Research ArticleCLIMATOLOGY

Untangling impacts of global warming and Interdecadal Pacific Oscillation on long-term variability of North Pacific tropical cyclone track density

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Science Advances  09 Oct 2020:
Vol. 6, no. 41, eaba6813
DOI: 10.1126/sciadv.aba6813


How much the observed long-term variability of tropical cyclone (TC) activity is due to anthropogenic global warming (GW) or internal climate variability remains unclear, limiting the confidence in projected future change in TC activity. Here, the relative contributions of GW and the Interdecadal Pacific Oscillation (IPO) to the long-term variability of TC track density (TCTD) over the North Pacific (NP) are quantified on the basis of statistical analyses and climate model simulations. Results show that historical GW mainly reduced (increased) TCTD over the western (eastern) NP, while the positive (negative) IPO corresponds to a NP basin–wide increase (decrease) in TCTD except in some coastal regions. The IPO has a much greater impact on TCTD over the western NP than GW, while the IPO and GW impacts are about equal over the eastern NP during 1960–2019. These findings have important implications for projecting future TC activity over the NP.

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