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Lloyd J. Shapiro
and
Stanley B. Goldenberg

Abstract

Winds at low (near-surface) and 200-mb levels from National Hurricane Center objective analyses are used to elucidate the structure and dynamics of the tropical and subtropical intraseasonal oscillations for the North Atlantic/northeast Pacific regions, including over the continents, for the years 1980–1989. The intraseasonal oscillations are broken into three bands, with long (50–85 day), intermediate (30–55 day), and short (13–29 day) periods. Winter and summer seasons are analyzed separately. A complex empirical orthogonal function technique is used to derive the dominant modes of intraseasonal variability over the region, including their propagation characteristics. Statistically distinct modes of variability are found only during the winter and only for the long-period and short-period bands.

The dominant mode of coupled 200-mb low-level long-period variability during winter has a dipole structure. It has a substantial equivalent barotropic component in the subtropics, as well as a baroclinic structure consistent with quasigeostrophic midlatitude systems. Negative outgoing longwave radiation anomalies tend to be in phase with a low-level convergence-upper-level divergence couplet, which lies approximately one-quarter wavelength to the east of the cyclonic vorticity centers. The long-period oscillations during 1981–1988 are dominated by three events, with periods between about 60 and 70 days. There is a negative correlation, explaining about 50% of the variance, between the magnitude of the mode and an index of El Niño based on sea surface temperatures in the eastern equatorial Pacific.

The dominant modes of short-period variability during winter appear as zonally oriented wave trains similar to those found by previous investigators of global-scale fluctuations. Rotation of the modes of 200-mb variability effectively separates them into their propagating and standing components. Approximately one-half of the variance in the meridional wind near teleconnection centers of action is found in the eastward propagating component. The dominant mode of coupled 200-mb/iow-level variability propagates to the east, and has a vertical structure similar to that in the long-period band. It has a predominant period near 18 days.

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Stanley B. Goldenberg
and
Lloyd J. Shapiro

Abstract

Physical mechanisms responsible for the contemporaneous association, shown in earlier studies, of North Atlantic basin major hurricane (MH) activity with western Sahelian monsoon rainfall and an equatorial eastern Pacific sea surface temperature index of El Niño are examined, using correlations with 200- and 700-mb level wind data for the period 1968–92. The use of partial correlations isolates some of the relationships associated with the various parameters.

The results support previous suggestions that the upper- and lower-level winds over the region in the basin between ∼10° and 20°N where most MHs begin developing are critical determinants of the MH activity in each hurricane season. In particular, interannual fluctuations in the winds that produce changes in the magnitude of vertical shear are one of the most important factors, with reduced shear being associated with increased activity and stronger shear with decreased activity. The results show that most of these critical wind fluctuations are explained by their relationship to the SST and rainfall fluctuations. Results confirm previous findings that positive (warm) eastern Pacific SST and negative (drought) Sahelian rainfall anomalies are associated with suppressed Atlantic basin tropical cyclone activity through an equatorially confined near-zonal circulation with upper-level westerlies and lower-level easterlies that act to increase the climatological westerly vertical shear in the main development region. SST and rainfall anomalies of the opposite sense are related to MH activity through a zonal circulation with upper-level easterly and lower-level westerly wind anomalies that act to cancel out some of the climatological westerly vertical shear. The results also show that changes in vertical shear to the north of the main development region are unrelated to, or possibly even out of phase with, changes in the development region, providing a possible physical explanation for the observations from recent studies of the out-of-phase relationship of interannual fluctuations in MH activity in the region poleward of ∼25°N with fluctuations in activity to the south.

The interannual variability of MH activity explained by Sahel rainfall is almost three times that explained by the eastern Pacific SSTs. It is demonstrated that a likely reason for this result is that the SST-associated vertical shears are more equatorially confined, so that the changes in shear in the main development region have a stronger association with the rainfall than with the SSTs.

