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Weather and Climate Dynamics An interactive open-access journal of the European Geosciences Union
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© Author(s) 2020. This work is distributed under
the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.
© Author(s) 2020. This work is distributed under
the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.

  19 Aug 2020

19 Aug 2020

Review status
A revised version of this preprint is currently under review for the journal WCD.

The North Pacific Storm-Track Suppression Explained From a Cyclone Life-Cycle Perspective

Sebastian Schemm, Heini Wernli, and Hanin Binder Sebastian Schemm et al.
  • Institute for Atmospheric and Climate Science, Universitätstrasse 16, 8092 Zürich, Switzerland

Abstract. Surface cyclones that feed the part of the North Pacific storm track that experience a midwinter suppression originate from three regions: the East China Sea (~ 30º N), the Kuroshio extension (~ 35º N), and downstream of Kamchatka (~ 53º N). In terms of cyclone numbers, Kuroshio (45 %) and Kamchatka (40 %) cyclones dominate in the region where eddy kinetic energy is suppressed, while the relevance of East China Sea cyclones increases from winter (15 %) to spring (20 %). The equatorward movement during midwinter of the baroclinicity and the associated upper-level jet influences cyclones from the three genesis regions in different ways. In January, Kamchatka cyclones are less numerous, less intense and their lifetime shortens; broadly consistent with the reduced baroclinicity in which they grow. The opposite is found for East China Sea cyclones, which in winter live longer, are more intense, and experience more frequently explosive deepening. The fraction of explosive East China Sea cyclones is particularly high in January when they benefit from the increased baroclinicity in their environment. Again, a different and more complex behavior is found for Kuroshio cyclones. In midwinter, their number increases, but their lifetime decreases; on average they reach higher intensity, in terms of minimum sea-level pressure, but the fraction of explosively deepening cyclones reduces and the latitude where maximum growth occurs shifts equatorward. Therefore, the life cycle of Kuroshio cyclones seems to be accelerated in midwinter with a stronger and earlier but also shorter deepening phase followed by an earlier decay. Once they reach the latitude where eddy kinetic energy is suppressed in midwinter, their baroclinic conversion efficiency is strongly reduced. Together, this detailed cyclone life-cycle analysis reveals that the North Pacific storm-track suppression in midwinter is related to fewer and weaker Kamchatka cyclones and to more equatorward intensifying and then more rapidly decaying Kuroshio cyclones. The less numerous cyclone branch from the East China Sea partially opposes the midwinter suppression.

Sebastian Schemm et al.

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Sebastian Schemm et al.

Sebastian Schemm et al.


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