Climate Dynamics

, Volume 36, Issue 5–6, pp 867–890 | Cite as

Intraseasonal variability in the far-east pacific: investigation of the role of air–sea coupling in a regional coupled model

  • R. Justin Small
  • Shang-Ping Xie
  • Eric D. Maloney
  • Simon P. de Szoeke
  • Toru Miyama
Article

Abstract

Intraseasonal variability in the eastern Pacific warm pool in summer is studied, using a regional ocean–atmosphere model, a linear baroclinic model (LBM), and satellite observations. The atmospheric component of the model is forced by lateral boundary conditions from reanalysis data. The aim is to quantify the importance to atmospheric deep convection of local air–sea coupling. In particular, the effect of sea surface temperature (SST) anomalies on surface heat fluxes is examined. Intraseasonal (20–90 day) east Pacific warm-pool zonal wind and outgoing longwave radiation (OLR) variability in the regional coupled model are correlated at 0.8 and 0.6 with observations, respectively, significant at the 99% confidence level. The strength of the intraseasonal variability in the coupled model, as measured by the variance of outgoing longwave radiation, is close in magnitude to that observed, but with a maximum located about 10° further west. East Pacific warm pool intraseasonal convection and winds agree in phase with those from observations, suggesting that remote forcing at the boundaries associated with the Madden–Julian oscillation determines the phase of intraseasonal convection in the east Pacific warm pool. When the ocean model component is replaced by weekly reanalysis SST in an atmosphere-only experiment, there is a slight improvement in the location of the highest OLR variance. Further sensitivity experiments with the regional atmosphere-only model in which intraseasonal SST variability is removed indicate that convective variability has only a weak dependence on the SST variability, but a stronger dependence on the climatological mean SST distribution. A scaling analysis confirms that wind speed anomalies give a much larger contribution to the intraseasonal evaporation signal than SST anomalies, in both model and observations. A LBM is used to show that local feedbacks would serve to amplify intraseasonal convection and the large-scale circulation. Further, Hovmöller diagrams reveal that whereas a significant dynamic intraseasonal signal enters the model domain from the west, the strong deep convection mostly arises within the domain. Taken together, the regional and linear model results suggest that in this region remote forcing and local convection–circulation feedbacks are both important to the intraseasonal variability, but ocean–atmosphere coupling has only a small effect. Possible mechanisms of remote forcing are discussed.

Keywords

Intraseasonal variability Madden–Julian oscillation East Pacific Climate Tropical meteorology Air–sea interaction Coupled models Regional models 

