The Influence of ENSO Flavors on Western North Pacific Tropical Cyclone Activity Academic Article uri icon


  • El NioSouthern 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 Nio to warming more typically in the central equatorial Pacific during noncanonical or warm pool El Nio. We investigated the response in basinwide WNP TC activity and spatial clustering of TC tracks to the location and magnitude of El Nio 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 Nio 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 Nio, rather than internal atmospheric variability, in both observations and climate model simulations.

published proceedings


altmetric score

  • 15.25

author list (cited authors)

  • Patricola, C. M., Camargo, S. J., Klotzbach, P. J., Saravanan, R., & Chang, P.

citation count

  • 64

complete list of authors

  • Patricola, Christina M||Camargo, Suzana J||Klotzbach, Philip J||Saravanan, R||Chang, Ping

publication date

  • January 1, 2018 11:11 AM