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Hsiao-Chung Tsai, Kuo-Chen Lu, Russell L. Elsberry, Mong-Ming Lu, and Chung-Hsiung Sui

Abstract

An automated technique has been developed for the detection and tracking of tropical cyclone–like vortices (TCLVs) in numerical weather prediction models, and especially for ensemble-based models. A TCLV is detected in the model grid when selected dynamic and thermodynamic fields meet specified criteria. A backward-and-forward extension from the mature stage of the track is utilized to complete the track. In addition, a fuzzy logic approach is utilized to calculate the TCLV fuzzy combined-likelihood value (TFCV) for representing the TCLV characteristics in the ensemble forecast outputs. The primary objective of the TCLV tracking and TFCV maps is for use as an evaluation tool for the operational forecasters. It is demonstrated that this algorithm efficiently extracts western North Pacific TCLV information from the vast amount of ensemble data from the NCEP Global Ensemble Forecast System (GEFS). The predictability of typhoon formation and activity during June–December 2008 is also evaluated. The TCLV track numbers and TFCV averages around the formation locations during the 0–96-h period are more skillful than for the 102–384-h forecasts. Compared to weak tropical cyclones (TCs; maximum intensity ≤ 50 kt), the storms that eventually become stronger TCs do have larger TFCVs. Depending on the specified domain size and the ensemble track numbers to define a forecast event, some skill is indicated in predicting the named TC activity. Although this evaluation with the 2008 typhoon season indicates some potential, an evaluation with a larger sample is necessary to statistically verify the reliability of the GEFS forecasts.

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Han-Ching Chen, Zeng-Zhen Hu, Bohua Huang, and Chung-Hsiung Sui

Abstract

This study shows the sudden basinwide reversal of anomalous equatorial zonal transport above the thermocline at the peaking phase of ENSO triggers rapid termination of ENSO events. The anomalous equatorial zonal transport is controlled by the concavity of anomalous thermocline meridional structure across the equator. During the developing phase of ENSO, opposite zonal transport anomalies form in the western-central and central-eastern equatorial Pacific, respectively. Both are driven by the equatorial thermocline anomalies in response to zonal wind anomalies over the western-central equatorial ocean. At this stage, the anomalous zonal transport in the east enhances ENSO growth through zonal SST advection. In the mature phase of ENSO, off-equatorial thermocline depth anomalies become more dominant in the eastern Pacific because of the reflection of equatorial signals at the eastern boundary. As a result, the meridional concavity of the thermocline anomalies is reversed in the east. This change reverses zonal transport rapidly in the central-to-eastern equatorial Pacific, joining with the existing reversed zonal transport anomalies farther to the west, and forms a basinwide transport reversal throughout the equatorial Pacific. This basinwide transport reversal weakens the ENSO SST anomalies by reversed advection. More importantly, the reversed zonal transport reduces the existing zonal tilting of the equatorial thermocline and weakens its feedback to wind anomalies effectively. This basinwide reversal is built in at the peak phase of ENSO as an oceanic control on the evolution of both El Niño and La Niña events. The reversed zonal transport anomaly after the mature phase weakens El Niño in the eastern Pacific more efficiently than it weakens La Niña.

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Joo-Hong Kim, Chang-Hoi Ho, Hyeong-Seog Kim, Chung-Hsiung Sui, and Seon Ki Park

Abstract

The variability of observed tropical cyclone (TC) activity (i.e., genesis, track, and landfall) in the western North Pacific (WNP) is examined in relation to the various categories of the Madden–Julian oscillation (MJO) during summer (June–September) for the period 1979–2004. The MJO categories are defined based on the empirical orthogonal function analysis of outgoing longwave radiation data.

The number of TCs increases when the MJO-related convection center is located in the WNP. The axis of a preferable genesis region systematically shifts like a seesaw in response to changes in the large-scale environments associated with both the eastward and northward propagation of the MJO and the intraseasonal variability of the WNP subtropical high. Furthermore, the authors show that the density of TC tracks in each MJO category depends on the systematic shift in the main genesis regions at first order. Also, the shift is affected by the prevailing large-scale steering flows in each MJO category. When the MJO-related convection center is found in the equatorial Indian Ocean (the tropical WNP), a dense area of tracks migrates eastward (westward). The effects of extreme ENSO events and the variations occurring during ENSO neutral years are also examined.

A statistical analysis of TC landfalls by MJO category is applied in seven selected subareas: the Philippines, Vietnam, South China, Taiwan, East China, Korea, and Japan. While a robust and significant modulation in the number of TC landfalls is observed in south China, Korea, and Japan, the modulation is marginal in the remaining four subareas.

