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Meehl, G., G. Kiladis, K. Weickmann, M. Wheeler, D. Gutzler, and G. Compo, 1996: Modulation of equatorial subseasonal convective episodes by tropical-extratropical interaction in the Indian and Pacific Ocean regions. J. Geophys. Res., 101, 15033-15049.


ABSTRACT

Composite relationships among outgoing longwave radiation, sea level pressure, surface winds, and upper tropospheric circulation are examined for northern winter during subseasonal episodes of eastward progression of convection from the Indian Ocean to the western Pacific. This evolution often culminates with westerly wind burst events and strong air-sea interaction associated with regional-scale convective blowups in the western equatorial Pacific. We first document some of these interactions in the composites for two timescales, the submonthly (6-30 days) and that of the Madden-Julian Oscillation (MJO) timescale (30-70 days). We then analyze the December 1992 period during the Tropical Ocean Global Atmosphere Coupled Ocean-Atmosphere Response Experiment (TOGA COARE) to illustrate how these composite relationships are manifested in a case study. Convection in the Indian Ocean for the composites is shown to be associated with a Northern Hemisphere wave train at 200 mbar, arcing through the midlatitudes, that can contribute to convective blowups farther east on the submonthly (6-30 days) timescale in the Intertropical Convergence Zone (ITCZ) in the eastern Pacific. The eastern Asian trough that is part of this wave train is associated with pressure surges from the Northern Hemisphere and subsequent convection over Southeast Asia. As the MJO convective envelope moves east to Australasia, midlatitude wave trains in either hemisphere include upper level troughs east of Asia and Australia and pressure surges from either hemisphere that contribute to pressure rises over the Indonesian region and a subsequent shift of the convective envelope to the western Pacific. The vertical wind structure for the December 1992 case study is consistent with the composite surface and upper level winds and also shows strong vertical wind shear in the boundary layer, a sharply defined westerly maximum near 700 mbar and an intensification of the upper level easterlies near 100 mbar. Very deep westerlies (to 200 mbar) are confined to shorter timescales. The case study illustrates the various time and space scale interactions noted in the composites. Reciprocal interactions between the tropics and the midlatitudes on the submonthly and MJO timescales in both the composites and the case study involve pressure surges and wave interaction that influence subsequent convection as the convective envelope migrates eastward from the tropical Indian to Pacific Ocean region.