Interdecadal Changes in Summertime Typhoon Tracks

Chang-Hoi Ho School of Earth and Environmental Sciences, Seoul National University, Seoul, South Korea

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Jong-Jin Baik School of Earth and Environmental Sciences, Seoul National University, Seoul, South Korea

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Joo-Hong Kim School of Earth and Environmental Sciences, Seoul National University, Seoul, South Korea

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Dao-Yi Gong School of Earth and Environmental Sciences, Seoul National University, Seoul, South Korea

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Chung-Hsiung Sui Institute of Hydrological Sciences, National Central University, Chung-Li, Taiwan

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Abstract

The present work examines interdecadal variations of typhoon tracks in the western North Pacific (WNP) during the boreal summer (June–September) for the period 1951–2001. Typhoon tracks are expressed as percentage values of the total number of typhoon passages into a 5° × 5° latitude–longitude grid box with respect to the total number of typhoons formed in the WNP. The analysis period is divided into two interdecadal periods: ID1 (1951–79) and ID2 (1980–2001). From ID1 to ID2, typhoon passage frequency decreased significantly in the East China Sea and Philippine Sea, but increased slightly in the South China Sea. The time series of typhoon passage frequency over the East China Sea and South China Sea further reveal a regime shift in the late 1970s, while those over the Philippine Sea indicate a continuous downward trend of −9% decade−1.

The interdecadal changes in typhoon tracks are associated with the westward expansion of the subtropical northwestern Pacific high (SNPH) in the late 1970s. The expansion of the SNPH to the southeast coast of Asia may result in a larger elliptic pathway of typhoon migration. This is consistent with the westward shift of the typhoon tracks from ID1 to ID2, resulting in an increase of typhoon passage frequency in the South China Sea and a decrease in the East China Sea. The change of typhoon tracks is partly due to the westward shift of major typhoon formation regions associated with a warmer sea surface temperature in the South China Sea. The decreasing typhoon passage frequency over the Philippine Sea is due to less typhoon formation in recent decades. This is consistent with the decreasing cyclonic relative vorticity in the lower troposphere.

Current affiliation: Key Laboratory of Environmental Change and National Disaster, IRS, Beijing Normal University, Beijing, China

Corresponding author address: Dr. Chang-Hoi Ho, School of Earth and Environmental Sciences, Seoul National University, San 56-1 Shinlim-dong, Gwanak-gu, Seoul 151-742, South Korea. Email: hoch@cpl.snu.ac.kr

Abstract

The present work examines interdecadal variations of typhoon tracks in the western North Pacific (WNP) during the boreal summer (June–September) for the period 1951–2001. Typhoon tracks are expressed as percentage values of the total number of typhoon passages into a 5° × 5° latitude–longitude grid box with respect to the total number of typhoons formed in the WNP. The analysis period is divided into two interdecadal periods: ID1 (1951–79) and ID2 (1980–2001). From ID1 to ID2, typhoon passage frequency decreased significantly in the East China Sea and Philippine Sea, but increased slightly in the South China Sea. The time series of typhoon passage frequency over the East China Sea and South China Sea further reveal a regime shift in the late 1970s, while those over the Philippine Sea indicate a continuous downward trend of −9% decade−1.

The interdecadal changes in typhoon tracks are associated with the westward expansion of the subtropical northwestern Pacific high (SNPH) in the late 1970s. The expansion of the SNPH to the southeast coast of Asia may result in a larger elliptic pathway of typhoon migration. This is consistent with the westward shift of the typhoon tracks from ID1 to ID2, resulting in an increase of typhoon passage frequency in the South China Sea and a decrease in the East China Sea. The change of typhoon tracks is partly due to the westward shift of major typhoon formation regions associated with a warmer sea surface temperature in the South China Sea. The decreasing typhoon passage frequency over the Philippine Sea is due to less typhoon formation in recent decades. This is consistent with the decreasing cyclonic relative vorticity in the lower troposphere.

Current affiliation: Key Laboratory of Environmental Change and National Disaster, IRS, Beijing Normal University, Beijing, China

Corresponding author address: Dr. Chang-Hoi Ho, School of Earth and Environmental Sciences, Seoul National University, San 56-1 Shinlim-dong, Gwanak-gu, Seoul 151-742, South Korea. Email: hoch@cpl.snu.ac.kr

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