The dynamical response of rapidly developing extratropical cyclones to sea surface temperature (SST) variations over the western Kuroshio–Oyashio confluence (WKOC) region was examined by using regional cloud-resolving simulations. This study specifically highlights an explosive cyclone that occurred in early February 2014 and includes a real SST experiment (CNTL run) and two sensitivity experiments with warm and cool SST anomalies over the WKOC region (warm and cool runs). The results derived from the CNTL run indicated that moisture supply from the ocean was enhanced when the dry air associated with the cold conveyor belt (CCB) overlapped with warm currents. Further, the evaporated moisture contributed substantially to latent heat release over the bent-back front with the aid of the CCB, leading to cyclone intensification and strengthening of the asymmetric structure around the cyclone’s center. Such successive processes were more active in the warm run than in the cool run. The dominance of the zonally asymmetric structure resulted in a difference in sea level pressure around the bent-back front between the two runs. The WKOC SST variations have the potential to affect strong wind distributions along the CCB through modification of the cyclone’s inner system. Additional experiments with two other cyclones showed that the cyclone response to the WKOC SST variations became evident when the CCB north of the cyclone’s center overlapped with that region, confirming that the dry nature of the CCB plays an important role in latent heat release by allowing for larger moisture supply from the ocean.
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