Journal of Oceanology and Limnology

, Volume 36, Issue 1, pp 20–32 | Cite as

Impacts of SST anomalies in the Indian-Pacific basin on Northwest Pacific tropical cyclone activities during three super El Niño years

  • Ruifen Zhan (占瑞芬)
  • Baode Chen (陈葆德)
  • Yihui Ding (丁一汇)


This study investigated the impact of sea surface temperature (SST) in several important areas of the Indian-Pacific basin on tropical cyclone (TC) activity over the western North Pacific (WNP) during the developing years of three super El Niño events (1982, 1997, and 2015) based on observations and numerical simulations. During the super El Niño years, TC intensity was enhanced considerably, TC days increased, TC tracks mostly recurved along the coasts, and fewer TCs made landfall in China. These characteristics are similar to the strong ENSO-TC relationship but further above the climatological means than in strong El Niño years. It indicates that super El Niño events play a dominant role in the intensities and tracks of WNP TCs. However, there were clear differences in both numbers and positions of TC genesis among the different super El Niño years. These features could be attributed to the collective impact of SST anomalies (SSTAs) in the tropical central-eastern Pacific and East Indian Ocean (EIO) and the SST gradient (SSTG) between the southwestern Pacific and the western Pacific warm pool. During 2015, the EIO SSTA was extremely warm and the anomalous anticyclone in the western WNP was enhanced, resulting in fewer TCs than normal. In 1982, the EIO SSTA and spring SSTG showed negative anomalies, followed by an increased anomalous cyclone in the western WNP and equatorial vertical wind shear. This intensified the conversion of eddy kinetic energy from large-scale flows, favorable for the westward shift of TC genesis. Consequently, anomalous TC activities during the super El Niño years resulted mainly from combined SSTA impacts of different key areas over the Indian-Pacific basin.


tropical cyclone (TC) super El Niño Indian-Pacific basin 


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Copyright information

© Chinese Society for Oceanology and Limnology, Science Press and Springer-Verlag GmbH Germany, part of Springer Nature 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  • Ruifen Zhan (占瑞芬)
    • 1
  • Baode Chen (陈葆德)
    • 1
  • Yihui Ding (丁一汇)
    • 2
  1. 1.Shanghai Typhoon Institute of China Meteorological AdministrationShanghaiChina
  2. 2.National Climate Center and Laboratory for Climate StudiesChina Meteorological AdministrationBeijingChina

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