skip to main content

Attention:

The NSF Public Access Repository (NSF-PAR) system and access will be unavailable from 11:00 PM ET on Thursday, May 23 until 2:00 AM ET on Friday, May 24 due to maintenance. We apologize for the inconvenience.


Title: Effects of Tropical Sea Surface Temperature Variability on Northern Hemisphere Tropical Cyclone Genesis
Abstract This study quantifies the contributions of tropical sea surface temperature (SST) variations during the boreal warm season to the interannual-to-decadal variability in tropical cyclone genesis frequency (TCGF) over the Northern Hemisphere ocean basins. The first seven leading modes of tropical SST variability are found to affect basinwide TCGF in one or more basins, and are related to canonical El Niño–Southern Oscillation (ENSO), global warming (GW), the Pacific meridional mode (PMM), Atlantic multidecadal oscillation (AMO), Pacific decadal oscillation (PDO), and the Atlantic meridional mode (AMM). These modes account for approximately 58%, 50%, and 56% of the variance in basinwide TCGF during 1969–2018 over the North Atlantic (NA), northeast Pacific (NEP), and northwest Pacific (NWP) Oceans, respectively. The SST effect is weak on TCGF variability in the north Indian Ocean. The SST modes dominating TCGF variability differ among the basins: ENSO, the AMO, AMM, and GW are dominant for the NA; ENSO and the AMO for the NEP; and the PMM, interannual AMO, and GW for the NWP. A specific mode may have opposite effects on TCGF in different basins, particularly between the NA and NEP. Sliding-window multiple linear regression analyses show that the SST effects on basinwide TCGF are stable in time in the NA and NWP, but have strengthened since the 1990s in the NEP. The SST effects on local TC genesis and occurrence frequency are also explored, and the underlying physical mechanisms are examined by diagnosing a genesis potential index and its components.  more » « less
Award ID(s):
2047721 2105654 1637450
NSF-PAR ID:
10336956
Author(s) / Creator(s):
; ;
Date Published:
Journal Name:
Journal of Climate
Volume:
35
Issue:
14
ISSN:
0894-8755
Page Range / eLocation ID:
4719 to 4739
Format(s):
Medium: X
Sponsoring Org:
National Science Foundation
More Like this
  1. Abstract

    Previous studies argued that the Pacific Meridional Mode (PMM) impacts tropical cyclone (TC) genesis variability over the southeastern part of the western North Pacific (SE‐WNP). Here, we find that the statistical relationship between PMM and SE‐WNP TC genesis frequency is dominated by their co‐variability on decadal timescales. The decadal component of the PMM exhibits very similar temporal and spatial features to quasi‐decadal tropical Pacific sea surface temperature (SST) variability. The latter can affect SE‐WNP TC activity via changes in both zonal vertical wind shear and low‐level vorticity. In contrast, the interannual component of the PMM exhibits no statistically significant correlation with SE‐WNP TC genesis. Furthermore, observations show that both interannual and decadal variability of SE‐WNP TC activity are well correlated with the commonly used Niño3.4 El Niño‐Southern Oscillation index. Thus, equatorial Pacific SST variability is the dominant source of SE‐WNP TC activity predictability on different timescales.

     
    more » « less
  2. Abstract

    In situ observation networks and reanalyses products of the state of the atmosphere and upper ocean show well-defined, large-scale patterns of coupled climate variability on time scales ranging from seasons to several decades. We summarize these phenomena and their physics, which have been revealed by analysis of observations, by experimentation with uncoupled and coupled atmosphere and ocean models with a hierarchy of complexity, and by theoretical developments. We start with a discussion of the seasonal cycle in the equatorial tropical Pacific and Atlantic Oceans, which are clearly affected by coupling between the atmosphere and the ocean. We then discuss the tropical phenomena that only exist because of the coupling between the atmosphere and the ocean: the Pacific and Atlantic meridional modes, the El Niño–Southern Oscillation (ENSO) in the Pacific, and a phenomenon analogous to ENSO in the Atlantic. For ENSO, we further discuss the sources of irregularity and asymmetry between warm and cold phases of ENSO, and the response of ENSO to forcing. Fundamental to variability on all time scales in the midlatitudes of the Northern Hemisphere are preferred patterns of uncoupled atmospheric variability that exist independent of any changes in the state of the ocean, land, or distribution of sea ice. These patterns include the North Atlantic Oscillation (NAO), the North Pacific Oscillation (NPO), and the Pacific–North American (PNA) pattern; they are most active in wintertime, with a temporal spectrum that is nearly white. Stochastic variability in the NPO, PNA, and NAO force the ocean on days to interannual times scales by way of turbulent heat exchange and Ekman transport, and on decadal and longer time scales by way of wind stress forcing. The PNA is partially responsible for the Pacific decadal oscillation; the NAO is responsible for an analogous phenomenon in the North Atlantic subpolar gyre. In models, stochastic forcing by the NAO also gives rise to variability in the strength of the Atlantic meridional overturning circulation (AMOC) that is partially responsible for multidecadal anomalies in the North Atlantic climate known as the Atlantic multidecadal oscillation (AMO); observations do not yet exist to adequately determine the physics of the AMO. We review the progress that has been made in the past 50 years in understanding each of these phenomena and the implications for short-term (seasonal-to-interannual) climate forecasts. We end with a brief discussion of advances of things that are on the horizon, under the rug, and over the rainbow.

