Understanding variations in tropical cyclone (TC) translation speed (TCS) is of great importance for islands and coastal regions since it is an important factor in determining the TC-induced local damages. While investigating the long-term change in TCS was usually subjected to substantial limitations in the quality of historical TC records, here we investigated the interannual variability in TCS over the western North Pacific (WNP) by using the reliable satellite TC records. It was found that both the temporal changes in large-scale steering flow and TC track greatly contributed to interannual variability in the WNP TCS. In the peak season (July-September), TCS changes were closely related to temporal variations in large-scale steering flow, which was linked to the intensity of western North Pacific subtropical high. However, for the late season (October-December), changes in TC track played a vital role in interannual variability in TCS, while the impacts of temporal variations in large-scale steering were weak. The changes in TC track were mainly contributed by the El Niño-Southern Oscillation induced zonal migrations in TC genesis locations, which makes more/less TCs move to the subtropical WNP and thus leads to notable changes in the basin-wide TCS due to the much greater large-scale steering in the subtropical WNP. The increased influences of TC track change on TCS in the late season was linked to the greater contrast between the subtropical and the tropical large-scale steering in the late season. These results have important implications for understanding the current and future variations in TCS.

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