J. Atmos. Sci., 47, 357-379

Development Characteristics and Dynamic Structure of Tropical Intraseasonal Convection Anomalies

Hualan RUI and Bin WANG
Department of Meteorology, University of Hawaii at Manoa, Honolulu, Hawaii

(Manuscript received 29 November 1988, in final form 30 August 1989)


The development and dynamical structure of intraseasonal low-frequency convection anomalies in the equatorial region are investigated using 10 years (1975-85) of outgoing longwave radiation (OLR) and 7 years (1979-85) of 200 and 850 mb wind data.

The composite OLR anomalies for 36 cases show a four-stage development process: initiation over equatorial Africa, rapid intensification when passing through the Indian Ocean, mature evolution characterized by a weakening in the maritime continent and redevelopment over the western Pacific, and dissipation near the date line in moderate events or emanation from the equator toward North America and southeastern Pacific in strong events.

A noticeable feature in vertical structure is that the 850 mb convergence leads convection and midtropospheric upward motion by about 30 degrees longitude in both developing and mature phases. Equatorial upper- (lower-) level easterly (westerly) anomalies and associated twin anomalous anticyclonic (cyclonic) circulation anomalies couple with equatorial convection anomalies. The wind anomalies, however, generally lag convection anomalies in development and early mature phases, but nearly overlap in late mature phase and slightly lead the convection anomalies in dissipation phase. The upper-level twin cyclonic cells associated with the westerly anomalies in front of the convection travel across eastern Pacific after the convection ceases in the central Pacific, while the low-level wind anomalies die out east of the date line.

The implications of the findings in relation to theoretical hypotheses on low-frequency motion are discussed.

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