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The effects of explicit versus parameterized convection on the MJO in a large-domain high-resolution tropical case study. Part I: Characterization of large-scale organization and propagation

Holloway, C. E., Woolnough, S. J. and Lister, G. M. S. (2013) The effects of explicit versus parameterized convection on the MJO in a large-domain high-resolution tropical case study. Part I: Characterization of large-scale organization and propagation. Journal of the Atmospheric Sciences, 70 (5). pp. 1342-1369. ISSN 1520-0469

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To link to this article DOI: 10.1175/JAS-D-12-0227.1

Abstract/Summary

High-resolution simulations over a large tropical domain (∼20◦S–20◦N and 42◦E–180◦E) using both explicit and parameterized convection are analyzed and compared to observations during a 10-day case study of an active Madden-Julian Oscillation (MJO) event. The parameterized convection model simulations at both 40 km and 12 km grid spacing have a very weak MJO signal and little eastward propagation. A 4 km explicit convection simulation using Smagorinsky subgrid mixing in the vertical and horizontal dimensions exhibits the best MJO strength and propagation speed. 12 km explicit convection simulations also perform much better than the 12 km parameterized convection run, suggesting that the convection scheme, rather than horizontal resolution, is key for these MJO simulations. Interestingly, a 4 km explicit convection simulation using the conventional boundary layer scheme for vertical subgrid mixing (but still using Smagorinsky horizontal mixing) completely loses the large-scale MJO organization, showing that relatively high resolution with explicit convection does not guarantee a good MJO simulation. Models with a good MJO representation have a more realistic relationship between lower-free-tropospheric moisture and precipitation, supporting the idea that moisture-convection feedback is a key process for MJO propagation. There is also increased generation of available potential energy and conversion of that energy into kinetic energy in models with a more realistic MJO, which is related to larger zonal variance in convective heating and vertical velocity, larger zonal temperature variance around 200 hPa, and larger correlations between temperature and ascent (and between temperature and diabatic heating) between 500–400 hPa.

Item Type:Article
Refereed:Yes
Divisions:Faculty of Science > School of Mathematical and Physical Sciences > NCAS
Faculty of Science > School of Mathematical and Physical Sciences > Department of Meteorology
ID Code:30565
Additional Information:This article will be open access when it is in final published form.
Publisher:American Meteorological Society

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