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The diurnal cycle of convection and atmospheric tides in an aquaplanet

Woolnough, S. J. ORCID:, Slingo, J. M. and Hoskins, B. J. (2004) The diurnal cycle of convection and atmospheric tides in an aquaplanet. Journal of the Atmospheric Sciences, 61. pp. 2559-2573. ISSN 1520-0469

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To link to this item DOI: 10.1175/JAS3290.1


The diurnal cycle of tropical convection and its relationship to the atmospheric tides is investigated using an aquaplanet GCM. The diurnal and semidiurnal harmonics of precipitation are both found to contribute significantly to the total diurnal variability of precipitation in the model, which is broadly consistent with observations of the diurnal cycle of convection over the open ocean. The semidiurnal tide is found to be the dominant forcing for the semidiurnal harmonic of precipitation. In contrast the diurnal tide plays only a small role in forcing the diurnal harmonic of precipitation, which is dominated by the variations in shortwave and longwave heating. In both the diurnal and semidiurnal harmonics, the feedback onto the convection by the humidity tendencies due to the convection is found to be important in determining the phase of the harmonics. Further experiments show that the diurnal cycle of precipitation is sensitive to the choice of closure in the convection scheme. While the surface pressure signal of the simulated atmospheric tides in the model agree well with both theory and observations in their magnitude and phase, sensitivity experiments suggest that the role of the stratospheric ozone in forcing the semidiurnal tide is much reduced compared to theoretical predictions. Furthermore, the influence of the cloud radiative effects seems small. It is suggested that the radiative heating profile in the troposphere, associated primarily with the water vapor distribution, is more important than previously thought for driving the semidiurnal tide. However, this result may be sensitive to the vertical resolution and extent of the model.

Item Type:Article
Divisions:Science > School of Mathematical, Physical and Computational Sciences > Department of Meteorology
ID Code:5166
Publisher:American Meteorological Society

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