Madden-Julian Oscillations Seen in the Upper-Troposphere Vorticity Field: Interactions with Rossby Wave Trains
The vorticity variability associated with the Madden-Julian oscillation (MJO) is examined. The analysis is focused on the 150-hPa pressure level, because a clear dipolar-vortex signal, reminiscent of the theoretically proposed strongly nonlinear solitary Rossby wave solution (albeit with the opposite sign), is seen in raw data at that level. A local empirical orthogonal function (EOF) analysis over the equatorial region of the Eastern Hemisphere (0°-180°E) identifies the two principal components representing an eastward propagation of a dipolar vortex trapped to the equator. Association of this propagation structure with the moist convective variability of the MJO is demonstrated by regressing the outgoing longwave radiation (OLR) against this EOF pair. The obtained evolution of the OLR field is similar to the one obtained by a direct application of the EOF to the OLR. A link of the local vorticity variability associated with the MJO to the global dynamics is further investigated by regressing the global vorticity field against the time series of the identified local EOF pair. The Rossby wave trains tend to propagate toward the Indian Ocean from higher latitudes, just prior to an initiation of the MJO, and in turn, they propagate back toward the higher latitudes from the MJO active region over the Indian Ocean. A three-dimensional regression reveals an equivalent barotropic structure of the MJO vortex pair with the signs opposite to those at 150 hPa underneath. A vertical normal mode analysis finds that this vertical structure is dominated by the equivalent height of about 10 km.