Abrupt seasonal change of large-scale convective activity over the western Pacific in the northern summer

Hiroaki Ueda, Tetsuzo Yasunari, Ryuichi Kawamura

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Seasoned variations of large-scale convective activity and wind over the western Pacific are examined using Geostationary Meteorological Satellite infrared equivalent blackbody temperature (Tbb) and European Center for Medium range Weather Forecast (ECMWF) global analyses over a 10-year period from 1980 to 1989. In particular, this study describes an abrupt northward shift of large-scale convective activity over the western Pacific around 20°N, 150°E in late July. The enhanced convective activity is coincident with strong cyclonic circulation there which induces westerlies to the south of the cyclone and easterlies to the north of it. It is emphasized that this strong cyclonic circulation appears suddenly over the subtropical western Pacific region. Monsoon westerlies to the west of 110°E are not similary accelerated at the same time, indicating that this abrupt change is independent of the Asian monsoon system. To the north, an anticyclonic circulation is generated, which corresponds to the withdrawal of the Baiu season over Japan. Furthermore, this abrupt northward shift of large-scale convective activity is shown to be associated with tropical cyclone activity. In the mid latitudes, geopotential height pattern between pre- and post-northward shifts of the large-scale convective activity in late July exhibit equivalent barotropic vertical structure, suggesting the Rossby-wave propagation emanating northeastward from the enhanced convective region around 20°N, 140°E (western Pacific) to as far north as 60°N, 180° (Bering Sea). Another feature is that the seasonal increase of sea surface temperature (SST) over the key area (20°N, 150°E) precedes abrupt convective enhancement by about 20 days, exceeding 29°C in early July. It is inferred that the northeastward extension of the warm SST tongue is intimately associated with the enhanced convection in late July. This result suggests that SST warming is not a sufficient condition but certainly one important ingredient for the abrupt northward shift of convections.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)795-809
Number of pages15
JournalJournal of the Meteorological Society of Japan
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - Jan 1 1995
Externally publishedYes

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Atmospheric Science


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