Diurnal cycle of the ITCZ in DYNAMO

Paul E. Ciesielski, Richard H. Johnson, Wayne H. Schubert, James H. Ruppert

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

20 Scopus citations


During the 2011 special observing period of the Dynamics of the Madden-Julian Oscillation (DYNAMO) field experiment, two sounding arrays were established over the central Indian Ocean, one north and one south of the equator, referred to here as the NSA and SSA, respectively. Three-hourly soundings from these arrays augmented by observations of radiation and rainfall are used to investigate the diurnal cycle of ITCZ convection during the MJO suppressed phase. During the first half of October, when convection was suppressed over the NSA but prominent over the SSA, the circulation over the sounding arrays could be characterized as a local Hadley cell. Strong rising motion was present within the ITCZ extending across the SSA with compensating subsidence over the NSA. A prominent diurnal pulsing of this cell was observed, impacting conditions on both sides of the equator, with the cell running strongest in the early morning hours (0500-0800 LT) and notably weakening later in the day (1700-2000 LT). The declining daytime subsidence over the NSA may have assisted the moistening of the low to midtroposphere there during the pre-onset stage of the MJO. Apparent heating Q1 within the ITCZ exhibited a diurnal evolution from early morning bottom-heavy profiles to weaker daytime top-heavy profiles, indicating a progression from convective to stratiform precipitation. Making use of the weak temperature gradient approximation, results suggest that both horizontal radiative heating gradients and direct cloud radiative forcing have an important influence on diurnal variations of vertical motion and convection within the ITCZ.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)4543-4562
Number of pages20
JournalJournal of Climate
Issue number11
StatePublished - Jun 1 2018

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Atmospheric Science


Dive into the research topics of 'Diurnal cycle of the ITCZ in DYNAMO'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this