High-resolution observations and regional climate model simulations reveal that precipitation over the Maritime Continent is mostly concentrated over islands. Analysis of the diurnal cycles of precipitation and winds indicates that this is predominantly caused by sea- breeze convergence over islands, reinforced by mountain-valley winds and further amplified by the cumulus merger processes. Comparison of a regional climate model control simulation to a flat-island run and an all-ocean run demonstrates that the underrepresentation of islands and terrain in the Maritime Continent weakens the atmospheric disturbance associated with the diurnal cycle, and hence underestimates precipitation. The implication of these regional modeling results is that systematic errors in coarse-resolution global circulation models probably result from insufficient representation of land-sea breezes associated with the complex topography in the Maritime Continent. It is found that precipitation in the Maritime Continent, simulated by a global model, is indeed smaller than observed. The simulated upper-atmospheric velocity potential, which represents large-scale tropospheric heating, was substantially displaced eastward compared to observations. Possible approaches toward solving this problem are suggested.
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