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ESRL Hosts Dynamics of the MJO Workshop (DYNAMO)

April 14, 2009

Chris Fairall of PSD
PSD's Chris Fairall speaks to workshop participants
workshop attendees
Workshop attendees

The Earth System Research Laboratory hosted a two-day workshop on Dynamics of the Madden-Julian Oscillation (DYNAMO) April 13-14, 2009, in Boulder, CO. DYNAMO is a proposed US contribution to an international investigation of the formation of the Madden-Julian Oscillation (MJO) in the Equatorial Indian Ocean. Representatives from the Japan Agency for Marine-Earth Science and Technology (JAMSTEC) joined a team of US Scientists to work on details of a cooperative field effort.

The MJO is a huge cluster of equatorially-centered, intermittent deep convection that migrates from West to East around the planet. At any tropical ocean location, an MJO goes by every 30-60 days. MJO is the most important source of intraseasonal variability of the Earth's climate system. It is known to trigger the onset of the summer Monsoon in Asia and American and features strongly as a source of moisture for the Atmospheric Rivers that dominate major rainfall events on the US West Coast. MJO typically blossoms in the Indian Ocean and then heads towards the Pacific where it influences US weather and climate. Thus, it is hypothesized that the dynamics of the MJO in the Indian Ocean is a key to advancing predictability of Pacific convective events. A group of NOAA, Department of Energy, Office of Naval Research, and university researchers met at NOAA-Boulder to discuss plans for US research ship and aircraft to join a major Japanese study near the Maldives in the winter of 2011-2012.

MJO is a major problem for climate models. In most models it is poorly represented, propagates at the wrong speed, or is absent completely. Because MJO plays a key role rainfall variability, in triggering Monsoons, and has also been implicated in initiating El Niño, improvements in its representation in models is critical.

Contact: Chris Fairall