References

  1. Back LE, Bretherton CS (2006) Geographic variability in the export of moist static energy and vertical motion profiles in the tropical Pacific. Geophys Res Lett 33. doi:10.1029/2006GL026672
  2. Barlow M, Salstein D (2006) Summertime influence of the Madden–Julian oscillation on daily rainfall over Mexico and Central America. Geophys Res Lett 33. doi:10.1029/2006GL027738
  3. Barnett TP (1983) Interaction of the monsoon and Pacific trade wind system at interannual time scales Part I: the equatorial zone. Mon Weather Rev 111:756–773CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  4. Bessafi M, Wheeler MC (2006) Modulation of south Indian Ocean tropical cyclones by the Madden-Julian Oscillation and convectively-coupled equatorial waves. Mon Weather Rev 134:638–656CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  5. Bond NA, Vecchi GA (2003) On the Madden Julian oscillation and precipitation in Oregon and Washington. Weather Forecast 18:600–613CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  6. Chang C-H (2009) Subseasonal variability induced by orographic wind jets in the East Pacific warm pool and South China Sea. Ph.D. dissertation, Univ. Hawaii, 154 ppGoogle Scholar
  7. Chelton DB, Freilich MH, Esbensen SK (2000) Satellite observations of the wind jets off the Pacific Coast of Central America. Part I: case studies and statistical characteristics. Mon Weather Rev 128:1993–2018CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  8. Chiang JCH, Zebiak SE, Cane MA (2001) Relative roles of elevated heating and surface temperature gradients in driving anomalous surface winds over tropical oceans. J Atmos Sci 58:1371–1394CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  9. Emanuel KA (1987) An air–sea interaction model of intraseasonal oscillations in the tropics. J Atmos Sci 44:2324–2340CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  10. Farrar JT, Weller RA (2006) Intraseasonal variability near 10°N in the eastern tropical Pacific Ocean. J Geophys Res 111. doi:10.1029/2005JC002989
  11. Fiedler PC, Talley LD (2006) Hydrography of the eastern tropical Pacific: a review. Prog Oceanogr 69:143–180CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  12. Flatau M, Flatau PJ, Phoebus P, Niiler PP (1997) The feedback between equatorial convection and local radiative and evaporative processes: The implications for intraseasonal oscillations. J Atmos Sci 54:2373–2386CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  13. Garabowski WW (2006) Impact of explicit atmosphere–ocean coupling on MJO-like coherent structures in idealized aquaplanet simulations. J Atmos Sci 63:2289–2306CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  14. Gill AE (1980) Some simple solutions for heat-induced tropical circulation. Q J R Meteorol Soc 106:447–462CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  15. Gilman D, Fuglister P, Mitchell JM (1963) On the power spectrum of red noise. J Atmos Sci 20:182–184CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  16. Hendon HH (2000) Impact of air–sea coupling on the Madden–Julian oscillation in a general circulation model. J Atmos Sci 57:3939–3952CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  17. Hendon HH (2005) Air–sea interaction. In: Lau WKM, Waliser DE (eds) Intraseasonal variability in the atmosphere–ocean climate system. Springer, New York, pp 223–246CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  18. Hendon HH, Glick J (1997) Intraseasonal air-sea interaction in the tropical Indian and Pacific Oceans. J Clim 10:647–661CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  19. Higgins RW, Chen Y, Douglas AV (1999) Interannual variability of the North American warm season precipitation regime. J Clim 12:653–680CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  20. Horel JD (1984) Complex principal component analysis: theory and examples. J Appl Meteorol 23:1660–1673CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  21. Inness PM, Slingo JM (2003) Simulation of the Madden–Julian oscillation in a coupled general circulation model. Part 1: comparison with observations and an atmosphere-only GCM. J Clim 16:345–364CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  22. Inness PM, Slingo JM, Guilyardi E, Cole J (2003) Simulation of the Madden–Julian oscillation in a coupled general circulation model. Part II. The role of the basic state. J Clim 16:365–382CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  23. Jiang X, Waliser DE (2008) Northward propagation of the subseasonal variability over the eastern pacific warm pool. Geophys Res Lett. doi:10.1029/2008GL033723
  24. Kalnay E et al (1996) The NCEP/NCAR 40 year re-analysis project. Bull Am Meteorol Soc 77:437–471CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  25. Kayano MT, Kousky VE (1999) Intraseasonal (30–60 day) variability in the global tropics: Principal modes and their evolution. Tellus 51A:373–386Google Scholar
  26. Kessler WS (2002) Mean three-dimensional circulation in the northeast tropical pacific. J Phys Oceanogr 32:2457–2471CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  27. Kessler WS, McPhaden MJ, Weickmann KM (1995) Forcing of intraseasonal Kelvin waves in the equatorial Pacific. J Geophys Res 100:10613–10631CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  28. Legeckis R (1977) Long waves in the eastern equatorial Pacific Ocean: a view from a geostationary satellite. Science 197:1179–1181CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  29. Liang J-H, McWilliams JC, Gruber N (2009) High-frequency response of the ocean to mountain gap winds in the northeastern tropical Pacific. J Geophys Res 114. doi:10.1029/2009JC005370
