Vertical cloud structures of the boreal summer intraseasonal variability based...

Jiang, X., D. E. Waliser, and J. Li (2011), Vertical cloud structures of the boreal summer intraseasonal variability based on CloudSat observations and ERA-interim reanalysis, Clim. Dyn., 36, 2219-2232, doi:10.1007/s00382-010-0853-8.

The boreal summer intraseasonal variability (BSISV), which is characterized by pronounced meridional propagation from the equatorial zone to the Indian Continent, exerts significant modulation of the active/break phases of the south Asian monsoon. This form of variability provides a primary source of subseasonal predictive skill of the Asian summer monsoon. Unfortunately, current general circulation models display large deficiencies in representing this variability. The new cloud observations made available by the CloudSat mission provide an unprecedented opportunity to advance our characterization of the BSISV. In this study, the vertical structures of cloud water content and cloud types associated with the BSISV over the Indian Ocean and subcontinent are analyzed based on CloudSat observations from 2006 to 2008. These cloud structures are also compared to their counterparts as derived from ERA-interim reanalysis. A marked vertical tilting structure in cloud water is illustrated during the northward propagation of the BSISV based on both datasets. Increased cloud liquid water content (LWC) tends to appear to the north of the rainfall maximum, while ice water content (IWC) in the upper troposphere slightly lags the convection. This northward shift of increased LWC, which is in accord with local enhanced moisture as previously documented, may play an important role in the northward propagation of the BSISV. The transition in cloud structures associated with BSISV convection is further demonstrated based on CloudSat, with shallow cumuli at the leading edge, followed by the deep convective clouds, and then upper anvil clouds. Some differences in cloud water structures between CloudSat and ERA-interim are also noted, particularly in the amplitudes of IWC and LWC fields.

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