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The role of the cloud radiative effect in the sensitivity of the Intertropical Convergence Zone to convective mixing

Talib, J., Woolnough, S. J., Klingaman, N. P. and Holloway, C. E. (2018) The role of the cloud radiative effect in the sensitivity of the Intertropical Convergence Zone to convective mixing. Journal of Climate, 31 (17). pp. 6821-6838. ISSN 1520-0442

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To link to this item DOI: 10.1175/JCLI-D-17-0794.1

Abstract/Summary

Studies have shown that the location and structure of the simulated Intertropical Convergence Zone (ITCZ) is sensitive to the treatment of sub-gridscale convection and cloud-radiation interactions. This sensitivity remains in idealised aquaplanet experiments with fixed surface temperatures. However, studies have not considered the role of cloud-radiative effects (CRE, atmospheric heating due to cloud-radiation interactions) in the sensitivity of the ITCZ to the treatment of convection. We use an atmospheric energy input (AEI) framework to explore how the CRE modulates the sensitivity of the ITCZ to convective mixing in aquaplanet simulations. Simulations show a sensitivity of the ITCZ to convective mixing, with stronger convective mixing favoring a single ITCZ. For simulations with a single ITCZ, the CRE maintains the positive, equatorial AEI. To explore the role of the CRE further, we prescribe the CRE as either zero or a meridionally and diurnally varying climatology. Removing the CRE is associated with a reduced equatorial AEI and an increase in the range of convective mixing rates that produce a double ITCZ. Prescribing the CRE reduces the sensitivity of the ITCZ to convective mixing by 50%. In prescribed CRE simulations, other AEIcomponents, in particular the surface latent heat flux, modulate the sensitivity of the AEI to convective mixing. Analysis of the meridional moist static energy transport shows that a shallower Hadley circulation can produce an equatorward energy transport at low latitudes even with equatorial ascent.

Item Type:Article
Refereed:Yes
Divisions:Faculty of Science > School of Mathematical, Physical and Computational Sciences > NCAS
Faculty of Science > School of Mathematical, Physical and Computational Sciences > Department of Meteorology
ID Code:77363
Publisher:American Meteorological Society

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