Impacts of Shallow Convection on MJO Simulation: A Moist Static Energy and Moisture Budget Analysis

TitleImpacts of Shallow Convection on MJO Simulation: A Moist Static Energy and Moisture Budget Analysis
Publication TypeJournal Article
Year of Publication2013
AuthorsCai QQ, Zhang GJ, Zhou TJ
JournalJournal of Climate
Date Published2013/04
Type of ArticleArticle
ISBN Number0894-8755
Accession NumberWOS:000317954700001
Keywordsatmospheric model; climate model; cumulus convection; madden-julian oscillation; parameterization; precipitation; superparameterized cam; temperature; thermodynamic structure; tropical intraseasonal oscillation

The role of shallow convection in Madden-Julian oscillation (MJO) simulation is examined in terms of the moist static energy (MSE) and moisture budgets. Two experiments are carried out using the NCAR Community Atmosphere Model, version 3.0 (CAM3.0): a "CTL'' run and an "NSC'' run that is the same as the CTL except with shallow convection disabled below 700 hPa between 20 degrees S and 20 degrees N. Although the major features in the mean state of outgoing longwave radiation, 850-hPa winds, and vertical structure of specific humidity are reasonably reproduced in both simulations, moisture and clouds are more confined to the planetary boundary layer in the NSC run. While the CTL run gives a better simulation of the MJO life cycle when compared with the reanalysis data, the NSC shows a substantially weaker MJO signal. Both the reanalysis data and simulations show a recharge-discharge mechanism in the MSE evolution that is dominated by the moisture anomalies. However, in the NSC the development of MSE and moisture anomalies is weaker and confined to a shallow layer at the developing phases, which may prevent further development of deep convection. By conducting the budget analysis on both the MSE and moisture, it is found that the major biases in the NSC run are largely attributed to the vertical and horizontal advection. Without shallow convection, the lack of gradual deepening of upward motion during the developing stage of MJO prevents the lower troposphere above the boundary layer from being preconditioned for deep convection.