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Akira Kuwano-Yoshida
and
Yoshio Asuma

Abstract

Numerical simulations of six explosively developing extratropical cyclones in the northwestern Pacific Ocean region are conducted using a regional mesoscale numerical model [the fifth-generation Pennsylvania State University–National Center for Atmospheric Research Mesoscale Model (MM5)]. Cyclones are categorized according to the locations where they form and develop: Okhotsk–Japan Sea (OJ) cyclones originate over the eastern Asian continent and develop over the Sea of Japan or the Sea of Okhotsk, Pacific Ocean–land (PO–L) cyclones also form over the Asian continent and develop over the northwestern Pacific Ocean, and Pacific Ocean–ocean (PO–O) cyclones form and develop over the northwestern Pacific Ocean. Two cases (the most extreme and normal deepening rate cases for each cyclone type) are selected and simulated. Simulations show that the extreme cyclone of each type is characterized by a different mesoscale structure and evolutionary path, which strongly reflect the larger-scale environment: an OJ cyclone has the smallest deepening rates, associated with a distinct upper-level shortwave trough, a clear lower-level cold front, and a precipitation area that is far from the cyclone center; a PO–L cyclone has moderate deepening rates with high propagation speeds under zonally stretched upper-level jets; and a PO–O cyclone has the strongest deepening rates associated with large amounts of precipitation near its center. Sensitivity experiments involving the latent heat release associated with water vapor condensation show that PO–O cyclones rarely develop without a release of latent heat and their structures are drastically different from the control runs, while OJ cyclones exhibit almost the same developments and have similar structures to the control runs. These tendencies can be seen in both extreme and normal deepening rate cases. These results reveal that the importance of latent heat release to explosive cyclone development varies among the cyclone types, as is reflected by the cyclone origin, frontal structure, moisture distribution, and jet stream configuration.

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Akira Kuwano-Yoshida
and
Takeshi Enomoto

Abstract

The predictability of explosive cyclones over the northwestern Pacific region is investigated using an ensemble reanalysis dataset. Explosive cyclones are categorized into two types according to whether the region of the most rapid development is in the Sea of Okhotsk or Sea of Japan (OJ) or in the northwestern Pacific Ocean (PO). Cyclone-relative composite analyses are performed for analysis increments (the differences between the analysis and the 6-h forecast) and ensemble spreads (the standard deviations of ensemble members of the analysis or first guess) at the time of the maximum deepening rate. The increment composite shows that the OJ explosive cyclone center is forecast too far north compared to the analyzed center, whereas the PO explosive cyclone is forecast shallower than the analyzed center. To understand the cause of these biases, a diagnosis of the increment using the Zwack–Okossi (Z-O) development equation is conducted. The results suggest that the increment characteristics of both the OJ and PO explosive cyclones are associated with the most important cyclone development mechanisms. The OJ explosive cyclone forecast error is related to a deeper upper trough, whereas the PO explosive cyclone error is related to weaker latent heat release in the model. A diagnosis of the spread utilizing the Z-O development equation clarifies the mechanism underlying the uncertainty in the modeled sea level pressure. For OJ explosive cyclones, the spread of adiabatic warming causes substantial sea level pressure spreading southwest of the center of the cyclones. For PO explosive cyclones, the latent heat release causes substantial sea level pressure spreading around the cyclone center.

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Akira Kuwano-Yoshida
and
Shoshiro Minobe

Abstract

The storm-track response to sea surface temperature (SST) fronts in the northwestern Pacific region is investigated using an atmospheric general circulation model with a 50-km horizontal resolution. The following two experiments are conducted: one with 0.25° daily SST data (CNTL) and the other with smoothed SSTs over an area covering SST fronts associated with the Kuroshio, the Kuroshio Extension, the Oyashio, and the subpolar front (SMTHK). The storm track estimated from the local deepening rate of surface pressure (LDR) exhibits a prominent peak in this region in CNTL in January, whereas the storm-track peak weakens and moves eastward in SMTHK. Storm-track differences between CNTL and SMTHK are only found in explosive deepening events with LDR larger than 1 hPa h−1. A diagnostic equation of LDR suggests that latent heat release associated with large-scale condensation contributes to the storm-track enhancement. The SST fronts also affect the large-scale atmospheric circulation over the northeastern Pacific Ocean. The jet stream in the upper troposphere tends to meander northward, which is associated with positive sea level pressure (SLP) anomalies in CNTL, whereas the jet stream flows zonally in SMTHK. A composite analysis for the northwestern Pacific SLP anomaly suggests that frequent explosive cyclone development in the northwestern Pacific in CNTL causes downstream positive SLP anomalies over the Gulf of Alaska. Cyclones in SMTHK developing over the northeastern Pacific enhance the moisture flux along the west coast of North America, increasing precipitation in that region.

