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JOURNAL OF CLIMATE

VOLUME 25

Different El Nino Types and Tropical Cyclone Landfall in East Asia


WEI ZHANG
Department of Geography and Resource Management, The Chinese University of Hong Kong, Shatin, Hong Kong, China

H.-F. GRAF
Centre for Atmospheric Sciences, University of Cambridge, Cambridge, United Kingdom

YEE LEUNG
Department of Geography and Resource Management, and Institute of Environment, Energy and Sustainability, The Chinese
University of Hong Kong, Shatin, Hong Kong, China

MICHAEL HERZOG
Centre for Atmospheric Sciences, University of Cambridge, Cambridge, United Kingdom
(Manuscript received 4 August 2011, in final form 7 March 2012)
ABSTRACT
This study examines whether there exist significant differences in tropical cyclone (TC) landfall between
central Pacific (CP) El Nino, eastern Pacific (EP) El Nino, and La Nina during the peak TC season (June
October) and how and to what extent CP El Nino influences TC landfall over East Asia for the period 19612009.
The peak TC season is subdivided into summer [JuneAugust (JJA)] and autumn [SeptemberOctober
(SO)]. The results are summarized as follows: (i) during the summer of CP El Nino years, TCs are more likely
to make landfall over East Asia because of a strong easterly steering flow anomaly induced by the westward
shift of the subtropical high and northward-shifted TC genesis. In particular, TCs have a greater probability of
making landfall over Japan and Korea during the summer of CP El Nino years. (ii) In the autumn of CP
El Nino years, TC landfall in most areas of East Asia, especially Indochina, the Malay Peninsula, and the
Philippines, is likely to be suppressed because the large-scale circulation resembles that of EP El Nino years.
(iii) During the whole peak TC season [JuneOctober (JJASO)] of CP El Nino years, TCs are more likely to
make landfall over Japan and Korea. TC landfall in East Asia as a whole has an insignificant association with CP
El Nino during the peak TC season. In addition, more (less) TCs are likely to make landfall in China, Indochina,
the Malay Peninsula, and the Philippines during the peak TC season of La Nina (EP El Nino) years.

1. Introduction
Tropical cyclones (TCs) induce most of their damages
to coastal areas during or after landfall (Chan et al. 2004;
Rakhecha and Singh 2009). The understanding of conditions leading to TC landfall is thus of economic, social,
and scientific significance. TC landfall activity is largely
influenced by genesis locations and steering flow (Goh
and Chan 2010; Liu and Chan 2003; Wu et al. 2004). TC

Corresponding author address: Yee Leung, Department of


Geography and Resource Management, Institute of Environment,
Energy and Sustainability, The Chinese University of Hong Kong,
Shatin, Hong Kong, China.
E-mail: yeeleung@cuhk.edu.hk
DOI: 10.1175/JCLI-D-11-00488.1
2012 American Meteorological Society

genesis is closely related to dynamic or thermodynamic


factors such as sea surface temperature (SST), midtroposphere moisture (e.g., 600 hPa), and vertical wind
shear (Camargo et al. 2007; Chia and Ropelewski 2002;
Gray 1979). The steering flow is measured by midtroposphere wind fields, which are substantially influenced by
the subtropical high (Chan 1984, 2005; Chan and Gray
1982; Harr and Elsberry 1991, 1995a,b; Holland 1993).
The El NinoSouthern Oscillation (ENSO) (Bjerknes
1969) is a powerful interplay between the tropical ocean
and atmosphere in the Pacific basin. The modulation of
TC activity by ENSO has been studied in terms of formation, landfall, and intensity (Camargo and Sobel
2005; Chan and Xu 2009; Chu 2004; Fudeyasu et al. 2006;
Wang and Chan 2002; Wu et al. 2004). TC landfall in

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ZHANG ET AL.

