Advances in Atmospheric Sciences

, Volume 22, Issue 5, pp 685–702 | Cite as

Diurnal variation of tropical convection during TOGA COARE IOP



Diurnal variation of tropical convection and kinematic and thermodynamic conditions was investigated for different large-scale environments of the convectively active and inactive periods by using satellite observations and surface measurements during the Intensive Observation Period (IOP) of the Tropical Ocean Global Atmosphere/Coupled Ocean-Atmosphere Response Experiment (TOGA/COARE). During the convectively active period, the features of nocturnal convection appear in vertical profiles of convergence, vertical velocity, heat source, and moisture sink. The specific humidity increases remarkably in the middle troposphere at dawn. On the other hand, the altitude of maximum convergence and that of the upward motion is lower during the convectively inactive period. The specific humidity peaks in the lower troposphere in the daytime and decreases in the middle troposphere. Spectral analyses of the time series of the infrared (IR) brightness temperature (TBB) and amounts of rainfall suggest multiscale temporal variation with a prominent diurnal cycle over land and oceanic regions such as the Intensive Flux Array (IFA) and the South Pacific Convergence Zone (SPCZ). Over land, the daily maximum of deep convection associated with cloud top temperature less than 208 K appears at midnight due to the daytime radiative heating and the sea-land breeze. Over the ocean, convection usually tends to occur at dawn for the convectively active period while in the afternoon during the inactive period. Comparing the diurnal variation of convection with large-scale variables, the authors inferred that moisture in the middle troposphere contributes mostly to the development of nocturnal convection over the ocean during the convectively active period.

Key words

diurnal variation tropical convection rainfall large-scale environment 


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© Advances in Atmospheric Sciences 2003

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.School of Earth and Environmental SciencesSeoul National UniversitySeoulSouth Korea

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