The realistic representation of tropical convection in our global atmospheric models is a long-standing grand challenge for numerical weather forecasts and global climate predictions.
Our lack of fundamental knowledge and practical capabilities in this area leaves us disadvantaged in modeling and predicting prominent phenomena of the tropical atmosphere such as the ITCZ, ENSO, TBO, monsoons and their active/break periods, the MJO, subtropical stratus decks, near-surface ocean properties, easterly waves, tropical cyclones, bulk budgets of cloud microphysical quantities, and even the diurnal cycle. Furthermore, tropical weather/climate disturbances strongly influence stratospheric-tropospheric exchange as well as the extratropics, with the later mediated via poleward migration of synoptic systems or through initiating Rossby wave trains that can involve a range of processes and time scales.
To address this the challenge of tropical convection, WCRP and WWRP/THORPEX propose a year of coordinated observing, modeling, and forecasting of organized tropical convection and its influences on predictability as a contribution to the United Nations Year of Planet Earth to complement the International Polar Year (IPY).
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