AbstractThe spatial and temporal distribution of upper-tropospheric humidity (UTH) observed by the Sounder for Atmospheric Profiling of Humidity in the Intertropics by Radiometry (SAPHIR)/Megha-Tropiques radiometer is analyzed over two subregions of the Indian Ocean during October–December over 2011–14. The properties of the distribution of UTH were studied with regard to the phase of the Madden–Julian oscillation (active or suppressed) and large-scale advection versus local production of moisture. To address these topics, first, a Lagrangian back-trajectory transport model was used to assess the role of the large-scale transport of air masses in the intraseasonal variability of UTH. Second, the temporal evolution of the distribution of UTH is analyzed using the computation of the higher moments of its probability distribution function (PDF) defined for each time step over the domain. The results highlight significant differences in the PDF of UTH depending on the phase of the MJO. The modeled trajectories ending in the considered domain originate from an area that strongly varies depending on the phases of the MJO: during the active phases, the air masses are spatially constrained within the tropical Indian Ocean domain, whereas a distinct upper-tropospheric (200–150 hPa) westerly flow guides the intraseasonal variability of UTH during the suppressed phases. Statistical relationships between the cloud fractions and the UTH PDF moments of are found to be very similar regardless of the convective activity. However, the occurrence of thin cirrus clouds is associated with a drying of the upper troposphere (enhanced during suppressed phases), whereas the occurrence of thick cirrus anvil clouds appears to be significantly related to a moistening of the upper troposphere.
Journal of Applied Meteorology and Climatology – American Meteorological Society
Published: Jul 6, 2017
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