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The relationship between convection and sea surface temperature on intraseasonal timescales

Woolnough, S. J., Slingo, J. M. and Hoskins, B. J. (2000) The relationship between convection and sea surface temperature on intraseasonal timescales. Journal of Climate, 13 (12). pp. 2086-2104. ISSN 1520-0442

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To link to this article DOI: 10.1175/1520-0442(2000)013<2086:TRBCAS>2.0.CO;2

Abstract/Summary

The relationship between tropical convection, surface fluxes, and sea surface temperature (SST) on intraseasonal timescales has been examined as part of an investigation of the possibility that the intraseasonal oscillation is a coupled atmosphere–ocean phenomenon. The unique feature of this study is that 15 yr of data and the whole region from the Indian Ocean to the Pacific Ocean have been analyzed using lag-correlation analysis and compositing techniques. A coherent relationship between convection, surface fluxes, and SST has been found on intraseasonal timescales in the Indian Ocean, Maritime Continent, and west Pacific regions of the Tropics. Prior to the maximum in convection, there are positive shortwave and latent heat flux anomalies into the surface, followed by warm SST anomalies about 10 days before the convective maximum. Coincident with the convective maximum, there is a minimum in the shortwave flux, followed by a cooling due to increased evaporation associated with enhanced westerly wind stress, leading to negative SST anomalies about 10 days after the convection. The relationships are robust from year to year, including both phases of the El Niño–Southern Oscillation (ENSO) although the eastward extent of the region over which the relationship holds varies with the phase of ENSO, consistent with the variations in the eastward extent of the warm pool and westerly winds. The spatial scale of the anomalies is about 60° longitude, consistent with the scale of the intraseasonal oscillation. The spatial and temporal characteristics of the surface flux and SST perturbations are consistent with the surface flux variations forcing the ocean, and the magnitudes of the anomalies are consistent with mixed-layer depths appropriate to the Indian Ocean and west Pacific

Item Type:Article
Refereed:Yes
Divisions:Faculty of Science > School of Mathematical and Physical Sciences > Department of Mathematics and Statistics
ID Code:16355
Publisher:American Meteorological Society

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