Diurnal Cycle of Convective Cloud Systems over the Maritime Continent and Its Variability During MJO

Tuesday, 15 December 2015: 10:50
3008 (Moscone West)
Shuyi S Chen, University of Miami, Miami, FL, United States
It has been well documented that the diurnal maximum of convection and precipitation is observed during the morning hours (AM) over the ocean, whereas the maximum is during the afternoon hours (PM) over land. However, the difference between AM and PM precipitation in the coastal/adjacent seas over the Maritime Continent (MC) is 2-3 times larger than anywhere else in the tropics. Most large mesoscale convective systems (MCSs) during the local active phases of the MJO are over water of the MC. This makes the convective signals of the Madden-Julian Oscillation (MJO) much larger over the water than over the islands when the MJO moves through the MC. In this study, we examine the diurnal cycle of formation, propagation, and dissipation of MCSs by tracking cloud clusters in time and space using hourly satellite IR data and 3-hourly TRMM data. It is found that the large AM precipitation over the adjacent seas is a result of the propagating MCSs from the islands to the sea during the night, which are forced by the enhanced land breeze from the high mountains of the islands in the MC. MCSs can also initiate over the seas during the diurnal maximum of SST in the afternoon and continue to grow into the night and maximize during the early morning. The diurnal cycle of convection is modulated by the MJO. The two factors together may explain the large diurnal amplitude over the adjacent seas of the MC than that of the open ocean. The complex interactions of the convection, local and large-scale circulation, and the unique land-sea geography of the MC are further investigated using a high-resolution, coupled atmosphere-ocean model. The result indicates that the diurnal cycle of SST is affected by the tidal mixing in the ocean, which may be an important factor contributing to the air-sea interaction on the diurnal and MJO time scales.