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  1. Abstract

    The impact of quasi-biweekly variability in the monsoon southwesterly winds on the precipitation diurnal cycle in the Philippines is examined using CMORPH precipitation, ERA5 data, and outgoing longwave radiation (OLR) fields. Both a case study during the 2018 Propagation of Intraseasonal Tropical Oscillations (PISTON) field campaign and a 23-yr composite analysis are used to understand the effect of the quasi-biweekly oscillation (QBWO) on the diurnal cycle. QBWO events in the west Pacific, identified with an extended EOF index, bring increases in moisture, cloudiness, and westerly winds to the Philippines. Such events are associated with significant variability in daily mean precipitation and the diurnal cycle. It is shown that the modulation of the diurnal cycle by the QBWO is remarkably similar to that by the boreal summer intraseasonal oscillation (BSISO). The diurnal cycle reaches maximum amplitude on the western side of the Philippines on days with average to above-average moisture, sufficient insolation, and weakly offshore prevailing wind. This occurs during the transition period from suppressed to active large-scale convection for both the QBWO and BSISO. Westerly monsoon surges associated with QBWO variability generally exhibit active precipitation over the South China Sea (SCS), but a depressed diurnal cycle. These results highlight that modes of large-scale convective variability in the tropics can have a similar impact on the diurnal cycle if they influence the local-scale environmental background state similarly.

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  2. Abstract

    Easterly waves (EWs) are off-equatorial tropical synoptic disturbances with a westward phase speed between 11 and 14 m s−1. Over the east Pacific in boreal summer, the combination of EWs and other synoptic disturbances, plus local mechanisms associated with sea surface temperature (SST) gradients, define the climatological structure of the intertropical convergence zone (ITCZ). The east Pacific ITCZ has both deep and shallow convection that is linked to deep and shallow meridional circulations, respectively. The deep convection is located around 9°N over warm SSTs. The shallow convection is located around 6°N and is driven by the meridional SST gradient south of the ITCZ. This study aims to document the interaction between east Pacific EWs and the deep and shallow meridional circulations during the Organization of Tropical East Pacific Convection (OTREC) field campaign in 2019 using field campaign observations, ERA5, and satellite precipitation. We identified three EWs during the OTREC period using precipitation and dynamical fields. Composite analysis shows that the convectively active part of the EW enhances ITCZ deep convection and is associated with an export of column-integrated moist static energy (MSE) by vertical advection. The subsequent convectively suppressed, anticyclonic part of the EW produces an increase of moisture and column-integrated MSE by horizontal advection that likely enhances shallow convection and the shallow overturning flow at 850 hPa over the southern part of the ITCZ. Therefore, EWs appear to strongly modulate shallow and deep circulations in the east Pacific ITCZ.

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  3. Abstract

    Precipitation in the region surrounding the South China Sea over land and coastal waters exhibits a strong diurnal cycle associated with a land–sea temperature contrast that drives a sea-breeze circulation. The boreal summer intraseasonal oscillation (BSISO) is an important modulator of diurnal precipitation patterns, an understanding of which is a primary goal of the field campaign Propagation of Intraseasonal Tropical Oscillations (PISTON). Using 21 years of CMORPH precipitation for Luzon Island in the northern Philippines, it is shown that the diurnal cycle amplitude is generally maximized over land roughly 1 week before the arrival of the broader oceanic convective envelope associated with the BSISO. A strong diurnal cycle in coastal waters is observed in the transition from the inactive to active phase, associated with offshore propagation of the diurnal cycle. The diurnal cycle amplitude is in phase with daily mean precipitation over Mindanao but is nearly out of phase over Luzon. The BSISO influence on the diurnal cycle on the eastern side of topography is nearly opposite to that on the western side. Using wind, moisture, and radiation products from the ERA5 reanalysis, it is proposed that the enhanced diurnal cycle west of the mountains during BSISO suppressed phases is related to increased insolation and weaker prevailing onshore winds that promote a stronger sea-breeze circulation when compared with the May–October mean state. Offshore propagation is suppressed until ambient midlevel moisture increases over the surrounding oceans during the transition to the active BSISO phase. In BSISO enhanced phases, strong low-level winds and increased cloudiness suppress the sea-breeze circulation.

