• B N Goswami

      Articles written in Journal of Earth System Science

    • Role of barotropic, baroclinic and combined barotropic-baroclinic instability for the growth of monsoon depressions and mid-tropospheric cyclones

      B N Goswami R N Keshavamurty V Satyan

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      A detailed barotropic, baroclinic and combined barotropic-baroclinic stability analysis has been carried out with mean monsoon zonal currents over western India, eastern India and S.E. Asia. The lower and middle tropospheric zonal wind profiles over western India are barotropically unstable. The structure and growth rate of these modes agree well with the observed features of the midtropospheric cyclones. Similar profiles over eastern India and S.E. Asia, however, are barotropically stable. This is attributed to weak horizontal shear, inherent to these profiles. The upper tropospheric profiles, on the other hand, are barotropically unstable throughout the whole region. The features of these unstable modes agree with those of observed easterly waves. The baroclinic and combined barotropic-baroclinic stability analyses show that the baroclinic effects are not important in tropics.

      Though the barotropic instability of the mean zonal current seems to be res ponsible for the initial growth of the mid-tropospheric cyclones, neither barotropic nor baroclinic instability of the mean zonal current seem to explain the observed features of the monsoon depressions.

    • The sensitivity of the northern hemisphere summer mean meridional circulation to changes in the large scale eddy forcing

      B N Goswami

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      A zonally averaged version of the Goddard Laboratory for Atmospheric Sciences (GLAS) climate model is used to study the sensitivity of the northern hemisphere (NH) summer mean meridional circulation to changes in the large scale eddy forcing. A standard solution is obtained by prescribing the latent heating field and climatological horizontal transports of heat and momentum by the eddies. The radiative heating and surface fluxes are calculated by model parameterizations. This standard solution is compared with the results of several sensitivity studies. When the eddy forcing is reduced to 0.5 times or increased to 1.5 times the climatological values, the strength of the Ferrel cells decrease or increase proportionally. It is also seen that such changes in the eddy forcing can influence the strength of theNH Hadley cell significantly. Possible impact of such changes in the large scale eddy forcing on the monsoon circulation via changes in the Hadley circulation is discussed. Sensitivity experiments including only one component of eddy forcing at a time show that the eddy momentum fluxes seem to be more important in maintaining the Ferrel cells than the eddy heat fluxes. In the absence of the eddy heat fluxes, the observed eddy momentum fluxes alone produce subtropical westerly jets which are weaker than those in the standard solution. On the other hand, the observed eddy heat fluxes alone produce subtropical westerly jets which are stronger than those in the standard solution.

    • On the stability of a coupled ocean atmosphere system in the presence of wave-CISK

      Sudha Selvarajan B N Goswami

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      The stability of a simple coupled ocean-atmosphere system similar to the one studied by Hirst with general ocean thermodynamics is investigated in which the atmospheric heating is determined by sea surface temperature anomalies as well as the convergence feedback (low level moisture convergence by the waves themselves). It is shown that the unstable coupled mode found by Hirst (UH mode) is profoundly modified by the convergence feedback. The feedback increases the unstable range of the UH mode and can increase its growth rate several folds. The maximally growing UH mode can become westward propagating for certain strength of convergence feedback. If the convergence feedback strength exceeds a critical value, several new unstable intraseasonal modes are also introduced. These modes are basically ‘advective’ modes. For relatively weak strengths of the convergence feedback the growth rates of these modes are smaller than that of the UH mode. As the atmosphere approaches ‘moist neutral’ state, the growth rates of these modes could become comparable or even larger than that of the UH mode. It is argued that these results explain why the El Nino and Southern Oscillation (ENSO) signal is clear in the eastern Pacific but not so in the western Pacific and they may also explain some of the differences between individual ENSO events. Our results also explain the aperiodic behaviour of some coupled numerical models. Importance of this process in explaining the observed aperiodicity of the ENSO phenomenon is indicated.

    • Mechanisms of variability and predictability of the tropical coupled ocean-atmosphere system

      B N Goswami Sudha Selvarajan V Krishnamurthy

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      A conceptual model is proposed to explain the observed aperiodicity in the short term climate fluctuations of the tropical coupled ocean-atmosphere system. This is based on the evidence presented here that the tropical coupled ocean-atmosphere system sustains a low frequency inter-annual mode and a host of higher frequency intra-seasonal unstable modes. At long wavelengths, the low frequency mode is dominant while at short wavelengths, the high frequency modes are dominant resulting in the co-existence of a long wave low frequency mode with some short wave intra-seasonal modes in the tropical coupled system. It is argued that due to its long wavelength, the low frequency mode would behave like a linear oscillator while the higher frequency short wave modes would be nonlinear. The conceptual model envisages that an interaction between the low frequency linear oscillator and the high frequency nonlinear oscillations results in the observed aperiodicity of the tropical coupled system. This is illustrated by representing the higher frequency intra-seasonal oscillations by a nonlinear low order model which is then coupled to a linear oscillator with a periodicity of four years. The physical mechanism resulting in the aperiodicity in the low frequency oscillations and implications of these results on the predictability of the coupled system are discussed.

