From the Mesoscale to the Global Scale: Ed Zipser's Intuition and Its Importance to Tropical Meteorology and Climate

Thursday, 21 April 2016: 1:45 PM
Miramar 1 & 2 (The Condado Hilton Plaza)
Courtney Schumacher, Texas A&M Univ., College Station, TX; and F. Ahmed and A. Funk

Ed Zipser's work in the Line Islands and GATE laid the groundwork for decades of research on the importance of the mesoscale in tropical convection. In particular, his early results emphasized the need for better understanding and observations of the stratiform regions of convective systems. His subsequent fieldwork continued to inform and refine our understanding of convective organization and took a notable global turn with the launch of the TRMM satellite. This talk will present two new results using TRMM observations that further highlight the importance of stratiform rain and it relationship to the larger scale tropical atmosphere. The first finding is that the rapid pick-up in tropical precipitation-column moisture relationship is dominated by stratiform rain, while deep convective precipitation shows only a weak pick-up with increase in column moisture. Further, the rapid pick-up in rainfall is due to an increase in rain area rather than rainfall intensity. The second finding is the existence of a stratiform rain shadow along the large islands of the western Maritime Continent that we postulate represents a roadblock to the eastward propagation of the Madden-Julian Oscillation over the Maritime Continent.
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