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Coupling with ocean mixed layer leads to intraseasonal variability in tropical deep convection: Evidence from cloud‐resolving simulations

Anber, Usama Mostafa; Wang, Shuguang; Sobel, Adam H.

The effect of coupling a slab ocean mixed layer to atmospheric convection is examined in cloud‐resolving model (CRM) simulations in vertically sheared and unsheared environments without Coriolis force, with the large‐scale circulation parameterized using the Weak Temperature Gradient (WTG) approximation. Surface fluxes of heat and moisture as well as radiative fluxes are fully interactive, and the vertical profile of domain‐averaged horizontal wind is strongly relaxed toward specified profiles with vertical shear that varies from one simulation to the next. Vertical wind shear is found to play a critical role in the simulated behavior. There exists a threshold value of the shear strength above which the coupled system develops regular oscillations between deep convection and dry nonprecipitating states, similar to those found earlier in a much more idealized model which did not consider wind shear. The threshold value of the vertical shear found here varies with the depth of the ocean mixed layer. The time scale of the spontaneously generated oscillations also varies with mixed layer depth, from 10 days with a 1 m deep mixed layer to 50 days with a 10 m deep mixed layer. The results suggest the importance of the interplay between convection organized by vertical wind shear, radiative feedbacks, large‐scale dynamics, and ocean mixed layer heat storage in real intraseasonal oscillations.

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Also Published In

Title
Journal of Advanced Modeling Earth Systems
DOI
https://doi.org/10.1002/2016MS000803

More About This Work

Academic Units
Applied Physics and Applied Mathematics
Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory
Published Here
January 22, 2019
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