Raghu Murtugudde is an Earth system scientist who focuses on climate and Earth system modelling at both regional and global scales. He has a particular interest in the climate dynamics of Asia and role of the Indian Ocean in the climate system. After training first as an Aeronautical Engineer during his undergraduate and Master’s degrees, he started to work on Earth system modelling during his PhD at Columbia University. He is currently a professor at the University of Maryland and executive director of the Chesapeake Bay Forecast System.
The Indonesian Throughflow, affectionately known as the ITF, is a component of the global conveyor belt. ITF is also the oceanic tunnel that transmits the El Niño Southern Oscillation (ENSO) signal to the Indian Ocean. The air-sea interactions over the Maritime Continent are essential for generating the quasi-biennial timescale that dominates to the west into the monsoon region as opposed to the quasi-quadrennial timescale of ENSO to the east. The Maritime Continent offers a great challenge for subseasonal-to-seasonal climate predictions due to the peculiar propagation of the Madden-Julian Oscillations (MJOs) across this region. The ITF also interacts off Java with the MJO-driven Kelvin waves in the Indian Ocean to produce a barotropic instability which itself is dissipated via Rossby waves. These Rossby waves propagate back into the Seychelles-Chagos Dome to potentially affect the MJO generation in about 12 months. The Maritime Continent thus is the centre of the Indo-Pacific Tripole with a rich spectrum of diurnal to decadal and longer timescale interactions with a global reach. Some thoughts are offered on a modeling and observational strategy for advancing process and predictive understanding of the region and its role in global climate variability and change.