Coupled ocean–atmosphere interactions between the Madden–Julian oscillation and synoptic-scale variability over the warm pool

Crispian P. Batstone, Adrian J. Matthews, David P. Stevens

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13 Citations (Scopus)


A principal component analysis of the combined fields of sea surface temperature (SST) and surface zonal and meridional wind reveals the dominant mode of intraseasonal (30-70-day) co-variability during northern winter in the tropical Eastern Hemisphere is that of the Madden-Julian Oscillation (MJO). Regression calculations show that the submonthly (30-day high-pass filtered) surface wind variability is significantly modulated during the MJO. Regions of increased (decreased) submonthly surface wind variability propagate eastward, approximately in phase with the intraseasonal surface westerly (easterly) anomalies of the MJO. Due to the dependence of the surface latent heat flux on the magnitude of the total wind speed, this systematic modulation of the submonthly surface wind variability produces a significant component in the intraseasonal latent heat flux anomalies, which partially cancels the latent heat flux anomalies due to the slowly varying intraseasonal wind anomalies, particularly south of 10S. A method is derived that demodulates the submonthly surface wind variability from the slowly varying intraseasonal wind anomalies. This method is applied to the wind forcing fields of a one-dimensional ocean model. The model response to this modified forcing produces larger intraseasonal SST anomalies than when the model is forced with the observed forcing over large areas of the southwest Pacific Ocean and southeast Indian Ocean during both phases of the MJO. This result has implications for accurate coupled modeling of the MJO. A similar calculation is applied to the surface shortwave flux, but intraseasonal modulation of submonthly surface shortwave flux variability does not appear to be important to the dynamics of the MJO.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)2004-2020
Number of pages17
JournalJournal of Climate
Issue number12
Publication statusPublished - 2005

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