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Akira Kuwano-Yoshida
,
Bunmei Taguchi
, and
Shang-Ping Xie

Abstract

The baiu rainband is a summer rainband stretching from eastern China through Japan toward the northwestern Pacific. The climatological termination of the baiu rainband is investigated using the Japanese 25-yr Reanalysis (JRA-25), a stand-alone atmospheric general circulation model (GCM) forced with observed sea surface temperature (SST) and an atmosphere–ocean GCM (AOGCM). The baiu rainband over the North Pacific abruptly shifts northward and weakens substantially in early July in the atmospheric GCM (AGCM), too early compared to observations (late July). The midtroposphere westerly jet and its thermal advection explain this meridional shift of the baiu rainband, but the ocean surface evaporation modulates the precipitation intensity. In AGCM, deep convection in the subtropical northwestern Pacific sets in prematurely, displacing the westerly jet northward over the cold ocean surface earlier than in observations. The suppressed surface evaporation over the cold ocean suppresses precipitation even though the midtropospheric warm advection and vertically integrated moisture convergence are similar to those before the westerly jet's northward shift. As a result, the baiu rainband abruptly weakens after the northward shift in JRA-25 and AGCM. In AOGCM, cold SST biases in the subtropics inhibit deep convection, delaying the poleward excursion of the westerly jet. As a result, the upward motion induced by both the strong westerly jet and the rainband persist over the northwestern Pacific through summer in the AOGCM. The results indicate that the westerly jet and the ocean evaporation underneath are important for the baiu rainband, the latter suggesting an oceanic effect on this important phenomenon.

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Akira Kuwano-Yoshida
,
Shoshiro Minobe
, and
Shang-Ping Xie

Abstract

The precipitation response to sea surface temperature (SST) gradients associated with the Gulf Stream is investigated using an atmospheric general circulation model. Forced by observed SST, the model simulates a narrow band of precipitation, surface convergence, and evaporation that closely follows the Gulf Stream, much like satellite observations. Such a Gulf Stream rainband disappears in the model when the SST front is removed by horizontally smoothing SST. The analysis herein shows that it is convective precipitation that is sensitive to SST gradients. The Gulf Stream anchors a convective rainband by creating surface wind convergence and intensifying surface evaporation on the warmer flank. Deep convection develops near the Gulf Stream in summer when the atmosphere is conditionally unstable. As a result, a narrow band of upward velocity develops above the Gulf Stream throughout the troposphere in summer, while it is limited to the lower troposphere in other seasons.

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Akira Kuwano-Yoshida
,
Satoru Okajima
, and
Hisashi Nakamura

Abstract

Long-term changes in the activity of explosively developing “bomb” cyclones over the wintertime North Pacific are investigated by using a particular version of a global atmospheric reanalysis dataset into which only conventional observations have been assimilated. Bomb cyclones in January are found to increase rapidly around 1987 in the midlatitude central North Pacific. Some of the increased bomb cyclones formed over the East China Sea and then moved along the southern coast of Japan before developing explosively in the central North Pacific. The enhanced cyclone activity is found to be concomitant with rapid warming and moistening over the subtropical western Pacific and the South and East China Seas under the weakened monsoonal northerlies, leading to the enhancement of the lower-tropospheric Eady growth rate and equivalent potential temperature gradient, setting a condition favorable for cyclone formation in the area upstream of the North Pacific storm track. Along the storm track, poleward moisture transport in the warm sector of a cyclone and associated precipitation along the warm and cold fronts tended to increase and thereby enhance its explosive development. After the transition around 1987, a bomb cyclone has become more likely to develop without a strong upper-level cyclonic vortex propagating from Eurasia than in the earlier period. The increased bomb cyclone activity in January is found to contribute to the diminished midwinter minimum of the North Pacific storm track activity after the mid-1980s.

Open access
Satoru Okajima
,
Hisashi Nakamura
,
Kazuaki Nishii
,
Takafumi Miyasaka
, and
Akira Kuwano-Yoshida

Abstract

Sets of atmospheric general circulation model (AGCM) experiments are conducted to assess the importance of prominent positive anomalies in sea surface temperature (SST) observed over the midlatitude North Pacific in forcing a persistent basin-scale anticyclonic circulation anomaly and its downstream influence in 2011 summer and autumn. The anticyclonic anomaly observed in October is well reproduced as a robust response of an AGCM forced only with the warm SST anomaly associated with the poleward-shifted oceanic frontal zone in the midlatitude Pacific. The equivalent barotropic anticyclonic anomaly over the North Pacific is maintained under strong transient eddy feedback forcing associated with the poleward-deflected storm track. As the downstream influence of the anomaly, abnormal warmth and dryness observed over the northern United States and southern Canada in October are also reproduced to some extent. The corresponding AGCM response over the North Pacific to the tropical SST anomalies is similar but substantially weaker and less robust, suggesting the primary importance of the prominent midlatitude SST anomaly in forcing the large-scale atmospheric anomalies observed in October 2011. In contrast, the model reproduction of the atmospheric anomalies observed in summer was unsuccessful. This appears to arise from the fact that, unlike in October, the midlatitude SST anomalies accompanied reduction of heat and moisture release from the ocean, indicative of the atmospheric thermodynamic forcing on the SST anomalies. Furthermore, the distinct seasonality in the AGCM responses to the warm SST anomalies may also be contributed to by the seasonality of background westerlies and storm track.