East Asia under the impact of El Nino and La Nina has


been investigated in a number of studies. For example,
Wang and Chan (2002) claimed that during El Nino
summer and autumn the frequency of tropical storm
formation increases remarkably in the southeastern
western North Pacific (WNP) and decreases in the
northwestern WNP. They further pointed out that TCs
tend to recurve in strong El Nino years, but they track
farther northward after being formed at higher latitudes
during La Nina years because of the deepening of the
west Pacific trough and retreat of the subtropical high.
This implies that TCs tend to make landfall over East
Asia more often during the autumn of a strong La Nina
year than a strong El Nino year. During strong El Nino
years, TCs have a better chance to interact with transient
midlatitude synoptic systems, resulting in more recurved
trajectories (Chu 2004). Wu et al. (2004) detected an
enhanced number of landfalls in China, the Philippines,
and the Malay Peninsula during autumn in La Nina
years. However, Fudeyasu et al. (2006) argued that
ENSO impacts TC activity not only during autumn but
also during the summer monsoon season. Chan and Xu
(2009) investigated the TC landfall activity from 1951 to
2006 in East Asia using wavelet analysis. Based on their
study, TC landfall activities in East Asia have a significant
period from 2 to 8 yr, which they linked to the influence
of ENSO. Hence, previous research indicates that ENSO
exerts a significant impact on TC landfall in East Asia
and, in general, TCs tend to make landfall in East Asia,
especially in China, the Philippines, and the Malay Peninsula, during the autumn of strong La Nina years.
During the past few years, a new type of Pacific
warming was described in the central Pacific Ocean,
referred to as El Nino Modoki (Ashok et al. 2007; Weng
et al. 2007), Dateline El Nino (Larkin and Harrison
2005a,b), central Pacific (CP) El Nino, and warm pool
El Nino (Kug et al. 2009). Yeh et al. (2009) argued that
CP El Nino occurrences are related to changes in the
background state under anthropogenic global warming,
especially changes in the thermocline structure in the
equatorial Pacific. The mechanisms causing CP El Nino,
eastern Pacific (EP) El Nino, and La Nina to modulate
TC variability have been investigated. Kim et al. (2009)
found that CP El Nino tends to cause more TC landfalls
across the Caribbean, the Gulf of Mexico, and the East
Coast. The accumulated cyclone energy (ACE) shows
that the overall cyclone activity is larger in CP El Nino
than in EP El Nino in their study. However, based on an
independent data analysis of Atlantic TC and further
numerical modeling experiments, Lee et al. (2010) argued that it was premature to associate CP El Nino
events with an increasing frequency of TC activity in the
Gulf of Mexico and Caribbean Sea. Chen and Tam

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(2010) stated that TC frequency in the WNP basin is


significantly positively correlated with the El Nino
Modoki index (EMI) (Ashok et al. 2007) during the
peak TC season. On the contrary, the association between TC frequency and the Nino-3 index is insignificant because of the mutual cancellation between
enhanced and reduced TC frequency in the different
ENSO domains. Kim et al. (2011) further examined the
modulation by CP El Nino, EP El Nino, and La Nina of
TC activity in the whole Pacific and compared the results
with those derived only for the WNP in Chen and Tam
(2010). They claimed that the positive TC formation
anomaly in CP El Nino shifts to the west in a pattern
very different from EP El Nino. There is further discussion that the TC formation over the northwestern
part of the WNP increases the probability of TC propagation into the northern part of East Asia. CP El Nino
is associated with an increase in the track density that
represents the number of TC occurrences in the defined
grid-based area over the centralwestern Pacific and a
reduction over the eastern Pacific.
To recapitulate, our current understanding of the influence of CP El Nino on TC activity is that CP El Nino
may enhance TC activity in the Caribbean, the Gulf of
Mexico, and the East Coast and inhibit TC activity in the
central and western Pacific. However, because of the
high inherent variability it obviously needs longer time
series to support these findings. Additionally, more TCs
are expected to form over the northwestern part of the
WNP and their likelihood of occurrence in East Asia to
increase during CP El Nino years. However, little attention has been paid to TC landfall in East Asia corresponding to different El Nino types. The objective of
this study is to examine whether there exist significant
differences in TC landfall between CP El Nino, EP
El Nino, and La Nina during the peak TC season (June
October) and how and to what extent CP El Nino influences TC landfall over East Asia. With an increasing
number of CP El Nino events (Yeh et al. 2011, 2009),
based on observed data and simulations, advancements
in the understanding of TC landfall characteristics associated with CP El Nino, EP El Nino, and La Nina are
important for disaster preparation and mitigation.
This paper is organized as follows: section 2 presents
the data and methodology. Section 3 discusses the results. Section 4 describes the large-scale environments in
different ENSO regimes. The conclusions are given in
section 5.

2. Data and methodology


The TC best-track dataset is made available from the
Japan Meteorological Agency (JMA) Regional Specialized

