Role of Local Thermodynamic Coupling in the Life Cycle of the Intraseasonal Oscillation in the Indo-Pacific Warm Pool
Agudelo, Paula A.
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Intraseasonal oscillations (ISOs) are important elements of the tropical climate with time-scales of 20-80 day. The ISO is poorly simulated and predicted by numerical models. This work presents a joint diagnostic and modeling study of the ISO that examines the hypothesis that local coupling between the ocean and the atmosphere is essential to the existence and evolution of the ISO in the Indo-Pacific warm pool region. Low-level moistening during the transition phase preconditions the atmosphere for deep convection. The vertical structure of ISO from the ECMWF coupled model during different phases of the oscillation as well as the skill of the model in simulating the processes that occur during the transition phase were studied. The forecast skill of the vertical structure associated with the ISO is greater for winter than for summer events. Predictability of the convective period is poor when initialized before the transitional phase. When initialized within the transition period including lower tropospheric moistening, predictability increases substantially, although the model parameterizations appears to trigger convection quickly without allowing an adequate buildup of CAPE during the transition. The model tends to simulate a more stable atmosphere compared to data, limiting the production of deep convective events. Two different one-dimensional coupled models are used to analyze the role of local ocean-atmosphere coupling in generating ISO. The ocean component is a one-dimensional mixed layer model. In the first model the atmospheric component corresponds to the SCCM. Results suggest that convection in the model tends to be "overactive," inhibiting development of lower frequency oscillations in the atmosphere. In the second case, the atmospheric component is a semi-empirical model that allows reproducing the coupled ISO over long integration periods including only local mechanisms. In the semi-empirical scheme the rate of change of atmospheric variables is statistically related to changes in SST. The stable state of this model is a quasi-periodic oscillation with a time scale between 25 and 80 days that matches well the observed ISO. Results suggest that the period of the oscillation depends on the characteristics of the ocean mixed layer, with a higher frequency oscillation for a shallow mixed layer.