Monster Typhoon Haiyan Bearing Down on Phillipines

November 7, 2013

Dr. Jeff Masters:

Super Typhoon Haiyan is one of the most intense tropical cyclones in world history, with sustained winds an incredible 190 mph, gusting to 230 mph, said the Joint Typhoon Warning Center in their 15 UTC (10 am EST) November 7, 2013 advisory. Officially, the strongest tropical cyclone in world history was Super Typhoon Nancy of 1961, with sustained winds of 215 mph. However, it is now recognized (Black 1992) that the maximum sustained winds estimated for typhoons during the 1940s to 1960s were too strong. Since 1969, only three tropical cyclones have equaled Haiyan’s 190 mph sustained winds–the Western Pacific’s Super Typhoon Tip of 1979, the Atlantic’s Hurricane Camille of 1969, and the Atlantic’s Hurricane Allen of 1980. All three of these storms had a hurricane hunter aircraft inside of them to measure their top winds, but Haiyan’s winds were estimated using only satellite images, making its intensity estimate of lower confidence. Some interpretations of satellite intensity estimates suggest that there may have been two super typhoons stronger than Tip–Super Typhoon Gay of 1992, and Super Typhoon Angela of 1995. We don’t have any measurements of Haiyan’s central pressure, but it may be close to the all-time record of 870 mb set by Super Typhoon Tip. The Japan Meteorological Agency estimated Haiyan’s central pressure at 895 mb at 12 UTC (7 am EST) November 7, 2013.

Haiyan will be the third Category 5 typhoon to make landfall in the Philippines since 2010. In 2010, Super Typhoon Megipeaked at 180 mph winds just east of Luzon Island in the Philippines, and made landfall in the Philippines as a Category 5 storm. Megi’s landfall was proof that the Philippines can withstand a strike by a Category 5 storm without a catastrophe resulting, as Megi killed only 35 people, and did $276 million in damage. However, the last Category 5 storm to hit the Philippines–Super Typhoon Bopha, which hit the southern Philippine island of Mindanao on December 3, 2012–did cause a catastrophe. The typhoon left 1901 people dead, mostly on the island of Mindanao, making Bopha the 2nd deadliest typhoon in Philippine history. With damages estimated at $1.7 billion, Bopha was the costliest natural disaster in Philippines history at the time.

26 Responses to “Monster Typhoon Haiyan Bearing Down on Phillipines”

  1. “Very hot ocean waters ranging from 1 to 5 degrees Celsius above the 1980-2000 average throughout much of 2013 have spawned numerous severe weather events throughout the Western Pacific. On January 1rst, the first tropical cyclone of 2013 formed, not waiting even a day to begin what would prove to be an explosive, record season.

    Throughout 2013, cyclones continued to form so that by November 81 cyclones had ripped through this region of the Pacific. Of this number, 38 storms were tropical depressions, 30 were tropical storms, and 13 were hurricanes. Four of these hurricanes were category 5 monsters.

    During late summer a powerful tropical storm combined with a monsoonal flow to drench Manila in record rainfall, flooding much of the city. Other strong storms also impacted the Philippines, setting off landslides and numerous record flooding events. Haiyan is just the most recent and strongest example of a series of powerful storms impacting the vulnerable island chain.”

  2. kingdube Says:

    Storm frequency and strength is decreasing…period.

    “With each passing year, it is becoming increasingly clear that global warming is not a scientific theory subject to empirical falsification, but a political ideology that has to be fiercely defended against any challenge. It is ironic that skeptics are called ―deniers‖ when every fact that would tend to falsify global warming is immediately explained away by an industry of denial. – Andy West

    • MorinMoss Says:

      Who is Andy West?

    • kingdube said:

      “Storm frequency and strength is decreasing…period.”

      This is not a credible claim. The last time you made it on this forum it was debunked by several posters, including me. Are you unwilling to provide support for your claim, or argue on the merits? Your credibility is at stake frankly.

      I will not rehash my previous response, except for these main points:

      1) The frequency and intensity (“strength” in your terms) of storms needs to be decoupled. Since climate scientists are mainly NOT predicting greater frequency of tropical cyclones, for instance, your argument appears to set up a straw man.

      2) Intensity can be viewed in more than one way, but the one most economically relevant has intensity clearly increasing. In the case of tropical cyclones, again, the number of Category 4 and Category 5 hurricanes has increased.

      3) It is not only intensity (= wind speeds) that measures the damage that a storm can do, but also the amount of rainfall, and other factors. Because of the increased rainfall, particularly ahead of storms, and because of the storm surges (whose intensity is magnified by sea-level rise), intensity or “strength” are not the only measures of concern going forward.

        • kingdube:

          Thanks for the links, but they are not new to me, and you have not addressed my points. Yes, ACE is a useful measure, but as I have pointed out, there is more than one way to look at intensity, and what we are really interested in is the damage that storms cause. ACE measures total seasonal activity; but that is dependent on the frequency of cyclones as well as their intensity, and in fact only on their average intensity – but neither of those measures directly addresses the public policy issue of how damaging storms are. I argued that in order to do that it was first of all necessary to decouple frequency from intensity, because what we’re really concerned with is the frequency of the most intense storms, since they are the ones that are really damaging: 80% of tropical storm damage in the US comes from category 3 and higher, and incremental gains in intensity are disproportionately amplified in destructiveness.

