kelvin wave strength in the lower free atmosphere (above 800 hPa). Models that have a stronger Rossby and Kelvin wave component tend to simulate realistic and faster eastward propagation. Therefore, both the aquaplanet and the multimodel simulations support the Rossby wave acceleration effect hypothesis.

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Tomoe Nasuno, Tim Li, and Kazuyoshi Kikuchi

Abstract

Convective initiation processes in the Madden–Julian oscillation (MJO) events that occurred during the Cooperative Indian Ocean Experiment on Intraseasonal Variability in the Year 2011 (CINDY2011)/Dynamics of the Madden–Julian Oscillation (DYNAMO) intensive observation period (IOP) were investigated. Two episodes that were initiated in mid-October (MJO1) and mid-November (MJO2) 2011 were analyzed using European Centre for Medium-Range Weather Forecasts (ECMWF) reanalysis and satellite data. Moisture budgets in the equatorial Indian Ocean (IO) domain (10°S–10°N, 60°–90°E) were analyzed in detail by separating each variable into basic-state (>80 day), intraseasonal (20–80 day), and high-frequency (<20 day) variations. The quality of the ECMWF reanalysis was also evaluated against the sounding data collected during the field campaign.

In both MJO events, the increase in precipitable water started 8–9 days prior to the convective initiation. Moisture advection decomposition revealed that advection of basic moisture by intraseasonal easterly anomalies and of intraseasonal moisture anomalies by the basic zonal wind were pronounced in these two events. The nonlinear high-frequency terms in the meridional moisture advection were the same order of magnitude as the primary term in the middle troposphere, implying systematic upscale transport of moisture. As a possible mechanism of the acceleration of easterly anomalies, amplification of off-equatorial Rossby wave trains that intruded into the equatorial zone was detected during the preconditioning periods in both MJO events.

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Woosub Roh, Masaki Satoh, and Tomoe Nasuno

Abstract

The cloud and precipitation simulated by a global nonhydrostatic model with a 3.5-km horizontal resolution, the Nonhydrostatic Icosahedral Atmospheric Model (NICAM), are evaluated using the Tropical Rainfall Measuring Mission (TRMM) and a satellite simulator. A previous study by Roh and Satoh evaluated the single-moment bulk microphysics and established the modified microphysics scheme for the specific tropical open ocean using a regional version of NICAM. In this study, the authors expanded the evaluation over the entire tropics and parts of the midlatitude areas (20°–36°S, 20°–36°N) using a joint histogram of the cloud-top temperature and precipitation echo-top heights and contoured frequency by altitude diagrams of the deep convective systems. The modified microphysics simulation improves the joint probability density functions of the cloud-top temperatures and precipitation cloud-top heights over not only the tropical ocean but also the land and midlatitude areas. Compared with the default microphysics simulation, the modified microphysics simulation shows a clearer distinction between the land and ocean in the tropics, which is related to the contrast between the shallow and the deep clouds. In addition, the two microphysics simulation methods were also compared over the tropics using joint histograms of the cloud-top and precipitation cloud-top heights on the basis of CloudSat measurements. It was found that the microphysics scheme that was modified for the tropical ocean displayed general cloud and precipitation improvements in the global domain over the tropics.

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Yan Zhu, Tim Li, Ming Zhao, and Tomoe Nasuno

Abstract

The two-way interaction between Madden–Julian oscillation (MJO) and higher-frequency waves (HFW) over the Maritime Continent (MC) during boreal winter of 1984–2005 is investigated. It is noted from observational analysis that strengthened (weakened) HFW activity appears to the west (east) of and under MJO convection during the MJO active phase and the opposite is seen during the MJO suppressed phase. Sensitivity model experiments indicate that the control of HFW activity by MJO is through change of the background vertical wind shear and specific humidity. The upscale feedbacks from HFW to MJO through nonlinear rectification of condensational heating and eddy momentum transport are also investigated with observational data. A significantly large amount (25%–40%) of positive heating anomaly () at low levels to the east of MJO convection is contributed by nonlinear rectification of HFW. This nonlinear rectification is primarily attributed to eddy meridional moisture advection. A momentum budget diagnosis reveals that 60% of MJO zonal wind tendency at 850 hPa is attributed to the nonlinear interaction of HFW with other scale flows. Among them, the largest contribution arises from eddy zonal momentum flux divergence . Easterly (westerly) vertical shear to the west (east) of MJO convection during the MJO active phase causes the strengthening (weakening) of the HFW zonal wind anomaly. This leads to the increase (decrease) of eddy momentum flux activity to the east (west) of the MJO convection, which causes a positive (negative) eddy zonal momentum flux divergence in the zonal wind transitional region during the MJO active (suppressed) phase, favoring the eastward propagation of the MJO.

