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Fan Wang
,
Yuanlong Li
, and
Jianing Wang

Abstract

The surface circulation of the tropical Pacific Ocean is characterized by alternating zonal currents, such as the North Equatorial Current (NEC), North Equatorial Countercurrent (NECC), South Equatorial Current (SEC), and South Equatorial Countercurrent (SECC). In situ measurements of subsurface moorings and satellite observations reveal pronounced intraseasonal variability (ISV; 20–90 days) of these zonal currents in the western tropical Pacific Ocean (WTPO). The amplitude of ISV is the largest within the equatorial band exceeding 20 cm s−1 and decreases to ~10 cm s−1 in the NECC band and further to 4–8 cm s−1 in the NEC and SECC. The ISV power generally increases from high frequencies to low frequencies and exhibits a peak at 50–60 days in the NECC, SEC, and SECC. These variations are faithfully reproduced by an ocean general circulation model (OGCM) forced by satellite winds, and parallel model experiments are performed to gain insights into the underlying mechanisms. It is found that large-scale ISV (>500 km) is primarily caused by atmospheric intraseasonal oscillations (ISOs), such as the Madden–Julian oscillation (MJO), through wind stress forcing. These signals are confined within 10°S–8°N, mainly as baroclinic ocean wave responses to ISO winds. For scales shorter than 200 km, ISV is dominated by ocean internal variabilities with mesoscale structures. They arise from the baroclinic and barotropic instabilities associated with the vertical and horizontal shears of the upper-ocean circulation. The ISV exhibits evident seasonal variation, with larger (smaller) amplitude in boreal winter (summer) in the SEC and SECC.

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Bin Wang
and
Zhen Fan

In the south Asian region, two of the major precipitation maxima associated with areas of intensive convective activity are located near the Bay of Bengal and in the vicinity of the Philippines. The variations of monthly mean outgoing longwave radiation in the two regions are poorly correlated, particularly in the decade of 1980s. The enhanced convection over the Bay of Bengal and Indian subcontinents is coupled with reinforced monsoon circulation west of 80°E over India, the western Indian Ocean, and the tropical northern Africa. In contrast, the enhanced convection in the vicinity of the Philippines corresponds to intensified monsoon circulation primarily east of 80°E over southeast Asia including the Indochina peninsula, South China Sea, Philippine Sea, and the Maritime Continent. To better reflect regional monsoon characteristics, two convection indices (or associated circulation indices that are dynamically coherent with the convection indices) are suggested to measure the variability of the Indian summer monsoon (ISM) and the southeast Asian summer monsoon, respectively.

The change in the Bay of Bengal convection (the ISM) has planetary-scale implications, whereas the change in Philippine convection has primarily a regional impact including a linkage with the east Asia subtropical monsoon. The equatorial western Pacific winds exhibit a considerably higher correlation with the ISM convection than with the Philippine convection. During the summers when a major Pacific warm episode occurs (e.g., 1982–83, 1986–87, 1991–92, and 1997), the convection and circulation indices describing the ISM often diverge considerably, causing inconsistency among various normally coherent monsoon indices. This poses a primary difficulty for using a single monsoon index to characterize the interannual variability of a regional monsoon. The cause of the breakdown of the coherence between various convection and circulation indices during ENSO warm phase needs to be understood.

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Ke Fan
and
Huijun Wang

Abstract

This paper presents a new approach for forecasting the typhoon frequency of the western North Pacific (WNP). The year-to-year increase or decrease in typhoon frequency is first forecasted to yield a net typhoon frequency prediction. Five key predictors for the year-to-year increment in the number of typhoons in the WNP have been identified, and a forecast model is established using a multilinear regression method based on data taken from 1965 to 2001. Using the forecast model, a hindcast of the typhoon frequency of the WNP during 2002–07 is made. The model exhibited a reasonably close fit for the period 1965–2007, including the larger anomalies in 1997 and 1998. It also accounted for the smaller variability of the typhoon frequency of the WNP during the validation period 2002–07 with an average root-mean-square error (RMSE) of 1.3 (2.85) during 2002–07 (1965–2001). The cross-validation test of the prediction model shows that the new approach and the prediction model demonstrate better prediction skill when compared to the models established based on typhoon frequency rather than the typhoon frequency increment. Thus, this new approach has the potential to improve the operational forecasting skill for typhoon frequency in the WNP.

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Huijun Wang
and
Ke Fan

Abstract

A new scheme is developed to improve the seasonal prediction of summer precipitation in the East Asian and western Pacific region. The scheme is applied to the Development of a European Multimodel Ensemble System for Seasonal to Interannual Prediction (DEMETER) results. The new scheme is designed to consider both model predictions and observed spatial patterns of historical “analog years.” In this paper, the anomaly pattern correlation coefficient (ACC) between the prediction and the observation, as well as the root-mean-square error, is used to measure the prediction skill. For the prediction of summer precipitation in East Asia and the western Pacific (0°–40°N, 80°–130°E), the prediction skill for the six model ensemble hindcasts for the years of 1979–2001 was increased to 0.22 by using the new scheme from 0.12 for the original scheme. All models were initiated in May and were composed of nine member predictions, and all showed improvement when applying the new scheme. The skill levels of the predictions for the six models increased from 0.08, 0.08, 0.01, 0.14, −0.07, and 0.07 for the original scheme to 0.11, 0.14, 0.10, 0.22, 0.04, and 0.13, respectively, for the new scheme.

