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2014
Matthews, AJ, Baranowski DB, Heywood KJ, Flatau PJ, Schmidtko S.  2014.  The surface diurnal warm layer in the Indian Ocean during CINDY/DYNAMO. Journal of Climate. 27:9101-9122.   10.1175/jcli-d-14-00222.1   AbstractWebsite

A surface diurnal warm layer is diagnosed from Seaglider observations and develops on half of the days in the Cooperative Indian Ocean Experiment on Intraseasonal Variability/Dynamics of the Madden-Julian Oscillation (CINDY/DYNAMO) Indian Ocean experiment. The diurnal warm layer occurs on days of high solar radiation flux (>80 W m(-2)) and low wind speed (<6 ms(-1)) and preferentially in the inactive stage of the Madden-Julian oscillation. Its diurnal harmonic has an exponential vertical structure with a depth scale of 4-5m (dependent on chlorophyll concentration), consistent with forcing by absorption of solar radiation. The effective sea surface temperature (SST) anomaly due to the diurnal warm layer often reaches 0.8 degrees C in the afternoon, with a daily mean of 0.2 degrees C, rectifying the diurnal cycle onto longer time scales. This SST anomaly drives an anomalous flux of 4Wm(-2) that cools the ocean. Alternatively, in a climate model where this process is unresolved, this represents an erroneous flux that warms the ocean. A simple model predicts a diurnal warm layer to occur on 30%-50% of days across the tropical warm pool. On the remaining days, with low solar radiation and high wind speeds, a residual diurnal cycle is observed by the Seaglider, with a diurnal harmonic of temperature that decreases linearly with depth. As wind speed increases, this already weak temperature gradient decreases further, tending toward isothermal conditions.

1997
Flatau, M, Flatau PJ, Phoebus P, Niller PP.  1997.  The feedback between equatorial convection and local radiative and evaporative processes: The implications for intraseasonal oscillations. Journal of the Atmospheric Sciences. 54:2373-2386.   10.1175/1520-0469(1997)054<2373:tfbeca>2.0.co;2   AbstractWebsite

Existing theories of the Madden-Julian oscillation neglect the feedback between the modification of sea surface temperature by the convection and development of a convective cluster itself. The authors show that the convection-generated SST gradient plays an important role in cluster propagation and development. The relative importance of radiative and evaporative fluxes in SST regulation is also discussed. Various Tropical Ocean Global Atmosphere Coupled Ocean-Atmosphere Response Experiment and Central Equatorial Pacific Experiment observation platforms are used to estimate the effects of equatorial convection on SST changes during March 1993. The data include drifting buoys and TAO-buoy array measurements, combined with the Navy Operational Global Atmospheric Prediction System analyzed surface wind fields and Geostationary Meteorological Satellite cloud-top temperatures. It is shown that during the equatorial convection episode SST is decreasing under and to the west of the convective heat source due to the large wind velocities and solar flux reduction. To the east of the source, in the convergence region of a Kelvin wave, low wind speeds and high insolation cause the SST to increase. The data are used to formulate an empirical relationship between wind speed and the 24-h SST change on the equator. Although formulated in terms of wind speed, this relationship implicitly includes radiative effects. This equation is then used in a global circulation model to examine the effect of SST feedback on the behavior of equatorial convection. A series of experiments is performed using an R15 general circulation model of the ''aquaplanet'' with a zonally symmetric SST distribution. In the case with fixed SSTs, equatorial wind fluctuations have the character of waves propagating around the globe with a phase speed of about 20 m s(-1). When the effect of SST modification is included, the fluctuations slow down and become more organized. In addition, a 40-60-day peak appears in the spectral analysis of equatorial precipitation.