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Yao Ha and Zhong Zhong

Abstract

This study investigates the decadal change in tropical cyclone (TC) activity over the South China Sea (SCS) in the boreal summer (June–August) since the early 1990s and explores possible causes behind it. Results show that the SCS TC activity experienced an abrupt decadal decrease at around 2003/03. Compared to the TC activities from the early 1990s to 2002, the number of TCs formed in the SCS markedly decreased from 2003 through the early 2010s. Moreover, most of the TCs were primarily confined within the SCS basin during this period. The TCs that formed during the period of 2003–11 usually moved west-northwestward and rapidly weakened after making landfall. It is found that a significant decadal-scale sea surface temperature (SST) warming occurred in the northern Indian Ocean and the western Pacific Ocean after 2002 while convection intensified over the tropical regions between 60° and 80°E and around 150°E, respectively. The warm SST anomalies induced an anomalous subsiding flow over the SCS basin via the Walker-like (zonal) circulation. Meanwhile, anomalously dry, sinking air around 5°–20°N derived from local Hadley (meridional) circulation reinforced the subsiding flow of the zonal circulation. The above circulation patterns suppressed TC genesis over the northern SCS, leading to the decadal decrease in TC activity that occurred around 2002/03. In addition, in conjunction with the local anomalous easterly flow, the intraseasonal atmospheric variability over the SCS has decreased since the early 2000s. This is unfavorable for the development of synoptic-scale disturbances and may also contribute to the decadal decrease in TC activity.

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Yuan Sun, Lan Yi, Zhong Zhong, and Yao Ha

Abstract

The latest version of the Weather Research and Forecasting model (WRFV3.5) is used to evaluate the performance of the Grell and Freitas (GF13) cumulus parameterization scheme on the model convergence in simulations of a tropical cyclone (TC) at gray-zone resolutions. The simulated TC intensity converges to a finite limit as the grid spacing varies from 7.5 to 1 km. The reasons for the model convergence are investigated from perspectives of subgrid-scale processes and thermodynamic and dynamic structures. It is found that the impacts of above factors are notably different with varying model resolutions. The convective heating and drying increase as the grid spacing decreases, which inhibits the explicit microphysical parameterization preventing the simulated TC from overly intensifying. As the grid spacing decreases from 7.5 to 5 km, the TC intensity increases because of a stronger secondary circulation, a larger magnitude and proportion of strong eyewall updraft, and a greater amount of latent heating in the eyewall. As the grid spacing decreases from 5 to 3 km, the radius of maximum wind (RMW) decreases and the radial pressure gradient increases leading to an increase in TC intensity. The simulated TC intensity changes slightly as the grid spacing decreases from 3 to 1 km since the RMW and the storm structure both change little. The slight changes in the simulated TC intensity at such high resolutions indicate a great model convergence. Therefore, the GF13 presents an appropriate option that increases the model convergence in the TC intensity simulation at gray-zone resolution.

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Yao Ha, Zhong Zhong, Xiuqun Yang, and Yuan Sun

Abstract

This study focuses on statistical analysis of anomalous tropical cyclone (TC) activities and the physical mechanisms behind these anomalies. Different patterns of decaying of the warm sea surface temperature anomaly (SSTA) over the equatorial central-eastern Pacific are categorized into three types: eastern Pacific warming decaying to La Niña (EPWDL), eastern Pacific warming decaying to a neutral phase (EPWDN), and a central Pacific warming decaying year (CPWD). Differences in TC activity over the western North Pacific (WNP) corresponding to the above three types are discussed, and possible mechanisms are proposed. For EPWDL, TC genesis shows a significant positive (negative) anomaly over the northwestern (southeastern) WNP and more TCs move westward and make landfall over the southern East Asian coast. This is attributed primarily to the combined modulation of La Niña and the warm equatorial east Indian Ocean SSTA. For EPWDN, enhanced TC genesis is observed over the northeastern WNP, and suppressed TC activity is located mainly in the zonal region extending from the Philippine Sea to the eastern WNP, close to 160°E. Most of the TCs formed over the eastern WNP experience early recurvature east of 140°E, then move northeastward; hence, fewer TCs move northwestward to make landfall over the East Asian coast. For CPWD, the enhanced TC activity appears over the western WNP. This is due to the weak anomalous cyclonic circulation over the Philippines, primarily caused by the weaker, more westward-shifting warm SSTA compared to that in the previous warming year over the central Pacific.

