A Climatology of Arabian Sea Cyclonic Storms

On average 1–2 tropical cyclones form over the Arabian Sea each year, and few of these storms are intense enough to be classified as very severe or super cyclonic storms. As such, few studies have explicitly identified the seasonal to interannual changes in environmental conditions that are associated with Arabian Sea tropical cyclogenesis. However, over the last 30 yr several intense Arabian storms did form and make landfall, with large impacts, which motivates this new study of the basin. The conclusions of earlier studies are visited by utilizing modern observational and reanalysis data to identify the large-scale features associated with Arabian tropical cyclone variability on seasonal time scales. Then year-to-year changes in environmental conditions that are related to interannual variability in Arabian storms during the pre- and postmonsoon periods are elucidated. The analysis of the relationship between large-scale environmental variables and seasonal storm frequency supports conclusions from work completed more than 40 yr prior. Investigation of the year-to-year changes in premonsoon storm frequency suggests that May (June) storms are associated with an early (late) onset of the southwest monsoon. The findings also demonstrate that November cyclones (the month when the majority of postmonsoon cyclogenesis occurs) primarily form during periods when the Bay of Bengal experiences a broad region of high sea level pressure, implying that November storms form in either the Arabian Sea or the Bay of Bengal but not in both during the same year. Finally, the analysis of changes in a genesis potential index suggests that long-term variability in the potential for a storm to form is dictated by changes in midlevel moisture.

Evan, Amato T., Suzana J. Camargo, 2011: A Climatology of Arabian Sea Cyclonic Storms. J. Climate, 24, 140–158. doi: http://dx.doi.org/10.1175/2010JCLI3611.1