National Weather Center Colloquium
The role of low-level convective heating in tropical weather and climate
Dr. Courtney Schumacher
Department of Atmospheric Sciences
Texas A&M University
21 January 2014, 4:00 PM
National Weather Center, Room 1313
120 David L. Boren Blvd.
University of Oklahoma
Reception at 3:30
The heating associated with precipitating convective systems in the tropics is a fundamental driver of the large-scale circulation. While past work has stressed the importance of upper level heating associated with the stratiform rain and anvil components of MCSs, certain weather and climate phenomena appear to be more sensitive to low-level convective heating based on theory and models (including reanalyses). These phenomena include the Madden-Julian Oscillation (MJO) in the Indian Ocean and the Walker circulation in the Pacific Ocean. While shallow convective clouds are prevalent in both of these basins, observational retrievals simply do not match the magnitude of low-level convective heating suggested by theory and models during the initiation of the MJO in the central Indian Ocean and in the descending branch of the Walker circulation in the East Pacific. This presentation will show the state-of-the-art representation of heating in these basins based on modern reanalyses and satellite observations and will address whether the clouds we observe are capable of the low-level response being attributed to them.
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