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Scientists probe Indian Ocean for clues to worldwide weather patterns
Date:9/22/2011

An international team of researchers will begin gathering in the Indian Ocean next month, using aircraft, ships, moorings, radars, numerical models and other tools to study how tropical weather brews there and moves eastward along the equator, with reverberating effects around the globe.

The six-month field campaign, known as DYNAMO or Dynamics of the Madden-Julian Oscillation, will help improve long-range weather forecasts and seasonal outlooks and enable scientists to further refine computer models of global climate.

DYNAMO is organized internationally as the Cooperative Indian Ocean Experiment on Intraseasonal Variability in the Year 2011 (CINDY2011), which is led by the Japan Agency for Marine-Earth Science and Technology.

The goal of the DYNAMO field campaign is to better understand a disturbance of the tropics, known as the Madden-Julian Oscillation or MJO.

This disturbance, which originates in the equatorial Indian Ocean roughly every 30 to 90 days, is part of the Asian and Australian monsoons and can enhance hurricane activity in the northeast Pacific and Gulf of Mexico, trigger torrential rainfall along the west coast of North America and affect the onset of El Nio.

Scientists believe that the MJO is the world's greatest source of atmospheric variability in the one- to three-month time frame.

"The Madden-Julian Oscillation has a huge impact all over the globe," says Chidong Zhang of the University of Miami, DYNAMO's chief scientist. "It connects weather and climate, and it is important to forecasting."

"The MJO drives weather in both hemispheres even though it sits along the equator," says Jim Moore of the National Center for Atmospheric Research (NCAR), and director of the DYNAMO project office. "Its origins have never been measured in such a systematic fashion before."

DYNAMO, the Littoral Air-Sea Processes (LASP) Experiment, and the ARM MJO Investigation Experiment (AMIE) are th
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Contact: Cheryl Dybas
cdybas@nsf.gov
703-292-7734
National Science Foundation
Source:Eurekalert  

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