Role of scale interactions in the abrupt change of tropical cyclone in autumn over the Western North Pacific

Pang Chi Hsu*, Ting Hui Lee, Chih Hua Tsou, Pao Shin Chu, Yitian Qian, Mingyu Bi

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

26 Citations (Scopus)


Tropical cyclone (TC) activity in autumn (September–November) over the western North Pacific experienced an abrupt change in 1998, which can be detected by the Bayesian change-point analysis. During the decade before the regime shift (1988–1997), the occurrence frequency of TC genesis increased significantly over the tropical western Pacific, where the seasonal cyclonic flow, intraseasonal oscillation (ISO) and synoptic-scale eddy (SSE) were all strengthened, compared to those observed in the decade after 1998 (1998–2007). The TC trajectories also exhibited spatial differences. During the active decade, the TCs had a higher probability to move westward into the Philippine Sea and the South China Sea, and recurved northeastward toward the east of Japan. Meanwhile, the northwestward propagating TCs approaching Taiwan and southeastern coast of China were reduced. To understand the role of mean flow–ISO–SSE interaction in the decadal changes of SSE and associated TC activity, we diagnosed a newly proposed SSE kinetic energy (KE) equation that separates the contributions of seasonal-mean circulation and ISO to the SSE. The results show that, during the active TC decade, the SSE obtained higher KE from both mean flow and ISO through eddy barotropic energy conversion when the enhanced SSE momentum flux interacted with the strengthened monsoon trough and vigorous ISO cyclonic anomaly over the western tropical Pacific. The increased SSE KE contributed positively to the increased TC genesis over the main genesis region (7.5°–20°N, 130°–170°E). It also benefited the growth of TCs over the Philippine Sea and the South China Sea during the active decade. The decadal change in TC frequency over the extratropics was related to the eddy baroclinic energy conversion instead of the barotropic conversion associated with scale interaction. During the active TC decade, SSE gained more (less) KE from the SSE available potential energy over the east of Japan (the East China Sea), favoring (disfavoring) the succeeding development of TCs in this region.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)3175-3192
Number of pages18
JournalClimate Dynamics
Issue number9-10
Publication statusPublished - 2017 Nov 1


  • Abrupt change
  • Eddy kinetic energy diagnosis
  • Scale interaction
  • Tropical cyclone in autumn

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Atmospheric Science


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