Impact of the intraseasonal variability of the western North-Pacific large-scale circulation on tropical cyclone tracks

Tsing Chang Chen, Shih Yu Wang, Ming Cheng Yen, Adam J. Clark

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

76 Scopus citations


The life cycle of the Southeast Asian - western North Pacific monsoon circulation is established by the northward migrations of the monsoon trough and the western Pacific subtropical anticyclone, and is reflected by the intraseasonal variations of monsoon westerlies and trade easterlies in the form of an east - west seesaw oscillation. In this paper, an effort is made to disclose the influence of this monsoon circulation on tropical cyclone tracks during its different phases using composite charts of large-scale circulation for certain types of tracks. A majority of straight-moving (recurving) tropical cyclones appear during weak (strong) monsoon westerlies and strong (weak) trade easterlies. The monsoon conditions associated with straight-moving tropical cyclones are linked to the intensified subtropical anticyclone, while that associated with recurving tropical cyclones is coupled with the deepened monsoon trough. The relationship between genesis locations and track characteristics is evolved from the intraseasonal variation of the monsoon circulation reflected by the east - west oscillation of monsoon westerlies and trade easterlies. Composite circulation differences between the flows associated with the two types of tropical cyclone tracks show a vertically uniform short wave train along the North Pacific rim, as portrayed by the Pacific-Japan oscillation. During the extreme phases of the monsoon life cycle, the anomalous circulation pattern east of Taiwan resembles this anomalous short wave train. A vorticity budget analysis of the strong monsoon condition reveals a vorticity tendency dipole with a positive zone to the north and a negative zone to the south of the deepened monsoon trough. This meridional juxtaposition of vorticity tendency propagates the monsoon trough northward. The interaction of a tropical cyclone with the monsoon trough intensifies the north - south juxtaposition of the vorticity tendency and deflects the tropical cyclone northward. In contrast, during weak monsoon conditions, the interaction between a tropical cyclone and the subtropical high results in a northwestward motion steered by the intensified trade easterlies. The accurate prediction of the monsoon trough and the subtropical anticyclone variations coupled with the monsoon life cycle may help to improve the forecasting of tropical cyclone tracks.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)646-666
Number of pages21
JournalWeather and Forecasting
Issue number3
StatePublished - Jun 2009


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