The Influence of ENSO Flavors on Western North Pacific Tropical Cyclone Activity

Christina M. Patricola Climate and Ecosystem Sciences Division, Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory, Berkeley, California

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Suzana J. Camargo Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory, Columbia University, Palisades, New York

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Philip J. Klotzbach Department of Atmospheric Science, Colorado State University, Fort Collins, Colorado

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R. Saravanan Department of Atmospheric Sciences, Texas A&M University, College Station, Texas

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Ping Chang Department of Oceanography and Department of Atmospheric Sciences, Texas A&M University, College Station, Texas, and Physical Oceanography Laboratory/Qingdao Collaborative Innovation Center of Marine Science and Technology, Ocean University of China, Qingdao, China

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Abstract

El Niño–Southern Oscillation (ENSO) is a major source of seasonal western North Pacific (WNP) tropical cyclone (TC) predictability. However, the spatial characteristics of ENSO have changed in recent decades, from warming more typically in the eastern equatorial Pacific during canonical or cold tongue El Niño to warming more typically in the central equatorial Pacific during noncanonical or warm pool El Niño. We investigated the response in basinwide WNP TC activity and spatial clustering of TC tracks to the location and magnitude of El Niño using observations, TC-permitting tropical channel model simulations, and a TC track clustering methodology. We found that simulated western North Pacific TC activity, including accumulated cyclone energy (ACE) and the number of typhoons and intense typhoons, is more effectively enhanced by sea surface temperature warming of the central, compared to the eastern, equatorial Pacific. El Niño also considerably influenced simulated TC tracks regionally, with a decrease in TCs that were generated near the Asian continent and an increase in clusters that were dominated by TC genesis in the southeastern WNP. This response corresponds with the spatial pattern of reduced vertical wind shear and is most effectively driven by central Pacific SST warming. Finally, internal atmospheric variability generated a substantial range in the simulated season total ACE (±25% of the median). However, extremely active WNP seasons were linked with El Niño, rather than internal atmospheric variability, in both observations and climate model simulations.

Supplemental information related to this paper is available at the Journals Online website: https://doi.org/10.1175/JCLI-D-17-0678.s1.

© 2018 American Meteorological Society. For information regarding reuse of this content and general copyright information, consult the AMS Copyright Policy (www.ametsoc.org/PUBSReuseLicenses).

Corresponding author: Christina M. Patricola, cmpatricola@lbl.gov

Abstract

El Niño–Southern Oscillation (ENSO) is a major source of seasonal western North Pacific (WNP) tropical cyclone (TC) predictability. However, the spatial characteristics of ENSO have changed in recent decades, from warming more typically in the eastern equatorial Pacific during canonical or cold tongue El Niño to warming more typically in the central equatorial Pacific during noncanonical or warm pool El Niño. We investigated the response in basinwide WNP TC activity and spatial clustering of TC tracks to the location and magnitude of El Niño using observations, TC-permitting tropical channel model simulations, and a TC track clustering methodology. We found that simulated western North Pacific TC activity, including accumulated cyclone energy (ACE) and the number of typhoons and intense typhoons, is more effectively enhanced by sea surface temperature warming of the central, compared to the eastern, equatorial Pacific. El Niño also considerably influenced simulated TC tracks regionally, with a decrease in TCs that were generated near the Asian continent and an increase in clusters that were dominated by TC genesis in the southeastern WNP. This response corresponds with the spatial pattern of reduced vertical wind shear and is most effectively driven by central Pacific SST warming. Finally, internal atmospheric variability generated a substantial range in the simulated season total ACE (±25% of the median). However, extremely active WNP seasons were linked with El Niño, rather than internal atmospheric variability, in both observations and climate model simulations.

Supplemental information related to this paper is available at the Journals Online website: https://doi.org/10.1175/JCLI-D-17-0678.s1.

© 2018 American Meteorological Society. For information regarding reuse of this content and general copyright information, consult the AMS Copyright Policy (www.ametsoc.org/PUBSReuseLicenses).

Corresponding author: Christina M. Patricola, cmpatricola@lbl.gov

Supplementary Materials

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