Modulation of tropical cyclones in the southeastern part of western North Pacific by tropical Pacific decadal variability

  • Chao Liu
  • Wenjun ZhangEmail author
  • Xin Geng
  • Malte F. Stuecker
  • Fei-Fei Jin


The tropical cyclone (TC) genesis number in the western North Pacific (WNP) exhibits a pronounced decadal decrease around the mid-1990s, with prominent seasonal and spatial inhomogeneity. This decadal shift of TC activity is mostly confined to the southeastern part of the WNP and occurs mainly during the second half of the calendar year. Accordingly, westward and northeastward TC recurving movements strongly decreased in recent decades after 1995 compared with TC tracks in the earlier period (1979–1994). We find that this TC activity decadal change is associated with tropical Pacific decadal variability, which is measured here by a low-pass filtered Niño3.4 index. In contrast to the earlier period, the anomalous cold mean state in the tropical Pacific during recent decades favored the enhancement of zonal vertical wind shear (UVWS) and suppressed TC activity. This tropical Pacific mean state change is possibly related to decadal changes of El Niño–Southern Oscillation (ENSO) properties (i.e., more La Niña events occurred during recent decades). This relationship between tropical Pacific mean state change and the UVWS in the southeastern WNP on decadal timescales is further validated based on longer observations (1951–2017) and control simulations from the Coupled Model Intercomparison Project Phase 5 (CMIP5). The statistical relationships between TC activity and the Pacific Decadal Oscillation (PDO) or Atlantic Multidecadal Oscillation (AMO) are weaker and insignificant, both for the observations and for simulations. Our results imply that decadal variations of the tropical Pacific mean state should be taken into account when predicting WNP TC activities on decadal timescales.


Tropical cyclone Decadal change Tropical Pacific decadal variability 



This work was supported by the National Key Research and Development Program on Monitoring, Early Warning and Prevention of Major Natural Disaster (2018YFC1506002), the National Nature Science Foundation of China (41675073), the SOA Program on Global Change and Air-Sea interactions (GASI-IPOVAI-03). M. F. Stuecker was supported by the Institute for Basic Science (Project Code IBS-R028-D1) and F.-F. Jin by the U.S. National Science Foundation Grant AGS-1406601 and the U.S. Department of Energy Grant DE-SC000511.


  1. An S-I, Jin F-F (2000) An eigen analysis of the interdecadal changes in the structure and frequency of ENSO mode. Geophys Res Lett 27:2573–2576. CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  2. An S-I, Wang B (2000) Interdecadal change of the structure of the ENSO mode and its impact on the ENSO frequency*. J Clim 13:2044–2055.;2 CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  3. Ashok K, Behera SK, Rao SA et al (2007) El Niño Modoki and its possible teleconnection. J Geophys Res. Google Scholar
  4. Camargo SJ, Sobel AH (2005) Western North Pacific tropical cyclone intensity and ENSO. J Clim 18:2996–3006. CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  5. Camargo SJ, Sobel AH (2010) Revisiting the influence of the quasi-biennial oscillation on tropical cyclone activity. J Clim 23:5810–5825. CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  6. Camargo SJ, Emanuel KA, Sobel AH (2007a) Use of a genesis potential index to diagnose ENSO effects on tropical cyclone genesis. J Clim 20:4819–4834. CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  7. Camargo SJ, Robertson AW, Gaffney SJ et al (2007b) Cluster analysis of typhoon tracks. Part I: general properties. J Clim 20:3635–3653. CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  8. Camargo SJ, Sobel AH, Barnston AG, Klotzbach PJ (2010) The influence of natural climate variability on tropical cyclones, and seasonal forecasts of tropical cyclone activity. Global perspectives on tropical cyclones from science to mitigation. World Scientific, Singapore, pp 325–360CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  9. Cha S-C, Moon J-H, Song YT (2018) A recent shift toward an El Niño-Like ocean state in the tropical Pacific and the resumption of ocean warming. Geophys Res Lett 45:11,885–11,894. CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  10. Chan JC (2008) Decadal variations of intense typhoon occurrence in the western North Pacific. Proc R Soc A Math Phys Eng Sci 464:249–272. CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  11. Chen G, Tam C-Y (2010) Different impacts of two kinds of Pacific Ocean warming on tropical cyclone frequency over the western North Pacific: IMPACTS OF OCEAN WARMING ON TC FREQUENCY. Geophys Res Lett. Google Scholar
