Ocean Surface Flux Algorithm Effects on Tropical Indo-Pacific Intraseasonal Precipitation

Chia Wei Hsu, Charlotte A. DeMott, Mark D. Branson, Jack Reeves Eyre, Xubin Zeng

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

3 Scopus citations


Surface latent heat fluxes help maintain tropical intraseasonal precipitation. We develop a latent heat flux diagnostic that depicts how latent heat fluxes vary with the near-surface specific humidity vertical gradient (Δq) and surface wind speed (|V|). Compared to fluxes estimated from |V| and Δq measured at tropical moorings and the Coupled Ocean Atmosphere Response Experiment 3.0 (COARE3.0) algorithm, tropical latent heat fluxes in the National Center for Atmospheric Research CEMS2 and Department of Energy E3SMv1 models are significantly overestimated at |V| and Δq extrema. Madden–Julian oscillation (MJO) sensitivity to surface flux algorithm is tested with offline and inline flux corrections. The offline correction adjusts model output fluxes toward mooring-estimated fluxes; the inline correction replaces the original bulk flux algorithm with the COARE3.0 algorithm in atmosphere-only simulations of each model. Both corrections indicate reduced latent heat flux feedback to intraseasonal precipitation, in better agreement with observations, suggesting that model-simulated fluxes are overly supportive for maintaining MJO convection.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article numbere2021GL096968
JournalGeophysical Research Letters
Issue number7
StatePublished - Apr 16 2022


  • MJO
  • air-sea interaction
  • intraseasonal precipitation
  • latent heat flux

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Geophysics
  • General Earth and Planetary Sciences


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