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Meteorological Centre Tokyo (RSMC Tokyo) (available online at http://www.jma.go.jp/jma/jma-eng/jmacenter/rsmc-hp-pub-eg/besttrack.html). The original
TC best-track dataset is processed on the Environmental
Systems Research Institute (ESRI) ArcGIS 9.3 desktop to
generate shape files of TC points and tracks. Landfalling TC in this study refers to any TC in WNP with its
center crossing the coastline (Chan and Xu 2009). The
time period for TCs is from 1961 to 2009. TCs are
probably underestimated previous to the 1960s, when
satellite observations became available for monitoring
TCs (Chan 1985; see also Wu et al. 2004). It is noted that
only TCs with the intensity of a tropical storm (maximum sustained wind .17 m s21) or higher are considered because of the possibly large errors in counting the
number of tropical depressions. Since most of TCs form
in the peak TC season from June to October (JJASO)
(Chen and Tam 2010), we collected TCs with intensity
levels of tropical storm or higher during the peak season
in WNP. JJASO are selected as the studying months. We
have compared the results based in JuneNovember
(JJASON) with those based in JJASO and an insignificant difference is found between the two schemes.
The monthly 18 3 18 SST dataset is obtained from the
Hadley Centre (Rayner et al. 2003). Monthly means of
meteorological variables (e.g., geopotential height and
zonal and meridional wind fields) are obtained from the
National Centers for Environmental PredictionNational
Center for Atmospheric Research (NCEPNCAR) reanalysis with a horizontal resolution of 2.58 3 2.58 and
available from 1948 to 2007 (Kalnay et al. 1996).
The major concern in this study is to analyze the influence of different regimes of ENSO on TC landfall in
East Asia. Therefore, the study area consists of East
Asia and WNP (shown in Fig. 1). To differentiate the
characteristics of TC landfall in different areas in East
Asia, four subareas are defined in Fig. 1, described as
follows: Japan and Korea, China, Indochina and the
Malay Peninsula, and the Philippines. The landfall frequencies are calculated in these four subareas in particular, as well as in East Asia as a whole. Although the
Philippines are geographically not part of East Asia we
still define them as one of its subareas in line with previous studies (Wu et al. 2004; Chan and Xu 2009). It
should be noted that the number of TC landfalls in East
Asia as a whole for a particular year is not necessarily
the sum of the numbers of TC landfalls in the four subareas. A TC that makes landfall in China (one landfall
count in the China group), then recurves and makes
landfall again in Japan or Korea (one landfall count in
the Japan and Korea group), is counted only once in
the East Asia group. The area for composite analysis
is defined as a rectangular region from 908E to 1608W in

VOLUME 25

FIG. 1. The four defined landfall subareas in East Asia: (i) Japan
and Korea, (ii) China, (iii) Indochina and the Malay Peninsula, and
(iv) the Philippines.

longitude and from 58S to 458N in latitude except for


the plots of the composite SST anomaly (SSTA) in
which the longitude extends to 1208W to indicate the
general profiles of CP El Nino, EP El Nino, and La
Nina.
Different from the Nino-3.4 index, which may mix up
EP warming and CP warming, the EMI and Nino-3 index can distinguish two types of Pacific warming events
(Chen and Tam 2010). To compare the impacts of different Pacific warmings on TC landfall, the Nino-3 index,
Nino-4 index, Nino-3.4 index, and EMI are employed to
examine their associations with landfall in East Asia. The
monthly Nino-3.4, Nino-3, and Nino-4 indexes are directly
downloaded from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric
Administration (NOAA) Climate Prediction Center
(http://www.cpc.ncep.noaa.gov/data/indices/sstoi.indices).
The EMI (Ashok et al. 2007) is used to measure the SST
anomaly in the central Pacific. It is defined as
EMI 5 [SSTA]A 2 0:5[SSTA]B 2 0:5[SSTA]C ,
where [SSTA]A, [SSTA]B, and [SSTA]C indicate the
SST anomaly averaged over the regions of (108S108N,
1658E1408W), (158S58N, 1108708W), and (108S208N,
12581458E), respectively. The JJASO months during
which EMI and the Nino-3 index are larger than one
standard deviation and the Nino-3 index is cooler than
one standard deviation are designated as the CP El Nino,
EP El Nino, and La Nina, respectively, after the linear
trends are removed from these time series of indexes
(Chen and Tam 2010; Kim et al. 2011, 2009). Subsequently, 8 yr with JJASO characterized by CP El Nino
(1966, 1967, 1977, 1990, 1991, 1994, 2002, and 2004), 9 yr
with JJASO characterized by EP El Nino (1963, 1965,
1969, 1972, 1976, 1982, 1983, 1987, and 1997) and 7 yr

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ZHANG ET AL.

