Dynamics of the Madden Julian Oscillation (DYNAMO)

Where: Indian Ocean

When: August - December 2011

The Dynamics of the Madden-Julian Oscillation (DYNAMO) observation campaign focuses on measuring the environmental conditions which initiate the Madden-Julian Oscillation (MJO) cycle. The MJO is a pattern of variations in wind, sea surface temperature, cloud cover and rainfall, which forms in the Indian Ocean and travels across the Pacific and Atlantic oceans. It influences regional weather and climate systems across the hemisphere and complicates weather forecasting. In the Americas, MJO can influence the development of hurricanes, enhance rainfall on the West Coast in the form of atmospheric rivers, and modulate the North American monsoon, an important source of water in the western US.

RV Roger Revelle
Research Vessel Roger Revelle operated by Scripps Institution of Oceanography. Photo: University of California

Deploying a grid of radars, profilers and ocean-profiling buoys in the central Indian Ocean aboard the R/V Roger Revelle operated by Scripps Institution of Oceanography, DYNAMO observed the ocean and atmospheric conditions which cause the MJO to form, called the initiation phase. Within that grid, CSD deployed the High-Resolution Doppler Lidar (HRDL), an instrument used to measure minute variations in the windspeed and direction, from the sea surface into the cloud layers. HRDL will be used both to develop statistics of turbulent kinetic energy (TKE), a parameter needed to improve computer simulations of the MJO, and to observe area cloud dynamics. These observations will be used in conjunction with project observation to improve the simulation and forecasting of MJO.