Interannual/decadal variability in MJO activity as diagnosed in the 40-year NCEP/NCAR reanalysis and simulated in an ensemble of GISST integrations
Description: The Madden-Julian Oscillation (MJO) is the dominant mode of tropical variability at intraseasonal timescales. It displays substantial interannual variability in intensity which may have important implications for the predictability of the coupled system. The reasons for this interannual variability are not understood. The interannual behaviour of the MJO has been diagnosed initially in the 40-year NCEP/NCAR Reanalysis by calculating the variance of the 20-100 day filtered zonal mean zonal wind (10 o N-10 o S averaged) in a 100- day moving window. The results suggest that prior to the mid-1970s the activity of the MJO was consistently lower than during the latter part of the record. This may be related to either inadequacies in the data coverage, particularly over the tropical Indian Ocean prior to the introduction of satellite observations, or to the real effects of a decadal timescale warming in the tropical SSTs. This interdecadal trend is captured by the dominant EOF (explaining 28% of the variance) of the monthly mean SSTs (after removal of the mean seasonal cycle), as used in the NCEP/NCAR Reanalysis for the region of the tropics where the MJO is convectively active (i.e., 60 o E-180 o E, 20 o S-20 o N). During the latter part of 1970�s there was an abrupt change from a predominantly negative PC1 (i.e. colder Indian Ocean) to a positive PC1 (i.e. warmer Indian Ocean), indicative of a general warming of the tropical Indian Ocean by at least 0.5 o K over the last 40 years. However, on interannual timescales, the teleconnection patterns between MJO activity and SST show only a weak, barely significant, influence of El Niño in which the MJO is more active during the cold phase. As well as the NCEP/NCAR Reanalysis, a 4-member ensemble of 45 year integrations with the Hadley Centre climate model ...
Date: April 21, 1999
Creator: Nortley, F; Rowell, D P; Slingo, J M & Sperber, K R
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