MJO Propagation Shaped by Zonal Asymmetric Structures Results from 24 GCM Simulations
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MJO Propagation Shaped by Zonal Asymmetric Structures Results from 24 GCM Simulations

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  • Journal Title:
    Journal of Climate
  • Description:
    Eastward propagation is an essential characteristic of the Madden–Julian oscillation (MJO). Yet, simulation of MJO propagation in general circulation models (GCMs) remains a major challenge and understanding the causes of propagation remains controversial. The present study explores why the GCMs have diverse performances in MJO simulation by diagnosis of 24 GCM simulations. An intrinsic linkage is found between MJO propagation and the zonal structural asymmetry with respect to the MJO convective center. The observed and realistically simulated MJO eastward propagations are characterized by stronger Kelvin easterly waves than Rossby westerly waves in the lower troposphere, which is opposite to the Gill pattern where Rossby westerly waves are 2 times stronger than Kelvin easterly waves. The GCMs simulating stronger Rossby westerly waves tend to show a stationary MJO. MJO propagation performances are robustly correlated with the quality of simulated zonal asymmetries in the 850-hPa equatorial zonal winds, 700-hPa diabatic heating, 1000–700-hPa equivalent potential temperature, and convective instability. The models simulating realistic MJO propagation are exemplified by an eastward propagation of boundary layer moisture convergence (BLMC) that leads precipitation propagation by about 5 days. The BLMC stimulates MJO eastward propagation by preconditioning and predestabilizing the atmosphere, and by generating lower-tropospheric heating and available potential energy to the east of precipitation center. The MJO structural asymmetry is generated by the three-way interaction among convective heating, moisture, and equatorial wave and boundary layer dynamics. In GCMs, differing convective heating representation could produce different MJO structural asymmetry, and thus different propagations. Diagnosis of structural asymmetry may help revealing the models’ deficiency in representing the complex three-way interaction processes, which involves various parameterized processes.
  • Source:
    Journal of Climate, 30(19), 7933-7952
  • Document Type:
  • Rights Information:
    Other
  • Compliance:
    CHORUS
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