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  1. Abstract

    We examine the hypothesis that the observed connection between the stratospheric quasi-biennial oscillation (QBO) and the strength of the Madden–Julian oscillation (MJO) is modulated by the sea surface temperature (SST)—for example, by El Niño–Southern Oscillation (ENSO). A composite analysis shows that, globally, La Niña SSTs are remarkably similar to those that occur during the easterly phase of the QBO. A maximum covariance analysis suggests that MJO power and SST are strongly linked on both the ENSO time scale and the QBO time scale. We analyze simulations with a modified configuration of version 2 of the Community Earth System Model, with a high top and fine vertical resolution. The model is able to simulate ENSO, the QBO, and the MJO. The ocean-coupled version of the model simulates the QBO, ENSO, and MJO, but does not simulate the observed QBO–MJO connection. When driven with prescribed observed SST anomalies based on composites for QBO east and QBO west (QBOE and QBOW), however, the same atmospheric model produces a modest enhancement of MJO power during QBOE relative to QBOW, as observed. We explore the possibility that the SST anomalies are forced by the QBO itself. Indeed, composite Hovmöller diagrams based on observations show the propagation of QBO zonal wind anomalies all the way from the upper stratosphere to the surface. Also, subsurface ocean temperature composites reveal a similarity between the western Pacific and Indian Ocean subsurface signal between La Niña and QBOE.

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  2. Abstract

    Tropical South America plays a central role in global climate. Bowen ratio teleconnects to circulation and precipitation processes far afield, and the global CO2growth rate is strongly influenced by carbon cycle processes in South America. However, quantification of basin‐wide seasonality of flux partitioning between latent and sensible heat, the response to anomalies around climatic norms, and understanding of the processes and mechanisms that control the carbon cycle remains elusive. Here, we investigate simulated surface‐atmosphere interaction at a single site in Brazil, using models with different representations of precipitation and cloud processes, as well as differences in scale of coupling between the surface and atmosphere. We find that the model with parameterized clouds/precipitation has a tendency toward unrealistic perpetual light precipitation, while models with explicit treatment of clouds produce more intense and less frequent rain. Models that couple the surface to the atmosphere on the scale of kilometers, as opposed to tens or hundreds of kilometers, produce even more realistic distributions of rainfall. Rainfall intensity has direct consequences for the “fate of water,” or the pathway that a hydrometeor follows once it interacts with the surface. We find that the model with explicit treatment of cloud processes, coupled to the surface at small scales, is the most realistic when compared to observations. These results have implications for simulations of global climate, as the use of models with explicit (as opposed to parameterized) cloud representations becomes more widespread.

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