Simulation of the Madden-Julian Oscillation (MJO) in Climate Models


The Madden-Julian oscillation (MJO), like the El Nino Southern Oscillation, is a pattern of climate variability that is crucial for seasonal climate prediction. The MJO is an eastward propagating pattern of anomalous rainfall that crosses the tropics in 30 to 60 days, affecting weather and climate over large portions of the Earth, especially rainfall over monsoon regions and portions of the United States. The MJO also influences the generation of hurricanes over the Atlantic and Pacific Oceans, and the onset and strength of El Nino. A study co-authored by DOE scientist Ken Sperber, uses new diagnostics to evaluate the simulation of the MJO in eight climate models. The results (1) provide new insights into the moist processes that are essential for realistic simulation of the MJO, and thus suggest aspects of model formulation that require refinement, and (2) promote the application of a standard set of analysis tools and metrics that can be used to benchmark future modeling efforts.


Kim, D., et al. 2009. “Application of MJO Simulation Diagnostics to Climate Models,” Journal of Climate, 22, 6413-35.