The Madden-Julian OscillationATS 553
Intraseasonal OscillationsAny quasiperiodic atmospheric fluctuation that is:Longer than synoptic features, butShorter than the components of the annual cycle.
Madden-Julian OscillationThe most famous and most important of the ISOs.
A pattern of tropical convection in which a given location experiences enhanced precipitation about every 40-50 days.
How MJO was discoveredIn the 1960s and 1970s, new computer power created the ability to look for patterns in meteorological observations.
Could only look for patterns in TIME (at a location), not SPACE (at a given time).
Tended to detect OSCILLATIONS.
What They FoundSurface pressure oscillates with a period of 40-50 days.ZONAL winds in the lower and upper troposphere also oscillate at this frequency, but 180 out-of-phase.The signal was limited to the deep tropics.They found little signal in the meridional wind, or in zonal winds in the midtroposphere.
Their InterpretationMJO is a region of low-level convergence and convection.Propagating eastward only.Circumnavigates the globe in 40-50 days.
Their InterpretationPressure is LOW in the region of strongest convection.
Upper-level outflow is only in the zonal direction.
Kelvin Waves in the Atmosphere
Kelvin Waves in the Atmosphere
Features:Enhanced tradewinds AHEAD of the convection.
Features:Weak tradewindsmaybe even westerliesbehind the convection.
Features:Alternating areas of high and low pressure.HLH
Features:Alternating areas of high and low OLR values!HLH
Features:Notice that there shouldnt be much signal in the midtropospheric winds!
Features:An area of upper-tropospheric DIVERGENCE, best seen in the VELOCITY POTENTIAL.
Circumnavigating the Globe?Madden and Julian originally believed that this area of convection propagated all the way around the world every 40-50 days.
But this isnt exactly right.
Circumnavigating the Globe?Rather, the convection is TRIGGERED in the eastern Indian Ocean (typically by intruding midlatitude systems).Convection dies out in the eastern Pacific due to cold SSTs
Circumnavigating the Globe?However, the region of upper-level divergence WILL generally travel all the way around the world as a Kelvin Wave.
Kelvin Waves and the Walker Circulation
Kelvin Waves and the Walker CirculationInitially OPPOSES the Walker CirculationLater ENHANCES the Walker Circulation!
Kelvin Waves and the Walker CirculationLater, it OPPOSES the Walker Circulation and the trade winds in the Pacific!
Kelvin Waves and the Walker CirculationHowever, these tradewinds are what maintained the high sea surface temperatures and heights of the western Pacific Warm Pool
El Nino and the MJOMJO events can TRIGGER El Nino events by weakening the trade winds (or even having a WESTERLY WIND BURST).
El Nino and the MJOWhy doesnt EVERY MJO trigger an El Nino event?CHARGE/DISCHARGE THEORY:MJO is the TRIGGERit happens much more often than the El Nino event itself.Not every trigger is exactly right.Even when the trigger is right, maybe ocean conditions are not yet right.A partial explanation for the timing of ENSO.
An MJO thats a little off the equator
A very short MJO
An MJO from the southwest
Triggering MJO EventsAn MJO event in the Indian Ocean upsets the SSTs.It takes time for the SSTs to recover.Any intruding midlatitude systems during this period will FAIL to trigger an MJO event.
Only when the environment is ready (another 40-50 days) will the next midlatitude system be able to trigger a new MJO!
What are MJO events?Described by Nakazawas Hierarchy of Convection
What are MJO events?Each MJO event is actually composed of a small number of super cloud clusters--SCCs
What are MJO events?SCCs:Move EASTWARDLast a day or two
What are MJO events?What are SCCs?Made of Cloud Clusters (CCs)
What are MJO events?What are CCs?Small groups of thunderstormsLast less than a dayMove WESTWARD