  12. Chikamoto Y, Timmermann A, Luo J-J et al (2015) Skilful multi-year predictions of tropical trans-basin climate variability. Nat Commun. Google Scholar
  13. Choi Y, Ha K-J, Ho C-H, Chung CE (2015) Interdecadal change in typhoon genesis condition over the western North Pacific. Clim Dyn 45:3243–3255. CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  14. Chu P-S, Wang J (1997) Tropical cyclone occurrences in the vicinity of Hawaii: are the differences between El Niño and non–El Niño years significant? J Clim 10:2683–2689CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  15. Chu P-S, Zhao X (2004) Bayesian change-point analysis of tropical cyclone activity: the central north pacific case*. J Clim 17:4893–4901. CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  16. Chu P-S, Zhao X, Ho C-H et al (2010) Bayesian forecasting of seasonal typhoon activity: a track-pattern-oriented categorization approach. J Clim 23:6654–6668. CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  17. De Maria M (1996) The effect of vertical shear on tropical cyclone intensity change. J Atmos Sci 53:2076–2087CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  18. Di Lorenzo E, Liguori G, Schneider N et al (2015) ENSO and meridional modes: a null hypothesis for Pacific climate variability. Geophys Res Lett 42:9440–9448. CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  19. Dong B, Sutton RT, Scaife AA (2006) Multidecadal modulation of El Niño–Southern Oscillation (ENSO) variance by Atlantic Ocean sea surface temperatures. Geophys Res Lett. Google Scholar
  20. Du Y, Yang L, Xie S-P (2011) Tropical Indian Ocean influence on northwest Pacific tropical cyclones in summer following strong El Niño*. J Clim 24:315–322. CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  21. Emanuel K (2002) A simple model of multiple climate regimes: CLIMATE REGIMES. J Geophys Res Atmos 107:ACL 4-1–ACL 4-10. CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  22. England MH, McGregor S, Spence P et al (2014) Recent intensification of wind-driven circulation in the Pacific and the ongoing warming hiatus. Nat Clim Change 4:222–227. CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  23. Ha Y, Zhong Z (2015) Decadal change in tropical cyclone activity over the South China Sea around 2002/03. J Clim 28:5935–5951. CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  24. Ha Y, Zhong Z, Sun Y, Lu W (2014) Decadal change of South China Sea tropical cyclone activity in mid-1990s and its possible linkage with intraseasonal variability: decadal Change of SCS TC Activity. J Geophys Res Atmos 119:5331–5344. CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  25. Hayashi M, Jin F-F (2017) Subsurface nonlinear dynamical heating and ENSO asymmetry: subsurface NDH and ENSO asymmetry. Geophys Res Lett 44:12,427–12,435. CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  26. He H, Yang J, Gong D et al (2015) Decadal changes in tropical cyclone activity over the western North Pacific in the late 1990s. Clim Dyn 45:3317–3329CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  27. Henley BJ, Gergis J, Karoly DJ et al (2015) A tripole index for the interdecadal Pacific oscillation. Clim Dyn 45:3077–3090. CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  28. Hong C-C, Wu Y-K, Li T (2016) Influence of climate regime shift on the interdecadal change in tropical cyclone activity over the Pacific Basin during the middle to late 1990s. Clim Dyn 47:2587–2600. CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  29. Hsu P-C, Chu P-S, Murakami H, Zhao X (2014) An abrupt decrease in the late-season typhoon activity over the western North Pacific. J Clim 27:4296–4312. CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  30. Hu F, Li T, Liu J et al (2018) Decrease of tropical cyclone genesis frequency in the western North Pacific since 1960s. Dyn Atmos Oceans 81:42–50. CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  31. Huo L, Guo P, Hameed SN, Jin D (2015) The role of tropical Atlantic SST anomalies in modulating western North