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Fumiaki Ogawa
,
Hisashi Nakamura
,
Kazuaki Nishii
,
Takafumi Miyasaka
, and
Akira Kuwano-Yoshida

Abstract

A midlatitude oceanic frontal zone is a confluent region of warm and cool ocean currents, characterized by a strong meridional gradient in both sea surface temperature (SST) and surface air temperature (SAT). While recent observational and modeling studies indicate potential impacts of midlatitude oceanic fronts on the extratropical climatological circulation, including storm tracks and eddy-driven westerlies, their impacts on the atmospheric-dominant low-frequency variability (i.e., the annular mode) still remain to be understood. This study explores possible impacts of midlatitude oceanic frontal zones on annular mode signatures in the wintertime Southern Hemisphere (SH). To mimic the SH, sets of idealized aquaplanet experiments are conducted with zonally symmetric distributions of SST prescribed globally at the lower boundary of an atmospheric general circulation model. By systematically changing the latitude of frontal gradient in the SST profile, the experiments reveal that the characteristics of the wintertime annular mode exhibit strong sensitivity to the position of the SST front if situated at midlatitude or subpolar latitude. The annular mode may be interpreted as a manifestation of wobble of the extratropical tropospheric circulation between two “dynamical regimes”—one under the strong influence of SST gradient and the other under the strong control of atmospheric internal dynamics unrelated to the lower-boundary condition. In fact, this interpretation offers insight into the observed interbasin differences in the wintertime signature of the southern annular mode (SAM) that are embedded in the zonally symmetric anomalies. The findings suggest a possible reinterpretation of the climatological-mean state observed in the wintertime SH as the superposition of those two dynamical regimes.

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Nobumasa Komori
,
Takeshi Enomoto
,
Takemasa Miyoshi
,
Akira Yamazaki
,
Akira Kuwano-Yoshida
, and
Bunmei Taguchi

ABSTRACT

Ensemble-based atmospheric data assimilation (DA) systems are sometimes afflicted with an underestimation of the ensemble spread near the surface caused by the use of identical boundary conditions for all ensemble members and the lack of atmosphere–ocean interaction. To overcome these problems, a new DA system has been developed by replacing an atmospheric GCM with a coupled atmosphere–ocean GCM, in which atmospheric observational data are assimilated every 6 h to update the atmospheric variables, whereas the oceanic variables are subject to no direct DA. Although SST suffers from the common biases among many coupled GCMs, two months of a retrospective analysis–forecast cycle reveals that the ensemble spreads of air temperature and specific humidity in the surface boundary layer are slightly increased and the forecast skill in the midtroposphere is rather improved by using the coupled DA system in comparison with the atmospheric DA system. In addition, surface atmospheric variables over the tropical Pacific have the basinwide horizontal correlation in ensemble space in the coupled DA system but not in the atmospheric DA system. This suggests the potential benefit of using a coupled GCM rather than an atmospheric GCM even for atmospheric reanalysis with an ensemble-based DA system.

Open access
Bunmei Taguchi
,
Hisashi Nakamura
,
Masami Nonaka
,
Nobumasa Komori
,
Akira Kuwano-Yoshida
,
Koutarou Takaya
, and
Atsushi Goto

Abstract

Potential impacts of pronounced decadal-scale variations in the North Pacific sea surface temperature (SST) that tend to be confined to the subarctic frontal zone (SAFZ) upon seasonally varying atmospheric states are investigated, by using 48-yr observational data and a 120-yr simulation with an ocean–atmosphere coupled general circulation model (CGCM). SST fields based on in situ observations and the ocean component of the CGCM have horizontal resolutions of 2.0° and 0.5°, respectively, which can reasonably resolve frontal SST gradient across the SAFZ. Both the observations and CGCM simulation provide a consistent picture between SST anomalies in the SAFZ yielded by its decadal-scale meridional displacement and their association with atmospheric anomalies. Correlated with SST anomalies persistent in the SAFZ from fall to winter, a coherent decadal-scale signal in the wintertime atmospheric circulation over the North Pacific starts emerging in November and develops into an equivalent barotropic anomaly pattern similar to the Pacific–North American (PNA) pattern. The PNA-like signal with the weakened (enhanced) surface Aleutian low correlated with positive (negative) SST anomalies in the SAFZ becomes strongest and most robust in January, under the feedback forcing from synoptic-scale disturbances migrating along the Pacific storm track that shifts northward (southward) in accord with the oceanic SAFZ. This PNA-like signal, however, breaks down in February, which is suggestive of a particular sensitivity of that anomaly pattern to subtle differences in the background climatological-mean state. Despite its collapse in February, the PNA-like signal recurs the next January. This subseasonal evolution of the signal suggests that the PNA-like anomaly pattern may develop as a response to the persistent SST anomalies that are maintained mainly through ocean dynamics.

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