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Yao Ha, Zhong Zhong, Yimin Zhu, and Yijia Hu

Abstract

The contribution of barotropic energy conversion to tropical cyclone (TC) activity over the western North Pacific (WNP) during warm and cold phases of El Niño–Southern Oscillation (ENSO) is investigated by separating TC vortices from reanalysis data and using a linearized eddy kinetic energy tendency equation. By comparing the characteristics of TC disturbances with synoptic-scale disturbances, it is found that the modulation of ENSO on the WNP TC intensity is presented more objectively by using TC kinetic energy (EKETC) than eddy kinetic energy (EKE). Barotropic energy conversion (KmKe) into TC disturbances (KmKeTC) is an effective indicator in detecting the barotropic energy source of low-level cyclone genesis and maintenance during the ENSO cycle. However, its dynamical processes play different roles. Shear in large-scale zonal wind and convergence in large-scale meridional wind provide direct barotropic energy source for TC genesis, but make effects in different regions of the WNP. In contrast, convergence in large-scale zonal and shear in large-scale meridional wind exert little influence on TC genesis during ENSO.

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Yijia Hu, Yimin Zhu, Zhong Zhong, and Yao Ha

Abstract

The prediction of mei-yu onset date (MOD) in the middle and lower reaches of the Yangtze River valley (MLYRV) is an important and challenging task for those making seasonal climate predictions in China. In this paper, the atmospheric and oceanic conditions in the preceding winter and spring related to MOD are analyzed. It is found that the MOD is associated with the intensity of the Ural high and the East Asian trough in high latitudes, with the intensity of the upper-level westerly jet in middle latitudes, and with the contrast of land–sea temperature and pressure in the preceding winter and spring, which are proxies for the intensity of the East Asian winter monsoon (EAWM). It is suggested that the intensity of the EAWM is the most crucial factor affecting the MOD. Years with an early MOD usually correspond to strong EAWMs in the preceding winter, and vice versa. The EAWM can affect the MOD by influencing the East Asian summer monsoon (EASM) through tropical ocean–atmosphere and tropical–extratropical interactions. Based on the above analysis, a physics-based statistical forecast model is established using multivariable linear regression techniques. The hindcast of MOD during the 13 yr from 1998 to 2010 is carried out to evaluate the performance of this forecast model. The MOD can be predicted successfully in 8 out of the 13 yr. The forecast model predicts the MOD in the years with strong mei-yu intensity more accurately than in those with weak mei-yu intensity, especially for cases of extreme flooding. This is useful in the prevention of flooding disasters.

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Yao Ha, Zhong Zhong, Yijia Hu, and Xiuqun Yang

Abstract

This study investigates the influences of ENSO on tropical cyclone (TC) kinetic energy and its meridional transport in the western North Pacific (WNP) using the TC wind field obtained after a method for removing TC vortices from reanalysis data is applied. Results show that ENSO strongly modulates TC kinetic energy and its meridional transport in the WNP, but their effects and regions differ. The TC kinetic energy is positively correlated with the Niño-3.4 index in the entire WNP, and its poleward transport is positively (negatively) correlated with the Niño-3.4 index in the eastern WNP (the western WNP and the South China Sea); these correlations are statistically significant. The maximum TC kinetic energy is located around 25°N, 135°E (25°N, 125°E) in the warm (cold) year, showing an east–west pattern during different ENSO phases. The meridional transport of TC kinetic energy exhibits a dipole pattern over the WNP, with the poleward (equatorward) transport in the eastern (western) WNP. Both poleward and equatorward transports strengthen (weaken) and shift eastward (westward) in El Niño (La Niña) years. Therefore, El Niño has strong influences on TC kinetic energy and its meridional transport.

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