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Chung-Hsiung Sui, Xiaofan Li, Michele M. Rienecker, Ka-Ming Lau, Istvan Laszlo, and Rachel T. Pinker

Abstract

The impacts of high-frequency surface forcing in the upper ocean over the equatorial Pacific are investigated using a nonlinear reduced-gravity isopycnal ocean circulation model forced by daily and monthly mean forcing. The simulated sea surface temperature (SST) in the daily forcing experiment is colder than that in the monthly forcing experiment near the equator. A mixed layer heat budget calculation shows that the net surface heat flux is primarily responsible for the SST difference in the western Pacific, while zonal advection accounts for the SST difference in the eastern Pacific where other budget terms are large but canceling each other. The daily forcing primarily enhances vertical mixing that reduces the vertical shear of the upper ocean. It also changes the net heat into the ocean through two contrasting processes: one is the increased surface latent heat loss induced by transient winds and the other is colder SST due to stronger mixing, which further reduces heat loss at the surface. As a result, the annual mean net surface heat flux into the ocean is reduced and the meridional thermal advection is weaker. The daily forcing also impacts the variation of the thermocline through a changing mixed layer depth so that the temperature in the simulation with the daily forcing is warmer around the thermocline.

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Han-Ching Chen, Chung-Hsiung Sui, Yu-Heng Tseng, and Bohua Huang

Abstract

The Simple Ocean Data Assimilation, version 2.2.4 (SODA 2.2.4), analysis for the period of 1960–2010 is used to study the variability of Pacific subtropical cells (STCs) and its causal relation with tropical climate variability. Results show that the interior STC transport into the equatorial basin through 9°S and 9°N is well connected with equatorial sea surface temperature (SST) (9°S–9°N, 180°–90°W). The highest correlation at interannual time scales is contributed by the western interior STC transport within 160°E and 130°W. It is known that the ENSO recharge–discharge cycle experiences five stages: the recharging stage, recharged stage, warmest SST stage, discharging stage, and discharged stage. A correlation analysis of interior STC transport convergence, equatorial warm water volume (WWV), wind stress curl, and SST identifies the time intervals between the five stages, which are 8, 10, 2, and 8 months, respectively. A composite analysis for El Niño–developing and La Niña–developing events is also performed. The composited ENSO evolutions are in accordance with the recharge–discharge theory and the corresponding time lags between the above denoted five stages are 4–12, 6, 2, and 4 months, respectively. For stronger El Niño events, the discharge due to interior STC transport at 9°N terminates earlier than that at 9°S because of the southward migration of westerly winds following the El Niño peak phase. This study clarifies subsurface transport processes and their time intervals, which are useful for refinement of theoretical models and for evaluating coupled ocean–atmosphere general circulation model results.

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Joo-Hong Kim, Chang-Hoi Ho, Chung-Hsiung Sui, and Seon Ki Park

Abstract

The present study examines variations in summertime (July–September) tropical cyclone (TC) activity over East Asia during the period 1951–2003. To represent TC activity, a total of 853 TC best tracks for the period were converted to TC passage frequencies (TPFs) within 5° × 5° latitude–longitude grids; TPFs are defined as the percentage values obtained by dividing the number of TC appearances in each grid box by the total number of TCs each year. Empirical orthogonal function analysis of the TPF showed three leading modes: two tropical modes that represent the long-term trend and the relationship with ENSO and one midlatitude mode that oscillates between south of Korea and southeast of Japan with an interannual time scale. The latter proved to be the most remarkable climatic fluctuation of summertime TC activity in the midlatitudes and is referred to as the East Asian dipole pattern (EADP) in this paper.

Anomalous atmospheric flows directly connected to the EADP are an enhanced anticyclonic (cyclonic) circulation centering around Japan when the TPF is high south of Korea (southeast of Japan), thereby showing an equivalent barotropic structure in the entire troposphere. This regional circulation anomaly varies in conjunction with the zonally oriented quasi-stationary Rossby wave train in the upper troposphere. This wave train is meridionally trapped in the vicinity of the summer-mean jet stream; therefore, the mean jet stream alters its internal meandering structure according to the phase of the wave train.

