Air–Sea Interactions from Westerly Wind Bursts During the November 2011 MJO in the Indian Ocean

Moum, James N.; de Szoeke, Simon P.; Smyth, William D.; Edson, James B.; DeWitt, H. Langley; Moulin, Aurélie J.; Thompson, Elizabeth J.; Zappa, Christopher J.; Rutledge, Steven A.; Johnson, Richard H.; Fairall, Christopher W.

The life cycles of three Madden–Julian oscillation (MJO) events were observed over the Indian Ocean as part of the Dynamics of the MJO (DYNAMO) experiment. During November 2011 near 0°, 80°E, the site of the research vessel Roger Revelle, the authors observed intense multiscale interactions within an MJO convective envelope, including exchanges between synoptic, meso, convective, and turbulence scales in both atmosphere and ocean and complicated by a developing tropical cyclone. Embedded within the MJO event, two bursts of sustained westerly wind (>10 m s−1; 0–8-km height) and enhanced precipitation passed over the ship, each propagating eastward as convectively coupled Kelvin waves at an average speed of 8.6 m s−1. The ocean response was rapid, energetic, and complex. The Yoshida–Wyrtki jet at the equator accelerated from less than 0.5 m s−1 to more than 1.5 m s−1 in 2 days. This doubled the eastward transport along the ocean's equatorial waveguide. Oceanic (subsurface) turbulent heat fluxes were comparable to atmospheric surface fluxes, thus playing a comparable role in cooling the sea surface. The sustained eastward surface jet continued to energize shear-driven entrainment at its base (near 100-m depth) after the MJO wind bursts subsided, thereby further modifying sea surface temperature for a period of several weeks after the storms had passed.

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Bulletin of the American Meteorological Society

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Academic Units
Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory
Ocean and Climate Physics
American Meteorological Society
Published Here
February 24, 2016