Does the East Australian Current influence East Coast Lows?

Pepler, A., L. Alexander, A. Di Luca and J. Evans
Australian Meteorology and Oceanography Society (AMOS) annual meeting, Melbourne, Australia, 8-11 February 2016.


Cyclones that form or intensify rapidly off Australia's east coast, known as East Coast Lows (ECLs), are one of the main causes of freshwater flooding and severe weather along the eastern seaboard. The presence of the warm East Australian Current (EAC) is widely thought to play an important role in the frequency, seasonality, and impacts of ECLs. However, the nature and strength of this relationship remains poorly understood. To quantify this relationship, an ensemble of regional climate model simulations were performed over Australia using the Weather Research and Forecasting model, with 10 km resolution in the Tasman Sea and over the adjacent mainland. Several sets of simulations were performed for the period 2007- 2008, which includes a number of major ECLs of different synoptic subtypes, using sea surface temperature datasets of different spatial resolutions, as well as fields where the EAC was completely removed. This enables a detailed assessment of the influence of sea surface temperatures on the frequency and characteristics of ECLs and coastal severe weather.

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