The influence of large-scale circulations on the extremely inactive tropical cyclone activity in 2010 over the western North Pacific

HAIKUN ZHAO, GRACIELA B. RAGA

Abstract

This study attempts to understand why the frequency of tropical cyclones (TC) over the western North Pacific (WNP) was a record low during the 2010 season, by analyzing the effect of several large-scale factors. The genesis potential index (GPI) can represent, to some extent, the spatial distribution of formation in 2010. However, the GPI does not explain the extremely low TC frequency. No robust relationship between the TCnumber and El Niño Southern Oscillation (ENSO) was found. A comparison of the extreme inactive TC year 2010 and extreme active year 1994 was performed, based on the box difference index that can measure the quantitative difference of large-scale environmental factors. Dynamic factors were found to be important in differentiating TC formation over the WNP basin between 2010 and 1994. The remarkable difference of monsoon flows in the WNP basin between these two years may be the cause of the difference in TC formation. The unfavorable conditions for TC genesis in 2010 may have also been due to other large scale factors such as: (1) weak activity of the Madden-Julian Oscillation during the peak season; (2) warming of the sea surface temperature in the tropical Indian Ocean during the peak season, causing the development of an anticyclone over the WNP basin and associated with the westward motion of the monsoon trough, and(3) the phase change of the Pacific Decadal Oscillation (more negative) and the two strong La Niña eventsthat have evolved since 2006.

Keywords

Tropical cyclogenesis; western North Pacific; large scale factors.

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