Climate Dynamics

, Volume 43, Issue 7–8, pp 2227–2238 | Cite as

The impact of tropical western Pacific convection on the North Pacific atmospheric circulation during the boreal winter



In this study, we investigate the impact of atmospheric convection over the western tropical Pacific (100–145°E, 0–20°N) on the boreal winter North Pacific atmosphere flow by analyzing National Center for Environmental Prediction Reanalysis 1, Extended Reconstructed Sea Surface Temperature and Global Precipitation Climatology Project data. The western tropical Pacific convection is not only the main energy source driving the local Hadley and Walker circulations, but it also significantly influences North Pacific circulation, by modifying a mid-latitude Jet stream through the connection with the local Hadley circulation. On the one hand, this strong convection leads to a northward expansion of local Hadley cells simultaneous with a northward movement of the western North Pacific jet because of the close correlation between the Jet and Hadley circulation boundaries. On the other hand, this strong convection also intensifies tropical Pacific Walker circulation, which reduces the eastern Pacific sea surface temperature, resembling a La Nina state through the enhanced equatorial upwelling. The cooling of the eastern tropical Pacific has an inter-tropical convergence zone located further north; thus, the local Hadley circulation moves northward. As a result, the jet axis over the eastern North Pacific, which also corresponds to the boundary of the local Hadley circulation, moves to higher latitude. Consequently, this northward movement of the Jet axis over the North Pacific is reflected as a northwest–southeast dipole sea level pressure (SLP) pattern. The composite analysis of SLP over the North Pacific against the omega (Ω) (Pa/s) at 500 hPa over the western tropical Pacific actually reveals that this northwest-southeast dipole structure is attributed to the intensified tropical western Pacific convection, which pushes the Pacific Jet to the north. Finally we also analyzed south Pacific for the austral winter as did previously to North Pacific, and found that the results were consistent.


North Pacific atmospheric circulation Local Hadley circulation ITCZ Jet Tropical western Pacific convection 



This work was funded by the Korea Meteorological Administration Research and Development Program under Grant CATER 2012-3043.


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 2014

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Atmospheric SciencesYonsei UniversitySeoulKorea

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