Pacific tropical cyclone genesis. Geophys Res Lett 42:2378–2384. CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  32. Kalnay E, Kanamitsu M, Kistler R et al (1996) The NCEP/NCAR 40-year reanalysis project. Bull Am Meteorol Soc 77:437–471.;2 CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  33. Kao H-Y, Yu J-Y (2009) Contrasting Eastern-Pacific and Central-Pacific types of ENSO. J Clim 22:615–632. CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  34. Kim J-H, Ho C-H, Kim H-S et al (2008) Systematic variation of summertime tropical cyclone activity in the western North Pacific in relation to the Madden–Julian Oscillation. J Clim 21:1171–1191. CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  35. Kim H-M, Webster PJ, Curry JA (2011) Modulation of North Pacific tropical cyclone activity by three phases of ENSO. J Clim 24:1839–1849. CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  36. Knapp KR, Kruk MC, Levinson DH et al (2010) The international best track archive for climate stewardship (IBTrACS): unifying tropical cyclone data. Bull Am Meteorol Soc 91:363–376. CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  37. Knutson TR, McBride JL, Chan J et al (2010) Tropical cyclones and climate change. Nat Geosci 3:157–163. CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  38. Kosaka Y, Xie S-P (2013) Recent global-warming hiatus tied to equatorial Pacific surface cooling. Nature 501:403–407. CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  39. Kosaka Y, Xie S-P (2016) The tropical Pacific as a key pacemaker of the variable rates of global warming. Nat Geosci 9:669–673. CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  40. Kug J-S, Jin F-F, An S-I (2009) Two types of El Niño events: cold tongue El Niño and warm pool El Niño. J Clim 22:1499–1515. CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  41. Levine AFZ, McPhaden MJ, Frierson DMW (2017) The impact of the AMO on multidecadal ENSO variability: aMO IMPACTS ON ENSO. Geophys Res Lett 44:3877–3886. CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  42. Li RCY, Zhou W (2013) Modulation of western North Pacific tropical cyclone activity by the ISO. Part I: genesis and intensity. J Clim 26:2904–2918. CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  43. Li RCY, Zhou W (2014) Interdecadal change in South China sea tropical cyclone frequency in association with zonal sea surface temperature gradient. J Clim 27:5468–5480. CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  44. Li J, Sun C, Jin F-F (2013a) NAO implicated as a predictor of Northern Hemisphere mean temperature multidecadal variability: NAO AS A PREDICTOR OF NHT VARIABILITY. Geophys Res Lett 40:5497–5502. CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  45. Li Z, Yu W, Li T et al (2013b) Bimodal character of cyclone climatology in the Bay of Bengal modulated by monsoon seasonal cycle. J Clim 26:1033–1046. CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  46. Lin I-I, Chan JCL (2015) Recent decrease in typhoon destructive potential and global warming implications. Nat Commun. Google Scholar
  47. Lin R, Zheng F, Dong X (2018) ENSO frequency asymmetry and the Pacific Decadal Oscillation in observations and 19 CMIP5 Models. Adv Atmos Sci 35:495–506. CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  48. Liu KS, Chan JCL (2013) Inactive period of western North Pacific tropical cyclone activity in 1998–2011. J Clim 26:2614–2630. CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  49. Mantua NJ, Hare SR, Zhang Y et al (1997) A Pacific interdecadal climate oscillation with impacts on Salmon production. Bull Am Meteorol Soc 78:1069–1079.;2 CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  50. Matsuura T, Yumoto M, Iizuka S (2003) A mechanism of interdecadal variability of tropical cyclone activity over the western North Pacific. Clim Dyn 21:105–117. CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  51. Mei W, Xie S-P (2016) Intensification of landfalling typhoons over the northwest Pacific since the late 1970s. Nat Geosci 9:753–757. CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  52. Murakami H, Wang B (2010) Future change of North Atlantic tropical cyclone tracks: projection by a 20-km-mesh global atmospheric model. J Clim 23:2699–2721. CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  53. Newman M, Alexander MA, Ault TR et al (2016) The Pacific decadal