Response of Storm Tracks to Bimodal Kuroshio Path States South of Japan

Hirohiko Nakamura Faculty of Fisheries, Kagoshima University, Kagoshima, Japan

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Ayako Nishina Faculty of Fisheries, Kagoshima University, Kagoshima, Japan

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Shoshiro Minobe Graduate School of Science, Hokkaido University, Sapporo, Japan

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Abstract

A large meridional shift of the sea surface temperature front occurs off the south coast of Japan associated with transitions between the large-meander and straight paths of the Kuroshio. Most extratropical cyclones generated in winter near the Kuroshio in the East China Sea pass through the region where the Kuroshio takes either the meander or the straight path. To examine whether such cyclones change their tracks and intensities according to the two states of the path, a new dataset of winter cyclone tracks derived from surface weather charts from the period 1969/70–2008/09 was produced. The composite analysis of cyclone tracks with respect to the meander and straight path states reveals the following: the cyclone track axis for the meander path state is located away from the south coast of Japan with a dispersive tendency, while that for the straight path state is attached to the south coast with a long extending feature. A difference in track between these two states also occurs to the east of Japan over the North Pacific. In addition, this behavior of the cyclone track is shown to be independent of the wintertime atmospheric circulation anomalies around Japan. The development rate of cyclones is 41% faster for the straight path state than the meander path state. Snowfall in Tokyo caused by south-coast cyclones is more frequent for the meander than the straight path state because the former state can act to decrease air temperature in Tokyo.

Corresponding author address: Hirohiko Nakamura, Faculty of Fisheries, Kagoshima University, 4-50-20, Shimoarata, Kagoshima 890-0056, Japan. E-mail: nakamura@fish.kagoshima-u.ac.jp

Abstract

A large meridional shift of the sea surface temperature front occurs off the south coast of Japan associated with transitions between the large-meander and straight paths of the Kuroshio. Most extratropical cyclones generated in winter near the Kuroshio in the East China Sea pass through the region where the Kuroshio takes either the meander or the straight path. To examine whether such cyclones change their tracks and intensities according to the two states of the path, a new dataset of winter cyclone tracks derived from surface weather charts from the period 1969/70–2008/09 was produced. The composite analysis of cyclone tracks with respect to the meander and straight path states reveals the following: the cyclone track axis for the meander path state is located away from the south coast of Japan with a dispersive tendency, while that for the straight path state is attached to the south coast with a long extending feature. A difference in track between these two states also occurs to the east of Japan over the North Pacific. In addition, this behavior of the cyclone track is shown to be independent of the wintertime atmospheric circulation anomalies around Japan. The development rate of cyclones is 41% faster for the straight path state than the meander path state. Snowfall in Tokyo caused by south-coast cyclones is more frequent for the meander than the straight path state because the former state can act to decrease air temperature in Tokyo.

Corresponding author address: Hirohiko Nakamura, Faculty of Fisheries, Kagoshima University, 4-50-20, Shimoarata, Kagoshima 890-0056, Japan. E-mail: nakamura@fish.kagoshima-u.ac.jp
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