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Y. Masumoto and T. Yamagata

Abstract

We have investigated the evolution of the Mindanao Dome off the Philippine coast using the GFDL ocean model. It is found that the model's Mindanao Dome evolves in late fall due to local upwelling when a positive curl associated with the northeast Asian winter monsoon increases over the region. It expands eastward with a recirculation composed of the North Equatorial Current in the north, the Mindanao Current in the west, and the North Equatorial Countercurrent in the south. After reaching a maximum in winter, it begins to decay in spring due to an intrusion of downwelling long Rossby waves excited in winter by the northeast trade winds farther eastward near 160°E, as well as a retreat of the local positive wind-stress curl. Further control runs demonstrate that the variation of the model's Mindanao Dome is almost perfectly determined by the change of the wind field in the western Pacific west of the date line. A possible link between the Asian winter monsoon and the seawater temperature anomaly in the western Pacific appears to be the origin of the biennial oscillation of the heat content anomaly in the western tropical Pacific.

This study suggests that the Asian monsoon system, i.e., the air–sea–land system, may strongly regulate oceanic conditions both seasonally and interannually in the tropical Pacific west of the date line.

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J. V. Ratnam, S. K. Behera, Y. Masumoto, and T. Yamagata

Abstract

Remote effects due to the tropical disturbances in the north Indian Ocean are investigated by analyzing long-lasting (≥5 days) tropical disturbances, which reached at least the strength of tropical storms. The present analysis is carried out for both the pre- and postmonsoon periods. The spatial and temporal distribution of the outgoing longwave radiation (OLR) during the premonsoon disturbances over the Bay of Bengal reveals several interesting features. Temporal distribution of the OLR anomalies shows that the intraseasonal oscillations play an important role in the formation of those disturbances. The spatial distribution of the OLR anomalies shows a dipole with negative OLR anomalies over the bay and positive OLR anomalies over the Indonesian region. The atmospheric response to the negative OLR anomalies results in positive temperature anomalies over northwest India, Pakistan, Afghanistan, Iran, and Saudi Arabia, remote from the disturbance; and the response to the positive anomalies causes slight increase in the sea surface temperature of the Arabian Sea. Negative OLR anomalies are also seen over western Japan due to the Rossby waves generated by the heating over the Bay of Bengal besides the enhancement of the so-called “Pacific–Japan” teleconnection pattern. However, the analysis shows that the postmonsoon disturbances over the Bay of Bengal and the disturbances formed over the Arabian Sea in both pre- and postmonsoon seasons do not develop remote teleconnections associated with the above type of Rossby wave mechanism. These results are significant for the short- to medium-range weather forecast over a wide range covering Japan, Pakistan, Afghanistan, Iran, and Saudi Arabia.

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J. V. Ratnam, S. K. Behera, Y. Masumoto, and T. Yamagata

Abstract

Remote effects modulating the austral summer precipitation over southern Africa during El Niño/El Niño Modoki events are investigated by analyzing the observed events during December–February of the years from 1982/83 to 2010/11. Based on the composite analyses, it is found that southern Africa experiences significantly below normal precipitation during El Niño events compared to El Niño Modoki events. During these latter events, precipitation anomalies are not so significant although southern Africa as a whole receives below normal precipitations. The differences in the spatial distribution of precipitation over southern Africa are seen to be related to the sea surface temperature (SST) anomalies of the equatorial Pacific through atmospheric teleconnections.

The low-level (850 hPa) Matsuno–Gill response to anomalously high precipitation over the Pacific during El Niño events results in an anomalous anticyclone extending from the equatorial to the subtropical South Indian Ocean. These anomalous anticyclonic winds weaken the tropical moisture flow into the southern Africa landmass. Rossby wave activity flux analysis of the upper-level (300 hPa) circulation shows an anomalous tropospheric stationary wave from the Pacific propagating toward southern Africa and maintaining an anomalous anticyclone over southern Africa. The anomalous Matsuno–Gill response and the anomalous tropospheric stationary wave response are intense during El Niño events, causing drought over southern Africa. During El Niño Modoki events, these processes are weaker compared to El Niño events.

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M. J. McPhaden, G. Meyers, K. Ando, Y. Masumoto, V. S. N. Murty, M. Ravichandran, F. Syamsudin, J. Vialard, L. Yu, and W. Yu

The Indian Ocean is unique among the three tropical ocean basins in that it is blocked at 25°N by the Asian landmass. Seasonal heating and cooling of the land sets the stage for dramatic monsoon wind reversals, strong ocean-atmosphere interactions, and intense seasonal rains over the Indian subcontinent, Southeast Asia, East Africa, and Australia. Recurrence of these monsoon rains is critical to agricultural production that supports a third of the world's population. The Indian Ocean also remotely influences the evolution of El Nino-Southern Oscillation (ENSO), the North Atlantic Oscillation (NAO), North American weather, and hurricane activity. Despite its importance in the regional and global climate system though, the Indian Ocean is the most poorly observed and least well understood of the three tropical oceans.

