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The role of air-sea interaction on Madden-Julian oscillation (MJO) propagations across the tropical Indian Ocean is analyzed using integrated multimission satellite measurements of sea surface height and outgoing longwave radiation (OLR). MJO-related activity is observed in both parameters in the eastern equatorial Indian Ocean indicating a unique interaction in this region. In the eastern Indian Ocean, atmospheric conditions appear to aid in the creation of equatorial Rossby waves, while in the central and western Indian Ocean, different phases of oceanic Rossby wave propagations seem to have a strong influence on atmospheric conditions associated with the MJO. The downwelling phase of equatorial Rossby waves corresponds to a strengthening of OLR anomalies in extent and magnitude across the equatorial Indian Ocean, while the upwelling phase appears to weaken atmospheric MJO activity. This study improves climate research by identifying the MJO signal in altimetry data.
Date of Publication: May 2013