Climate Dynamics

, Volume 33, Issue 5, pp 665–683 | Cite as

Tropical cyclone genesis frequency over the western North Pacific simulated in medium-resolution coupled general circulation models

  • Satoru Yokoi
  • Yukari N. Takayabu
  • Johnny C. L. Chan


This study examines the tropical cyclone (TC) genesis frequency over the western North Pacific simulated in atmosphere–ocean coupled general circulation models from the World Climate Research Programme’s Coupled Model Intercomparison Project phase 3. We first evaluate performances of eight models with atmospheric horizontal resolution of T63 or T106 by analyzing their daily-mean atmospheric outputs of twentieth-century climate simulations available from the Program for Climate Model Diagnosis and Intercomparison database. The genesis frequency is validated against the best-track data issued by the Japan Meteorological Agency. Five of the eight models reproduce realistic horizontal distribution of the TC genesis with a large fraction over the 10°–20°N, 120°–150°E area. These five high-performance models also realistically simulate the summer–winter contrast of the frequency. However, detailed seasonal march is slightly unrealistic; four of the models overestimate the frequency in the early season (May–June) while all of them underestimate the frequency in the mature season (July–September). Reasons for these biases in the seasonal march for the five high-performance models are discussed using the TC genesis potential (GP) index proposed by Emanuel and Nolan (in Am Meteor Soc, pp 240–241, 2004). The simulated GP has seasonal biases consistent with those of the TC genesis frequency. For all five models, the seasonal biases in GP are consistent with those in environmental lower-tropospheric vorticity, vertical wind shear, and relative humidity, which can be attributed to the simulated behavior of monsoon trough. The observed trough migrates northward from the equatorial region to reach the 10°–20°N latitudinal band during the mature season and contributes to the TC frequency maximum, whereas the simulated trough migrates northward too rapidly and reaches this latitude band in the early season, leading to the overestimation of the TC genesis frequency. In the mature season, the simulated trough reaches as far as 15°–25°N, accompanied by a strong vertical shear south of the trough, providing an unfavorable condition for TC genesis. It is concluded that an adequate simulation of the monsoon trough behavior is essential for a better reproduction of the TC frequency seasonal march.


Model intercomparison Tropical cyclone Western North Pacific Monsoon trough WCRP CMIP3 



The authors acknowledge the modeling groups, PCMDI and WCRP’s Working Group on Coupled Modelling for their roles in making the WCRP CMIP3 multi-model dataset available. Support of this dataset is provided by the Office of Science, US Department of Energy. The “Data Integration and Analysis System” Fund for National Key Technology from the Ministry of Education, Culture, Sports, Science and Technology, Japan supported the authors in obtaining the dataset. The authors are also grateful to the Japan Meteorological Agency, the European Centre for Medium-Range Weather Forecasts, and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, USA, for their provision of observation data. This study is financially supported by the Global Environment Research Fund (S-5-2) of the Ministry of the Environment, Japan. The work of the third author was performed during his stay as a Visiting Professor at the Center for Climate Systems Research of the University of Tokyo. The Center’s support is also gratefully acknowledged.


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 2009

Authors and Affiliations

  • Satoru Yokoi
    • 1
  • Yukari N. Takayabu
    • 1
    • 2
  • Johnny C. L. Chan
    • 3
  1. 1.Center for Climate System ResearchUniversity of TokyoKashiwaJapan
  2. 2.Research Institute for Global ChangeJapan Agency for Marine-Earth Science and TechnologyYokosukaJapan
  3. 3.Laboratory for Atmospheric Research, Department of Physics and Materials ScienceCity University of Hong KongKowloon, Hong KongChina

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