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  4. Abstract The impact of the environmental background wind on the diurnal cycle near tropical islands is examined in observations and an idealized model. Luzon Island in the northern Philippines is used as an observational test case. Composite diurnal cycles of CMORPH precipitation are constructed based on an index derived from the first empirical orthogonal function (EOF) of ERA5 zonal wind profiles. A strong precipitation diurnal cycle and pronounced offshore propagation in the leeward direction tends to occur on days with a weak, offshore prevailing wind. Strong background winds, particularly in the onshore direction, are associated with a suppressed diurnal cycle. Idealized high resolution 2-D Cloud Model 1 (CM1) simulations test the dependence of the diurnal cycle on environmental wind speed and direction by nudging the model base-state toward composite profiles derived from the reanalysis zonal wind index. These simulations can qualitatively replicate the observed development, strength, and offshore propagation of diurnally generated convection under varying wind regimes. Under strong background winds, the land-sea contrast is reduced, which leads to a substantial reduction in the strength of the sea-breeze circulation and precipitation diurnal cycle. Weak offshore prevailing winds favor a strong diurnal cycle and offshore leeward propagation, with the direction of propagation highly sensitive to the background wind in the lower free troposphere. Offshore propagation speed appears consistent with density current theory rather than a direct coupling to a single gravity wave mode, though gravity waves may contribute to a destabilization of the offshore environment. 
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  5. Changes to the tropical eastern North Pacific Intraseasonal Oscillation (ISO) at the end of the 21st century and implications for tropical cyclone (TC) genesis are examined in the Shared Socioeconomic Pathways (SSP585) scenario of the Coupled Model Intercomparison Project phase 6 (CMIP6) data set. Multimodel mean composite low-level wind and precipitation anomalies associated with the leading intraseasonal mode indicate that precipitation amplitude increases while wind amplitude weakens under global warming, consistent with previous studies for the Indo-Pacific warm pool. The eastern North Pacific intraseasonal precipitation/wind pattern also tends to shift southwestward in a warmer climate, associated with weaker positive precipitation anomalies near the coast of Mexico and Central America during the enhanced convection/westerly wind phase. Implications for the modulation of TC genesis by the leading intraseasonal mode are then explored using an empirical genesis potential index (GPI). In the historical simulation, GPI shows positive anomalies in the eastern North Pacific in the convectively enhanced phase of the ISO. The ISO’s modulation of GPI weakens near the coast of Mexico and Central America with warming, associated with a southward shift of GPI anomalies. Further examination of the contribution from individual environmental variables that enter the GPI shows that relative humidity and vorticity changes during ISO events weaken positive GPI anomalies near the Mexican coast with warming and make genesis more favorable to the southwest. The impact of vertical shear anomaly changes is also to favor genesis away from the coast. These results suggest a weaker modulation of TCs near the Mexican Coast by the ISO in a warmer climate. 
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  6. null (Ed.)
    Abstract This study investigates the transition of a Panama Bight mesoscale convective system (MCS) into the easterly wave (EW) that became Hurricane Carlotta (2012). Reanalysis, observations, and a convective-permitting Weather Research and Forecasting (WRF) Model simulation are used to analyze the processes contributing to EW genesis. A vorticity budget analysis shows that convective coupling and vortex stretching are very important to the transition in this case, while horizontal advection is mostly responsible for the propagation of the system. In the model, the disturbance is dominated by stratiform vertical motion profiles and a midlevel vortex, while the system is less top-heavy and is characterized by more prominent low-level vorticity later in the transition in reanalysis. The developing disturbance starts its evolution as a mesoscale convective system in the Bight of Panama. Leading up to MCS formation the Chocó jet intensifies, and during the MCS-to-EW transition the Papagayo jet strengthens. Differences in the vertical structure of the system between reanalysis and the model suggest that the relatively more bottom-heavy disturbance in reanalysis may have stronger interactions with the Papagayo jet. Field observations like those collected during the Organization of Tropical East Pacific Convection (OTREC) campaign are needed to further our understanding of this east Pacific EW genesis pathway and the factors that influence it, including the important role for the vertical structure of the developing disturbances in the context of the vorticity budget. 
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