The Waves to Weather Challenge: Do Large-Scale Equatorial Waves Modulate Regional Rainfall in Southern Vietnam?
Abstract:About 85% of the annual precipitation in southern Vietnam (ca. 8–12°N, 104–110°E) occurs during the southwest monsoon season (June to October). Large-scale equatorial waves like the Madden-Julian Oscillation (MJO) and Convectively Coupled Equatorial Waves (CCEWs) are known to modulate the large-scale convective activity, often indicated by variations in (filtered) satellite-observed outgoing longwave radiation (OLR) anomalies. The present contribution analyses and quantifies the role of the MJO and CCEWs for rainfall not only in southern and central Vietnam as a whole, but also for smaller climatological sub-regions.
Using circum-equatorial NOAA OLR (15°S–15°N), prominent spectral peaks are identified in wavenumber–frequency diagrams along the dispersion curves for the solutions of the shallow water equations. They are interpreted as CCEWs. Meridionally averaged wave-filtered OLR and its time derivatives are used to define phases and amplitudes of CCEWs. This will allow determining active and inactive phases of CCEWs in the vicinity of Vietnam. Eastward propagating deep convection is also related to the 30–90-day MJO. The OLR MJO Index (OMI) is used for the definition of convectively active and inactive phases of the MJO. TRMM 3B42 V7, APHRODITE MA V1101 data, and rain gauge measurements are used to investigate the relation between tropical wave phases and amplitudes and precipitation in southern and central Vietnam and adjacent regions. Results using the OMI are compared with those using the Real-time Multivariate MJO (RMM) Index.
The major findings are: (a) Precipitation amounts in southern Vietnam are higher during convectively active phases of the MJO and CCEWs. The waves differ in terms of their relative importance for rainfall enhancement. (b) For increasing CCEW amplitudes, the difference between area-averaged precipitation during inactive and active phases increases. We provide evidence that precipitation amounts are higher when multiple wave types are in their convectively active phases over the Vietnam region.