Phase locking between atmospheric convectively coupled equatorial Kelvin waves and the diurnal cycle of precipitation over the Maritime Continent

Dariusz Baranowski, Maria Flatau, Piotr Flatau, Adrian Matthews

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Convectively coupled Kelvin waves (CCKWs) are a major component of the tropical atmospheric circulation, propagating eastward around the equatorial belt. Here we show there are scale interactions between CCKWs and the diurnal cycle over the Maritime Continent. In particular, CCKW packets that pass a basepoint in the eastern Indian Ocean at 90E between 0600-0900 UTC subsequently arrive over Sumatra in phase with the diurnal cycle of convection. As the distance between Sumatra and Borneo is equal to the distance travelled by a CCKW in one day, these waves are then also in phase with the diurnal cycle over Borneo. Consequently, this subset of CCKWs has a precipitation signal up to a factor of 3 larger than CCKWs that arrive at other times of the day, and a 40% greater chance of successfully traversing the Maritime Continent.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)8269–8276
Number of pages8
JournalGeophysical Research Letters
Issue number15
Early online date3 Aug 2016
Publication statusPublished - 16 Aug 2016

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