The Diurnal Cycle over the Maritime Continent and its Interaction with the MJO

Monday, 15 December 2014: 5:45 PM
Adrian John Matthews1, Simon Peatman2, Dariusz B Baranowski3, David P Stevens2, Karen J Heywood4, Piotr J Flatau5 and Sunke Schmidtko6, (1)University of East Anglia, Centre for Ocean and Atmospheric Sciences, Norwich, NR4, United Kingdom, (2)University of East Anglia, Norwich, United Kingdom, (3)University of Warsaw, Warsaw, Poland, (4)University of East Anglia, Norwich, NR4, United Kingdom, (5)University of California San Diego, La Jolla, CA, United States, (6)GEOMAR Helmholtz Centre for Ocean Research Kiel, Kiel, Germany
The complex land-sea distribution and topography of the maritime continent acts to disrupt or even completely block the eastward propagation of the Madden-Julian Oscillation (MJO) from the Indian Ocean to the western Pacific. This leads to changes in tropical latent heat release and subsequent impacts on global circulation. Convection over the maritime continent is dominated by the diurnal cycle. Where the mean diurnal cycle is strong (over the islands and surrounding seas), 80% of the MJO precipitation signal in the maritime continent is accounted for by changes in the amplitude of the diurnal cycle. The canonical view of the MJO as the smooth eastward propagation of a large-scale precipitation envelope also breaks down over the islands of the Maritime Continent. Instead, a vanguard of precipitation jumps ahead of the main body by approximately 6 days or 2000 km. Hence, there can be enhanced precipitation over Sumatra, Borneo or New Guinea when the large-scale MJO envelope over the surrounding ocean is one of suppressed precipitation. This behaviour is discussed in terms of an interaction between the diurnal cycle and the MJO circulation. The diurnal cycle is also strong in the ocean. Seaglider measurements taken during the CINDY/DYNAMO campaign show the existence of a diurnal warm layer in the upper few metres of the ocean. This has a significant effect on the surface fluxes, of an order of Watts per square metre. The diurnal warm layer is favoured during the inactive phase of the MJO and may act to help precondition the atmosphere to convection. The activities of the MJO Task Force and Subseasonal to Seasonal Prediction project will be discussed in this context.