The impact of the initial flow on the extratropical response to Madden Julian Oscillation convective heating

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Thursday, 8 January 2015: 2:00 PM
122BC (Phoenix Convention Center - West and North Buildings)
Michael Goss, Pennsylvania State University, University Park, PA; and S. B. Feldstein

The response to the Madden-Julian Oscillation (MJO) over the Pacific-North American (PNA) region is investigated. In addition, the sensitivity of this response to the interaction between MJO forcing and the extratropical initial flow is explored. First, a simple dynamical model is run with an ensemble of 100 randomly-selected initial conditions from ERA-Interim Reanalysis data, with no heating, MJO phase 1-like heating, and MJO phase 5-like heating. The 300-hPa geopotential height field is separated into a part that would evolve without an active MJO present, and a part that is a consequence of the MJO heating. A negative 300-hPa geopotential height anomaly centered over northeastern China bounded by positive anomalies on its equatorward and poleward flanks is found to be followed by a large amplitude negative PNA-like response for MJO phase 1 and a positive PNA-like response for phase 5.

A similar study is carried out using observational data. An analog approach—using projections to determine the analogs—is used to approximate the part of the flow that results from the MJO heating. The composite initial flow that corresponds to a large MJO response in observational data somewhat matches that in the model, though there is more variability between phases. Finally, the analog method is used to examine questions related to predictability and the MJO. It is found that predictability is improved by taking into account the presence of the MJO and by choosing analogs with high projections. The presence of an active MJO also increases predictability.