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Lloyd J. Shapiro
and
Stanley B. Goldenberg

Abstract

It has long been accepted that interannual fluctuations in sea surface temperature (SST) in the Atlantic are associated with fluctuations in seasonal Atlantic basin tropical cyclone frequency. To isolate the physical mechanism responsible for this relationship, a singular value decomposition (SVD) is used to establish the dominant covarying modes of tropospheric wind shear and SST as well as horizontal SST gradients. The dominant SVD mode of covarying vertical shear and SST gradients, which comprises equatorially confined near-zonal vertical wind shear fluctuations across the Atlantic basin, is highly correlated with both equatorial eastern Pacific SST anomalies (associated with El Niño) and West African Sahel rainfall. While this mode is strongly related to tropical storm, hurricanes, and major hurricane frequency in the Atlantic, it is not associated with any appreciable Atlantic SST signal.

By contrast, the second SVD mode of covarying vertical shear and horizontal SST gradient variability, which is effectively uncorrelated with the dominant mode, is associated with SST fluctuations concentrated in the main tropical cyclone development region between 10° and 20°N. This mode is significantly correlated with tropical storm and hurricane frequency but not with major hurricane frequency. Statistical tests confirm the robustness of the mode, and lag correlations and physical reasoning demonstrate that the SST anomalies are not due to the developing tropical cyclones themselves. Anomalies of SST and vertical shear during years where the mode has substantial amplitude confirm the resemblance of the individual fields to the modal structure, as well as the association of hurricane development with the warmer SSTs. Although SSTs are of secondary importance to vertical shear in modulating hurricane formation, explaining only ∼10% of the interannual variability in hurricane frequency over the ∼50% explained by vertical shear, the results support the conclusion that warmer SSTs directly enhance development. The lack of correlation with major hurricanes implies that the underlying SSTs are not a significant factor in the development of these stronger systems.

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Stanley B. Goldenberg
and
James J. O'Brien

Abstract

The results of a spectral analysis of a new, subjectively analyzed data set of tropical Pacific wind stress are presented. The monthly data for the 10-year period, 1961–70, allow a detailed inspection of the distributions of frequency and zonal wavenumber spectra from 29°N to 29°S. In addition, the results obtained using the subjective analysis technique are briefly compared with those obtained using two objective methods.

The frequency spectra vary greatly throughout the tropical Pacific. There also are differences between the spectra for the wind-stress magnitude and its components. The only statistically significant peaks are for the annual and semiannual cycles. Differences between the frequency spectra for the wind-stress magnitude and the wind-stress components are discussed. Plots of the spatial distributions of the power in the annual and semiannual signals are presented and related to seasonal climatological features in the tropical Pacific wind field. Other plots are introduced which show regions of high interannual variability in the area occupied by the Southern Oscillation, and in the central equatorial Pacific. Both of these regions are key areas in the study of El Niñno.

Zonal wavenumber spectra are presented as functions of latitude for January, February, etc. The spectra are red, as would he expected.

The outcome of a test for white noise that was performed on the frequency spectra for interannual periods is discussed. According to the data set used in this study, the spectra are indistinguishable from white spectra for interannual periods. However, the results for this type of test are hindered by the short record length available in the data set.

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Ghassan J. Alaka Jr.
,
Xuejin Zhang
,
Sundararaman G. Gopalakrishnan
,
Stanley B. Goldenberg
, and
Frank D. Marks

Abstract

The Hurricane Weather Research and Forecasting (HWRF) Model is a dynamical model that has shown annual improvements in its tropical cyclone (TC) track forecasts as a result of various modifications. This study focuses on an experimental version of HWRF, called the basin-scale HWRF (HWRF-B), configured with 1) a large, static outer domain to cover multiple TC basins and 2) multiple sets of high-resolution movable nests to produce forecasts for several TCs simultaneously. Although HWRF-B and the operational HWRF produced comparable average track errors for the 2011–14 Atlantic hurricane seasons, strengths of HWRF-B are identified and linked to its configuration differences. HWRF-B track forecasts were generally more accurate compared with the operational HWRF when at least one additional TC was simultaneously active in the Atlantic or east Pacific basins and, in particular, when additional TCs were greater than 3500 km away. In addition, at long lead times, HWRF-B average track errors were lower than for the operational HWRF for TCs initialized north of 25°N or west of 60°W, highlighting the sensitivity of TC track forecasts to the location of the operational HWRF’s outermost domain. A case study, performed on Hurricane Michael, corroborated these HWRF-B strengths. HWRF-B shows the potential to serve as an effective bridge between regional modeling systems and next-generational global efforts.

