Modulation of North Pacific Tropical Cyclone Activity by Three Phases of ENSO

Hye-Mi Kim School of Earth and Atmospheric Science, Georgia Institute of Technology, Atlanta, Georgia

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Peter J. Webster School of Earth and Atmospheric Science, Georgia Institute of Technology, Atlanta, Georgia

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Judith A. Curry School of Earth and Atmospheric Science, Georgia Institute of Technology, Atlanta, Georgia

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Abstract

Tropical Pacific Ocean warming has been separated into two modes based on the spatial distribution of the maximum sea surface temperature (SST) anomaly: an east Pacific warming (EPW) and a central Pacific warming (CPW). When combined with east Pacific cooling (EPC), these three regimes are shown to have different impacts on tropical cyclone (TC) activity over the North Pacific by differential modulation of both local thermodynamic factors and large-scale circulation patterns. In EPW years, the genesis and the track density of TCs tend to be enhanced over the southeastern part and suppressed in the northwestern part of the western Pacific by strong westerly wind shear. The extension of the monsoon trough and the weak wind shear over the central Pacific increases the likelihood of TC activity to the east of the climatological mean TC genesis location. In CPW years, the TC activity is shifted to the west and is extended through the northwestern part of the western Pacific. The westward shifting of CPW-induced heating moves the anomalous westerly wind and monsoon trough through the northwestern part of the western Pacific and provides a more favorable condition for TC landfall. The CPW, on the other hand, produces a large suppression of TC activity in the eastern Pacific basin. In EPC years, all of the variables investigated show almost a mirror image of the EPW.

Corresponding author address: Hye-Mi Kim, Georgia Institute of Technology, 311 Ferst Dr., Atlanta, GA 30332. Email: hyemi.kim@eas.gatech.edu

Abstract

Tropical Pacific Ocean warming has been separated into two modes based on the spatial distribution of the maximum sea surface temperature (SST) anomaly: an east Pacific warming (EPW) and a central Pacific warming (CPW). When combined with east Pacific cooling (EPC), these three regimes are shown to have different impacts on tropical cyclone (TC) activity over the North Pacific by differential modulation of both local thermodynamic factors and large-scale circulation patterns. In EPW years, the genesis and the track density of TCs tend to be enhanced over the southeastern part and suppressed in the northwestern part of the western Pacific by strong westerly wind shear. The extension of the monsoon trough and the weak wind shear over the central Pacific increases the likelihood of TC activity to the east of the climatological mean TC genesis location. In CPW years, the TC activity is shifted to the west and is extended through the northwestern part of the western Pacific. The westward shifting of CPW-induced heating moves the anomalous westerly wind and monsoon trough through the northwestern part of the western Pacific and provides a more favorable condition for TC landfall. The CPW, on the other hand, produces a large suppression of TC activity in the eastern Pacific basin. In EPC years, all of the variables investigated show almost a mirror image of the EPW.

Corresponding author address: Hye-Mi Kim, Georgia Institute of Technology, 311 Ferst Dr., Atlanta, GA 30332. Email: hyemi.kim@eas.gatech.edu

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