Date of Award:

2014

Document Type:

Thesis

Degree Name:

Master of Science (MS)

Department:

Plants, Soils, and Climate

Advisor/Chair:

Simon S. -Y. Wang

Abstract

Myanmar remained largely closed to the world through political instability for several years, when it continued to suffer terribly at the hands of nature that remained largely unknown. Of note is the period between 2008 and 2013, during which the country suffered at least eight major natural calamities that killed more than 141,000 people and affected 3.2 million. The worst of these was Cyclone Nargis in May 2008 that killed more than 130,000. With an estimated $4 billion in damages, Nargis remains the deadliest and most destructive named cyclone ever to have occurred in the North Indian Ocean. Recent studies have shown that, due to increased greenhouse gases and aerosol loading in the atmosphere, more and stronger tropical cyclones (TCs) in the last three decades are tracking eastwards toward the Indochina peninsula. Unfortunately, the Burmese lack the capacity to deal with the impacts of such storms.

Myanmar was left behind as the world made significant technological and industrial advancement; but agriculture, which employs at least 65% of the active labor force, has remained the backbone of the Myanmar economy – an industry that is heavily reliant on monsoon rainfall. The pre-monsoon TC season in the Bay of Bengal (BoB) precedes the onset of the Myanmar monsoon but sometimes the two (i.e.TC formation and the monsoon onset) occur in unison. This work studied the mechanism by which the Madden Julian Oscillation (MJO) modulates the Myanmar monsoon onset and TC activity collectively (i.e. ISO-Onset-TC connection). Avoiding TC destruction at the beginning of the planting season is crucial, so is the monsoon onset date critical for planning. Additional understanding of the aforementioned ISO-Onset-TC connection could provide further insight into predicting the Myanmar monsoon onset and aid in disaster planning for TC impact.

This research is part of a two-year NASA funded project to study extreme climate and weather events.

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