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    Maritime continent coastlines controlling Earth's climate

    Yamanaka MD, Ogino SY, Wu PM, Hamada JI, Mori S, Matsumoto J, Syamsudin F

    Indonesian maritime continent, Atmosphere–ocean–land interaction, Convective clouds, Multiple scales, Diurnal cycle, Sea−land breeze circulation

    Maritime-continental diurnal-cycle rain and latent heat controlling global climate

    During the Monsoon Asian Hydro−Atmosphere Scientific Research and Prediction Initiative (MAHASRI; 2006–16), we carried out two projects over the Indonesian maritime continent (IMC), constructing the Hydrometeorological Array for Intraseasonal Variation−Monsoon Automonitoring (HARIMAU; 2005–10) radar network and setting up a prototype institute for climate studies, the Maritime Continent Center of Excellence (MCCOE; 2009–14). Here, we review the climatological features of the world’s largest “regional” rainfall over the IMC studied in these projects. The fundamental mode of atmospheric variability over the IMC is the diurnal cycle generated along coastlines by land−sea temperature contrast: afternoon land becomes hotter than sea by clear-sky insolation before noon, with the opposite contrast before sunrise caused by evening rainfall-induced “sprinkler”-like land cooling (different from the extratropical infrared cooling on clear nights). Thus, unlike the extratropics, the diurnal cycle over the IMC is more important in the rainy season. The intraseasonal, seasonal to annual, and interannual climate variabilities appear as amplitude modulations of the diurnal cycle. For example, in Jawa and Bali the rainy season is the southern hemispheric summer, because land heating in the clear morning and water vapor transport by afternoon sea breeze is strongest in the season of maximum insolation. During El Niño, cooler sea water surrounding the IMC makes morning maritime convection and rainfall weaker than normal. Because the diurnal cycle is almost the only mechanism generating convective clouds systematically near the equator with little cyclone activity, the local annual rainfall amount in the tropics is a steeply decreasing function of coastal distance (e-folding scale 100–300 km), and regional annual rainfall is an increasing function of “coastline density” (coastal length/land area) measured at a horizontal resolution of 100 km. The coastline density effect explains why rainfall and latent heating over the IMC are twice the global mean for an area that makes up only 4% of the Earth’s surface. The diurnal cycles appearing almost synchronously over the whole IMC generate teleconnections between the IMC convection and the global climate. Thus, high-resolution (<< 100 km; << 1 day) observations and models over the IMC are essential to improve both local disaster prevention and global climate prediction.