with JJASO characterized by La Nina (1964, 1970, 1973,


1975, 1988, 1999, and 2007) are defined accordingly. The
CP El Nino events display decadal variability, which is
different from the interannual variability of EP El Nino
and La Nina events (Weng et al. 2007). TC behaviors
have shown decadal/interdecadal variability in relation
to atmosphericoceanic fields, for example, SST, relative vorticity at 850 hPa, and outgoing longwave radiation in the North Pacific (Chan 2008; Matsuura et al.
2003; Yumoto and Matsuura 2001). In this study, our
focus is on the frequency of landfalling TCs in East Asia
corresponding to different ENSO phases. The decadal
and interdecadal variability of TC landfalls over East
Asia corresponding to different types of El Ninos is to be
examined in another study. It should be noted that 1963,
1982, 1983, and 1991 are years with strong volcanic
eruptions. Previous research indicates that strong volcanic eruptions can influence ENSO according to radiative forcing (Adams et al. 2003; Kirchner and Graf
1995). We compared the research results based on two
schemes: with and without the four years during which
strong volcanic eruptions occurred. No significant difference is identified between the two schemes. Therefore, the four years with strong volcanic eruptions are
employed for the following analyses.
The frequency of annual TC landfalls and ENSO indexes are ordinal and interval variables, respectively.
The Spearmans rank-order correlation analysis is used
to measure the degree of monotonic relationship between two variables that are at least at ordinal scale
(Altman 1991; Zar 1972). Like Pearson productmoment
correlation, the Spearmans rank-order correlation is
also in a range between 21 and 1. A higher positive
value of the coefficient indicates stronger positive
association and vice versa. In this study, we used
Spearmans rank-order correlation analysis to unravel
the linear associations between annual landfall
frequency and ENSO indexes. A nonparametric Mann
Whitney U test (Mann and Whitney 1947; Sprent and
Smeeton 2007; Wilcoxon 1945) is utilized to compare the
longitude and latitude of TC genesis locations between
CP El Nino, EP El Nino, and La Nina in section 4. This
method has also been used to test differences in characteristics of grouped TCs (Chu 2002; Ho et al. 2009; Tu
et al. 2009). The climate anomaly in this study is defined
as the departure of a composite value of a variable (e.g.,
SST, relative humidity) during a particular period (e.g.,
CP El Nino summers) from the climatologically averaged value of that variable. Because of the small sample
sizes of CP El Nino (eight events), EP El Nino (nine
events), and La Nina (seven events) years in this study,
the anomalies of selected variables are not tested for
significance level.

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FIG. 2. TC track density (annual average TC frequency in each


2.58 3 2.58 grid box) during different ENSO regimes. The dashed
gray curves denote the main paths of TC tracks.

3. Results
TC track density during CP El Nino, EP El Nino, and
La Nina years is illustrated in Fig. 2 as in Wu et al.
(2005). TC track density denotes the annual average TC
frequency in each 2.58 3 2.58 grid box during different
ENSO regimes. The dashed gray curves denote the main
paths of TC tracks. The main path in Fig. 2 indicates
a greater chance of making landfall over Japan and
Korea during CP El Nino years than EP El Nino years.
The main path in La Nina years displays a similar tendency to make landfall in Japan and Korea to that in CP
El Nino years (Fig. 2). It should be noted that the
number of TCs that made landfall in Japan and Korea
are 92, 70, and 52 during eight CP El Nino, nine EP
El Nino, and seven La Nina years, respectively. Figure 3
illustrates the density of TC genesis at which a TC attains the intensity level of a tropical storm for the
first time during its lifespan in CP El Nino, EP El Nino,
and La Nina years. The contours in Fig. 3 depict the
annual average frequency of TC formation in each 58 3 58
grid box during different ENSO regimes. Figure 3

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TABLE 1. Correlations between annual landfall frequency and


El Nino indexes from 1961 to 2009. East Asia JJASO represents the
average number of TC landfalls in East Asia during JJASO. The
other rows are likewise defined except Malay Peninsula JJASO,
Malay Peninsula JJA, and Malay Peninsula SO, which represent
the average number of TC landfalls in Indochina and the Malay
Peninsula during JJASO, JJA, and SO, respectively.

East Asia JJASO


Malay Peninsula
JJASO
Philippines JJASO
China JJASO
Japan and Korea
JJASO
East Asia JJA
Malay Peninsula JJA
Philippines JJA
China JJA
Japan and Korea JJA
East Asia SO
Malay Peninsula SO
Philippines SO
China SO
Japan and Korea SO

EMI

Nino-3

Nino-4

0.252
20.116

20.301*
20.065

20.048
0.053
0.368*

20.374** 20.350*
20.401** 20.267
20.002
0.174

20.367*
20.318*
0.128

0.457**
0.158
0.250
0.229
0.346*
20.210
20.307*
20.308*
20.160
0.172

0.020
0.226
20.025
0.012
20.019
20.479**
20.346*
20.515**
20.525**
0.098

0.201
0.252
0.053
0.086
0.132
20.545**
20.408**
20.565**
20.539**
20.098

20.094
20.133

0.251
0.220
0.025
0.126
0.127
20.464**
20.400**
20.555**
20.512**
0.188

Nino-3.4
20.196
20.101

* Correlation is significant at the 0.05 level (two tailed).


** Correlation is significant at the 0.01 level (two tailed).

FIG. 3. TC genesis density (contour: annual average frequency of


TC formation in each 58 3 58 grid box) during different ENSO
regimes. The contours with values less than 0.3 are omitted.

indicates that TC genesis locations in CP El Nino and


EP El Nino years shift more eastward than those in La
Nina years.
The results of Spearmans rank-order correlation
analysis between landfall frequency in the defined
landfalling regions and different ENSO indexes from
1961 to 2009 are shown in Table 1. To substantiate Table
1, Table 2 illustrates the annual average number of TCs
that made landfall in the defined regions during summer
(JJA), autumn (SO), and the whole peak TC season
(JJASO) of the defined CP El Nino, EP El Nino, and La
Nina years. The annual average number of landfalling
TCs in Table 2 is in good agreement with the results in
Table 1. The boldface numbers in Table 2 indicate the
annual average frequencies of landfalling TCs corresponding to significant correlation coefficients in Table
1. For example, corresponding to a significantly positive
correlation between the frequency of TC landfall in
Japan and Korea during JJASO and EMI, the annual
average number of TC landfalls in these areas during
JJASO of CP El Nino years is 6.9, which is larger than 5

and 5.1 in EP El Nino and La Nina years, respectively.


