The role of remote ocean sea surface temperature (SST) in regulating tropical cyclone (TC) characteristics has been examined by performing numerical experiments with a regional scale model. Model simulations have been carried out to simulate typhoon Man-yi (July 2007), in our case study, under a range of SST conditions over the Indian Ocean and the South China Sea. The intensity and track of the cyclone have been systematically changed in sensitivity simulations of cool and warm SSTs over that region, following its peak phase. Warm oceans can substantially reduce the intensification of western North Pacific cyclones, whereas cool oceans can enhance their strength. This is intimately associated with the enhancement/weakening of the moisture supply through the moisture conveyor belt (MCB) in the lower troposphere, from the Indian Ocean and South China Sea into the vicinity of the cyclone center. When the MCB is interrupted over the South China Sea in warm SST occurrences, the large-scale transport of moisture into the cyclone system is significantly reduced, leading to the weakening of the cyclone intensity and to the eastward shift of its track. This study shows that changes in remote tropical ocean SST can also modulate TCs and thus can help in improving the forecasting of TC intensities and tracks.
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