Climate Dynamics

, Volume 38, Issue 11–12, pp 2191–2207 | Cite as

Tropical intraseasonal rainfall variability in the CFSR

  • Jiande Wang
  • Wanqiu Wang
  • Xiouhua Fu
  • Kyong-Hwan Seo


While large-scale circulation fields from atmospheric reanalyses have been widely used to study the tropical intraseasonal variability, rainfall variations from the reanalyses are less focused. Because of the sparseness of in situ observations available in the tropics and strong coupling between convection and large-scale circulation, the accuracy of tropical rainfall from the reanalyses not only measures the quality of reanalysis rainfall but is also to some extent indicative of the accuracy of the circulations fields. This study analyzes tropical intraseasonal rainfall variability in the recently completed NCEP Climate Forecast System Reanalysis (CFSR) and its comparison with the widely used NCEP/NCAR reanalysis (R1) and NCEP/DOE reanalysis (R2). The R1 produces too weak rainfall variability while the R2 generates too strong westward propagation. Compared with the R1 and R2, the CFSR produces greatly improved tropical intraseasonal rainfall variability with the dominance of eastward propagation and more realistic amplitude. An analysis of the relationship between rainfall and large-scale fields using composites based on Madden-Julian Oscillation (MJO) events shows that, in all three NCEP reanalyses, the moisture convergence leading the rainfall maximum is near the surface in the western Pacific but is above 925 hPa in the eastern Indian Ocean. However, the CFSR produces the strongest large-scale convergence and the rainfall from CFSR lags the column integrated precipitable water by 1 or 2 days while R1 and R2 rainfall tends to lead the respective precipitable water. Diabatic heating related to the MJO variability in the CFSR is analyzed and compared with that derived from large-scale fields. It is found that the amplitude of CFSR-produced total heating anomalies is smaller than that of the derived. Rainfall variability from the other two recently produced reanalyses, the ECMWF Re-Analysis Interim (ERAI), and the Modern Era Retrospective-analysis for Research and Applications (MERRA), is also analyzed. It is shown that both the ERAI and MERRA generate stronger rainfall spectra than the R1 and more realistic dominance of eastward propagating variance than R2. The intraseasonal variability in the MERRA is stronger than that in the ERAI but weaker than that in the CFSR and CMORPH.


Outgoing Longwave Radiation Rainfall Anomaly Intraseasonal Variability Eastern Indian Ocean Empirical Orthogonal Function Mode 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.



Leigh Zhang helped offload and prepare MERRA data. We greatly appreciate the constructive internal reviews by Huug van den Dool and FangLin Yang. XH Fu is supported by JAMSTEC, NOAA, and NASA through the IPRC, whose contribution is as IPRC No. 780 and SOEST No. 8143. KH Seo was funded by the Korea Meteorological Administration Research and Development Program under Grant CATER 2007-4208.


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 2011

Authors and Affiliations

  • Jiande Wang
    • 1
  • Wanqiu Wang
    • 2
  • Xiouhua Fu
    • 3
  • Kyong-Hwan Seo
    • 4
  1. 1.I.M. System Group Inc. at NOAA/NCEP/EMCCamp SpringsUSA
  2. 2.NOAA/NCEP/CPCCamp SpringsUSA
  3. 3.IPRC, SOESTUniversity of Hawaii at ManoaHonoluluUSA
  4. 4.Department of Atmospheric SciencesPusan National UniversityBusanKorea

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