Climate Dynamics

, Volume 40, Issue 11, pp 2887-2902

First online:

Seasonal modulations of different impacts of two types of ENSO events on tropical cyclone activity in the western North Pacific

  • Chunzai WangAffiliated withPhysical Oceanography Division, NOAA/Atlantic Oceanographic and Meteorological Laboratory Email author 
  • , Chunxiang LiAffiliated withLASG/Institute of Atmospheric Physics, Chinese Academy of SciencesGraduate University of Chinese Academy of Sciences
  • , Mu MuAffiliated withKey Laboratory of Ocean Circulation and Wave/Institute of Oceanology, Chinese Academy of Sciences
  • , Wansuo DuanAffiliated withLASG/Institute of Atmospheric Physics, Chinese Academy of Sciences

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The paper examines different impacts of eastern Pacific warm/cold (EPW/EPC) and central Pacific warm/cold (CPW/CPC) events on tropical cyclones (TCs) in the western North Pacific (WNP) by considering the early season of April–June (AMJ), the peak season of July–September (JAS) and the late season of October–December (OND). During AMJ, EPW (EPC) is associated with a significant increase of the TC genesis number in the southeastern (southwestern) sub-region of the WNP, but no class of El Niño-Southern Oscillation (ENSO) events shows a significant change in the TC lifetime and intensity. During JAS, EPW corresponds to an increase (decrease) of the TC genesis number in the southeastern (northwestern) sub-region, but CPW shows no significant change. EPC increases the TC genesis in the northwestern and northeastern sub-regions and decreases the genesis in the southwestern sub-region, whereas CPC suppresses the genesis in the southeastern sub-region. Both the lifetime and intensity of TCs are increased in EPW, but only a shortened lifetime is seen for CPC. During OND, EPW reduces the TC genesis in the southwestern and northwestern sub-regions, whereas CPW enhances the genesis in the southeastern sub-region. Over the South China Sea, CPW and CPC show a significant decrease and increase of the TC genesis, respectively. The TC lifetime is significantly longer in both EPW and CPW and shorter in EPC, and TCs tend to be more (less) intense in EPW (CPC). All of these variations are consistent with the development of ENSO-related SST anomalies during different seasons and are supported by distributions of the genesis potential index—a combination of large-scale oceanic and atmospheric factors that affect TC activity. TCs in the WNP mainly take the straight westward, northwestward and recurving tracks. During AMJ of EPW years, the TC steering flow patterns favor the recurving track and suppress the straight westward and northwestward tracks. During JAS, EPW is associated with the steering flows that are unfavorable for TCs to move northwestward or westward, whereas CPW favors the northwestward track and suppresses the straight westward track. The steering flow patterns during OND are similar to those during JAS, except that EPC may increase the possibility of the northwestward track.