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Chih-Pei Chang, Michael Ghil, Hung-Chi Kuo, Mojib Latif, Chung-Hsiung Sui, and John M. Wallace
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Wei-Ting Chen, Shih-Pei Hsu, Yuan-Huai Tsai, and Chung-Hsiung Sui

ABSTRACT

We studied the scale interactions of the convectively coupled Kelvin waves (KWs) over the South China Sea (SCS) and Maritime Continent (MC) during December 2016. Three KWs were observed near the equator in this month while the Madden–Julian oscillation (MJO) was inactive. The impacts of these KWs on the rainfall variability of various time scales are diagnosed, including synoptic disturbances, diurnal cycle (DC), and the onset of the Australian monsoon. Four interaction events between the KWs and the westward-propagating waves over the off-equatorial regions were examined; two events led to KW enhancements and the other two contributed to the formation of a tropical depression/tropical cyclone. Over the KW convectively active region of the MC, the DC of precipitation was enhanced in major islands and neighboring oceans. Over the land, the DC hot spots were modulated depending on the background winds and the terrain effects. Over the ocean, the “coastal regime” of the DC appeared at specific coastal areas. Last, the Australian summer monsoon onset occurred with the passage of a KW, which provided favorable conditions of low-level westerlies and initial convection over southern MC and the Arafura Sea. This effect may be helped by the warm sea surface temperature anomalies associated with the La Niña condition of this month. The current results showcase that KWs and their associated scale interactions can provide useful references for weather monitoring and forecast of this region when the MJO is absent.

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Han-Ching Chen, Chung-Hsiung Sui, Yu-Heng Tseng, and Bohua Huang

Abstract

This study investigates the sudden reversal of anomalous zonal equatorial transport above thermocline at the peak phase of ENSO. The oceanic processes associated with zonal transport are separated into low-frequency ENSO cycle and high-frequency oceanic wave processes. Both processes can generate a reversal of equatorial zonal current at the ENSO peak phase, which is a trigger for the rapid termination of ENSO events. For the low-frequency process, zonal transport exhibits slower and basinwide evolution. During the developing phase of El Niño (La Niña), eastward (westward) transport prevails in the central-eastern Pacific, which enhances ENSO. At the peak of ENSO, a basinwide reversal of the zonal transport resulting from the recharge–discharge process occurs and weakens the existing SST anomalies. High-frequency zonal transport presents clear eastward propagation related to Kelvin wave propagation at the equator, reflection at the eastern boundary, and the westward propagating Rossby waves. The major westerly wind bursts (easterly wind surges) occur in late boreal summer and fall with coincident downwelling (upwelling) Kelvin waves for El Niño (La Niña) events. After the peak of El Niño (La Niña), Kelvin waves reach the eastern boundary in boreal winter and reflect as off-equatorial Rossby waves; then, the zonal transport switches from eastward (westward) to westward (eastward). The high-frequency zonal transport can be represented by equatorial wave dynamics captured by the first three EOFs based on the high-pass-filtered equatorial thermocline. The transport anomaly during the decaying phase is dominated by the low-frequency process in El Niño. However, the transport anomaly is caused by both low- and high-frequency processes during La Niña.

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Chang-Hoi Ho, Jong-Jin Baik, Joo-Hong Kim, Dao-Yi Gong, and Chung-Hsiung Sui

Abstract

The present work examines interdecadal variations of typhoon tracks in the western North Pacific (WNP) during the boreal summer (June–September) for the period 1951–2001. Typhoon tracks are expressed as percentage values of the total number of typhoon passages into a 5° × 5° latitude–longitude grid box with respect to the total number of typhoons formed in the WNP. The analysis period is divided into two interdecadal periods: ID1 (1951–79) and ID2 (1980–2001). From ID1 to ID2, typhoon passage frequency decreased significantly in the East China Sea and Philippine Sea, but increased slightly in the South China Sea. The time series of typhoon passage frequency over the East China Sea and South China Sea further reveal a regime shift in the late 1970s, while those over the Philippine Sea indicate a continuous downward trend of −9% decade−1.

The interdecadal changes in typhoon tracks are associated with the westward expansion of the subtropical northwestern Pacific high (SNPH) in the late 1970s. The expansion of the SNPH to the southeast coast of Asia may result in a larger elliptic pathway of typhoon migration. This is consistent with the westward shift of the typhoon tracks from ID1 to ID2, resulting in an increase of typhoon passage frequency in the South China Sea and a decrease in the East China Sea. The change of typhoon tracks is partly due to the westward shift of major typhoon formation regions associated with a warmer sea surface temperature in the South China Sea. The decreasing typhoon passage frequency over the Philippine Sea is due to less typhoon formation in recent decades. This is consistent with the decreasing cyclonic relative vorticity in the lower troposphere.

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