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Yuanlong Li
,
Fan Wang
, and
Fangguo Zhai

Abstract

The Philippine Sea (PS) is a key region connecting North Pacific subtropics to the equator via western boundary currents. Using available measurements from Argo profiling floats, satellite altimeters, and research surveys, the authors investigate the characteristics and mechanism of subsurface spiciness variability (represented by salinity changes between 23.5 and 24.5 σθ ) in the PS. During the past decade, low-frequency salinity variability was dominated by interannual signals characterized by out-of-phase changes between the southern and northern PS with peak-to-peak amplitudes exceeding 0.1 psu. These salinity anomalies are mainly generated locally by anomalous cross-front geostrophic advections. In 2003, an anomalous cyclonic circulation developed in the PS, which transported greater (less) than normal high-salinity North Pacific Tropical Water to the northern (southern) PS and produced positive (negative) salinity anomalies there. In 2009, an anomalous anticyclone emerged, which produced negative (positive) salinity anomalies in the northern (southern) PS. These year-to-year variations are closely associated with ENSO cycle. During strong El Niño (La Niña) episodes, positive (negative) wind stress curl anomalies between 8° and 18°N evoke westward-propagating upwelling (downwelling) Rossby waves in the central Pacific and positive (negative) anomalous Ekman pumping in the western Pacific, resulting in the observed current and salinity changes in the PS. Further analysis suggests that these locally generated spiciness anomalies disperse quickly while propagating to the equatorial Pacific in the Mindanao Current (MC). In the meantime, anomalies advected from higher latitudes are nearly diminished upon reaching the PS. The western boundary of the North Pacific seems quite efficient in damping extratropical signals.

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Lingling Liu
,
Yuanlong Li
, and
Fan Wang

Abstract

Change of oceanic surface mixed layer depth (MLD) is critical for vertical exchanges between the surface and subsurface oceans and modulates surface temperature variabilities on various time scales. In situ observations have documented prominent intraseasonal variability (ISV) of MLD with 30–105-day periods in the equatorial Indian Ocean (EIO) where the Madden–Julian oscillation (MJO) initiates. Simulation of Hybrid Coordinate Ocean Model (HYCOM) reveals a regional maximum of intraseasonal MLD variability in the EIO (70°–95°E, 3°S–3°N) with a standard deviation of ~14 m. Sensitivity experiments of HYCOM demonstrate that, among all of the MJO-related forcing effects, the wind-driven downwelling and mixing are primary causes for intraseasonal MLD deepening and explain 83.7% of the total ISV. The ISV of MLD gives rise to high-frequency entrainments of subsurface water, leading to an enhancement of the annual entrainment rate by 34%. However, only a small fraction of these entrainment events (<20%) can effectively contribute to the annual obduction rate of 1.36 Sv, a quantification for the amount of resurfacing thermocline water throughout a year that mainly (84.6%) occurs in the summer monsoon season (May–October). The ISV of MLD achieves the maximal intensity in April–May and greatly affects the subsequent obduction. Estimation based on our HYCOM simulations suggests that MJOs overall reduce the obduction rate in the summer monsoon season by as much as 53%. A conceptual schematic is proposed to demonstrate how springtime intraseasonal MLD deepening events caused by MJO winds narrow down the time window for effective entrainment and thereby suppress the obduction of thermocline water.

Open access
Yaru Guo
,
Yuanlong Li
, and
Fan Wang

Abstract

Passage of the Indonesian Throughflow (ITF) water through the Indian Ocean constitutes an essential section of the upper limb of the global ocean conveyor belt. Although existing studies have identified a major exit of the ITF water to the Atlantic Ocean through the Agulhas Current system, our knowledge regarding other possible destinations and primary pathways remains limited. This study applies the Connectivity Modeling System (CMS) particle tracking algorithm to seven model-based ocean current datasets. The results reveal a robust return path of the ITF water to the Pacific Ocean. The partition ratio between the Atlantic and Pacific routes is 1.60 ± 0.54 to 1, with the uncertainty representing interdataset spread. The average transit time across the Indian Ocean is 10–20 years to the Atlantic and 15–30 years to the Pacific. The “transit velocity” is devised to describe the three-dimensional pathways in a quantitative sense. Its distribution demonstrates that the recirculation structures in the southwestern subtropical Indian Ocean favor the exit to the Atlantic, while the Antarctic Circumpolar Current in the Southern Ocean serves as the primary corridor to the Pacific. Our analysis also suggests the vital impact of vertical motions. In idealized tracing experiments inhibiting vertical currents and turbulent mixing, more water tends to linger over the Indian Ocean or return to the Pacific. Turbulence mixing also contributes to vertical motions but only slightly affects the destinations and pathways of ITF water.

