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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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Joo-Hong Kim, Chang-Hoi Ho, Hyeong-Seog Kim, and Woosuk Choi

Abstract

Fourteen named tropical cyclones (TCs) formed in the western North Pacific (WNP) in 2010, representing the lowest count since 1951. Both low activity during the typhoon season (June–October) and quiescence during the pre- and posttyphoon seasons were major contributing factors. Despite overall low activity, TC activity along land boundaries was enhanced because the overall genesis locations of TCs shifted to the north and west and a majority of them affected the coastal countries in the WNP. These features are attributed to the expansion of the subtropical high and weakening of the monsoon trough associated with the rapid transition of the 2009/10 El Niño to the 2010/11 La Niña. The National Typhoon Center (NTC) in South Korea utilizes the recently developed track-pattern-based model of the hybrid statistical–dynamical type as the operational long-range TC forecast system. This model fairly forecast the anomalous spatial distribution of TC track density for the 2010 typhoon season. A higher-than-normal track density was successfully forecast near Korea and Japan. This is attributed to the overall skillful forecast of TC count for each pattern by the NTC model, though some deficiencies in forecasting extremes for some patterns are evident. The total seasonal genesis frequency integrated over the seven patterns is well below normal (about 16.4) close to the observations. The fair predictability in 2010 using the NTC model is attributed to the skillful forecast of the ENSO transition by the National Centers for Environmental Prediction’s Climate Forecast System, in addition to the validity of the NTC model itself.

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Doo-Sun R. Park, Chang-Hoi Ho, Joo-Hong Kim, and Hyeong-Seog Kim

Abstract

The spatial distribution of trends in tropical cyclone (TC) intensity over the western North Pacific Ocean (WNP) during the period 1977–2010 was examined using five TC datasets. The spatial distribution of the TC intensity was expressed by seasonally averaged maximum wind speeds in 5° × 5° horizontal grids. The trends showed a spatial inhomogeneity, with a weakening in the tropical Philippine Sea (TP) and a strengthening in southern Japan and its southeastern ocean (SJ). This distribution could be described by TC intensification rate and genesis frequency, with the aid of the climatological direction of TC movement. The increasing intensification rate around the center of the WNP could mostly account for the increasing intensity over the SJ region, while the influence of both intensification rate and local genesis frequency mattered in the TP region because of the effect of the newly generated and less-developed weak TCs on the TC intensity. Thermodynamic variables (e.g., sea surface temperature, potential intensity, and 26°C isotherm depth) showed almost homogeneous changes in space, possibly favoring intensification rate and genesis frequency over the entire WNP. However, the decreasing intensification rate and genesis frequency in some tropical regions conflicted with the impact of thermodynamic variables; rather, they were in accord with the impact of dynamic variables (i.e., vorticity and wind shear). In conclusion, the spatially inhomogeneous trends in TC intensity could be explained by considering the thermodynamic and dynamic aspects in combination through intensification rate and genesis frequency.

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Donghee Kim, Hyeong-Seog Kim, Doo-Sun R. Park, and Myung-Sook Park

Abstract

The variation of the tropical cyclone (TC) season in the western North Pacific (WNP) was analyzed based on the percentiles of annual TC formation dates. The results show that the length of the TC season is highly modulated by the TC season’s start rather than its end. The start of the TC season in the WNP has large interannual variation that is closely associated with the variation of the sea surface temperature (SST) in the Indian Ocean (IO) and the central-eastern Pacific (CEP). When the SSTs of the IO and CEP are warm (cold) in the preceding winter, anomalous high (low) pressure and anticyclonic (cyclonic) circulation are induced around the WNP TC basin the following spring, resulting in a late (early) start of the TC season. These results suggest that a strong El Niño in the preceding winter significantly delays the TC season start in the following year.

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Hyeong-Seog Kim, Chang-Hoi Ho, Joo-Hong Kim, and Pao-Shin Chu

