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Title: The Meandering Margin of the Meteorological Moist Tropics

Abstract

Bimodally distributed column water vapor (CWV) indicates a well-defined moist regime in the Tropics, above a margin value near 48 kg m -2 in current climate (about 80% of column saturation). Maps reveal this margin as a meandering, sinuous synoptic contour bounding broad plateaus of the moist regime. Within these plateaus, convective storms of distinctly smaller convective and mesoscales occur sporadically. Satellite data composites across the poleward most margin reveal its sharpness, despite the crude averaging: precipitation doubles within 100 km, marked by both enhancement and deepening of cloudiness. Transported patches and filaments of the moist regime cause consequential precipitation events within and beyond the Tropics. Distinguishing synoptic flows that cross the margin from flows that $move$ the margin is made possible by a novel satellite-based Lagrangian CWV tendency estimate. Climate models do not reliably reproduce the observed bimodal distribution, so studying the moist mode's maintenance processes and the margin-zone air mass transformations, guided by the Lagrangian tendency product, might importantly constrain model moist process treatments.

Authors:
ORCiD logo [1]; ORCiD logo [1]; ORCiD logo [2]; ORCiD logo [3]; ORCiD logo [4]; ORCiD logo [4]
  1. Univ. of Miami, Coral Gables, FL (United States). Rosenstiel School of Marine and Atmospheric Science (RSMAS)
  2. Lawrence Livermore National Lab. (LLNL), Livermore, CA (United States)
  3. Nagoya Univ. (Japan). Inst. for Space-Earth Environmental Research
  4. Univ. of Wisconsin, Madison, WI (United States). Space Science and Engineering Center
Publication Date:
Research Org.:
Lawrence Livermore National Lab. (LLNL), Livermore, CA (United States)
Sponsoring Org.:
USDOE National Nuclear Security Administration (NNSA); National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA); National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA)
OSTI Identifier:
1515327
Alternate Identifier(s):
OSTI ID: 1418722
Report Number(s):
LLNL-JRNL-752853
Journal ID: ISSN 0094-8276; 939274
Grant/Contract Number:  
AC52-07NA27344; NNX15AD11G
Resource Type:
Accepted Manuscript
Journal Name:
Geophysical Research Letters
Additional Journal Information:
Journal Volume: 45; Journal Issue: 2; Journal ID: ISSN 0094-8276
Publisher:
American Geophysical Union
Country of Publication:
United States
Language:
English
Subject:
58 GEOSCIENCES; column water vapor; precipitable water; tropical convection; convective processes; bimodality; regimes

Citation Formats

Mapes, Brian E., Chung, Eui Seok, Hannah, Walter M., Masunaga, Hirohiko, Wimmers, Anthony J., and Velden, Christopher S. The Meandering Margin of the Meteorological Moist Tropics. United States: N. p., 2018. Web. doi:10.1002/2017GL076440.
Mapes, Brian E., Chung, Eui Seok, Hannah, Walter M., Masunaga, Hirohiko, Wimmers, Anthony J., & Velden, Christopher S. The Meandering Margin of the Meteorological Moist Tropics. United States. doi:10.1002/2017GL076440.
Mapes, Brian E., Chung, Eui Seok, Hannah, Walter M., Masunaga, Hirohiko, Wimmers, Anthony J., and Velden, Christopher S. Wed . "The Meandering Margin of the Meteorological Moist Tropics". United States. doi:10.1002/2017GL076440. https://www.osti.gov/servlets/purl/1515327.
@article{osti_1515327,
title = {The Meandering Margin of the Meteorological Moist Tropics},
author = {Mapes, Brian E. and Chung, Eui Seok and Hannah, Walter M. and Masunaga, Hirohiko and Wimmers, Anthony J. and Velden, Christopher S.},
abstractNote = {Bimodally distributed column water vapor (CWV) indicates a well-defined moist regime in the Tropics, above a margin value near 48 kg m-2 in current climate (about 80% of column saturation). Maps reveal this margin as a meandering, sinuous synoptic contour bounding broad plateaus of the moist regime. Within these plateaus, convective storms of distinctly smaller convective and mesoscales occur sporadically. Satellite data composites across the poleward most margin reveal its sharpness, despite the crude averaging: precipitation doubles within 100 km, marked by both enhancement and deepening of cloudiness. Transported patches and filaments of the moist regime cause consequential precipitation events within and beyond the Tropics. Distinguishing synoptic flows that cross the margin from flows that $move$ the margin is made possible by a novel satellite-based Lagrangian CWV tendency estimate. Climate models do not reliably reproduce the observed bimodal distribution, so studying the moist mode's maintenance processes and the margin-zone air mass transformations, guided by the Lagrangian tendency product, might importantly constrain model moist process treatments.},
doi = {10.1002/2017GL076440},
journal = {Geophysical Research Letters},
number = 2,
volume = 45,
place = {United States},
year = {2018},
month = {1}
}

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Works referenced in this record:

Deep Convection and Column Water Vapor over Tropical Land versus Tropical Ocean: A Comparison between the Amazon and the Tropical Western Pacific
journal, October 2016

  • Schiro, Kathleen A.; Neelin, J. David; Adams, David K.
  • Journal of the Atmospheric Sciences, Vol. 73, Issue 10, p. 4043-4063
  • DOI: 10.1175/JAS-D-16-0119.1