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Yi-Fan Wang
and
Zhe-Min Tan

Abstract

Secondary eyewall formation (SEF) could be considered as the aggregation of a convective-ring coupling with a tangential wind maximum outside the primary eyewall of a tropical cyclone (TC). The dynamics of SEF are investigated using idealized simulations based on a set of triplet experiments, whose differences are only in the initial outer-core wind speed. The triplet experiments indicate that the unbalanced boundary layer (BL) process driven by outer rainbands (ORBs) is essential for the canonical SEF. The developments of a secondary tangential wind maximum and a secondary convective ring are governed by two different pathways, which are well coupled in the canonical SEF. Compared with inner/suppressed rainbands, the downwind stratiform sectors of ORBs drive significant stronger BL convergence at its radially inward side, which fastens up the SEF region and links the two pathways. In the wind-maximum formation pathway, the positive feedback among the BL convergence, supergradient force, and relative vorticity within the BL dominates the spinup of a secondary tangential wind maximum. In the convective-ring formation pathway, the BL convergence contributes to the ascending motion through the frictional-forced updraft and accelerated outflow associated with the supergradient force above the BL. Driven only by inner rainbands, the simulated vortex develops a fake SEF with only the secondary convective ring since the rainband-driven BL convergence is less enhanced and thus fails to maintain the BL positive feedback in the wind-maximum pathway. Therefore, only ORBs can promote the canonical SEF. It also infers that any environmental/physical conditions favorable for the development of ORBs will ultimately contribute to SEF.

Open access
Yi-Fan Wang
and
Zhe-Min Tan

Abstract

This study investigated the effects of vertical wind shear (VWS) with varying magnitudes on secondary eyewall formation (SEF). It turns out that weak-to-moderate VWS advances the timing of SEF. Strong VWS, however, is unfavorable for SEF in our idealized simulations. VWS affecting SEF mainly lies on its influence on the outer rainbands (ORBs). Under weak-to-moderate VWS, ORBs develop more quickly in the downshear side and have distinct stratiform features in the upshear-left quadrant. The asymmetric inflow associated with the stratiform cooling descends into the boundary layer, reinforcing radial convergence at the radially inward side of ORBs. The radial convergence enhances the low-level convection, resulting in strengthened boundary layer inflow and accelerated low-level tangential wind jet. A budget analysis reveals that tangential advection extends a tangential wind jet farther downwind, forming supergradient winds above the boundary layer in the upshear-right quadrant. As the ORBs propagate into the upshear-right quadrant, the pre-existing supergradient winds enhances the low-level convection, facilitating the closing of the secondary convective ring. The evolution in the upshear side exhibit quadrant-dependent interactions between ORBs and boundary layer. Following that, azimuthal-mean tangential wind acceleration becomes visible, forming the secondary tangential wind maximum. Under strong VWS, the storm is weakened and the boundary layer in the upshear-left quadrant is invaded by low-entropy air, resulting in decreased conditional instability and low-level thermal buoyancy. The decreased stratiform precipitation due to weakened convective activity in the upshear-left quadrant prevents the upshear propagation of ORBs and thus is unfavorable for SEF.

Free access
Mingkun Lv
,
Fan Wang
, and
Yuanlong Li

Abstract

While mesoscale eddy-induced temperature and salinity (T and S) variations at depth levels were widely reported, those on isopycnal surfaces have been largely unexplored so far. This study investigates temperature and salinity anomalies (T′ and S′; dubbed “spiciness anomalies”) on isopycnal surfaces induced by mesoscale eddies in the Kuroshio Extension (KET) region, with a focus on the North Pacific Intermediate Water (NPIW) layer of 26.3–26.7σθ . Cyclonic eddies (CEs) and anticyclonic eddies (AEs) tend to cluster on the northern and southern flanks of the KET jet, respectively. These eddies are characterized by a large radius (CEs: 61.94 km; AEs: 68.05 km), limited zonal movement, and a tendency of meridional movement (CEs: 0.35 cm s−1 southward; AEs: 0.66 cm s−1 northward). The average eddy-induced T′ and S′ are −0.25°C (0.06°C) and −0.05 psu (0.01 psu) for CEs (AEs) in the 26.3–26.7σθ layer. We propose two mechanisms for the generation of subsurface spiciness anomalies, respectively, for moving eddies that travel over long distances with trapped waters and quasi-stationary meander eddies that are generated by the meanders of the KET front. The T′ and S′ induced by moving eddies cumulatively drive cross-front water exchanges. Meander eddies shift the position of the front and induce redistribution of properties. However, these anomalies do not contribute to heat and salt exchanges between water masses. This work provides a useful benchmark for model simulations of mesoscale isopycnal variability in subsurface waters.

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