Abstract

Skillful predictions of the seasonal tropical cyclone (TC) activity are important in mitigating the potential destruction from the TC approach/landfall in many coastal regions. In this study, a novel approach for the prediction of the seasonal TC activity over the western North Pacific is developed to provide useful probabilistic information on the seasonal characteristics of the TC tracks and vulnerable areas. The developed model, which is termed the “track-pattern-based model,” is characterized by two features: 1) a hybrid statistical–dynamical prediction of the seasonal activity of seven track patterns obtained by fuzzy c-means clustering of historical TC tracks and 2) a technique that enables researchers to construct a forecasting map of the spatial probability of the seasonal TC track density over the entire basin. The hybrid statistical–dynamical prediction for each pattern is based on the statistical relationship between the seasonal TC frequency of the pattern and the seasonal mean key predictors dynamically forecast by the National Centers for Environmental Prediction Climate Forecast System in May. The leave-one-out cross validation shows good prediction skill, with the correlation coefficients between the hindcasts and the observations ranging from 0.71 to 0.81. Using the predicted frequency and the climatological probability for each pattern, the authors obtain the forecasting map of the seasonal TC track density by combining the TC track densities of the seven patterns. The hindcasts of the basinwide seasonal TC track density exhibit good skill in reproducing the observed pattern. The El Niño–/La Niña–related years, in particular, tend to show a better skill than the neutral years.

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Woosuk Choi, Chang-Hoi Ho, Jinwon Kim, Hyeong-Seog Kim, Song Feng, and KiRyong Kang

Abstract

A seasonal prediction model of tropical cyclone (TC) activities for the period August–October over the North Atlantic (NA) has been developed on the basis of TC track patterns. Using the fuzzy c-means method, a total of 432 TCs in the period 1965–2012 are categorized into the following four groups: 1) TCs off the U.S. East Coast, 2) TCs over the Gulf of Mexico, 3) TCs that recurve into the open ocean of the central NA, and 4) TCs that move westward in the southern NA. The model is applied to predict the four TC groups separately in conjunction with global climate forecasts from the National Centers for Environmental Prediction (NCEP) Climate Forecast System, version 2 (CFSv2). By adding the distributions of the four TC tracks with precalculated weighting factors, this seasonal TC forecast model provides the spatial distribution of TC activities over the entire NA basin. Multiple forecasts initialized in six consecutive months from February to July are generated at monthly intervals to examine the applicability of this model in operational TC forecasting. Cross validations of individual forecasts show that the model can reasonably predict the observed TC frequencies over NA at the 99% confidence level. The model shows a stable spatial prediction skill, proving its advantage for forecasting regional TC activities several months in advance. In particular, the model can generate reliable information on regional TC counts in the near-coastal regions as well as in the entire NA basin.

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Hyeong-Seog Kim, Joo-Hong Kim, Chang-Hoi Ho, and Pao-Shin Chu

Abstract

A fuzzy c-means clustering method (FCM) is applied to cluster tropical cyclone (TC) tracks. FCM is suitable for the data where cluster boundaries are ambiguous, such as a group of TC tracks. This study introduces the feasibility of a straightforward metric to incorporate the entire shapes of all tracks into the FCM, that is, the interpolation of all tracks into equal number of segments. Four validity measures (e.g., partition coefficient, partition index, separation index, and Dunn index) are used objectively to determine the optimum number of clusters. This results in seven clusters from 855 TCs over the western North Pacific (WNP) from June through October during 1965–2006. The seven clusters are characterized by 1) TCs striking the Korean Peninsula and Japan with north-oriented tracks, 2) TCs affecting Japan with long trajectories, 3) TCs hitting Taiwan and eastern China with west-oriented tracks, 4) TCs passing the east of Japan with early recurving tracks, 5) TCs traveling the easternmost region over the WNP, 6) TCs over the South China Sea, and 7) TCs moving straight across the Philippines. Each cluster shows distinctive characteristics in its lifetime, traveling distance, intensity, seasonal variation, landfall region, and distribution of TC-induced rainfall. The roles of large-scale environments (e.g., sea surface temperatures, low-level relative vorticity, and steering flows) on cluster-dependent genesis locations and tracks are also discussed.

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Myung-Sook Park, Hyeong-Seog Kim, Chang-Hoi Ho, Russell L. Elsberry, and Myong-In Lee

