Sensitivities of the Madden-Julian oscillation forecasts to configurations of physics in the ECMWF global model

Yano, Jun-Ichi ; Wedi, Nils P.

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<p align=justify>The sensitivities of the Madden-Julian oscillation (MJO) forecasts to various different configurations of the parameterized physics are examined with the global model of ECMWF's Integrated Forecasting System (IFS). The motivation for the study was to simulate the MJO as a nonlinear free wave under active interactions with higher-latitude Rossby waves. To emulate free dynamics in the IFS, various momentum-dissipation terms ('friction') as well as diabatic heating were selectively turned off over the tropics for the range of the latitudes from 20∘ S to 20∘ N. The reduction of friction sometimes improves the MJO forecasts, although without any systematic tendency. Contrary to the original motivation, emulating free dynamics with an operational forecast model turned out to be rather difficult, because forecast performance sensitively depends on the specific type of friction turned off. The result suggests the need for theoretical investigations that much more closely follow the actual formulations of model physics: a naive approach with a dichotomy of with or without friction simply fails to elucidate the rich behaviour of complex operational models. The paper further exposes the importance of physical processes other than convection for simulating the MJO in global forecast models.</p>
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