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Christopher W. Landsea
,
Gerald D. Bell
,
William M. Gray
, and
Stanley B. Goldenberg

Abstract

The 1995 Atlantic hurricane season was a year of near-record hurricane activity with a total of 19 named storms (average is 9.3 for the base period 1950–90) and 11 hurricanes (average is 5.8), which persisted for a total of 121 named storm days (average is 46.6) and 60 hurricane days (average is 23.9), respectively. There were five intense (or major) Saffir–Simpson category 3, 4, or 5 hurricanes (average is 2.3 intense hurricanes) with 11.75 intense hurricane days (average is 4.7). The net tropical cyclone activity, based upon the combined values of named storms, hurricanes, intense hurricanes, and their days present, was 229% of the average. Additionally, 1995 saw the return of hurricane activity to the deep tropical latitudes: seven hurricanes developed south of 25°N (excluding all of the Gulf of Mexico) compared with just one during all of 1991–94. Interestingly, all seven storms that formed south of 20°N in August and September recurved to the northeast without making landfall in the United States.

The sharply increased hurricane activity during 1995 is attributed to the juxtaposition of virtually all of the large-scale features over the tropical North Atlantic that favor tropical cyclogenesis and development. These include extremely low vertical wind shear, below-normal sea level pressure, abnormally warm ocean waters, higher than average amounts of total precipitable water, and a strong west phase of the stratospheric quasi-biennial oscillation. These various environmental factors were in strong contrast to those of the very unfavorable conditions that accompanied the extremely quiet 1994 hurricane season.

The favorable conditions for the 1995 hurricane season began to develop as far back as late in the previous winter. Their onset well ahead of the start of the hurricane season indicates that they are a cause of the increased hurricane activity, and not an effect. The extreme duration of the atmospheric circulation anomalies over the tropical North Atlantic is partly attributed to a transition in the equatorial Pacific from warm episode conditions (El Niño) to cold episode conditions (La Niña) prior to the onset of the hurricane season.

Though the season as a whole was extremely active, 1995’s Atlantic tropical cyclogenesis showed a strong intraseasonal variability with above-normal storm frequency during August and October and below normal for September. This variability is likely attributed to changes in the upper-tropospheric circulation across the tropical North Atlantic, which resulted in a return to near-normal vertical shear during September. Another contributing factor to the reduction in tropical cyclogenesis during September may have been a temporary return to near-normal SSTs across the tropical and subtropical North Atlantic, caused by the enhanced tropical cyclone activity during August.

Seasonal hurricane forecasts for 1995 issued at Colorado State University on 30 November 1994, 5 June 1995, and 4 August 1995 correctly anticipated an above-average season, but underforecast the extent of the extreme hurricane activity.

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Stanley B. Goldenberg
,
Sundararaman G. Gopalakrishnan
,
Vijay Tallapragada
,
Thiago Quirino
,
Frank Marks Jr.
,
Samuel Trahan
,
Xuejin Zhang
, and
Robert Atlas