Abstract

Tropical cyclone formation close to the coastline of the Asian continent presents a significant threat to heavily populated coastal countries. A case study of Tropical Storm Mekkhala (2008) that developed off the coast of Vietnam is presented using the high-resolution analyses of the European Centre for Medium-Range Weather Forecasts/Year of Tropical Convection and multiple satellite observations. The authors have analyzed contributions to the formation from large-scale intraseasonal variability, synoptic perturbations, and mesoscale convective systems (MCSs). Within a large-scale westerly wind burst (WWB) associated with the Madden–Julian oscillation (MJO), synoptic perturbations generated by two preceding tropical cyclones initiated the pre-Mekkhala low-level vortex over the Philippine Sea. Typhoon Hagupit produced a synoptic-scale wave train that contributed to the development of Jangmi, but likely suppressed the Mekkhala formation. The low-level vortex of the pre-Mekkhala disturbance was then initiated in a confluent zone between northeasterlies in advance of Typhoon Jangmi and the WWB. A key contribution to the development of Mekkhala was from diurnally varying MCSs that were invigorated in the WWB. The oceanic MCSs, which typically develop off the west coast of the Philippines in the morning and dissipate in the afternoon, were prolonged beyond the regular diurnal cycle. A combination with the MCSs developing downstream of the Philippines led to the critical structure change of the oceanic convective cluster, which implies the critical role of mesoscale processes. Therefore, the diurnally varying mesoscale convective processes over both the ocean and land are shown to have an essential role in the formation of Mekkhala in conjunction with large-scale MJO and the synoptic-scale TC influences.

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Pao-Shin Chu, Xin Zhao, Chang-Hoi Ho, Hyeong-Seog Kim, Mong-Ming Lu, and Joo-Hong Kim

Abstract

A new approach to forecasting regional and seasonal tropical cyclone (TC) frequency in the western North Pacific using the antecedent large-scale environmental conditions is proposed. This approach, based on TC track types, yields probabilistic forecasts and its utility to a smaller region in the western Pacific is demonstrated. Environmental variables used include the monthly mean of sea surface temperatures, sea level pressures, low-level relative vorticity, vertical wind shear, and precipitable water of the preceding May. The region considered is the vicinity of Taiwan, and typhoon season runs from June through October. Specifically, historical TC tracks are categorized through a fuzzy clustering method into seven distinct types. For each cluster, a Poisson or probit regression model cast in the Bayesian framework is applied individually to forecast the seasonal TC activity. With a noninformative prior assumption for the model parameters, and following Chu and Zhao for the Poisson regression model, a Bayesian inference for the probit regression model is derived. A Gibbs sampler based on the Markov chain Monte Carlo method is designed to integrate the posterior predictive distribution. Because cluster 5 is the most dominant type affecting Taiwan, a leave-one-out cross-validation procedure is applied to predict seasonal TC frequency for this type for the period of 1979–2006, and the correlation skill is found to be 0.76.

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Thomas R. Knutson, Joseph J. Sirutis, Gabriel A. Vecchi, Stephen Garner, Ming Zhao, Hyeong-Seog Kim, Morris Bender, Robert E. Tuleya, Isaac M. Held, and Gabriele Villarini

Abstract

Twenty-first-century projections of Atlantic climate change are downscaled to explore the robustness of potential changes in hurricane activity. Multimodel ensembles using the phase 3 of the Coupled Model Intercomparison Project (CMIP3)/Special Report on Emissions Scenarios A1B (SRES A1B; late-twenty-first century) and phase 5 of the Coupled Model Intercomparison Project (CMIP5)/representative concentration pathway 4.5 (RCP4.5; early- and late-twenty-first century) scenarios are examined. Ten individual CMIP3 models are downscaled to assess the spread of results among the CMIP3 (but not the CMIP5) models. Downscaling simulations are compared for 18-km grid regional and 50-km grid global models. Storm cases from the regional model are further downscaled into the Geophysical Fluid Dynamics Laboratory (GFDL) hurricane model (9-km inner grid spacing, with ocean coupling) to simulate intense hurricanes at a finer resolution.

A significant reduction in tropical storm frequency is projected for the CMIP3 (−27%), CMIP5-early (−20%) and CMIP5-late (−23%) ensembles and for 5 of the 10 individual CMIP3 models. Lifetime maximum hurricane intensity increases significantly in the high-resolution experiments—by 4%–6% for CMIP3 and CMIP5 ensembles. A significant increase (+87%) in the frequency of very intense (categories 4 and 5) hurricanes (winds ≥ 59 m s−1) is projected using CMIP3, but smaller, only marginally significant increases are projected (+45% and +39%) for the CMIP5-early and CMIP5-late scenarios. Hurricane rainfall rates increase robustly for the CMIP3 and CMIP5 scenarios. For the late-twenty-first century, this increase amounts to +20% to +30% in the model hurricane’s inner core, with a smaller increase (~10%) for averaging radii of 200 km or larger. The fractional increase in precipitation at large radii (200–400 km) approximates that expected from environmental water vapor content scaling, while increases for the inner core exceed this level.

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