The results indicate that the associations between landfall
activities, EMI, the Nino-3.4 index, and the Nino-3 index
are remarkably distinct during different seasons and in
different landfall regions.
During the peak TC season (JJASO), Table 1 indicates
that TC landfall frequency in Japan and Korea has a
significant association with EMI. This positive association during the peak TC season is largely attributed to
the positive correlation between EMI and the frequency
of landfall in Japan and Korea during summer (JJA).
The Nino-3 index is found to have a significantly negative relationship with landfall frequency only in the
Philippines and China during JJASO. No significant
relationship is detected between landfall in East Asia
as a whole and the Nino-3, Nino-4, and Nino-3.4 indexes
(Table 1).
During summer (JJA), EMI is significantly positively
correlated to landfall frequency in East Asia as a whole
and in Japan and Korea. Therefore, more TCs are expected to make landfall over East Asia during the
summer of CP El Nino years. Japan and Korea is the
only subarea detected that has a significantly positive
association with EMI during summer.
During autumn (SO), a negative correlation exists
between EMI and landfall frequency in Indochina and
the Malay Peninsula, and the Philippines. It seems that

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TABLE 2. The annual average frequency of TC landfall in different landfalling areas during summer, autumn, and the whole
peak TC season of CP El Nino, EP El Nino, and La Nina years. The
row names are defined as in Table 1. The boldface numbers indicate the annual average frequencies of landfalling TCs corresponding to significant correlation coefficients in Table 1.

East Asia JJASO


Malay Peninsula JJASO
Philippines JJASO
China JJASO
Japan and Korea JJASO
East Asia JJA
Malay Peninsula JJA
Philippines JJA
China JJA
Japan and Korea JJA
East Asia SO
Malay Peninsula SO
Philippines SO
China SO
Japan and Korea SO

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CP El Nino

EP El Nino

La Nina

15
2.4
3.5
8.1
6.9
10.5
1.5
2.5
6.4
4.9
4.5
0.9
1
1.8
2

11.6
3.4
3
6.1
5
8.2
2.2
2
5.1
3.7
3.3
1.2
1
1
1.3

13.1
3.1
5.6
7.7
5.1
6.9
0.7
1.9
4.1
3.9
6.3
2.4
3.7
3.6
1.3

landfall frequencies in other areas have little relationship


with EMI. The Nino-3 index is found to have a significantly negative relationship with landfall frequency in
the Philippines, Indochina and the Malay Peninsula,
and China during SO. It implies that TC landfall in the
Philippines, Indochina and the Malay Peninsula, and
China is modulated by EP El Nino and La Nina only
during the autumn. There exist significantly negative correlations between landfall frequency in China, Indochina
and the Malay Peninsula, and the Philippines and the
Nino-3, Nino-4, and Nino-3.4 indexes. No significant
correlation is detected between landfall frequency in
Japan and Korea and the Nino-3, Nino-4, and Nino-3.4
indexes during autumn.
Therefore, EMI and other ENSO indexes have a
clearly different relationship with TC landfall in East
Asia in both the peak TC season and summer. In CP
El Nino years, TCs tend to make landfall over Japan and
Korea during the peak TC season, especially during

summer. This result can explain Kim et al.s (2011) study


in which they found a higher TC track density near the
Japanese and Korean coasts during JJASO of CP El Nino
years. During summers of CP El Nino, more TCs tend
to make landfall in East Asia. This is particularly interesting for Japan and Korea since this is the East Asian
subregion with the highest correlation between the frequency of landfall and EMI. Significant distinctions
between TC landfall frequencies in Japan and Korea
during the summer of La Nina and El Nino years are not
detected in Wu et al. (2004). This is likely due to differences in frequencies of landfalling TCs in Japan and
Korea during CP El Nino and EP El Nino years that
were not distinguished by Wu et al. (2004). During the
autumn of La Nina years, TCs tend to make landfall over
China, Indochina, the Malay Peninsula, and the Philippines since the Nino-3.4 and Nino-4 indexes are significantly negatively correlated with landfall frequencies in
these areas (Table 1). This is again in good agreement
with Wu et al. (2004).

4. Large-scale environments
a. TC genesis during summer
TC genesis location is defined to be the point at which
a TC attains the intensity of a tropical storm for the first
time during its lifespan. TCs that make landfall over
Japan and Korea are likely to form in higher latitudes of
their genesis compared with TCs making landfall in
other areas of East Asia.
As shown in Table 3, TCs in CP El Nino form at
a significantly higher average latitude than in EP
El Nino. It is noteworthy that the average latitude of TC
genesis locations in CP El Nino is significantly lower
than in La Nina. No significant difference is detected in
longitude between CP El Nino, EP El Nino, and
La Nina. The poleward-shifted genesis location in CP
El Nino plays an essential role in promoting the occurrence of TC landfalls in Korea and Japan during the
summer of CP El Nino years.

