The Diurnal Cycle of Rainfall and the Convectively Coupled Equatorial Waves over the Maritime Continent
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The Diurnal Cycle of Rainfall and the Convectively Coupled Equatorial Waves over the Maritime Continent

  • Published Date:

    2020

  • Source:
    Journal of Climate, 33(8), 3307-3331.
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The Diurnal Cycle of Rainfall and the Convectively Coupled Equatorial Waves over the Maritime Continent
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  • Description:
    Precipitation variability over the Maritime Continent is predominantly explained by its diurnal cycle and large-scale disturbances such as the Madden–Julian oscillation (MJO) and convectively coupled equatorial waves (CCEWs). To advance our understanding of their interactions and physical processes, this study uses satellite data to examine changes in the diurnal cycle of rainfall associated with the MJO and CCEWs over the Maritime Continent. We find that diurnal cycle modulations associated with the passage of any type of large-scale disturbance are closely tied to changes in rain types and land–sea diurnal propagation of rainfall. When the amplitude of the diurnal cycle increases over the islands, the phase of the diurnal cycle is delayed by a few hours as clouds are more organized and rainfall from stratiform-anvil clouds increases. Enhanced amplitude of the diurnal cycle can alter the speed of land–sea diurnal propagation of rainfall, which then influences the timing of diurnal rainfall over coastal regions. These changes in the diurnal cycle occur asymmetrically across the island terrain associated with the MJO and equatorial Rossby waves, while such asymmetric modulations are not observed for other waves. Geographical and wave dependencies of the diurnal cycle are linked to differences in large-scale lower tropospheric wind, vertical motion, and moisture profile perturbations, which are in turn tied to differences in cloud population evolution. The results of this study highlight the importance of further improving our understanding of the sensitivity of cloud populations to varying large-scale phenomena.
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