The Pacific meridional mode and the occurrence of tropical Cyclones in the western North Pacific

Wei Zhang, Gabriel Andres Vecchi, H. Murakami, G. Villarini, L. Jia

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114 Scopus citations


This study investigates the association between the Pacific meridional mode (PMM) and tropical cyclone (TC) activity in the western North Pacific (WNP). It is found that the positive PMM phase favors the occurrence of TCs in the WNP while the negative PMM phase inhibits the occurrence of TCs there. Observed relationships are consistent with those from a long-term preindustrial control experiment (1000 yr) of a high resolution TC-resolving Geophysical Fluid Dynamics Laboratory (GFDL) Forecast-Oriented Low Ocean Resolution (FLOR) coupled climate model. The diagnostic relationship between the PMM and TCs in observations and the model is further supported by sensitivity experiments with FLOR. The modulation of TC genesis by the PMM is primarily through the anomalous zonal vertical wind shear (ZVWS) changes in the WNP, especially in the southeastern WNP. The anomalous ZVWS can be attributed to the responses of the atmosphere to the anomalous warming in the northwestern part of the PMM pattern during the positivePMM phase, which resembles a classic Matsuno-Gill pattern. Such influences on TC genesis are strengthened by a cyclonic flow over the WNP. The significant relationship between TCs and the PMM identified here may provide a useful reference for seasonal forecasting of TCs and interpreting changes in TC activity in the WNP.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)381-398
Number of pages18
JournalJournal of Climate
Issue number1
StatePublished - 2016

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Atmospheric Science


  • Atm/Ocean Structure/Phenomena
  • Climate variability
  • Coupled models
  • Hurricanes/typhoons
  • Interannual variability
  • Mathematical and statistical techniques
  • Models and modeling
  • Principal components analysis
  • Variability


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