Radiative feedbacks associated with the Madden–Julian oscillation

Bosong Zhang, Ryan J. Kramer, Brian J. Soden

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

6 Scopus citations


Radiative kernels derived from CloudSat/CALIPSO measurements are used to diagnose radiative feedbacks induced by the Madden–Julian oscillation (MJO). Over the Indo-Pacific warm pool, positive cloud and water vapor feedbacks are coincident with the convective envelope of the MJO during its active phases, whereas the lapse rate feedback shows faster eastward propagation than the convective envelope. During phase 2/3, when the convective envelope is over the Indian Ocean, water vapor exhibits a vertically coherent response, with the largest anomalies and strongest feedback in the midtroposphere. Though spatial structures of the feedbacks vary, the most prominent difference lies in the magnitude. Cloud changes induce the largest radiative perturbations associated with the MJO. It is also found that the strength of the cloud feedback per unit of precipitation is greater for strong MJO events, suggesting that the strength of individual MJO events is largely dictated by the magnitude of cloud radiative heating of the atmosphere. In addition, stronger radiative heating due to water vapor and clouds helps the MJO survive the barrier effect of the Maritime Continent, leading to farther eastward propagation. These results offer process-oriented metrics that could help to improve model simulations and predictions of the MJO in the future.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)7055-7065
Number of pages11
JournalJournal of Climate
Issue number20
StatePublished - Oct 1 2019

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Atmospheric Science


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