Skip to main content
U.S. flag

An official website of the United States government

Publication Date
13 October 2014

Cyclone-Cyclone Interactions through the Ocean Pathway



The intense sea surface temperature cooling caused by tropical cyclone-induced mixing lasts several weeks and may thus influence a later cyclone passing over it. Using a 28 year analysis spanning the North Atlantic, eastern Pacific, and Northwest Pacific, we systematically demonstrate that, on average, when tropical cyclones encounter lingering wakes, they experience sea surface temperatures that are ∼0.25–0.5°C colder. Consequently, the intensification rates are ~0.4 - 0.7 ms -1/36h lower for cyclones when they interact with wakes, consistent with the maximum potential intensity theory. The probability for cyclones to encounter lingering wakes varies positively with cyclone frequency, is ∼10% on average, and has been as high as 27%–37% in the past. These large interaction probabilities reduce the mean intensification rates for cyclones by 3%–6% on average and by ∼12%–15% during the most active years. “Cyclone-cyclone interactions” may therefore represent a mechanism through which tropical cyclones self-regulate their activity to an extent on intraseasonal time scales.

“Cyclone-Cyclone Interactions Through The Ocean Pathway”. 2014. Geophysical Research Letters. doi:10.1002/2014GL061489.
Funding Program Area(s)