Observations of the 40–50-Day Tropical Oscillation—A Review

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  • 1 National Center for Atmospheric Research, Boulder, Colorado
  • | 2 National Meteorological Center, Washington, D C.
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Abstract

Observational aspects of the 40–50-day oscillation are reviewed. The oscillation is the result of large-scale circulation cells oriented in the equatorial plane that move eastward from at least the Indian Ocean to the central Pacific. Anomalies in zonal winds and the velocity potential in the upper troposphere often propagate the full circumference of the globe. Related, complex convective regions also show an eastward movement. There is a zonally symmetric component to the oscillation. It is manifest in changes in surface pressure and in the relative atmospheric angular momentum. The oscillation is an important factor in the timing of active and break phases of the Indian and Australian monsoons. It affects ocean waves, currents, and air-sea interaction. The oscillation was particularly active during the First GARP (Global Atmospheric Research Program) Global Experiment year, and some features that were evident during the Monsoon Experiment are described.

Abstract

Observational aspects of the 40–50-day oscillation are reviewed. The oscillation is the result of large-scale circulation cells oriented in the equatorial plane that move eastward from at least the Indian Ocean to the central Pacific. Anomalies in zonal winds and the velocity potential in the upper troposphere often propagate the full circumference of the globe. Related, complex convective regions also show an eastward movement. There is a zonally symmetric component to the oscillation. It is manifest in changes in surface pressure and in the relative atmospheric angular momentum. The oscillation is an important factor in the timing of active and break phases of the Indian and Australian monsoons. It affects ocean waves, currents, and air-sea interaction. The oscillation was particularly active during the First GARP (Global Atmospheric Research Program) Global Experiment year, and some features that were evident during the Monsoon Experiment are described.

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