Year of Tropical Convection (YOTC)

1 May 2008 - 30 April 2010

Lead Scientist: Sally McFarlane

Observatory: SDSR

Example of a sonde profile available from the ARM Archive The realistic representation of tropical convection in global atmospheric models is a long-standing challenge for weather and global climate models. The lack of fundamental knowledge in this area causes difficulties in modeling and predicting prominent phenomena of the tropical atmosphere such as the inter-tropical convergence zone (ITCZ), El-Nino/Southern Oscillation (ENSO), monsoons, the Madden-Julian Oscillation (MJO), tropical cyclones, and the diurnal cycle of convection. To address the challenge of tropical convection, the World Climate Research Programme (WCRP) and the WWRP/THORPEX (World Weather Research Program/The Observing System Research and Predictability Experiment) are conducting a year of coordinated observing, modeling and forecasting of organized tropical convection. This effort is intended to exploit the vast amounts of existing observations of tropical convection, the expanding computational resources and the development of new, high-resolution modeling frameworks. The objective of the Year of Tropical Convection (YOTC) is to advance the characterization, diagnosis, modeling, parameterization and prediction of multi-scale convective/dynamic interactions.

The period May 2008 – April 2010 was chosen for the YOTC as this period captured a full ENSO cycle as well as several MJO episodes. As part of YOTC, multiple national agencies are pulling together cloud, atmospheric state, precipitation, and radiation data sets for this period. ARM has three sites within the Tropical Western Pacific that were collecting data during this period: Manus, Papua New Guinea; Nauru Island; and Darwin, Australia. The ARM sites consist of a suite of ground-based instruments that measure meteorological data, cloud properties, and radiative fluxes.

The table below lists key ARM data sets and their current availability for the YOTC period. Several data sets are currently under construction and will become available for the entire YOTC period within the next several months.


Chuck Long

Related Publications


Chandra AS, C Zhang, SA Klein, and H Ma. 2015. "Low-cloud characteristics over the tropical western Pacific from ARM observations and CAM5 simulations." Journal of Geophysical Research: Atmospheres, 120(17), 52402, 10.1002/2015jd023369.

View All Related Publications