The impact of tropical cyclones on extreme precipitation over coastal and Inland Areas of China and its association to ENSO

Qiang Zhang, Xihui Gu*, Jianfeng Li, Peijun Shi, Vijay P. Singh

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal articlepeer-review

85 Citations (Scopus)


The coastal part of China and its surrounding regions are dominated by a highly dense population and highly developed economy. Extreme precipitation events (EPEs) cause a lot of damage and hence changes in these events and their causes have been drawing considerable attention. This study investigated EPEs resulting from western North Pacific (WNP) tropical cyclones (TCs) and their potential link to El Niño-Southern Oscillation (ENSO), using TC track data, daily precipitation data from 2313 stations for 1951-2014, and the NCAR-NCEP reanalysis dataset. Two types of EPEs were considered: EPEs within 500 km from the TC center, and those caused by mesoscale and synoptic systems, referred to as predecessor rain events (PREs), beyond 1000 km from the TC center. Results indicated significant impacts of TCs on EPEs along the coastal areas, and discernable effects in inland areas of China. However, the effect of TCs on EPEs tended to be modulated by ENSO. During neutral years, inland areas of China are more affected by TC-induced extreme precipitation than during El Niño or La Niña years, with the highest density of TC tracks and larger-than-average numbers of tropical storms, typhoons, and landfalling TCs. During the El Niño phase, the central and eastern equatorial Pacific was characterized by higher sea surface temperature (SST), greater low-level vorticity (1000 hPa) and upper-level divergence (250 hPa), and stronger prevailing westerlies, which combined to trigger the movement of mean genesis to the eastern and southeastern WNP, resulting in fewer TCs passing through the Chinese territory.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1865-1880
Number of pages16
JournalJournal of Climate
Issue number5
Publication statusPublished - 1 Mar 2018

Scopus Subject Areas

  • Atmospheric Science

User-Defined Keywords

  • Precipitation


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