Abstract

The impacts of El Niño on tropical cyclone (TC) activity over the western North Pacific (WNP) are examined through investigation of three types of tropical Pacific warming episodes according to where the maximum sea surface temperature (SST) anomalies occur in the equatorial Pacific: the eastern Pacific El Niño (EPE), the central Pacific El Niño (CPE) and the mixed El Niño (ME). More TCs form over the eastern part of the WNP in all three El Niño types, whereas the frequency of TCs over the western part of the WNP increases as the peak SST anomalies migrate from east to west. Although TCs more frequently recurve at higher latitudes during EPE and CPE, the most frequent region for recurving is much closer to the East Asian continent in CPE years than in EPE years. In contrast, more TCs track westward and threaten the Philippines in ME years. The increased TC genesis over the western part of the WNP can be explained by enhanced low-level relative vorticity, reduced vertical wind shear and increased maximum potential intensity during CPE and increased mid-level moisture during EPE and ME. This increase is further related to updraft anomalies near the dateline driven by an anomalous Walker circulation and an anomalous low-level cyclonic circulation over the WNP. The TC track differences among the different El Niño types are linked to the east-west shift of the western Pacific subtropical high, possibly caused by an anomalous Hadley circulation from 120°-130°E that is strongly coupled with the anomalous Walker circulation.

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