Exploratory Analysis of Upper-Ocean Heat Content and Sea Surface Temperature Underlying Tropical Cyclone Rapid Intensification in the Western North Pacific
The statistical relationships between tropical cyclones (TCs) with rapid intensification (RI) and upper-ocean heat content (UOHC) and sea surface temperature (SST) from 1998 to 2016 in the western North Pacific are examined. RI is computed based on four best track datasets in the International Best Track Archive for Climate Stewardship (IBTrACS). The statistical analysis shows that the UOHC and SST are higher in the RI duration than in non-RI duration. However, TCs with high UOHC/SST do not necessarily experience RI. In addition, the UOHC and SST are lower in the storm inner-core region due to storm-induced ocean cooling, and the UOHC reduces more significantly than the SST along the passages of TCs in the lower-latitude regions. Moreover, most of the RI (non-RI) duration is associated with the higher (lower) UOHC, but this is not the case for the SST pattern. Meanwhile, the TC intensification rate during the RI period does not appear to be sensitive to the SST, but shows statistically significant differences in the UOHC. In addition, there is a statistically significant increasing trend in the UOHC underlying TCs from 1998 to 2016. It is also noted that the percentages of the TCs with RI show different polynomial and linear trends based on different calculations of the RI events and RI durations. Finally, it is shown that there is no statistically significant difference in the UOHC, SST, and the percentage of RI among the five categories of ENSO events (i.e., strong El Niño, weak El Niño, neutral, weak La Niña, and strong La Niña).