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Tomoe Nasuno, Hirofumi Tomita, Shinichi Iga, Hiroaki Miura, and Masaki Satoh

Abstract

This study investigated the multiscale organization of tropical convection on an aquaplanet in a model experiment with a horizontal mesh size of 3.5 km (for a 10-day simulation) and 7 km (for a 40-day simulation). The numerical experiment used the nonhydrostatic icosahedral atmospheric model (NICAM) with explicit cloud physics.

The simulation realistically reproduced multiscale cloud systems: eastward-propagating super cloud clusters (SCCs) contained westward-propagating cloud clusters (CCs). SCCs (CCs) had zonal sizes of several thousand (hundred) kilometers; typical propagation speed was 17 (10) m s−1. Smaller convective structures such as mesoscale cloud systems (MCs) of O(10 km) and cloud-scale elements (<10 km) were reproduced. A squall-type cluster with high cloud top (z > 16 km) of O(100 km) area was also reproduced.

Planetary-scale equatorial waves (with wavelengths of 10 000 and 40 000 km) had a major influence on the eastward propagation of the simulated SCC; destabilization east of the SCC facilitated generation of new CCs at the eastern end of the SCC. Large-scale divergence fields associated with the waves enhanced the growth of deep clouds in the CCs. A case study of a typical SCC showed that the primary mechanism forcing westward propagation varies with the life stages of the CCs or with vertical profiles of zonal wind. Cold pools and synoptic-scale waves both affected CC organization. Cloud-scale elements systematically formed along the edges of cold pools to sustain simulated MCs. The location, movement, and duration of the MCs varied with the large-scale conditions.

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Masuo Nakano, Hisayuki Kubota, Tomoki Miyakawa, Tomoe Nasuno, and Masaki Satoh

Abstract

Super Cyclone Pam (2015) formed in the central tropical Pacific under conditions that included El Niño Modoki and the passage of a convectively enhanced phase of the Madden–Julian oscillation (MJO) in the western Pacific. This study examines the influence that sea surface temperature anomalies (SSTAs) have on the MJO and low-frequency large-scale circulation, and establishes how they modulated the genesis of Pam. Two series of numerical experiments were conducted by using a nonhydrostatic global atmospheric model with observed (OBSSST) and climatological (CLMSST) SSTs. The results suggested that low-frequency westerly winds at 850 hPa (U850) were intensified in the central tropical Pacific due to the observed SSTA. The amplitude of the MJO simulated in OBSSST was larger than in CLMSST. In addition, the experiments initialized 26 February–2 March exhibited that the phase of the MJO in OBSSST was ahead of that in CLMSST, and that the genesis location in OBSSST was ~10° to the east of that in CLMSST. An analysis of large-scale fields indicated that a positive U850 maintained by SSTAs and intensification of U850 by the MJO modified distribution of large-scale cyclonic vorticity and precipitable water. These changes in large-scale fields modified the location and timing of intensification of the disturbance that become Pam and resulted in Pam’s genesis location being 10° farther east with slight impact on its genesis probability. Additional experiments showed that SSTAs in the central tropical Pacific were the dominant cause of modifications to large-scale fields, the MJO, and Pam’s genesis location.

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Tomoe Nasuno, Hirofumi Tomita, Shinichi Iga, Hiroaki Miura, and Masaki Satoh

Abstract

Large-scale tropical convective disturbances simulated in a 7-km-mesh aquaplanet experiment are investigated. A 40-day simulation was executed using the Nonhydrostatic Icosahedral Atmospheric Model (NICAM). Two scales of eastward-propagating disturbances were analyzed. One was tightly coupled to a convective system resembling super–cloud clusters (SCCs) with a zonal scale of several thousand kilometers (SCC mode), whereas the other was characterized by a planetary-scale dynamical structure (40 000-km mode). The typical phase velocity was 17 (23) m s−1 for the SCC (40 000 km) mode. The SCC mode resembled convectively coupled Kelvin waves in the real atmosphere around the equator, but was accompanied by a pair of off-equatorial gyres. The 40 000-km mode maintained a Kelvin wave–like zonal structure, even poleward of the equatorial Rossby deformation radius. The equatorial structures in both modes matched neutral eastward-propagating gravity waves in the lower troposphere and unstable (growing) waves in the upper troposphere. In both modes, the meridional mass divergence exceeded the zonal component, not only in the boundary layer, but also in the free atmosphere. The forcing terms indicated that the meridional flow was primarily driven by convection via deformation in pressure fields and vertical circulations. Moisture convergence was one order of magnitude greater than the moisture flux from the sea surface. In the boundary layer, frictional convergence in the (anomalous) low-level easterly phase accounted for the buildup of low-level moisture leading to the active convective phase. The moisture distribution in the free atmosphere suggested that the moisture–convection feedback operated efficiently, especially in the SCC mode.

