Physical mechanisms for the maintenance of GCM-simulated Madden-Julian oscillation over the Indian Ocean and Pacific

Liping Deng*, Xiaoqing Wu

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

8 Scopus citations


The kinetic energy budget is conducted to analyze the physical processes responsible for the improved Madden-Julian oscillation (MJO) simulated by the Iowa State University general circulation models (ISUGCMs). The modified deep convection scheme that includes the revised convection closure, convection trigger condition, and convective momentum transport (CMT) enhances the equatorial (10°S-10°N) MJOrelated perturbation kinetic energy (PKE) in the upper troposphere and leads to a more robust and coherent eastward-propagating MJO signal. In the MJO source region, the Indian Ocean (45°-120°E), the uppertropospheric MJO PKE is maintained by the vertical convergence of wave energy flux and the barotropic conversion through the horizontal shear of mean flow. In the convectively active region, the western Pacific (120°E-180°), the upper-tropospheric MJO PKE is supported by the convergence of horizontal and vertical wave energy fluxes. Over the central-eastern Pacific (180°-120°W), where convection is suppressed, the upper-tropospheric MJO PKE is mainly due to the horizontal convergence of wave energy flux. The deep convection trigger condition produces stronger convective heating that enhances the perturbation available potential energy (PAPE) production and the upward wave energy fluxes and leads to the increased MJOPKE over the Indian Ocean and western Pacific. The trigger condition also enhances the MJO PKE over the central-eastern Pacific through the increased convergence of meridional wave energy flux from the subtropical latitudes of both hemispheres. The revised convection closure affects the response of mean zonal wind shear to the convective heating over the Indian Ocean and leads to the enhanced upper-tropospheric MJO PKE through the barotropic conversion. The stronger eastward wave energy flux due to the increase of convective heating over the Indian Ocean and western Pacific by the revised closure is favorable to the eastward propagation of MJO and the convergence of horizontal wave energy flux over the central-eastern Pacific. The convection-induced momentum tendency tends to decelerate the upper-tropospheric wind, which results in a negative work to the PKE budget in the upper troposphere. However, the convection momentum tendency accelerates the westerly wind below 800 hPa over the western Pacific, which is partially responsible for the improved MJO simulation.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)2469-2482
Number of pages14
Issue number10
StatePublished - May 2011
Externally publishedYes


  • General circulation models
  • Indian Ocean
  • Madden-Julian oscillation
  • Pacific Ocean

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Atmospheric Science


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