J. Climate, 7, 1109-11118

Climatic Regimes of Tropical Convection and Rainfall

Department of Meteorology, School of Ocean and Earth Science and Technology
University of Hawaii, Honolulu, Hawaii

(Manuscript received 3 July 1992, in final form 10 May 1993) ABSTRACT

Annual distribution and phase propagation of tropical convection are delineated using harmonic and amplitude-phase characteristics analysis of climatological pentad mean outgoing longwave radiation and monthly frequencies of highly reflective cloud.

An annual eastward propagation of peak rainy season along the equator from the central Indian Ocean (60E) to Arafura Sea (130E) is revealed. This indicates a transition from the withdrawal of the Indian summer monsoon to the onset of the Australian summer monsoon. Significant bimodal variations are found around major summer monsoon regions. These variations originate from the interference of two adjacent regimes.

The convergence zones over the eastern North Pacific, the South Pacific, and the southwest Indian Ocean are identified as a marine monsoon regime that is characterized by a unimodal variation with a concentrated summer rainfall associated with the development of surface westerlies equatorward of a monsoon trough. Conversely, the central North Pacific and North Atlantic convergence zones between persistent northeast and southeast trades are classified as trade-wind convergence zones, which differ from the marine monsoon regime by their persistent rainy season and characteristic bimodal variation with peak rainy seasons occurring in late spring and fall.

The roles of the annual march of sea surface temperature in the phase propagation and formation of various climatic regimes of tropical convection are also discussed.

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