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Indian Institute of Science (2018)

Temporal Persistence and Spatial Coherence of Tropical Rainfall

Ratan, Ram

Titre : Temporal Persistence and Spatial Coherence of Tropical Rainfall

Auteur : Ratan, Ram

Université de soutenance : Indian Institute of Science

Grade : Doctor of Philosophy (PhD) 2018

Résumé partiel
The work presented in the thesis focuses on systematically documenting the multi scale nature of the temporal persistence and spatial coherence of tropical rainfall. There are three parts to the thesis : The first two parts utilize satellite-retrieved rainfall at multiple observational resolutions to characterize the space-time organization of rain ; the third part assesses the ability of state-of-the-art coupled models to reproduce some of the observed features. In the first part of the study, which focuses on the temporal persistence of rain, we analyze the Tropical Rainfall Measurement Mission (TRMM) satellite-based observations to compare and contrast wet and dry spell characteristics over the tropics (30 S-30 N). Defining a wet (dry) spell as the number of consecutive rainy (nonrainy) days, we find that the distributions of wet spells (independent of spatial resolution) exhibit universality in the following sense. While both ocean and land regions with high seasonal rainfall accumulation (humid regions) show a predominance of 2-4 day wet spells, those regions with low seasonal rainfall accumulation (arid regions) exhibit a wet spell duration distribution that is essentially exponential in nature, with a peak at 1 day. The behaviour that we observed for wet spells is reversed for dry spell distributions. The total rainfall accumulated in each wet spell has also been analyzed, and we find that the major contribution to seasonal rainfall for arid regions comes from very short length wet spells ; however, for humid regions, this contribution comes from wet spells of duration as long as 30 days. An exhaustive sensitivity study of factors that can potentially affect the wet and dry spell characteristics (e.g., resolution) shows that our findings are robust. We also explore the role of chance in determining the 2-4 day mode, as well as the inuence of organized convection in separating reality from chance. The second part deals with the spatial coherence of tropical rain. We take two different approaches, namely, a global and local view. The global view attempts to quantify the con-ventional view of rain, i.e., the dominance of the intertropical convergence zone (ITCZ), while the local view tries to answer the question : if it rains, how far is the influence felt in zonal and meridional directions ? In both approaches, the classical e-folding length for spatial decorrelation is used as a measure of spatial coherence. The major finding in the global view approach is that, at short timescales of accumulation (daily to pentad to even monthly), rain over the Equator shows the most dominant zonal scale. It is only at larger timescales of accumulation (seasonal or annual) that the dominance of ITCZ around 7 N is evident. In addition, we also find a semi-log linearity between the spatial scales, seen from afar, and timescale of accumulation, with a break in linearity around typical synoptic timescales of 5-10 days. The local view quantifies the dominance of the zonal scale in the tropical ocean convergence zones, with an anisotropy value (ratio of zonal to meridional scales) of 3-4. Over land, on the other hand, the zonal and meridional scales are comparable in magnitude, suggesting that rain tends to be mostly isotropic over continental regions.

Mots clés  : Temporal Persistence Ttropical Rainfall Tropical Rainfall Measurement Mission (TRMM) Spatial Coherence Coupled Model Intercomparison Project (CMIP) Tropical Rain CMIP5 Models

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Page publiée le 29 mars 2019, mise à jour le 16 février 2021