TABLE 3. The MannWhitney U test results between TC genesis locations during JJA of CP El Nino, EP El Nino, and La Nina years.
(CP El Nino 2 EP El Nino)Latitude indicates the value when subtracting the average latitude of TC genesis locations in EP El Nino from
that in CP El Nino. The other rows are defined likewise. The boldface numbers indicate that the difference in latitude or longitude is
significant at the 0.01 or 0.05 significance level.
Variables

Latitude/longitude difference (8)

Z score

Significance level (p value)

(CP El Nino 2 EP El Nino)Latitude


(CP El Nino 2 EP El Nino)Longitude
(EP El Nino 2 La Nina)Latitude
(EP El Nino 2 La Nina)Longitude
(CP El Nino 2 La Nina) Latitude
(CP El Nino 2 La Nina) Longitude

2.709
21.586
24.712
1.218
22.003
0.369

23.926
20.240
24.940
20.214
22.033
20.050

,0.01
0.810
,0.01
0.830
,0.05
0.960

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FIG. 4. Composite of SST anomalies (units: 8C) during JJA of CP El Nino, EP El Nino, and La Nina years for the
region (58S458N, 908E1208W). The dashed rectangles indicate the regions of high positive SST anomalies in different ENSO regimes. The plotting area is outside of WNP to show the SST anomaly in the CP.

To analyze the processes underlying the shifts of TC


genesis locations, the composite SST anomalies during
the summer of CP El Nino, EP El Nino, and La Nina
years are illustrated in Fig. 4. TC genesis locations are
generally confined to the south of 308N. The regions
potentially favorable for TC genesis are thus required to
fulfill this condition in the ensuing analysis. A higher
SST induces stronger convection and midtroposphere
relative humidity, which enhance the possibility of TC
formation. Therefore, based on SST anomalies as shown
in Fig. 4 where dashed rectangles indicate the regions of
high positive SST anomaly in different ENSO regimes,
the areas favorable for TC formation in CP El Nino are
located more northwestward than those in EP El Nino
years, but more equatorward than those in La Nina
years. The composite midtroposphere relative humidity
and vertical wind shear anomaly are shown in Fig. 5.

Vertical wind shear is defined to be the difference of


zonal wind between the 200- and 850-hPa levels. Dashed
rectangles in Fig. 5 denote the areas favorable for TC
formation with a positive relative humidity anomaly and
weak vertical wind shear anomaly. The regions with
a high SST anomaly (dashed rectangles in Fig. 4) in
different ENSO regimes are in good agreement with
regions favorable for TC formation (Fig. 5). It should be
noted that during La Nina years, the areas favorable for
TC formation (Fig. 5) include the region with a positive
SST anomaly (Fig. 4), as well as the region around the
Philippines. In CP El Nino, the areas promoting TC
genesis clearly shift more northward than during EP
El Nino, in which TCs tend to form in the southeastern
part of WNP (Fig. 5). TCs in La Nina years are likely to
form and develop in a region located northwest of those
in CP and EP El Nino years where strong relative

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ZHANG ET AL.

6517

Japanese coasts, as a whole, promote TCs to make


landfall over Japan and Korea although southwestward
(landfall reducing) wind anomalies can be found near
the southwestern Japanese coast. This, in addition to
poleward-shifted genesis locations as shown in Table 3,
is a combining factor that leads to more landfalls over
the Japanese and Korean coasts in CP El Nino years.
In EP El Nino years, on the other hand, a strong
westerly anomaly prevails in areas close to the East Asian
coast and the subtropical high weakens and clearly retreats westward. The characteristics of large-scale circulation in EP El Nino are prone to cause TC recurvature
over the ocean and to inhibit TC landfall in East Asia
(Wang and Chan 2002).
In La Nina years, the subtropical high shifts westward
and strong easterly wind anomalies prevail near the East
Asian coast. Because the TCs form more westward, the
TCs may be steered by strong easterlies to make landfall
over China, Indochina, the Malay Peninsula, and the
Philippines and have, hence, little chance to make
landfall over Korea and Japan.

c. TC genesis during autumn

FIG. 5. Composite 600-hPa RH anomalies (%; shaded) and


vertical wind shear anomalies (m s21; contour) during JJA of CP
El Nino, EP El Nino, and La Nina years. The rectangles indicate the regions favorable for TC formation in different ENSO
regimes.

humidity and weak vertical wind shear prevail (dashed


rectangles as shown in Fig. 5).