This article describes the Research Moored Array for African-Asian-Australian Monsoon Analysis and Prediction (RAMA), a new observational network designed to address outstanding scientific questions related to Indian Ocean variability and the monsoons. RAMA is a multinationally supported element of the Indian Ocean Observing System (IndOOS), a combination of complementary satellite and in situ measurement platforms for climate research and forecasting. The article discusses the scientific rationale, design criteria, and implementation of the array. Initial RAMA data are presented to illustrate how they contribute to improved documentation and understanding of phenomena in the region. Applications of the data for societal benefit are also described.

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M. J. McPhaden, G. Meyers, K. Ando, Y. Masumoto, V. S. N. Murty, M. Ravichandran, F. Syamsudin, J. Vialard, L. Yu, and W. Yu
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J. V. Ratnam, S. K. Behera, S. B. Ratna, C. J. de W. Rautenbach, C. Lennard, J.-J. Luo, Y. Masumoto, K. Takahashi, and T. Yamagata

Abstract

The prediction skill of dynamical downscaling is evaluated for climate forecasts over southern Africa using the Advanced Research Weather Research and Forecasting (WRF) model. As a case study, forecasts for the December–February (DJF) season of 2011/12 are evaluated. Initial and boundary conditions for the WRF model were taken from the seasonal forecasts of the Scale Interaction Experiment-Frontier Research Center for Global Change (SINTEX-F) coupled general circulation model. In addition to sea surface temperature (SST) forecasts generated by nine-member ensemble forecasts of SINTEX-F, the WRF was also configured to use SST generated by a simple mixed layer Price–Weller–Pinkel ocean model coupled to the WRF model. Analysis of the ensemble mean shows that the uncoupled WRF model significantly increases the biases (errors) in precipitation forecasted by SINTEX-F. When coupled to a simple mixed layer ocean model, the WRF model improves the spatial distribution of precipitation over southern Africa through a better representation of the moisture fluxes. Precipitation anomalies forecasted by the coupled WRF are seen to be significantly correlated with the observed precipitation anomalies over South Africa, Zimbabwe, southern Madagascar, and parts of Zambia and Angola. This is in contrast to the SINTEX-F global model precipitation anomaly forecasts that are closer to observations only for parts of Zimbabwe and South Africa. Therefore, the dynamical downscaling with the coupled WRF adds value to the SINTEX-F precipitation forecasts over southern Africa. However, the WRF model yields positive biases (>2°C) in surface air temperature forecasts over the southern African landmass in both the coupled and uncoupled configurations because of biases in the net heat fluxes.

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L. M. Beal, J. Vialard, M. K. Roxy, J. Li, M. Andres, H. Annamalai, M. Feng, W. Han, R. Hood, T. Lee, M. Lengaigne, R. Lumpkin, Y. Masumoto, M. J. McPhaden, M. Ravichandran, T. Shinoda, B. M. Sloyan, P. G. Strutton, A. C. Subramanian, T. Tozuka, C. C. Ummenhofer, A. S. Unnikrishnan, J. Wiggert, L. Yu, L. Cheng, D. G. Desbruyères, and V. Parvathi

Abstract

The Indian Ocean Observing System (IndOOS), established in 2006, is a multinational network of sustained oceanic measurements that underpin understanding and forecasting of weather and climate for the Indian Ocean region and beyond. Almost one-third of humanity lives around the Indian Ocean, many in countries dependent on fisheries and rain-fed agriculture that are vulnerable to climate variability and extremes. The Indian Ocean alone has absorbed a quarter of the global oceanic heat uptake over the last two decades and the fate of this heat and its impact on future change is unknown. Climate models project accelerating sea level rise, more frequent extremes in monsoon rainfall, and decreasing oceanic productivity. In view of these new scientific challenges, a 3-yr international review of the IndOOS by more than 60 scientific experts now highlights the need for an enhanced observing network that can better meet societal challenges, and provide more reliable forecasts. Here we present core findings from this review, including the need for 1) chemical, biological, and ecosystem measurements alongside physical parameters; 2) expansion into the western tropics to improve understanding of the monsoon circulation; 3) better-resolved upper ocean processes to improve understanding of air–sea coupling and yield better subseasonal to seasonal predictions; and 4) expansion into key coastal regions and the deep ocean to better constrain the basinwide energy budget. These goals will require new agreements and partnerships with and among Indian Ocean rim countries, creating opportunities for them to enhance their monitoring and forecasting capacity as part of IndOOS-2.

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