Diagnosis of the MJO Modulation of Tropical Cyclogenesis Using an Empirical Index

Camargo, Suzana J.; Wheeler, Matthew C.; Sobel, Adam H.

The modulation of tropical cyclone activity by the Madden-Julian oscillation (MJO) is explored using an empirical genesis potential (GP) index. Composite anomalies of the genesis index associated with the different MJO phases are consistent with the composite anomalies in TC genesis frequency that occur in the same phases, indicating that the index captures the changes in the environment that are at least in part responsible for the genesis frequency changes. Of the four environmental variables that enter the genesis potential index, the midlevel relative humidity makes the largest contribution to the MJO composite GP anomalies. The second largest contribution comes from the low-level absolute vorticity, and only very minor contributions come from the vertical wind shear and potential intensity. When basin-integrated MJO composite anomalies of the GP index are regressed against basin-integrated composite anomalies of TC genesis frequency, the results differ quantitatively from those obtained from the analogous calculation performed on the annual climatologies in the two quantities. The GP index captures the MJO modulation of TC genesis to a lesser degree than the climatological annual cycle of genesis (to which it was originally tuned). This may be due to weaknesses of the reanalysis or indicative of the importance of precursor disturbances, not well captured in the GP index computed from weekly data, to the intraseasonal TC genesis frequency fluctuations.



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Also Published In

Journal of the Atmospheric Sciences

More About This Work

Academic Units
Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory
Applied Physics and Applied Mathematics
Earth and Environmental Sciences
Ocean and Climate Physics
American Meteorological Society
Published Here
June 2, 2015