b. Steering flow during summer


TC tracks are largely controlled by the midtroposphere (e.g., 500 hPa) steering flow that is defined by
large-scale circulation (e.g., monsoon systems, the subtropical high, and the midlatitude westerlies). The composite 500-hPa wind anomaly and geopotential height in
CP El Nino, EP La Nina, and La Nina are shown in
Fig. 6. The 5880-gpm contour represents the center of the
subtropical high (Nitta and Hu 1996; Tu et al. 2009). The
subtropical high center in CP El Nino covers a larger area,
has a stronger intensity, and extends farther westward in
comparison to EP El Nino. It implies that TCs are steered
by strong and sustained easterlies much closer to the
East Asian coast during CP El Nino. Furthermore, a
remarkable easterly anomaly is observed near most of
the East Asian coast in CP El Nino. It is also noted that
a northeastward wind anomaly is found near the Korean
coast and the northeastern Japanese coast during CP
El Nino. The wind anomalies near the Korean and

Figure 7 represents the SST anomaly during autumns


of different ENSO regimes. Figure 8 indicates the composite 600-hPa relative humidity anomaly and the vertical wind shear anomaly during SO of CP El Nino, EP
El Nino, and La Nina years. It is noted that the dashed
rectangles in Fig. 8 indicate the regions favorable for TC
formation in different ENSO regimes. The areas with
positive anomalies of relative humidity and weak vertical wind shear are largely consistent with the areas with
positive SST anomalies. The areas favorable for TC
formation in CP El Nino are slightly shifted northward
compared to those in EP El Nino (dashed rectangles
shown in Fig. 8). In other words, the difference between
the variables influencing TC genesis in two El Nino regimes is weaker but the difference between mean latitudes of genesis locations is still measurably significant
according to the MannWhitney U test (Table 4).
However, in SO of La Nina years, areas favorable for
TC genesis shift to the west of 1558E (see Fig. 8). In
contrast, areas favorable for TC genesis in CP El Nino
and EP El Nino are in general located to the east of
1558E (refer to Fig. 8). Because of the westward shifting
of TC genesis locations during the autumn of La Nina
years, TCs tend to make landfall over East Asia. However, TCs have less chance of making landfall over East
Asia during the autumn of CP El Nino and EP El Nino
years. In contrast to CP El Nino summer (Fig. 5), the
area with positive anomalies of relative humidity and
weak vertical wind shear in CP El Nino autumn shifts
more southeastward (Fig. 8).

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VOLUME 25

FIG. 6. Composite 500-hPa geopotential height and wind field anomalies during JJA of CP El Nino, EP El Nino, and
La Nina years.

d. Steering flow during autumn


The modulation of CP El Nino on TC landfall in East
Asia during autumn (September and October) is not
significant except that a negative association with EMI is
detected for Indochina and the Malay Peninsula. However, TC landfall in East Asia has a significantly negative
correlation with the Nino-3 index during autumn. This
relationship indicates that TCs are likely to make landfall over East Asia during the autumn of La Nina years
except in Japan and Korea. This result is consistent with
Wu et al. (2004) and Kim et al. (2011). The composite
500-hPa wind field anomaly and geopotential height
field illustrate that westerly anomalies prevail in the
autumn of CP El Nino years (Fig. 9). The composite 200and 850-hPa wind anomalies show similar characteristics

to the wind anomalies for the three ENSO regimes


with the 500-hPa layer (figure not shown). The wind
field anomaly is, however, weaker than that during
EP El Nino. The western edge of the subtropical high
center is nearly at the same position during the autumn of EP El Nino and CP El Nino years (Fig. 9).
The center of the subtropical high (depicted by the
5880-gpm contour) in CP El Nino covers a slightly
larger area and is more intense than that during EP
El Nino. This leads to an easterly wind anomaly centered at around 358N and 1408E for CP El Nino, favoring TC landfall over the northern part of East Asia
compared to EP El Nino. Therefore, both the composite wind field and geopotential height anomalies
suggest fewer landfalls over East Asia during the

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ZHANG ET AL.

6519

FIG. 7. Composite SST anomalies (units: 8C) during SO of CP El Nino, EP El Nino, and La Nina years. The dashed
rectangles indicate the regions of high SST anomalies in different ENSO regimes.

autumn of both CP El Nino and EP El Nino years as


compared with La Nina years.
The strong easterly anomaly near the East Asian coast
during La Nina plays an important role in steering the
TCs to make landfall over East Asia. It should be noted
that an easterly wind anomaly appears near the southern
Japanese coast, while a northerly wind anomaly occurs
close to the Korean coast. This characteristic of the
large-scale circulation during the autumn of La Nina
years may suppress TC landfall over Japan and Korea.

