EGU General Assembly 2020
© Author(s) 2020. This work is distributed under
the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.

Diversity of the Madden-Julian Oscillation

Guosen Chen1, Bin Wang1,2, and Fei Liu1
Guosen Chen et al.
  • 1Nanjing University of Information science and Technology, school of atmospheric sciences, China (;
  • 2University of Hawaii at Manoa, USA (

Madden-Julian Oscillation (MJO) is the dominant mode of atmospheric intraseasonal variability and the cornerstone for subseasonal prediction of extreme weather events. Climate modeling and prediction of MJO remain a big challenge, partially due to lack of understanding the MJO diversity. Here, we delineate observed MJO diversity by cluster analysis of propagation patterns of MJO events, which reveals four archetypes: standing, jumping, slow eastward propagation, and fast eastward propagation. Each type of MJO exhibits distinctive east-west asymmetric circulation and thermodynamic structures. Tight coupling between the Kelvin wave response and major convection is unique for the propagating events (slow and fast propagations), while the strength and length of Kelvin wave response distinguish slow and fast propagations. The Pacific sea surface temperature anomalies can affect MJO diversity by modifying the Kelvin wave response and its coupling to MJO convection. An El Niño state tends to increase the zonal scale of Kelvin wave response, to amplify it, and to enhance its coupling to the convection, while a La Niña state tends to decrease the zonal scale of Kelvin wave response, to suppress it, and to weaken its coupling to the major convection. This effect of background sea surface temperature on the MJO diversity has been verified by using a theoretical model. The results shed light on the mechanisms responsible for MJO diversity and provide potential precursors for foreseeing MJO propagation.

How to cite: Chen, G., Wang, B., and Liu, F.: Diversity of the Madden-Julian Oscillation, EGU General Assembly 2020, Online, 4–8 May 2020, EGU2020-6394,, 2020


Display file