Abstract

The Hurricane Weather Research and Forecasting Model (HWRF) was operationally implemented with a 27-km outer domain and a 9-km moving nest in 2007 (H007) as a tropical cyclone forecast model for the North Atlantic and eastern Pacific hurricane basins. During the 2012 hurricane season, a modified version of HWRF (H212), which increased horizontal resolution by adding a third (3 km) nest within the 9-km nest, replaced H007. H212 thus became the first operational model running at convection-permitting resolution. In addition, there were modifications to the initialization, model physics, tracking algorithm, etc. This paper compares H212 hindcast forecasts for the 2010–11 Atlantic hurricane seasons with forecasts from H007 and H3GP, a triply nested research version of HWRF. H212 reduced track forecast errors for almost all forecast times versus H007 and H3GP. H3GP was superior for intensity forecasts, although H212 showed some improvement over H007. Stratifying the cases by initial vertical wind shear revealed that the main weakness for H212 intensity forecasts was for cases with initially high shear. In these cases, H212 over- and under-intensified storms that were initially stronger and weaker, respectively. These results suggest the primary deficiency negatively impacting H212 intensity forecasts, especially in cases of rapid intensification, was that physics calls were too infrequent for the 3-km inner mesh. Correcting this deficiency along with additional modifications in the 2013 operational version yielded improved track and intensity forecasts. These intensity forecasts were comparable to statistical–dynamical models, showing that dynamical models can contribute to a decrease in operational forecast errors.

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Stephen Baxter
,
Gerald D Bell
,
Eric S Blake
,
Francis G Bringas
,
Suzana J Camargo
,
Lin Chen
,
Caio A. S Coelho
,
Ricardo Domingues
,
Stanley B Goldenberg
,
Gustavo Goni
,
Nicolas Fauchereau
,
Michael S Halpert
,
Qiong He
,
Philip J Klotzbach
,
John A Knaff
,
Michelle L'Heureux
,
Chris W Landsea
,
I.-I Lin
,
Andrew M Lorrey
,
Jing-Jia Luo
,
Andrew D Magee
,
Richard J Pasch
,
Petra R Pearce
,
Alexandre B Pezza
,
Matthew Rosencrans
,
Blair C Trewin
,
Ryan E Truchelut
,
Bin Wang
,
H Wang
,
Kimberly M Wood
, and
John-Mark Woolley
Free access
Howard J. Diamond
,
Carl J. Schreck III
,
Emily J. Becker
,
Gerald D. Bell
,
Eric S. Blake
,
Stephanie Bond
,
Francis G. Bringas
,
Suzana J. Camargo
,
Lin Chen
,
Caio A. S. Coelho
,
Ricardo Domingues
,
Stanley B. Goldenberg
,
Gustavo Goni
,
Nicolas Fauchereau
,
Michael S. Halpert
,
Qiong He
,
Philip J. Klotzbach
,
John A. Knaff
,
Michelle L'Heureux
,
Chris W. Landsea
,
I.-I. Lin
,
Andrew M. Lorrey
,
Jing-Jia Luo
,
Kyle MacRitchie
,
Andrew D. Magee
,
Ben Noll
,
Richard J. Pasch
,
Alexandre B. Pezza
,
Matthew Rosencrans
,
Michael K. Tippet
,
Blair C. Trewin
,
Ryan E. Truchelut
,
Bin Wang
,
Hui Wang
,
Kimberly M. Wood
,
John-Mark Woolley
, and
Steven H. Young
Free access
Howard J. Diamond
,
Carl J. Schreck III
,
Adam Allgood
,
Emily J. Becker
,
Eric S. Blake
,
Francis G. Bringas
,
Suzana J. Camargo
,
Lin Chen
,
Caio A. S. Coelho
,
Nicolas Fauchereau
,
Stanley B. Goldenberg
,
Gustavo Goni
,
Michael S. Halpert
,
Qiong He
,
Zeng-Zhen Hu
,
Philip J. Klotzbach
,
John A. Knaff
,
Arun Kumar
,
Chris W. Landsea
,
Michelle L’Heureux
,
I.-I. Lin
,
Andrew M. Lorrey
,
Jing-Jia Luo
,
Andrew D. Magee
,
Richard J. Pasch
,
Alexandre B. Pezza
,
Matthew Rosencrans
,
Blair C. Trewin
,
Ryan E. Truchelut
,
Bin Wang
,
Hui Wang
,
Kimberly M. Wood
, and
John-Mark Woolley
Free access