Madden-Julian Oscillation (MJO)
The Madden-Julian Oscillation (MJO) is the major fluctuation in tropical weather on weekly to monthly timescales. The MJO can be characterized as an eastward moving 'pulse' of cloud and rainfall near the equator that typically recurs every 30 to 60 days.
MJO phase diagram
*Note: There is missing satellite observations from 16/3/1978 to 31/12/1978.
The MJO phase diagram illustrates the progression of the MJO through different phases, which generally coincide with locations along the equator around the globe. RMM1 and RMM2 are mathematical methods that combine cloud amount and winds at upper and lower levels of the atmosphere to provide a measure of the strength and location of the MJO. When the index is within the centre circle the MJO is considered weak, meaning it is difficult to discern using the RMM methods. Outside of this circle the index is stronger and will usually move in an anti-clockwise direction as the MJO moves from west to east. For convenience, we define 8 different MJO phases in this diagram.
Average weekly rainfall probabilities
These maps show average weekly rainfall probabilities and expected 850 hPa (approximately 1.5 km above sea level) wind anomalies for each of the 8 MJO phases. Green and blue shading indicates higher than normal rainfall would be expected, while red and orange shading indicates lower than normal rainfall would be expected. The direction and length of the arrows indicate the direction and strength of the wind anomaly. The darker the arrow, the more reliable the information is. The relationship of the MJO with Australian rainfall and winds changes with the season (which can be selected at the top).
Average outgoing longwave radiation (OLR)
Outgoing longwave radiation (OLR) is often used as a way to identify tall, thick, convective rain clouds. These maps show the difference from expected cloudiness based on the position of the MJO. The violet and blue shading indicates higher than normal, active or enhanced tropical weather, while orange shading indicates lower than normal cloud or suppressed conditions. The direction and length of the arrows indicate the direction and strength of the wind anomaly. The darker the arrow, the more reliable the information is. The relationship of the MJO with tropical weather patterns changes with the season (which can be selected above the maps).
Global maps of outgoing longwave radiation (OLR)
Global maps of outgoing longwave radiation (OLR) highlight regions experiencing more or less cloudiness. The top panel is the total OLR in Watts per square metre (W/m²) and the bottom panel is the anomaly (current minus the 1979-1998 climate average), in W/m². In the bottom panel, negative values (blue shading) represent above normal cloudiness while positive values (brown shading) represent below normal cloudiness.
The graphs linked to this map show the OLRs for the different regions within the Darwin RSMC area. The horizontal dashed line represents what is normal for that time of year (based on the 1979 to 1998 period). The coloured curve is the 3-day moving average OLR in W/m². Below normal OLR indicates cloudier than normal conditions in this particular area, and is shown in blue shading. Above normal OLR indicates less cloudy conditions and is shown in yellow shading.
Postscript: Coral Sea Dateline Fiji Guam & Marianas Indochina Malyasia & Indonesia Micronesia Nauru & Tuvalu New Guinea Northern Australia Philippines Solomon Island Southern India & Sri Lanka Vanuatu
Daily averaged OLR anomalies
Westerly wind anomalies
Time-longitude plots of daily averaged OLR anomalies (left) and 850 hPa (approximately 1.5 km above sea level) westerly wind anomalies (right) are useful for indicating the movement of the MJO.
How to read the Time-Longitude plots
The vertical axis represents time with the most distant past on the top and becoming more recent as you move down the chart. The Horizontal axis represents longitude.
Eastward movement of a strong MJO event would be seen as a diagonal line of violet (downward from left to right) in the OLR diagram, and a corresponding diagonal line of purple in the wind diagram. These diagonal lines would most likely fall between 60°E and 150°E and they would be repeated nearly every 1 to 2 months.
Weekly Tropical Climate Note
Issued on Tuesday 4 March 2014
Madden-Julian Oscillation progresses across the Pacific
A break in the North Australian Monsoon continued over the past week, while active tropical convection has brought heavy rainfall and floods to some south Pacific Islands. Tropical cyclone Kofi passed near Fiji and Tonga over the weekend bringing gale force winds and heavy rains.
This week, the western equatorial Pacific Ocean features a pair of lows—slow moving tropical cyclone Faxia in the northern hemisphere and a tropical low south of the Solomon Islands that is forecast to move toward Australia's Cape York Peninsula in the coming days, potentially reaching tropical cyclone strength prior to crossing the coast.
The Madden-Julian Oscillation (MJO) remains over the western Pacific Ocean and is moving into the western hemisphere. When the MJO is over the western hemisphere at this time of year it usually increases the risk of tropical cyclone formation in the South Pacific, and supresses tropical convection activity across the tropical Indian Ocean, the Maritime Continent and northern Australia. The MJO is forecast to continue eastward, but forecast models disagree about its strength. Some models predict a weakening of the signal within the next 10 to 14 days, while others maintain its strength. When the MJO weakens it has less influence on tropical weather.
See the Bureau's MJO Monitoring for more information on location and tracking of the MJO.
ENSO state: neutral, warming expected
The El Niño–Southern Oscillation (ENSO) remains neutral. The 30-day Southern Oscillation Index (SOI) value to 2 March is -2.0.The latest NINO3.4 sea surface temperature anomaly is -0.3 °C.
The tropical Pacific Ocean is likely to warm in the coming months. Climate models suggest Pacific Ocean temperatures may approach or exceed El Niño thresholds in the austral winter. However, model outlooks at this time of the year have lower skill than outlooks made at other times, and hence should be used cautiously.
El Niño events usually, but not always, coincide with drier than normal conditions across eastern and northern Australia and an eastward shift in tropical cyclone activity in the South Pacific.
See the Bureau's ENSO Wrap-Up which includes a compilation of computer model predictions of ENSO indices.
Next update expected by 11 March 2014| Product Code IDCKGEWOOO
For more information please contact email@example.com
ACKNOWLEDGEMENT: Interpolated OLR data provided by the NOAA/OAR/ESRL PSD, Boulder, Colorado, USA.
Product Code: IDCKGEWWOO