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A Reconstruction of Madden‚Äö-Julian Oscillation Variability from 1905 to 2008

journal contribution
posted on 2023-05-26, 08:15 authored by Oliver, ECJ, Thompson, KR
The most widely accepted characterization of the Madden‚Äö-Julian oscillation (MJO) is the bivariate index developed by Wheeler and Hendon. This index relies in part on satellite-based observations of outgoing longwave radiation and thus is not defined for the presatellite era. TheMJOis known to have a strong signature in surface pressure, and daily measurements of this variable are available as far back as the late nineteenth century. This study undertakes a statistical reconstruction of the Wheeler andHendonMJOindex from 1905 to 2008 based on tropical surface pressures estimated recently by the twentieth-century reanalysis project. The temporal and spectral properties of the reconstructed index are first shown to be consistent with the Wheeler and Hendon index over the common period (1979‚Äö-2008). The reconstructed index is then validated over the earlier period (1905‚Äö-1978) by examining its relationship with cloud cover, surface wind, precipitation, and sea level. These relationships are shown to be consistent with corresponding results obtained from theWheeler and Hendon index over the shared period and stable over the earlier period. Finally, a simple damped harmonic oscillator model is used to gain new insights into the predictability of the MJO index and also demonstrate consistency between the reconstructed index and theWheeler andHendon index. These results give confidence in the validity of the historical reconstruction of the MJO index over the last century.


Publication title

Journal of Climate







Publication status

  • Published

Rights statement

Copyright 2012 The American Meteorological Society

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  • Restricted

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