oscillation, revisited. J Clim 29:4399–4427. CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  54. Peduzzi P, Chatenoux B, Dao H et al (2012) Global trends in tropical cyclone risk. Nat Clim Change 2:289–294. CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  55. Pyper BJ, Peterman RM (1998) Comparison of methods to account for autocorrelation in correlation analyses of fish data. Can J Fish Aquat Sci 55:2127–2140. CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  56. Ren H-L, Jin F-F, Stuecker F, Xie MR (2013) ENSO regime change since the Late 1970s as manifested by two types of ENSO. J Meteorol Soc Jpn Ser II 91:835–842. CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  57. Ren H-L, Lu B, Wan J et al (2018) Identification standard for ENSO events and its application to climate monitoring and prediction in China. J Meteorol Res 32:923–936. CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  58. Rodgers KB, Friederichs P, Latif M (2004) Tropical Pacific decadal variability and its relation to decadal modulations of ENSO. J Clim 17:3761–3774.;2 CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  59. RSMC (2012) Regional specialized meteorological Centers–Tokyo Typhoon Center tropical cyclone data. Available online at Accessed 11 Dec 2018
  60. Smith TM, Reynolds RW, Peterson TC, Lawrimore J (2008) Improvements to NOAA’s historical merged Land–Ocean surface temperature analysis (1880–2006). J Clim 21:2283–2296. CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  61. Tao L, Wu L, Wang Y, Yang J (2012) Influence of tropical indian ocean warming and ENSO on tropical cyclone activity over the western North Pacific. J Meteorol Soc Jpn 90:127–144. CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  62. Taylor KE, Stouffer RJ, Meehl GA (2012) An overview of CMIP5 and the experiment design. Bull Am Meteorol Soc 93:485–498. CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  63. Timmermann A (2003) Decadal ENSO amplitude modulations: a nonlinear paradigm. Global Planet Change 37:135–156. CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  64. Timmermann A, An S-I, Krebs U, Goosse H (2005) ENSO suppression due to weakening of the North Atlantic thermohaline circulation. J Clim 18:3122–3139. CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  65. Timmermann A, An S-I, Kug J-S et al (2018) El Niño–Southern Oscillation complexity. Nature 559:535–545. CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  66. Tippett MK, Camargo SJ, Sobel AH (2011) A poisson regression index for tropical cyclone genesis and the role of large-scale vorticity in genesis. J Clim 24:2335–2357. CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  67. Trenberth KE (2015) Has there been a hiatus? Science 349:691–692. CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  68. Trenberth KE, Caron JM (2000) The Southern Oscillation revisited: sea level pressures, surface temperatures, and precipitation. J Clim 13:4358–4365.;2 CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  69. Trenberth KE, Hoar TJ (1996) The 1990–1995 El Niño–Southern Oscillation event: longest on record. Geophys Res Lett 23:57–60. CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  70. Trenberth KE, Shea DJ (2006) Atlantic hurricanes and natural variability in 2005. Geophys Res Lett. Google Scholar
  71. Vecchi GA, Soden BJ (2007) Effect of remote sea surface temperature change on tropical cyclone potential intensity. Nature 450:1066–1070. CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  72. Wallace JM, Rasmusson EM, Mitchell TP et al (1998) On the structure and evolution of ENSO-related climate variability in the tropical Pacific: lessons from TOGA. J Geophys Res Oceans 103:14241–14259. CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  73. Wang B, Chan JC (2002) How strong ENSO events affect tropical storm activity over the western North Pacific. J Clim 15:1643–1658CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  74. Wang C, Li C, Mu M, Duan W (2013) Seasonal modulations of different impacts of two types of ENSO events on tropical cyclone activity in the western North Pacific. Clim Dyn 40:2887–2902. CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  75. Wang X, Wang C, Zhang L, Wang X (2015) Multidecadal variability of tropical cyclone rapid intensification in the western North Pacific. J Clim 28:3806–3820. CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  76. Wang C, Wang B, Wu L (2018a) Abrupt breakdown of the predictability of early season typhoon frequency at the beginning of the twenty-first century. Clim Dyn. Google Scholar
