The role of trade wind surges in tropical cyclone formations in the western North Pacific

Lung Y. Chang, K. K W Cheung, Cheng Shang Lee*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

9 Citations (Scopus)
27 Downloads (Pure)


A total of 40 out of 531 tropical cyclones that formed in the western North Pacific during 1986-2005 have accompanied trade wind surges located 5°-15° latitude to the north of the pretropical cyclone disturbance centers. Composite and empirical orthogonal function analyses indicate that the trade wind surges are related to a midlatitude eastward-moving high pressure system often found during the East Asian winter monsoon. Therefore, these trade wind surge tropical cyclones tend to occur in late season (with one-third of them in December), and at lower latitudes (7° latitude lower than the climatological average formation position). The evolution of mesoscale features during formation of trade wind surge tropical cyclones is examined. Various satellite datasets show similar mesoscale patterns during their formations. A few convective lines form by convergence between the trade wind surges and the strengthening cyclonic circulation associated with incipient vortex within the 24 h before formation. Some mesoscale convective systems are embedded in the convective line with lifetimes of about 5 h, and these are illustrated through case studies. Formations usually occur when the trade winds start to decrease in magnitude and a short period after the major episodes of convection in the convective lines and mesoscale convective systems. The relationships between the temporal variability of synoptic-scale trade wind surges, the mesoscale features, and associated tropical cyclone formations are discussed.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)4120-4134
Number of pages15
JournalMonthly Weather Review
Issue number11
Publication statusPublished - Nov 2010


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