  30. Liebmann B, Smith CA (1996) Description of a complete (interpolated) outgoing longwave radiation Dataset. Bull Am Meteorol Soc 77:1275–1277Google Scholar
  31. Lin J, Mapes B, Zhang M, Newman M (2004) Stratiform precipitation, vertical heating profiles, and the Madden–Julian oscillation. J Atmos Sci 61:296–309CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  32. Lin JL, Kiladis GN, Mapes BE, Weickmann KM, Sperber KR, Lin W, Wheeler MC, Scubert SD, Del Genio A, Donner LJ, Emori S, Gueremy JF, Hourdin F, Rasch PJ, Roeckner E, Scinocca JF (2006) Tropical intraseasonal variability in 14 IPCC AR4 climate models. Part I: convective signals. J Clim 19:2665–2690CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  33. Lindzen RS, Nigam S (1987) On the role of sea surface temperature gradients in forcing low level winds and convergence in the tropics. J Atmos Sci 44:2418–2436CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  34. Madden RA, Julian PR (1994) Observations of the 40–50-day tropical oscillation—a review. Mon Weather Rev 122:814–837CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  35. Magana V, Amador JA, Medina S (1999) The Midsummer drought over Mexico and Central America. J Clim 12:1577–1588CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  36. Maloney ED, Esbensen SK (2003) The amplification of east Pacific Madden–Julian oscillation convection and wind anomalies during June–November. J Clim 16:3482–3497CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  37. Maloney ED, Esbensen SK (2007) Satellite and buoy observations of intraseasonal variability in the tropical northeast Pacific. Mon Weather Rev 135:3–19CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  38. Maloney ED, Hartmann DL (2000) Modulation of eastern north Pacific hurricanes by the Madden–Julian oscillation. J Clim 13:1451–1460CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  39. Maloney ED, Hartmann DL (2001) The sensitivity of intraseasonal variability in the NCAR CCM3 to changes in convective parameterization. J Clim 14:2015–2034CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  40. Maloney ED, Kiehl JT (2002a) MJO-related SST variations over the tropical eastern Pacific during Northern Hemisphere summer. J Clim 15:675–689CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  41. Maloney ED, Kiehl JT (2002b) Intraseasonal eastern Pacific precipitation and SST variations in a GCM coupled to a slab ocean model. J Clim 15:2989–3007CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  42. Maloney ED, Shaman J (2008) Intraseasonal variability of the west African monsoon and Atlantic ITCZ. J Clim 21:2898–2918CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  43. Maloney ED, Sobel AH (2004) Surface fluxes and ocean coupling in the tropical intraseasonal oscillation. J Clim 17:4368–4386CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  44. Maloney ED, Chelton DB, Esbensen SK (2008) Subseasonal SST variability in the tropical eastern north Pacific during boreal summer. J Clim 21:4149–4167CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  45. Neelin JD, Held IM, Cook KH (1987) Evaporation-wind feedback and low frequency variability in the tropical atmosphere. J Atmos Sci 44:2341–2348CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  46. North GR, Bell TL, Cahalan RF, Moeng FJ (1982) Sampling errors in the estimation of empirical orthogonal functions. Mon Weather Rev 110:699–706CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  47. Pacanowski RC, Griffies SM (2000) The MOM3 manual. GFDL Ocean Group Technical Report 4, Geophysical Fluid Dynamics Laboratory, Princeton, NJ, 680 pp. http://www.gfdl.noaa.gov/~smg/MOM/web/guide_parent/guide_parent.html
  48. Pacanowski RC, Philander SGH (1981) Parameterization of vertical mixing in numerical models of tropical oceans. J Phys Oceanogr 11:1443–1451CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  49. Raymond DJ (2001) A new model of the Madden–Julian oscillation. J Atmos Sci 58:2807–2819CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  50. Reynolds RW, Rayner NA, Smith TM, Stokes DC, Wang W (2002) An improved in situ and satellite SST analysis for climate. J Clim 15:1609–1625CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  51. Reynolds RW, Smith TM, Liu C, Chelton DB, Casey KS, Schlax MG (2007) Daily high-resolution-blended analyses for sea surface temperature. J Clim 20:5473–5496CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  52. Seo H, Miller AJ, Roads JO (2007) The Scripps coupled ocean-atmosphere regional (SCOAR) model, with applications in the Eastern Pacific sector. J Clim 20:381–402CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  53. Slingo JM et al (1996) Intraseasonal oscillations in 15 atmospheric general circulation models: results from an AMIP diagnostic subproject. Clim Dyn 12:325–357CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  54. Small RJ, DeSzoeke SP, Xie S-P (2007) The central American mid-summer drought: regional aspects and large scale forcing. J Clim 20:4853–4873CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  55. Sobel AH, Gildor H (2003) A simple time-dependent model of SST hot spots. J Clim 16:3978–3992CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  56. Sobel AH, Maloney ED, Bellon G, Frierson DM (2008) The role of surface heat fluxes in tropical intraseasonal oscillations. Nat Geosci 1:653–657CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  57. Sobel AH, Maloney ED, Bellon G, Frierson DM (2010) Surface fluxes and tropical intraseasonal variability: a reassessment. J Adv Model Earth Syst (in press)Google Scholar
