The Teleconnection Between Atlantic Sea Surface Temperature and Eastern Pacific Tropical Cyclones

Thursday, December 15, 2016 - 13:40
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The El Niño-Southern Oscillation (ENSO) is a major source of seasonal tropical cyclone (TC) predictability, in both local and remote ocean basins. Unusually warm eastern tropical Pacific sea-surface temperature (SST) during El Niño tends not only to enhance local TC activity in the eastern North Pacific (ENP) but also to suppress Atlantic TCs via well-known teleconnections. Here, we demonstrate that Atlantic SST variability likewise exerts a significant influence on remote TC activity in the eastern Pacific basin using observations and 27 km resolution tropical channel model simulations. Observed and simulated accumulated cyclone energy in the ENP is substantially reduced during the positive phase of the Atlantic Meridional Mode (AMM), which is characterized by warm and cool SST anomalies in the northern and southern tropical Atlantic respectively, and vice versa during the cool AMM phase. We find that the observed anti-correlation in seasonal TC activity between the Atlantic and ENP basins is driven by interannual climate variability in both the tropical Pacific (ENSO) and Atlantic (AMM). The physical mechanisms that drive the teleconnection between Atlantic SST and ENP TC activity will also be presented. This work provides information that can be used to improve seasonal forecasts and future projections of ENP tropical cyclone activity.

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