The Guy Carpenter Asia-Pacific Climate Impact Centre (GCACIC), a joint initiative of Guy Carpenter & Company, LLC, the leading global risk and reinsurance specialist, and the City University of Hong Kong, has published a new paper on tropical cyclone activity variations between 1965 and 2005 in the South China Sea region. The report identifies trends over the years and decades during this period, and the factors that drove these variations.
The significant findings of the paper are:
- Research into the prediction and understanding of tropical cyclone behavior in the South China Sea is limited, despite the large (and ever increasing) population living along the southern coast of China.
- Previous experience of researchers at GCACIC in examining tropical cyclone activity in the nearby western North Pacific region (WNP) helped them to identify and understand annual and decadal trends in the South China Sea, particularly in relation to the El Niño-Southern Oscillation (ENSO) and the Pacific Decadal Oscillation (PDO).
- Several tropical cyclone interannual and interdecadal variations are established in the report. Such observations include:
- For tropical cyclones that developed in the WNP region and entered the South China Sea, a decreasing trend was observed during the study period. There was no notable change in activity for the tropical cyclones that formed in the South China Sea.
- ENSO has a notable influence on tropical cyclone activity in the South China Sea region. For the tropical cyclones that entered the South China Sea from the WNP, activity was below-average during El Niño and above-normal during La Niña.
- However, for tropical cyclones that formed inside the South China Sea, ENSO’s influence was less significant and there was no obvious increase or decrease.
- The impact of the PDO on tropical cyclone activity was also considerable, with a positive PDO phase generally seeing less development in the South China Sea. A negative PDO phase, meanwhile, saw more activity as steering patterns were more likely to divert tropical cyclones from the WNP into the South China Sea.
- The report’s findings can be partially explained by the fact that ENSO and PDO have an impact on tropical cyclone activity by altering the conditions in the WNP and, therefore, potential movement into the South China Sea.
- Typically, the impact of ENSO and PDO was greatest towards the latter part of the typhoon season (from September to December).
- The research done in conjunction with the report provided an improved understanding of what drives tropical cyclone activity in the South China Sea, and formed the basis of its landfall predictions for the region. The GCACIC has just released its landfall forecast for the 2010 typhoon season, and the full results can be seen by clicking here.
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