A possible new mechanism for northward propagation of boreal summer intraseasonal oscillations based on TRMM and MERRA reanalysis

Abhik Santra, Madhuparna Halder, P Mukhopadhyay, Xianan Jiang, Bhupendra Nath Goswami

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Boreal summer intraseasonal oscillations (BSISOs) manifest in the active and break spells and act as the primary building block of the Indian summer monsoon. Although recent research has evolved a basic framework for understanding the scale selection and northward propagation of the BSISO, the role of different hydrometeors in modulating these processes remains poorly explored. In this study, TRMM-2A12 retrievals and Modern Era Retrospective-analysis for Research and Applications reanalysis data are examined to establish relationship between cloud hydrometeors and other atmospheric dynamical parameters with the northward propagation of the BSISOs. The study reveals that the cloud liquid water leads the deep convection during the northward propagation of BSISOs in the lower troposphere, while the cloud ice slightly lags the convection. This distribution indicates the occurrence of a possible mechanism of the lower level moistening through the large scale moisture advection in lower atmosphere and boundary layer (PBL) convergence, followed by triggering of the deep convection. The analyses of moisture advection and the dynamical fields with respect to the convection center show that low level moistening is a manifestation of the barotropic vorticity and PBL convergence of moisture anomaly north of the convection center. A new internal dynamical-thermodynamical mechanism is unraveled to understand the reason behind the middle tropospheric heating maximum and its role on the northward propagation. It is shown that the enhanced moisture perturbation in lower levels together with the heat transport by the sub-grid scale eddies within the PBL induces lower level instability required to precondition the lower atmosphere for triggering the deep convection. Vigorous upward motion inside the deep convection uplifts the liquid hydrometeors to upper levels and the formation of precipitable ice leads to the heating maxima in the middle troposphere. To check the robustness of the proposed hypothesis, similar analysis is performed for the weak northward propagating BSISO cases.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1611 - 1624
Number of pages14
JournalClimate Dynamics
Issue number7-8
Publication statusPublished - 2013
Externally publishedYes

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