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The Modulation of Tropical Cyclone Activity in the Australian Region by the Madden–Julian Oscillation

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  • 1 Department of Mathematics and Statistics, Monash University, Melbourne, Australia
  • | 2 University of East Anglia, Norwich, United Kingdom
  • | 3 Department of Mathematics and Statistics, Monash University, Melbourne, Australia
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Abstract

The observed relationship between tropical cyclone activity in the Australian region and the Madden–Julian oscillation (MJO) has been examined using 20 yr of outgoing longwave radiation, NCEP–NCAR reanalysis, and best track tropical cyclone data. The MJO strongly modulates the climatological pattern of cyclogenesis in the Australian region, where significantly more (fewer) cyclones form in the active (inactive) phase of the MJO. This modulation is more pronounced to the northwest of Australia. The relationship between tropical cyclone activity and the MJO was strengthened during El Niño periods. Variations of the large-scale dynamical conditions necessary for cyclogenesis were explored, and it was found that MJO-induced perturbations of these parameters correspond with the observed variation in cyclone activity. In particular, 850-hPa relative vorticity anomalies attributable to the MJO were found to be an excellent diagnostic of the changes in the large-scale cyclogenesis patterns.

 Current affiliation: Bureau of Meteorology, Melbourne, Australia.

Corresponding author address: Dr. Adrian Matthews, School of Environmental Sciences, University of East Anglia, Norwich NR4 7TJ, United Kingdom. Email: a.j.matthews@uea.ac.uk

Abstract

The observed relationship between tropical cyclone activity in the Australian region and the Madden–Julian oscillation (MJO) has been examined using 20 yr of outgoing longwave radiation, NCEP–NCAR reanalysis, and best track tropical cyclone data. The MJO strongly modulates the climatological pattern of cyclogenesis in the Australian region, where significantly more (fewer) cyclones form in the active (inactive) phase of the MJO. This modulation is more pronounced to the northwest of Australia. The relationship between tropical cyclone activity and the MJO was strengthened during El Niño periods. Variations of the large-scale dynamical conditions necessary for cyclogenesis were explored, and it was found that MJO-induced perturbations of these parameters correspond with the observed variation in cyclone activity. In particular, 850-hPa relative vorticity anomalies attributable to the MJO were found to be an excellent diagnostic of the changes in the large-scale cyclogenesis patterns.

 Current affiliation: Bureau of Meteorology, Melbourne, Australia.

Corresponding author address: Dr. Adrian Matthews, School of Environmental Sciences, University of East Anglia, Norwich NR4 7TJ, United Kingdom. Email: a.j.matthews@uea.ac.uk

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