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Liguang Wu, Huijun Zong, and Jia Liang

Abstract

An observational analysis of observed sudden typhoon track changes is conducted with a focus on the underlying mechanism and the possible role of slowly varying low-frequency flows. Four typhoons that took a generally northwestward track prior to sharply turning northeastward in the vicinity of the East China Sea are investigated.

It is found that the sudden track changes occurred near the center of the Madden–Julian oscillation (MJO)-scale cyclonic circulation or at the bifurcation point of the steering flows at 700 hPa, and they were all associated with a well-developed quasi-biweekly oscillation (QBW)-scale gyre. Calculation of vorticity advection suggests that the peripheral ridging resulting from the interaction between the typhoons and the flows on the MJO and QBW scales can compress the typhoon circulation, leading to an area of high winds to the east or south of the typhoon center. The enhanced synoptic-scale winds shifted the typhoons northward and placed them in a northeastward orbit under the steering of the flows associated with the Pacific subtropical high. The sudden track change can be likened to the maneuvering of satellite orbit change in that the enhanced synoptic-scale winds act as a booster rocket to shift the typhoons northward to the southwesterly steering flows.

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Liguang Wu, Huijun Zong, and Jia Liang

Abstract

Large-scale monsoon gyres and the involved tropical cyclone formation over the western North Pacific have been documented in previous studies. The aim of this study is to understand how monsoon gyres affect tropical cyclone formation. An observational study is conducted on monsoon gyres during the period 2000–10, with a focus on their structures and the associated tropical cyclone formation.

A total of 37 monsoon gyres are identified in May–October during 2000–10, among which 31 monsoon gyres are accompanied with the formation of 42 tropical cyclones, accounting for 19.8% of the total tropical cyclone formation. Monsoon gyres are generally located on the poleward side of the composited monsoon trough with a peak occurrence in August–October. Extending about 1000 km outward from the center at lower levels, the cyclonic circulation of the composited monsoon gyre shrinks with height and is replaced with negative relative vorticity above 200 hPa. The maximum winds of the composited monsoon gyre appear 500–800 km away from the gyre center with a magnitude of 6–10 m s−1 at 850 hPa. In agreement with previous studies, the composited monsoon gyre shows enhanced southwesterly flow and convection on the south-southeastern side. Most of the tropical cyclones associated with monsoon gyres are found to form near the centers of monsoon gyres and the northeastern end of the enhanced southwesterly flows, accompanying relatively weak vertical wind shear.

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