    • Intraseasonal oscillations and interannual variability of surface winds over the Indian monsoon region

      B N Goswami D Sengupta G Suresh Kumar

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      The role of intraseasonal oscillations (ISOs) in modulating synoptic and interannual variations of surface winds over the Indian monsoon region is studied using daily averaged National Centers for Environmental Prediction/National Centre for Atmospheric Research (NCEP/NCAR) reanalyses for the period 1987–1996. Two dominant ISOs are found in all years, with a period between 30–60 days and 10–20 days respectively. Although the ISOs themselves explain only about 10–25% of the daily variance, the spatial structure of variance of the ISOs is found to be nearly identical to that of high frequency activity (synoptic disturbances), indicating a significant control by the ISOs in determining the synoptic variations. Zonal and meridional propagation characteristics of the two modes and their interannual variability are studied in detail.

      The synoptic structure of the 30–60 day mode is similar in all years and is shown to be intimately related to the strong (‘active’) or weak (‘break’) phases of the Indian summer monsoon circulation. The peak (trough) phase of the mode in the north Bay of Bengal corresponds to the ‘active’ (‘break’) phase of monsoon strengthening (weakening) the entire large scale monsoon circulation. The ISOs modulate synoptic activity through the intensification or weakening of the large scale monsoon flow (monsoon trough). The peak wind anomalies associated with these ISOs could be as large as 30% of the seasonal mean winds in many regions. The vorticity pattern associated with the 30–60 day mode has a bi-modal meridional structure similar to the one associated with the seasonal mean winds but with a smaller meridional scale. The spatial structure of the 30–60 day mode is consistent with fluctuations of the tropical convergence zone (TCZ) between one continental and an equatorial Indian Ocean position. The 10–20 day mode has maximum amplitude in the north Bay of Bengal, where it is comparable to that of the 30–60 day mode. Elsewhere in the Indian Ocean, this mode is almost always weaker than the 30–60 day mode. In the Bay of Bengal region, the wind curl anomalies associated with the peak phases of the ISOs could be as large as 50% of the seasonal mean wind curl. Hence, ISOs in this region could drive significant ISOs in the ocean and might influence the seasonal mean currents in the Bay.

      On the interannual time scale, the NCEP/NCAR reanalysed wind stress is compared with the Florida State University monthly mean stress. The seasonal mean stress as well as interannual standard deviation of monthly stress from the two analyses agree well, indicating absence of any serious systematic bias in the NCEP/NCAR reanalysed winds. It is also found that the composite structure of the 30–60 day mode is strikingly similar to the dominant mode of interannual variability of the seasonal mean winds indicating a strong link between the ISOs and the seasonal mean. The ISO influences the seasonal mean and its interannual variability either through increased/decreased residence time of the TCZ in the continental position or through occurrence of stronger/weaker active/break spells. Thus, the ISOs seem to modulate all variability in this region from synoptic to interannual scales.

    • Indian Ocean surface winds from NCMRWF analysis as compared to QuikSCAT and moored buoy winds

      B N Goswami E N Rajagopal

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      The quality of the surface wind analysis at the National Centre for Medium Range Weather Forecasts (NCMRWF), New Delhi over the tropical Indian Ocean and its improvement in 2001 are examined by comparing it within situ buoy measurements and satellite derived surface winds from NASA QuikSCAT satellite (QSCT) during 1999, 2000 and 2001. The NCMRWF surface winds suffered from easterly bias of 1.0–1.5 ms-1 in the equatorial Indian Ocean (IO) and northerly bias of 2.0–3.0 ms-1 in the south equatorial IO during 1999 and 2000 compared to QSCT winds. The amplitude of daily variability was also underestimated compared to that in QSCT. In particular, the amplitude of daily variability of NCMRWF winds in the eastern equatorial IO was only about 60% of that of QSCT during 1999 and 2000. The NCMRWF surface winds during 2001 have significantly improved with the bias of the mean analyzed winds considerably reduced everywhere bringing it to within 0.5 ms-1 of QSCT winds in the equatorial IO. The amplitude and phase of daily and intraseasonal variability are very close to that in QSCT almost everywhere during 2001. It is shown that the weakness in the surface wind analysis during 1999 and 2000 and its improvement in 2001 are related to the weakness in simulation of precipitation by the forecast model in the equatorial IO and its improvement in 2001.

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