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Role of Abnormally Enhanced MJO over the Western Pacific in the Formation and Subseasonal Predictability of the Record-Breaking Northeast Asian Heatwave in the Summer of 2018

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  • 1 Key Laboratory of Meteorological Disaster of Ministry of Education/Joint International Research Laboratory of Climate and Environment Change/Collaborative Innovation Center on Forecast and Evaluation of Meteorological Disasters, Nanjing University of Information Science and Technology, Nanjing, China
  • 2 Key Laboratory of Meteorological Disaster of Ministry of Education, Nanjing University of Information Science and Technology, Nanjing, China, and National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration/Geophysical Fluid Dynamics Laboratory, Princeton, New Jersey
  • 3 Key Laboratory of Meteorological Disaster of Ministry of Education, Nanjing University of Information Science and Technology, Nanjing, and Hainan Meteorological Observatory and Key Laboratory of South China Sea Meterological Disaster Prevention and Mitigation of Hainan Province, Haikou, China
  • 4 National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration/Geophysical Fluid Dynamics Laboratory, Princeton, New Jersey, and University Corporation for Atmospheric Research, Boulder, Colorado
  • 5 Key Laboratory of Meteorological Disaster of Ministry of Education, Nanjing University of Information Science and Technology, Nanjing, China
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Abstract

In the summer of 2018, Northeast Asia experienced a heatwave event that broke the existing high-temperature records in several locations in Japan, the Korean Peninsula, and northeastern China. At the same time, an unusually strong Madden–Julian oscillation (MJO) was observed to stay over the western Pacific warm pool. Based on reanalysis diagnosis, numerical experiments, and assessments of real-time forecast data from two subseasonal-to-seasonal (S2S) models, we discovered the importance of the western Pacific MJO in the generation of this heatwave event, as well as its predictability at the subseasonal time scale. During the prolonged extreme heat period (11 July–14 August), a high pressure anomaly with variability at the intraseasonal (30–90 days) time scale appeared over Northeast Asia, causing persistent adiabatic heating and clear skies in this region. As shown in the composites of MJO-related convection and circulation anomalies, the occurrence of this 30–90-day high anomaly over Northeast Asia was linked with an anomalous wave train induced by tropical heating associated with the western tropical Pacific MJO. The impact of the MJO on the heatwave was further confirmed by sensitivity experiments with a coupled GCM. As the western Pacific MJO-related components were removed by nudging prognostic variables over the tropics toward their annual cycle and longer time scales (>90 days) in the coupled GCM, the anomalous wave train along the East Asian coast disappeared and the surface air temperature in Northeast Asia lowered. The MJO over the western Pacific warm pool also influenced the predictability of the extratropical heatwave. Our assessments of two S2S models’ real-time forecasts suggest that the extremity of this Northeast Asian heatwave can be better predicted 1–4 weeks in advance if the enhancement of MJO convection over the western Pacific warm pool is predicted well.

© 2020 American Meteorological Society. For information regarding reuse of this content and general copyright information, consult the AMS Copyright Policy (www.ametsoc.org/PUBSReuseLicenses).

Corresponding author: Pang-Chi Hsu, pangchi@nuist.edu.cn

Abstract

In the summer of 2018, Northeast Asia experienced a heatwave event that broke the existing high-temperature records in several locations in Japan, the Korean Peninsula, and northeastern China. At the same time, an unusually strong Madden–Julian oscillation (MJO) was observed to stay over the western Pacific warm pool. Based on reanalysis diagnosis, numerical experiments, and assessments of real-time forecast data from two subseasonal-to-seasonal (S2S) models, we discovered the importance of the western Pacific MJO in the generation of this heatwave event, as well as its predictability at the subseasonal time scale. During the prolonged extreme heat period (11 July–14 August), a high pressure anomaly with variability at the intraseasonal (30–90 days) time scale appeared over Northeast Asia, causing persistent adiabatic heating and clear skies in this region. As shown in the composites of MJO-related convection and circulation anomalies, the occurrence of this 30–90-day high anomaly over Northeast Asia was linked with an anomalous wave train induced by tropical heating associated with the western tropical Pacific MJO. The impact of the MJO on the heatwave was further confirmed by sensitivity experiments with a coupled GCM. As the western Pacific MJO-related components were removed by nudging prognostic variables over the tropics toward their annual cycle and longer time scales (>90 days) in the coupled GCM, the anomalous wave train along the East Asian coast disappeared and the surface air temperature in Northeast Asia lowered. The MJO over the western Pacific warm pool also influenced the predictability of the extratropical heatwave. Our assessments of two S2S models’ real-time forecasts suggest that the extremity of this Northeast Asian heatwave can be better predicted 1–4 weeks in advance if the enhancement of MJO convection over the western Pacific warm pool is predicted well.

© 2020 American Meteorological Society. For information regarding reuse of this content and general copyright information, consult the AMS Copyright Policy (www.ametsoc.org/PUBSReuseLicenses).

Corresponding author: Pang-Chi Hsu, pangchi@nuist.edu.cn
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