Articles written in Journal of Earth System Science
Volume 101 Issue 2 June 1992 pp 153-176
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.
Volume 102 Issue 1 March 1993 pp 49-72
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.