The "year" of tropical convection (May 2008-April 2010): Climate variability and weather highlights

Duane E. Waliser, Mitchell W. Moncrieff, David Burridge, Andreas H. Fink, Dave Gochis, B. N. Goswami, Bin Guan, Patrick Harr, Julian Heming, Huang Hsuing Hsu, Christian Jakob, Matt Janiga, Richard Johnson, Sarah Jones, Peter Knippertz, Jose Marengo, Hanh Nguyen, Mick Pope, Yolande Serra, Chris ThorncroftMatthew Wheeler, Robert Wood, Sandra Yuter

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

167 Scopus citations


The representation of tropical convection remains a serious challenge to the skillfulness of our weather and climate prediction systems. To address this challenge, the World Climate Research Programme (WCRP) and The Observing System Research and Predictability Experiment (THORPEX) of the World Weather Research Programme (WWRP) are conducting a joint research activity consisting of a focus period approach along with an integrated research framework tailored to exploit the vast amounts of existing observations, expanding computational resources, and the development of new, high-resolution modeling frameworks. The objective of the Year of Tropical Convection (YOTC) is to use these constructs to advance the characterization, modeling, parameterization, and prediction of multiscale tropical convection, including relevant two-way interactions between tropical and extratropical systems. This article highlights the diverse array of scientifically interesting and socially important weather and climate events associated with the WCRP-WWRP/THORPEX YOTC period of interest: May 2008-April 2010. Notable during this 2-yr period was the change from cool to warm El Niño- Southern Oscillation (ENSO) states and the associated modulation of a wide range of smaller time- and space-scale tropical convection features. This period included a near-record-setting wet North American monsoon in 2008 and a very severe monsoon drought in India in 2009. There was also a plethora of tropical wave activity, including easterly waves, the Madden-Julian oscillation, and convectively coupled equatorial wave interactions. Numerous cases of high-impact rainfall events occurred along with notable features in the tropical cyclone record. The intent of this article is to highlight these features and phenomena, and in turn promote their interrogation via theory, observations, and models in concert with the YOTC program so that improved understanding and pre- dictions of tropical convection can be afforded.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1189-1218
Number of pages30
JournalBulletin of the American Meteorological Society
Issue number8
StatePublished - Aug 2012

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Atmospheric Science


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