Meteorology and Atmospheric Physics

, Volume 89, Issue 1–4, pp 143–152

Interannual and interdecadal variations of tropical cyclone activity over the western North Pacific

  • Johnny C. L. Chan


This paper reviews the interannual and interdecadal variations in tropical cyclone (TC) activity over the western North Pacific (WNP) and the possible physical mechanisms responsible for such variations. Interannual variations can largely be explained by changes in the planetary-scale flow patterns. Sea-surface temperatures (SSTs) in the WNP, however, do not contribute to such variations. Rather, SSTs in the central and eastern equatorial Pacific are significantly correlated with TC activity over the WNP. Causality can be established: changes in the SST in the equatorial Pacific are related to the El Niño/Southern Oscillation (ENSO) phenomenon, and modifications of the planetary-scale flow associated with ENSO alter the conditions over the WNP and hence TC activity there. Variations in annual TC activity are also associated with different phases of the stratospheric quasi-biennial oscillations due to its modification of the vertical wind shear of the environment in which TCs form. Interdecadal variations in TC activity are apparently related to the location, strength and extent of the North Pacific subtropical high. However, the mechanisms responsible for modifying these characteristics of the subtropical high have yet to be identified.


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag/Wien 2005

Authors and Affiliations

  • Johnny C. L. Chan
    • 1
  1. 1.Laboratory for Atmospheric Research, Department of Physics and Materials ScienceCity University of Hong KongHong KongChina

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