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On the Variability and Predictability of Eastern Pacific Tropical Cyclone Activity

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  • 1 Climate Forecasting Unit, Catalan Institute of Climate Sciences, Barcelona, Spain
  • | 2 Department of Mathematics, Université du Québec à Montréal, Montréal, Québec, Canada
  • | 3 Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory, Columbia University, Palisades, New York
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Abstract

Variability in tropical cyclone activity in the eastern Pacific basin has been linked to a wide range of climate factors, yet the dominant factors driving this variability have yet to be identified. Using Poisson regressions and a track clustering method, the authors analyze and compare the climate influence on cyclone activity in this region. The authors show that local sea surface temperature and upper-ocean heat content as well as large-scale conditions in the northern Atlantic are the dominant influence in modulating eastern North Pacific tropical cyclone activity. The results also support previous findings suggesting that the influence of the Atlantic Ocean occurs through changes in dynamical conditions over the eastern Pacific. Using model selection algorithms, the authors then proceed to construct a statistical model of eastern Pacific tropical cyclone activity. The various model selection techniques used agree in selecting one predictor from the Atlantic (northern North Atlantic sea surface temperature) and one predictor from the Pacific (relative sea surface temperature) to represent the best possible model. Finally, we show that this simple model could have predicted the anomalously high level of activity observed in 2014.

Supplemental information related to this paper is available at the Journals Online website: http://dx.doi.org/10.1175/JCLI-D-15-0377.s1.

Corresponding author address: Louis-Philippe Caron, Climate Forecasting Unit, Catalan Institute of Climate Sciences, Dr. Trueta 203, 3rd floor, Barcelona 08005, Spain. E-mail: louis-philippe.caron@bsc.es

Abstract

Variability in tropical cyclone activity in the eastern Pacific basin has been linked to a wide range of climate factors, yet the dominant factors driving this variability have yet to be identified. Using Poisson regressions and a track clustering method, the authors analyze and compare the climate influence on cyclone activity in this region. The authors show that local sea surface temperature and upper-ocean heat content as well as large-scale conditions in the northern Atlantic are the dominant influence in modulating eastern North Pacific tropical cyclone activity. The results also support previous findings suggesting that the influence of the Atlantic Ocean occurs through changes in dynamical conditions over the eastern Pacific. Using model selection algorithms, the authors then proceed to construct a statistical model of eastern Pacific tropical cyclone activity. The various model selection techniques used agree in selecting one predictor from the Atlantic (northern North Atlantic sea surface temperature) and one predictor from the Pacific (relative sea surface temperature) to represent the best possible model. Finally, we show that this simple model could have predicted the anomalously high level of activity observed in 2014.

Supplemental information related to this paper is available at the Journals Online website: http://dx.doi.org/10.1175/JCLI-D-15-0377.s1.

Corresponding author address: Louis-Philippe Caron, Climate Forecasting Unit, Catalan Institute of Climate Sciences, Dr. Trueta 203, 3rd floor, Barcelona 08005, Spain. E-mail: louis-philippe.caron@bsc.es

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