Forced and internal vriability of tropical cyclone track density in the Western North Pacific

TitleForced and internal vriability of tropical cyclone track density in the Western North Pacific
Publication TypeJournal Article
Year of Publication2015
AuthorsMei W, Xie SP, Zhao M., Wang Y.Q
JournalJournal of Climate
Date Published2015/01
Type of ArticleArticle
ISBN Number0894-8755
Accession NumberWOS:000347061200009
Keywordscirculation; cluster-analysis; east-indian ocean; el-nino; enso events; interannual; interdecadal variability; large-scale; regional atmospheric model; sea-surface temperature; typhoon tracks; variability

Forced interannual-to-decadal variability of annual tropical cyclone (TC) track density in the western North Pacific between 1979 and 2008 is studied using TC tracks from observations and simulations by a 25-km-resolution version of the GFDL High-Resolution Atmospheric Model (HiRAM) that is forced by observed sea surface temperatures (SSTs). Two modes dominate the decadal variability: a nearly basinwide mode, and a dipole mode between the subtropics and lower latitudes. The former mode links to variations in TC number and is forced by SST variations over the off-equatorial tropical central North Pacific, whereas the latter might be associated with the Atlantic multidecadal oscillation. The interannual variability is also controlled by two modes: a basinwide mode driven by SST anomalies of opposite signs located in the tropical central Pacific and eastern Indian Ocean, and a southeast-northwest dipole mode connected to the conventional eastern Pacific ENSO. The seasonal evolution of the ENSO effect on TC activity is further explored via a joint empirical orthogonal function analysis using TC track density of consecutive seasons, and the analysis reveals that two types of ENSO are at work. Internal variability in TC track density is then examined using ensemble simulations from both HiRAM and a regional atmospheric model. It exhibits prominent spatial and seasonal patterns, and it is particularly strong in the South China Sea and along the coast of East Asia. This makes an accurate prediction and projection of TC landfall extremely challenging in these regions. In contrast, basin-integrated metrics (e.g., total TC counts and TC days) are more predictable.

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