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Understanding advances in the simulation of the Madden-Julian Oscillation in a numerical weather prediction model.

Hirons, L. (2012) Understanding advances in the simulation of the Madden-Julian Oscillation in a numerical weather prediction model. PhD thesis, University of Reading

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The Madden-Julian Oscillation (MJO) is the dominant mode of intraseasonal variability in the Trop- ics. It can be characterised as a planetary-scale coupling between the atmospheric circulation and organised deep convection that propagates east through the equatorial Indo-Pacific region. The MJO interacts with weather and climate systems on a near-global scale and is a crucial source of predictability for weather forecasts on medium to seasonal timescales. Despite its global signifi- cance, accurately representing the MJO in numerical weather prediction (NWP) and climate models remains a challenge. This thesis focuses on the representation of the MJO in the Integrated Forecasting System (IFS) at the European Centre for Medium-Range Weather Forecasting (ECMWF), a state-of-the-art NWP model. Recent modifications to the model physics in Cycle 32r3 (Cy32r3) of the IFS led to ad- vances in the simulation of the MJO; for the first time the observed amplitude of the MJO was maintained throughout the integration period. A set of hindcast experiments, which differ only in their formulation of convection, have been performed between May 2008 and April 2009 to asses the sensitivity of MJO simulation in the IFS to the Cy32r3 convective parameterization. Unique to this thesis is the attribution of the advances in MJO simulation in Cy32r3 to the mod- ified convective parameterization, specifically, the relative-humidity-dependent formulation for or- ganised deep entrainment. Increasing the sensitivity of the deep convection scheme to environmen- tal moisture is shown to modify the relationship between precipitation and moisture in the model. Through dry-air entrainment, convective plumes ascending in low-humidity environments terminate lower in the atmosphere. As a result, there is an increase in the occurrence of cumulus congestus, which acts to moisten the mid-troposphere. Due to the modified precipitation-moisture relationship more moisture is able to build up which effectively preconditions the tropical atmosphere for the transition to deep convection. Results from this thesis suggest that a tropospheric moisture control on convection is key to simulating the interaction between the physics and large-scale circulation associated with the MJO.

Item Type:Thesis (PhD)
Thesis Supervisor:Inness, P. and Vitart, F.
Thesis/Report Department:Department of Meteorology
Identification Number/DOI:
Divisions:Science > School of Mathematical, Physical and Computational Sciences > Department of Meteorology
ID Code:57772
Date on Title Page:March 2012

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