|Abstract or Summary
- Recent studies have found that equatorial Atlantic sea surface temperature (SST) variability may be influencing tropical Indian Ocean climate (Kucharski 2009, Wang 2009). Due to the economic and social impact of tropical cyclones, it is important to investigate how an Atlantic-Indian Ocean connection may be affecting tropical cyclone behavior in the southern Indian Ocean. In this study, the International Best Track Archive for Climate Stewardship (IBTrAC) tropical cyclone database is used to derive metrics of tropical cyclone behavior, which are then compared with indices of tropical Atlantic SST variability representing Atlantic Niño, and Benguela Niño events. Changes in tropical Atlantic SSTs are found to coincide with significant differences in tropical cyclone activity for portions of the southern Indian Ocean. In addition, for these same regions, tropical Atlantic SST variability is associated with changes in large-scale atmospheric conditions, including steering flow, low level vorticity, and humidity, typically associated with tropical cyclogenesis, and tropical cyclone track. The changes in steering flow related to both indices of Atlantic SST anomaly are reproduced by an atmospheric model. The changes in steering flow are also found to be linked to changes in TC translational velocity, and TC tracking. These findings indicate a possible link between tropical Atlantic conditions and cyclone activity in the Indian Ocean mediated through a teleconnection between tropical Atlantic SSTs and large scale atmospheric conditions over the southern Indian Ocean. The teleconnection related to the Benguela Niño region of SST variability was found to consist of a Rossby wave initiated off the coast of South America, and propagating into the Indian Ocean, thereby influencing several atmospheric variables, including steering flow. The teleconnection related to the Atlantic Niño region of SST variability was not well defined, although there was some evidence of a Walker circulation anomaly extending from the equatorial Atlantic over the continent of Africa, and influencing SIO steering flow.