Springer Online Journal Archives 1860-2000
Abstract. In this study, satellite-derived outgoing longwave radiation (OLR) and the reanalysis from the National Centers for Environmental Prediction/National Center for Atmospheric Research are used as verification data in a study of intraseasonal variability in the Goddard Laboratory for Atmospheres (GLA) and the United Kingdom Meteorological Office (UKMO) atmospheric general circulation models. These models simulated the most realistic intraseasonal oscillations (IO) of the 15 Atmospheric Model Intercomparison Project models previously analyzed. During the active phase of the intraseasonal oscillation, convection is observed to migrate from the Indian Ocean to the western/central Pacific Ocean, and into the South Pacific Convergence Zone (SPCZ). The simulated convection, particularly in the GLA model, is most realistic over the western/central Pacific Ocean and the SPCZ. In the reanalysis, the baroclinic structure of the IO is evident in the eddy-stream function, and eastward migration of the anticyclone/cyclone pairs occurs in conjunction with the eastward development of convection. Both the GLA and UKMO models exhibit a baroclinic structure on intraseasonal time scales. The GLA model is more realistic than the UKMO model at simulating the eastward migration of the anticyclone/cyclone pairs when the convection is active over the western/central Pacific. In the UKMO model, the main heating is located off the equator, which contributes to the irregular structures seen in this model on intraseasonal time scales. The maintenance and initiation of the intraseasonal oscillation has also been investigated. Analysis of the latent heat flux indicates that evaporative wind feedback is not the dominant mechanism for promoting the eastward propagation of the intraseasonal oscillation since evaporation to the west of the convection dominants. The data suggest a wave-CISK (conditional instability of the secondkind) type mechanism, although the contribution by frictional convergence is not apparent. In the GLA model, enhanced evaporation tends to develop in-place over the west Pacific warm pool, while in the UKMO simulation westward propagation of enhanced evaporation is evident. It is suggested that lack of an interactive ocean may be associated with the models systematic failure to simulate the eastward transition of convection from the Indian Ocean into the western Pacific Ocean. This hypothesis is based upon the examination of observed sea surface temperature (SST) and its relationship to the active phase of the intraseasonal oscillation, which indicates that the IO may evolve as a coupled ocean-atmosphere mode. The eastward propagation of convection appears to be related to the gradient of SST, with above normal SST to the east of the convection maintaining the eastward evolution, and decreasing SST near the western portion of the convective envelope being associated with the cessation of convection.
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