An Analysis of Translation Distance of Tropical Cyclones over the Western North Pacific

Licheng Wang, Xihui Gu*, Aminjon Gulakhmadov, Jianfeng Li, Louise J. Slater, Qiang Zhang*, Ming Luo, Guoyu Ren, Dongdong Kong, Yangcheng Lai, Jianyu Liu

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal articlepeer-review

4 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

Tropical cyclone (TC) translation distance, proportional to its duration and translation speed, basically determines the spatial extent of TC-impacted marine and terrestrial areas. Although a long-term slowdown of TCs has recently been reported, changes in translation distance of TCs over the western North Pacific (WNP) and their driving mechanisms remain poorly understood. Using multiple TC datasets, here we find that the trends are opposite in overland translation distance of landfall WNP TCs over China and excluding China, with the number of landfalls in the two groups being almost the same. However, the increase in overland translation distance of landfall TCs over China is offset by a greater decrease in that excluding China, with the result that the overland translation distance of TCs over the WNP has declined (-4.0% decade-1). The oversea translation distance of TCs over the WNP also shows a decreasing trend (-2.4% decade-1), and thus the genesis-to-demise translation distance of TCs over the WNP has significantly decreased (by 17.7%) during 1961–2019. The shorter duration and reduced translation speed of TCs directly and jointly contribute (by 76.9% and 23.1%, respectively) to their shortened translation distance. The gradual increase in westerly and northerly winds and weaker moisture transport during the days following TC generation tend to inhibit long-distance travel after TC genesis. Declining TC translation distance is likely associated with the long-term increases in genesis potential index and an anomalous cyclonic steering flow over the WNP. Our findings suggest that these changes in TC translation distance may alter regional patterns of TC-related drying and wetting of the WNP.

Significance Statement:
The spatial extent affected by a tropical cyclone (TC) is largely determined by TC translation distance. For example, TCs passing through marine areas could cool sea surface temperature and modulate local air–sea heat fluxes exchange; TCs with longer translation distances over land are more likely to trigger widespread flooding or terminate droughts in inland areas. Over the western North Pacific (WNP), we find that observational evidence supports opposite trends in overland translation distance of landfall TCs over China and excluding China. Nevertheless, the genesis-to-demise translation distance of TCs shows a significant decline over the WNP during the past six decades. Understanding the impacts of changes in TC translation distance has particular importance given the extensive footprint of TC-related drying and wetting of the marine and terrestrial areas.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)4043-4060
Number of pages18
JournalJournal of Climate
Volume35
Issue number23
Early online date14 Nov 2022
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Dec 2022

Scopus Subject Areas

  • Atmospheric Science

User-Defined Keywords

  • Tropical cyclones
  • Climate change
  • Climate variability

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