          In fact, the number of Category 4 and Category 5 storms has increased.

          ACE, and a more comprehensive measure, PDI, which incorporates the duration of storms with their frequency and intensity, do not account for the frequency of the most intense storms – but that is only one of several factors in their destructiveness. In my previous replies to you I mentioned two of them: sea-level rise, which has a big impact on storm surges and thus on coastal flooding; and rainfall. There’s just a lot more ocean (six inches factored over a large surface area is a lot of water) and a lot more water vapor in the air now, thanks to the prolonged warming of the last few generations. Even though Katrina hit land as Cat 3, the storm surge was being whipped up while it was offshore as a Cat 5.

          Other factors could be adduced. Superstorm Sandy was unusual not just for its enormous size, or its lateness in the season. It was blocked by a trough in the jet stream from spinning out to sea, which also allowed it to join forces with a winter storm coming in from the north, magnifying its destructiveness. The disruption in the flow of the jet stream that we have seen in recent years is causing the persistence of weather patterns.

    • kingdube, you’ve wrongly attributed that fatuous quote to Andy West; the author of that quoted vacuity was David Demming, a Geophysics professor at the Univ. of Oklahoma and was taken from an asinine article he wrote for the Washington Post on 23rd April 2013. Demming is the author of an equally inane book: “Black & White: Politically Incorrect Essays on Politics, Culture, Science, Religion, Energy and Environment” (2011) which does not contain any references to support his points of view. He should stick to his field of expertise, hydrogeology.

    • andywest2012 Says:

      Hi, that’s not actually my quote. It’s one of very many from both skeptics and consensus folks in an essay pointed by my 1st Nov guest post at Climate etc. The quote is actually from geophysicist David Deming.

      Andy West

  3. […] Dr. Jeff Masters: Super Typhoon Haiyan is one of the most intense tropical cyclones in world history, with sustained winds an incredible 190 mph, gusting to 230 mph, said the Joint Typhoon Warning …  […]

  4. kingdube Says:

    Do you people really believe that the proposed actions will stop climate from changing?

    • redskylite Says:

      “Do you people really believe that the proposed actions will stop climate from changing?”

      No, we can never stop the climate changing. By taking the advice of international climate scientists via UN climate advisory bodies we can hopefully limit mankind’s effect on it and stop the steady rise of CO2 and hopefully address the other greenhouse gases that we are responsible for. It is a very slow process, but I have seen many positive changes in my lifetime. From bussing/segregation of blacks in the U.S.A, imprisonment for practising male homosexuals in the U.K, apartheid in South Africa, cold war nuclear weapon stock piling, reduction of CFC production and recovery of ozone layer, in the last quarter of my life I hope to see mankind seriously recognise and tackle the greatest challenge that has been brought on by our enthusiasm for the combustion engine and industrialisation. Otherwise if we are just going to blow it all, I can see absolutely no point to our creation and existence.

      • kingdube Says:

        It is unfortunate that you can see no point to our creation and existence. Maybe this will help. For more than 25 years we have been withholding clean water and basic sanitation from 100’s of millions of peoples. We can and should stop that withholding.

        An important point of our existence is to maintain and grow human prosperity with the continued climb from poverty for the poorest peoples of the world.

        • How does continuing GW help that to happen? Exactly who has been withholding? What is the causal relationship? What exactly do you propose?

          • kingdube Says:

            The World Bank, the UN and several of its affiliates refuse to build plants in Africa for clean water and waste treatment (money long ago allocated for that purpose) on the basis that it will contribute to Vitamin CO2 (the enhanced atmospheric constituent that is stimulating all life on Earth).

          • MorinMoss Says:

            I’d like to see a credible citation for that claim, please.

          • andrewfez Says:

            =The World Bank, the UN and several of its affiliates refuse to build plants in Africa for clean water and waste treatment (money long ago allocated for that purpose) on the basis that it will contribute to Vitamin CO2 (the enhanced atmospheric constituent that is stimulating all life on Earth).=


            I think what he’s proposing is that the western world should increase its oil and coal subsidies, by purchasing fossil energy to give to citizens of the 3rd world. He wants to sow the seeds of an entirely new set of folks belonging to the consumer class, for the purposes of economic growth.

    • What proposed actions?

    • skeptictmac57 Says:

      I believe that doing nothing will surely make matters much worse for future generations.

  5. Andy Lee Robinson Says:

    CNN mentioned just now that it has strengthened to 315 km/h sustained, gusting to 380 km/h (wtf?) and will hit landfall as a theoretical Cat 6 with a storm surge over 5m.

    Not a day for flying kites.

  6. Yeah, the infotainment industry barely skipped a beat. Can’t stop the Kardashians and “The Voice” doncha know.

    Gud lak sa ‘yo, Phillipines, it looks like Yolanda is pretty angry. Be strong.

  7. Has anyone thought of the possibility that the events around fukushima may be responsible? Also is it possible for nuclear waste to be carried via storm?

  8. OMG. Vitamin CO2. Now I have heard everything. Morin, you would like to see a citation? I would like to see a pink elephant do cartwheels. Andrew, dont tell him the answer, lets see what he says. I want to see more Vitamin CO2s.

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