Identifying subseasonal variability relevant to atlantic tropical cyclone activity

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The primary atmospheric oscillations and variables associated with subseasonal Atlantic tropical cyclone (TC) activity are identified, based on 37 years of reanalysis data. TC activity, represented by accumulated cyclone energy (ACE), is computed for combined phases of the Madden–Julian oscillation (MJO) and El Niño–Southern Oscillation (ENSO). The MJO influence on TC activity becomes greater when the ENSO state is cooler. There is also a shift in the favorable MJO phase for TC activity with ENSO state. For strong La Niñas, MJO phases 4 and 5 (enhanced convection over the Maritime Continent) are most likely to have above-average ACE. To investigate other potential factors that influence subseasonal TC activity, two novel methods are developed: ACE by year (ABY) and seasonal and climatology removed (SNCR). Both methods isolate subseasonal signals of environmental conditions in association with a variable of interest. Vorticity, sea surface temperature, relative humidity, and genesis potential all show little signal in association with subseasonal Atlantic TC activity. The most important identifier of enhanced TC activity is negative vertical wind shear anomalies in the main development region of the Atlantic basin, and positive shear anomalies in the subtropical Atlantic. The shear pattern associated with a favorable MJO for TCs is similar to but distinct from the shear pattern associated with enhanced subseasonal TC activity. These findings demonstrate a nonlinear MJO–ENSO interaction and a pattern of wind shear anomalies that is linked to subseasonal TC activity.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)2001-2024
Number of pages24
JournalWeather and Forecasting
Issue number5
StatePublished - Oct 2020

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Atmospheric Science


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