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Tim Li, Chongbo Zhao, Pang-chi Hsu, and Tomoe Nasuno

Abstract

A multination joint field campaign called the Dynamics of MJO/Cooperative Indian Ocean Experiment on Intraseasonal Variability in Year 2011 (DYNAMO/CINDY2011) took place in the equatorial Indian Ocean (IO) in late 2011. During the campaign period, two strong MJO events occurred from the middle of October to the middle of December (referred to as MJO I and MJO II, respectively). Both the events were initiated over the western equatorial Indian Ocean (WIO) around 50°–60°E. Using multiple observational data products (ERA-Interim, the ECMWF final analysis, and NASA MERRA), the authors unveil specific processes that triggered the MJO convection in the WIO. It is found that, 10 days prior to MJO I initiation, a marked large-scale ascending motion anomaly appeared in the lower troposphere over the WIO. The cause of this intraseasonal vertical motion anomaly was attributed to anomalous warm advection by a cyclonic gyre anomaly over the northern IO. The MJO II initiation was preceded by a low-level specific humidity anomaly. This lower-tropospheric moistening was attributed to the advection of mean moisture by anomalous easterlies over the equatorial IO. The contrast of anomalous precursor winds at the equator (westerly versus easterly) implies different triggering mechanisms for the MJO I and II events. It was found that upper-tropospheric circumnavigating signals did not contribute the initiation of both the MJO events. The EOF-based real-time multivariate MJO (RMM) indices should not be used to determine MJO initiation time and location because they are primarily used to capture large zonal scale and eastward-propagating signals, not localized features.

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Hironori Fudeyasu, Yuqing Wang, Masaki Satoh, Tomoe Nasuno, Hiroaki Miura, and Wataru Yanase

Abstract

The Nonhydrostatic Icosahedral Atmospheric Model (NICAM), a global cloud-system-resolving model, successfully simulated the life cycle of Tropical Storm Isobel that formed over the Timor Sea in the austral summer of 2006. The multiscale interactions in the life cycle of the simulated storm were analyzed in this study. The large-scale aspects that affected Isobel’s life cycle are documented in this paper and the corresponding mesoscale processes are documented in a companion paper.

The life cycle of Isobel was largely controlled by a Madden–Julian oscillation (MJO) event and the associated westerly wind burst (WWB). The MJO was found to have both positive and negative effects on the tropical cyclone intensity depending on the location of the storm relative to the WWB center associated with the MJO. The large-scale low-level convergence and high convective available potential energy (CAPE) downwind of the WWB center provided a favorable region to the cyclogenesis and intensification, whereas the strong large-scale stretching deformation field upwind of the WWB center may weaken the storm by exciting wavenumber-2 asymmetries in the eyewall and leading to the eyewall breakdown.

Five stages are identified for the life cycle of the simulated Isobel: the initial eddy, intensifying, temporary weakening, reintensifying, and decaying stages. The initial eddy stage was featured by small-scale/mesoscale convective cyclonic vortices developed in the zonally elongated rainband organized in the preconditioned environment characterized by the WWB over the Java Sea associated with the onset of an MJO event over the East Indian Ocean. As the MJO propagated eastward and the cyclonic eddies moved southward into an environment with weak vertical shear and strong low-level cyclonic vorticity, a typical tropical cyclone structure developed over the Java Sea, namely the genesis of Isobel. Isobel experienced an eyewall breakdown and a temporary weakening when it was located upwind of the WWB center as the MJO propagated southeastward and reintensified as its eyewall reformed as a result of the axisymmetrization of an inward spiraling outer rainband that originally formed downwind of the WWB center. Finally Isobel decayed as it approached the northwest coast of Australia.

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Yohei Yamada, Masaki Satoh, Masato Sugi, Chihiro Kodama, Akira T. Noda, Masuo Nakano, and Tomoe Nasuno

Abstract

Future changes in tropical cyclone (TC) activity and structure are investigated using the outputs of a 14-km mesh climate simulation. A set of 30-yr simulations was performed under present-day and warmer climate conditions using a nonhydrostatic icosahedral atmospheric model with explicitly calculated convection. The model projected that the global frequency of TCs is reduced by 22.7%, the ratio of intense TCs is increased by 6.6%, and the precipitation rate within 100 km of the TC center increased by 11.8% under warmer climate conditions. These tendencies are consistent with previous studies using a hydrostatic global model with cumulus parameterization.

The responses of vertical and horizontal structures to global warming are investigated for TCs with the same intensity categories. For TCs whose minimum sea level pressure (SLP) reaches less than 980 hPa, the model predicted that tangential wind increases in the outside region of the eyewall. Increases in the tangential wind are related to the elevation of the tropopause caused by global warming. The tropopause rise induces an upward extension of the eyewall, resulting in an increase in latent heating in the upper layers of the inclined eyewall. Thus, SLP is reduced underneath the warmed eyewall regions through hydrostatic adjustment. The altered distribution of SLP enhances tangential winds in the outward region of the eyewall cloud. Hence, this study shows that the horizontal scale of TCs defined by a radius of 12 m s−1 surface wind is projected to increase compared with the same intensity categories for SLP less than 980 hPa.

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