  58. Thompson RM, Payne SW, Recker EE, Reed RJ (1979) Structure and properties of synoptic scale wave disturbances in the Intertropical Convergence Zone of the Eastern Atlantic. J Atmos Sci 36:53–72CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  59. Waliser DE, Lau KM, Kim JH (1999) The influence of coupled sea surface temperatures on the madden-Julian Oscillation: a model perturbation experiment. J Atmos Sci 56:333–358CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  60. Wang B (2005) Theory. In: Lau WKM, Waliser DE (eds) Intraseasonal variability in the atmosphere–ocean climate system. Springer, New York, pp 307–360CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  61. Wang B, Rui H (1990) Dynamics of the coupled moist Kelvin–Rossby wave on an Equatorial β plane. J Atmos Sci 47:397–413CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  62. Wang B, Xie X (1998) Coupled modes of the warm pool climate system. Part I the role of air-sea interaction in maintaining Madden Julian oscillation. J Clim 11:2116–2135CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  63. Wang Y, Sen OL, Wang B (2003) A highly resolved regional climate model and its simulation of the 1998 severe precipitation events over China. Part I: model description and verification of simulation. J Clim 16:1721–1738CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  64. Wang B, Webster P, Kikuchi K, Yasunari T, Qi Y (2006) Boreal summer quasi-monthly oscillations in the global tropics. Clim Dyn 27:661–675CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  65. Watanabe M, Kimoto M (2000) Atmosphere–ocean coupling in the North Atlantic: a positive feedback. Q J R Meteorol Soc 126:3343–3369CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  66. Wentz FJ, Smith DK (1999) A model function for the ocean-normalised radar cross-section at 14 GHz derived from NSCAT observations. J Geophys Res 104:11499–11514CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  67. Wentz FJ, Gentemann C, Smith D, Chelton D (2000) Satellite measurements of sea surface temperature through clouds. Science 288:847–850CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  68. Wijesekera HW, Rudnick DL, Paulson CA, Pierce SD, Pegau WS, Mickett J, Gregg MC (2005) Upper ocean heat and freshwater budgets in the eastern Pacific warm pool. J Geophys Res 110. doi:10.1029/2004JC002511
  69. Woolnough SJ, Vitart F, Balmaseda MA (2007) The role of the ocean in the Madden–Julian Oscillation: implications for MJO prediction. Q R Meteorol Soc 133:117–128CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  70. Wu Z, Battisti DS, Sarachik ES (2000a) Rayleigh friction, Newtonian cooling, and the linear response to steady tropical heating. J Atmos Sci 57:1937–1957CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  71. Wu Z, Sarachik ES, Battisti DS (2000b) Vertical structure of convective heating and the three dimensional structure of the forced circulation in the tropics. J Atmos Sci 57:2169–2187CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  72. Wyrtki K (1964) Upwelling in the Costa Rica Dome. Fish Bull 63:355–372Google Scholar
  73. Xie S-P, Kubokawa A, Hanawa K (1993) Evaporation-wind feedback and the organizing of tropical convection on the planetary scale. Part I: quasi-linear instability. J Atmos Sci 50:3873–3893CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  74. Xie S-P, Xu H, Kessler WS, Nonaka M (2005) Air-sea interaction over the eastern Pacific warm pool: Gap winds, thermocline dome, and atmospheric convection. J Clim 18:5–25CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  75. Xie S-P, Miyama T, Wang Y, Xu H, DeSzoeke SP, Small RJ, Richards KJ, Mochizuki T, Awaji T (2007) A regional ocean–atmosphere model for eastern Pacific climate: towards reducing tropical biases. J Clim 20:1504–1522CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  76. Xie S-P, Hu K, Hafner J, Tokinaga H, Du Y, Huang G, Sampe T (2009) Indian Ocean capacitor effect on Indo-Western Pacific climate during the summer following El Nino. J Clim 22:730–747CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  77. Zamudio L, Hurlburt HE, Metzger WJ, Morey SL, O’Brien JJ, Tilburg C, Zavala-Hidalgo J (2006) Interannual variability of Tehuantepec eddies. J Geophys Res. 111 doi:10.1029/2005JC003182
  78. Zebiak SE (1986) Atmospheric convergence feedback in a simple model for El-Niño. Mon Weather Rev 114:1263–1271CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  79. Zhang C (2005) Madden–Julian oscillation. Rev Geophys 43, 2004RG000158Google Scholar
  80. Zhang C, Dong M, Gualdio S, Hendon HH, Maloney ED, Marshall A, Sperber KR, Wang W (2006) Simulations of the Madden–Julian oscillation in four pairs of coupled and uncoupled global models. Clim Dyn 21:573–592CrossRefGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 2010

Authors and Affiliations

  • R. Justin Small
    • 1
    • 2
  • Shang-Ping Xie
    • 2
    • 3
  • Eric D. Maloney
    • 4
  • Simon P. de Szoeke
    • 5
  • Toru Miyama
    • 6
  1. 1.Jacobs TechnologyNaval Research LaboratoryStennis Space CenterUSA
  2. 2.International Pacific Research CenterUniversity of HawaiiHonoluluUSA
  3. 3.Department of Meteorology, School of Ocean and Earth Science and TechnologyUniversity of HawaiiHonoluluUSA
  4. 4.Department of Atmospheric ScienceColorado State UniversityFort CollinsUSA
  5. 5.College of Oceanic and Atmospheric SciencesOregon State UniversityCorvallisUSA
  6. 6.Frontier Research for Global ChangeYokohamaJapan

Personalised recommendations