Climate Dynamics

, Volume 40, Issue 3–4, pp 857–873 | Cite as

An event-by-event assessment of tropical intraseasonal perturbations for general circulation models

  • Jean Philippe DuvelEmail author
  • Hugo Bellenger
  • Gilles Bellon
  • Marine Remaud


We detect and characterize each large-scale intraseasonal perturbation in observations (1979–2009) and in coupled general circulation models of Institut Pierre Simon Laplace (IPSL) and of Centre National de Recherches Météorologiques (CNRM). These ensembles of intraseasonal perturbations are used to assess the skill of the two models in an event-by-event approach. This assessment addresses: (1) the planetary-scale (i.e. the whole Indo-Pacific area) extent of wind and rainfall perturbations and the reproducibility of the perturbation patterns for a given season; (2) the size and amplitude of rainfall and wind anomalies at basin-scale (i.e. for a particular phase of the perturbation) and; (3) the evolution of the vertical structure of the perturbations (U, T and RH) for selected events. The planetary-scale extent of rainfall perturbations is generally too small for both models. This extent is also small for the wind perturbation in the IPSL model, but is correct, or even too large in boreal winter, for the CNRM model. The reproducibility of the planetary-scale patterns is exaggerated for wind perturbations in the CNRM model and is very poor for all parameters in the IPSL model. Over the Indian Ocean during boreal winter, rainfall and wind anomalies at basin-scale are too large for the CNRM model and too small for the IPSL model. The CNRM model gives a realistic baroclinic perturbations structure for wind, moisture and temperature, but with too large amplitude due in part to a zonally extended rainfall anomaly over the eastern Indian Ocean and the Maritime Continent. The IPSL model gives a realistic response for low-level wind only. Temperature and moisture perturbations are barotropic with a wrong warm anomaly at rainfall maximum and there is no gradual increase in low-level moisture prior to this rainfall maximum. These results suggest that this version of the IPSL model is unable to initiate the coupling between the convection and the dynamic necessary to develop the perturbation. It is difficult to say if this is due to, or is at the origin of the lack of basin-scale organization of the convection. We discuss the likely role of the convective schemes in the differences found between these two versions of the CNRM and IPSL models.


Tropical variability Intraseasonal perturbations Madden Julian Oscillation Coupled general circulation models Convective parameterization 


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 2012

Authors and Affiliations

  • Jean Philippe Duvel
    • 1
    Email author
  • Hugo Bellenger
    • 3
  • Gilles Bellon
    • 2
  • Marine Remaud
    • 1
  1. 1.Laboratoire de Météorologie DynamiqueInstitut Pierre Simon Laplace, Ecole Normale SupérieureParisFrance
  2. 2.Centre National de Recherches MétéorologiquesCNRS/Météo FranceToulouseFrance
  3. 3.Laboratoire d’Océanographie et du Climat, Expérimentation et Approches Numériques, Institut Pierre Simon LaplaceUniversité Pierre et Marie CurieParisFrance

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