  77. Wang Q, Li J, Li Y et al (2018b) Modulation of tropical cyclogenesis location and frequency over the Indo-Western North Pacific by the intraseasonal Indo-Western Pacific convection oscillation during the boreal extended summer. J Clim 31:1435–1450. CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  78. Ying M, Zhang W, Yu H et al (2014) An overview of the China meteorological administration tropical cyclone database. J Atmos Ocean Technol 31:287–301. CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  79. Zhan R, Wang Y, Wu C-C (2011) Impact of SSTA in the East Indian Ocean on the frequency of northwest Pacific tropical cyclones: a regional atmospheric model study. J Clim 24:6227–6242. CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  80. Zhan R, Wang Y, Ying M (2012) Seasonal forecasts of tropical cyclone activity over the western North Pacific: a review. Trop Cyclone Res Rev 1:18Google Scholar
  81. Zhan R, Wang Y, Wen M (2013) The SST gradient between the southwestern Pacific and the Western Pacific warm pool: a new factor controlling the northwestern Pacific tropical cyclone genesis frequency. J Clim 26:2408–2415. CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  82. Zhang W, Graf H-F, Leung Y, Herzog M (2012) Different El Niño types and tropical cyclone landfall in East Asia. J Clim 25:6510–6523. CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  83. Zhang W, Li H, Jin F-F et al (2015) The annual-cycle modulation of meridional asymmetry in ENSO’s atmospheric response and its dependence on ENSO zonal structure. J Clim 28:5795–5812. CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  84. Zhang W, Vecchi GA, Murakami H et al (2016) The Pacific meridional mode and the occurrence of tropical cyclones in the western North Pacific. J Clim 29:381–398. CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  85. Zhang W, Vecchi GA, Villarini G et al (2017a) Statistical-dynamical seasonal forecast of western North Pacific and East Asia landfalling tropical cyclones using the GFDL FLOR coupled climate model. J Clim 30:2209–2232. CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  86. Zhang W, Vecchi GA, Villarini G et al (2017b) Modulation of western North Pacific tropical cyclone activity by the Atlantic Meridional Mode. Clim Dyn 48:631–647. CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  87. Zhang W, Vecchi GA, Murakami H et al (2018a) Dominant role of Atlantic Multidecadal Oscillation in the recent decadal changes in western North Pacific tropical cyclone activity. Geophys Res Lett 45:354–362. CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  88. Zhang Y, Xie S-P, Kosaka Y, Yang J-C (2018b) Pacific decadal oscillation: tropical Pacific forcing versus internal variability. J Clim 31:8265–8279. CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  89. Zhao J, Zhan R, Wang Y (2018a) Global warming hiatus contributed to the increased occurrence of intense tropical cyclones in the coastal regions along East Asia. Sci Rep. Google Scholar
  90. Zhao J, Zhan R, Wang Y, Xu H (2018b) Contribution of Interdecadal Pacific Oscillation to the recent abrupt decrease in tropical cyclone genesis frequency over the western North Pacific since 1998. J Clim. Google Scholar
  91. Zhao C, Ren H-L, Eade R et al (2019) MJO modulation and its predictability of boreal summer tropical cyclone genesis over northwest Pacific in Met Office Hadley Centre and Beijing climate center seasonal prediction systems. Quart J R Meteorol Soc. Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag GmbH Germany, part of Springer Nature 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  • Chao Liu
    • 1
  • Wenjun Zhang
    • 1
    Email author
  • Xin Geng
    • 1
  • Malte F. Stuecker
    • 2
    • 3
  • Fei-Fei Jin
    • 4
  1. 1.CIC-FEMD/ILCEC, Key Laboratory of Meteorological Disaster of Ministry of Education, School of Atmospheric SciencesNanjing University of Information Science and TechnologyNanjingChina
  2. 2.Center for Climate Physics, Institute for Basic Science (IBS)BusanRepublic of Korea
  3. 3.Pusan National UniversityBusanRepublic of Korea
  4. 4.Department of Atmospheric SciencesSOEST, University of Hawai’i at ManoaHonoluluUSA

Personalised recommendations