Quasi-Biweekly Oscillation of the Convection around Sumatra and Low-Level Tropical Circulation in Boreal Spring

Wen, Min; Zhang, Renhe
January 2008
Monthly Weather Review;Jan2008, Vol. 136 Issue 1, p189
Academic Journal
The quasi-biweekly oscillation (QBWO) of the tropical convection around Sumatra and its relation to the low-level circulation over the tropical Indian Ocean in boreal spring is investigated. From March to May, the convection over northern Sumatra increases continuously and oscillates with a pronounced period of 10–20 days. Time-lag cross correlations among the QBWOs of the convection, the apparent heat source, and winds in the lower troposphere reveal a possible mechanism of QBWO maintenance. In the strongest phase of the QBWO of the convection around Sumatra, there is an anomalous convective heating symmetric about the equator. The atmospheric Rossby wave response to the heating produces twin cyclones straddling the equator in the west of the convection area. The development of the twin cyclones induces an anomalous southerly north of the equator and a northerly south of the equator at 850 hPa, giving rise to the divergence of the low-level wind field, which weakens the convection around Sumatra. The weakening of the convection leads to the negative phase of convection. In the weakest phase, the Rossby wave response to the anomalous convective cooling produces twin anticyclones symmetric about the equator, resulting in the convergence of the low-level winds and, in turn, enhancing the convection around Sumatra. Consequently, the feedbacks among convection, the Rossby wave response, and the associated wind field at the lower troposphere may be important maintenance mechanisms of the tropical QBWO. The appearance of a tropical westerly is a crucial index of the Asian summer monsoon onset. In the northern equatorial region, the westerly first occurs just to the west of Sumatra, and then extends westward in boreal spring. The westerly around the equator associated with the Rossby wave response to the convective heating of the QBWO of the convection around Sumatra displays a notable intraseasonal feature, which may play an important role in modulating the process of the Asian summer monsoon onset.


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