Selected puzzles of tropical atmospheric variability

Quelques mystères de la variabilité atmosphérique tropicale

Bellon, Gilles

Auteur moral
Université Toulouse 3 Paul Sabatier : UT3 Paul Sabatier
Année de publication
<p align="justify">Tropical atmospheric climatology and variability is characterized by a strong interaction between diabatic processes and circulations. The main diabatic processes involved in this interaction are associated with clouds and its one spectacular result is how convective clouds often form clusters or ensembles on a wide range of spatial scales. This spatial organization of clouds is responsible for the development of an alternation of dry, subsiding regions and moist, convective, ascending regions in the tropics. This manuscript reviews current and past research to understand and conceptualize the interaction between atmospheric diabatic processes and dynamics. In particular, it presents attempts to model this interaction in the simplest ways possible. It also presents a number of tropical atmospheric phenomena due to a spontaneous spatial organization of clouds resulting from this interaction: self-aggregation of convective clouds in models and the intraseasonal modes of variability. The known and debated mechanisms giving rise to these phenomena are detailed. In some features of the tropical climate, additional external influences or interactions, involving the surface or the extratropical atmosphere, are also at play in the spatial organization of convective clouds. This manuscript presents a few of these features, such as the Hadley circulation and tropical island climates. </p>
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