DYNAMO is a US research program designed to identify atmospheric and oceanic processes that are important during the initiation phase of the Madden-Julian Oscillation (MJO). Data will be collected across the tropical Indian Ocean and used with model experiments to accelerate our understanding MJO formation and evolution. As part of DYNAMO, we propose a coupled modeling study of small scale mixing processes that govern SST and atmospheric convection in the equatorial Indian Ocean.
Intellectual Merit: This proposal focuses on the upper ocean component of this effort with the aim of using detailed process simulations to better understand how measured heat fluxes are controlled in the ocean boundary layer and how these fluxes interact with atmospheric convection. Results will also help guide measurement strategies during the field program. Understanding ocean mixed layer processes is a critical step in determining the role of the ocean as a heat and moisture source for atmospheric convection that drives the MJO. The objectives will be reached by performing sets of oceanic and atmospheric Large Eddy Simulation (LES) numerical experiments, including coupling with an ocean mixed layer model, to examine air-sea and ocean mixed layer fluxes.
Broader Impacts: MJO events can have a significant impact on tropical populations via frequent tropical storms and heavy rain events. The proposed work will provide further knowledge of the role of the ocean in driving convection associated with MJO formation and evolution, and will thus lead to better MJO forecasts. This project will support and train a graduate student and provide a valuable research experience for a post doc researcher. As part of this effort, a user-friendly version of our upgraded KPP model will be made available from our department website. We plan to include a graphical interface and sample cases for ocean conditions in the tropical Indian and Pacific oceans for use in research and teaching.