     
    more » « less
  3. Abstract

    The small sample size of tropical cyclone (TC) genesis in the observations prevents us from fully characterizing its spatiotemporal variations. Here we take advantage of a large ensemble of 60-km-resolution atmospheric simulations to address this issue over the northwest Pacific (NWP) during 1951–2010. The variations in annual TC genesis density are explored separately on interannual and decadal time scales. The interannual variability is dominated by two leading modes. One is characterized by a dipole pattern, and its temporal evolution is closely linked to the developing ENSO. The other mode features high loadings in the central part of the basin, with out-of-phase changes near the equator and date line, and tends to occur during ENSO decay years. On decadal time scales, TC genesis density variability is primarily controlled by one mode, which exhibits an east–west dipole pattern with strong signals confined to south of 20°N and is tied to the interdecadal Pacific oscillation–like sea surface temperature anomalies. Further, we investigate the seasonal evolution of the ENSO effect on TC genesis density. The results highlight the distinct impacts of the two types of ENSO (i.e., eastern Pacific vs central Pacific) on TC genesis density in the NWP during a specific season and show the strong seasonal dependency of the TC genesis response to ENSO. Although the results from the observations are not as prominent as those from the simulations because of the small sample size, the high consistency between them demonstrates the fidelity of the model in reproducing TC statistics and variability in the observations.

     
    more » « less
  4. Abstract

    Variations of sea-surface temperature (SST) in the subtropical North Pacific have received considerable attention due to their potential role as a precursor of El Niño-Southern Oscillation (ENSO) events in the tropical Pacific as well as their role in regional climate impacts. These subtropical SST variations, known as the North Pacific Meridional Mode (PMM), are thought to be triggered by extratropical atmospheric forcing and amplified by air-sea coupling involving surface winds, evaporation, and SST. The PMM is often defined through a statistical technique called maximum covariance analysis (MCA) that identifies patterns of maximum covariability between SST and surface winds. Here we show that SST alone is sufficient to reproduce the MCA-based PMM index with near-perfect correlation. This dominance of the SST suggests that the MCA-based definition of the PMM may not be ideally suited for capturing two-way wind-SST interaction or, alternatively, that this interaction is relatively weak. We further show that the MCA-based PMM definition conflates intrinsic subtropical and remote ENSO variability, thereby undermining its interpretation as an ENSO precursor. Our findings indicate that, while air-sea coupling may be important for variability in the subtropical North Pacific, it cannot be reliably identified by the MCA-based definition of the PMM. This highlights the need for refined tools to diagnose variability in the subtropical North Pacific.

     
    more » « less
  5. Stochastic variability of internal atmospheric modes, known as teleconnection patterns, drives large-scale patterns of low-frequency SST variability in the extratropics . To investigate how the decadal component of this stochastically driven variability in the South and North Pacific affects the tropical Pacific and contributes to the observed basinwide pattern of decadal variability, a suite of climate model experiments was conducted . In these experiments, the models are forced with constant surface heat flux anomalies associated with the decadal component of the dominant atmospheric modes, particularly the Pacific–South American (PSA) and North Pacific Oscillation (NPO) patterns . Both the PSA and NPO modes induce basinwide SST anomalies in the tropical Pacific and beyond that resemble the observed interdecadal Pacific oscillation . The subtropical SST anomalies forced by the PSA and NPO modes propagate to the equatorial Pacific mainly through the wind–evaporation–SST feedback . This atmospheric bridge is stronger from the South Pacific than the North Pacific due to the northward displacement of the intertropical convergence zone and the associated northward advection of momentum anomalies. The equatorial ocean dynamics is also more strongly influenced by atmospheric circulation changes induced by the PSA mode than the NPO mode. In the PSA experiment, persistent and zonally coherent wind stress curl anomalies over the South Pacific affect the zonal mean depth of the equatorial thermocline and weaken the equatorial SST anomalies resulting from the atmospheric bridge. This oceanic adjustment serves as a delayed negative feedback and may be important for setting the time scales of tropical Pacific decadal variability.

     
    more » « less