5. Conclusions
Previous research on impacts of CP El Nino, EP
El Nino, and La Nina on TC activity has shown significant influences in terms of TC formation and tracks. In
the present study, we focus on how and to what extent
CP El Nino influences characteristics of TC landfall over
East Asia in comparison with EP El Nino and La Nina.
Existing findings suggest that significant differences
in landfall activity over East Asia exist merely during

autumn in EP El Nino and La Nina years (Wang and


Chan 2002; Wu et al. 2004). In summer, it seemed that no
significant difference in TC landfall activity over East
Asia existed between El Nino and La Nina.
In this study, the peak TC season (JJASO) is divided
into two parts: summer (JJA) and autumn (SO). Significant associations are found between TC landfall
characteristics over East Asia and summer and autumn
of CP El Nino, EP El Nino, and La Nina years and are
summarized as follows:
1) During the summer of CP El Nino years, TCs are
more likely to make landfall over East Asia because
of a strong easterly steering flow anomaly induced
by the westward shift of the subtropical high and
northward-shifted TC genesis. In particular, TCs have
a remarkable tendency to make landfall over Japan
and Korea during the summer of CP El Nino years.
The large-scale circulation during CP El Nino has
much in common with that during La Nina based on
composite wind anomalies. During summers of EP
El Nino and La Nina years, no significant correlation is

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VOLUME 25

anomalies and enhanced TC formation in southeastern (northwestern) WNP.


3) During the whole peak TC season (JJASO) of CP
El Nino years, TCs tend to make landfall over Japan
and Korea. TC landfall in East Asia as a whole has an
insignificant association with CP El Nino during the
peak TC season. At the same time, more (less) TCs
are likely to make landfall in China and the Philippines
during the peak TC season of La Nina (EP El Nino)
years.

FIG. 8. Composite 600-hPa RH anomaly (%; shaded) and vertical wind shear magnitude anomalies (m s21; contour) during SO
of CP El Nino, EP El Nino, and La Nina years. The rectangles
indicate the regions favorable for TC formation in different
ENSO regimes.

detected between the frequency of TC landfall in East


Asia and the ENSO indexes.
2) TC landfall in most areas of East Asia, especially
Indochina, the Malay Peninsula, and the Philippines,
is likely to be suppressed in the autumn of CP El
Nino years because the large-scale circulation resembles that of EP El Nino. During the autumn of EP
El Nino (La Nina) years, TC landfall activities seem
to be suppressed (enhanced) in East Asia except for
Japan and Korea because of strong westerly (easterly)

As summarized in the introduction, although some


studies have investigated the variability of TCs in genesis and tracks during CP El Nino (Chen and Tam 2010;
Kim et al. 2011; Lee et al. 2010), little attention has been
devoted to TC landfall in East Asia in connection to
different El Nino types. This study is therefore the first
attempt to discover the variability of landfalling TCs in
East Asia during CP El Nino years. The differences in
landfalling TCs during summers of CP and EP El Nino
years are uncovered in the present study. In contrast
to Wu et al. (2004), where differences in TCs making
landfall over East Asia are detected only during autumn
between El Nino and La Nina, we demonstrate that TCs
have a remarkable tendency to make landfall over East
Asia during the summer of CP El Nino years. This
tendency is mainly attributed to more landfalls over
Japan and Korea during the summer of CP El Nino years.
We show that TCs are more likely to make landfall
over Japan and Korea during peak seasons of CP
El Nino years. In previous studies (Wang and Chan
2002; Wu et al. 2004) this was not detected because
signals of CP and EP El Ninos were not separated in
their analyses.
The occurrence of CP El Nino tends to increase under
the background of climate change (Yeh et al. 2009). In
this study, CP El Nino leads to shifts in the seasonality
and area of landfalling TCs in East Asia. This shift is
more likely to affect people and properties along the
Japanese and Korean coasts during the peak TC season, especially during summer. Despite an insufficient

TABLE 4. The MannWhitney U test results between TC genesis locations during SO of CP El Nino, EP El Nino, and La Nina years. The
row names are defined as in Table 3. The boldface numbers indicate that the difference in latitude or longitude is significant at the 0.01 or
0.05 significance level.
Variables

Latitude/longitude difference (8)

Z score

Significance level (p value)

(CP El Nino 2 EP El Nino)Latitude


(CP El Nino 2 EP El Nino)Longitude
(EP El Nino 2 La Nina)Latitude
(EP El Nino 2 La Nina)Longitude
(CP El Nino 2 La Nina)Latitude
(CP El Nino 2 La Nina)Longitude

2.617
20.802
22.439
8.867
0.178
8.065

22.755
20.346
22.987
23.395
20.034
23.726

,0.01
0.485
,0.01
,0.01
0.844
,0.01

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ZHANG ET AL.

FIG. 9. Composite 500-hPa geopotential height and wind field anomalies during SO of CP El Nino, EP El Nino, and
La Nina years.

number of CP El Nino events in this study, the present


results still urge the scientific communities to take into
account CP El Nino for TC prediction under climate
change.
Acknowledgments. This research was supported by
the Geographical Modeling and Geocomputation Program under the Focused Investment Scheme of The
Chinese University of Hong Kong. The authors thank
the anonymous reviewers for valuable comments.

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