Effects of high-frequency activity on latent heat flux of MJO

  • Yingxia Gao
  • Pang-Chi Hsu
  • Tim Li


The effect of high-frequency (HF) variability on latent heat flux (LHF) associated with the Madden–Julian Oscillation (MJO) during the boreal winter is investigated through diagnosis using two reanalysis datasets and numerical experiments of an atmospheric general circulation model (AGCM). The diagnostic results show that the HF activities exert an impact on the variability of MJO LHF mainly through their interactions with the longer than 90-day low-frequency background state (LFBS). The contribution of intraseasonal LHF induced by the interactions between LFBS and HF activities accounts for more than 20% of the total intraseasonal LHF over active MJO regions. The intraseasonal LHF induced by the LFBS–HF interaction is in phase with the MJO convection, while the total intraseasonal LHF appears at and to the west of the MJO convection center. This suggests that the intraseasonal LHF via the feedback of HF activity interacting with LFBS is conducive to the maintenance and eastward propagation of MJO convection. To confirm the role of HF disturbances in MJO convection activity, we carry out a series of experiments using the AGCM of ECHAM4, which captures well the general features of MJO. We select a number of MJO cases with enhanced convective signals and significant eastward propagation from a 30-year climatological simulation. Once the HF components of surface wind and moisture fields in LHF are excluded in model integration for each MJO case, most of the simulated MJO convection shows weakened activity and a slower propagation speed compared to the simulations containing all time-scale components. The outputs of these sensitivity experiments support the diagnostic results that HF activities contribute to the maintenance and propagation of MJO convection through the intraseasonal LHF induced by the scale interaction of HF activities with lower frequency variability.


Scale interaction Madden–Julian Oscillation High-frequency activity Latent heat flux 



The valuable comments and suggestions from anonymous reviewers significantly improved the manuscript, and are much appreciated. This study is supported by the National 973 Project (Grant 2015CB453200), Jiangsu Shuang-Chuang Team project (R2014SCT001) and the Research Innovative Program for College Graduate of Jiangsu Province (KYZZ16_0345).


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© Springer-Verlag GmbH Germany, part of Springer Nature 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.International Laboratory on Climate and Environment Change and Key Laboratory of Meteorological Disaster of Ministry of EducationNanjing University of Information Science and TechnologyNanjingChina
  2. 2.International Pacific Research CenterUniversity of HawaiiManoaUSA

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