Stronger Cyclones like Meranti a Trend in Asia

September 15, 2016

Last year had a record number of strong storms like Typhoon Meranti, currently raking over China.

Above, MIT’s Kerry Emanuel tells why.

Below, new research underscores a trend, especially in Asia.

Scripps Institution of Oceanography:

Typhoon intensity in the northwest Pacific Ocean has increased markedly over the last four decades, according to an analysis by a pair of researchers at Scripps Institution of Oceanography at the University of California San Diego and the University of North Carolina.

Wei Mei, a former Scripps postdoctoral scholar, and Shang-Ping Xie, the Roger Revelle Chair in Environmental Science at Scripps, said the most significant aspect of their National Science Foundation-supported analysis is that the strongest intensification has occurred in typhoons that make landfall, which is about half of all typhoons. It is a consequence of strong ocean warming near the coasts of East and Southeast Asia.

“The intensification of landfalling typhoons coincided with rapid economic development in coastal China,” said Mei. “The effects were strongly felt there.”

As an example, Mei noted that Typhoon Nepartak, the first typhoon of the 2016 season, caused the deaths of more than 80 people and nearly 10 billion Chinese yuan (more than US $1.5 billion) in damage in China.

The paper, “Intensification of landfalling typhoons over the northwest Pacific since the late 1970s,” appeared in the Sept. 5 advance online publication of the journal Nature Geoscience.

“Climate models project an increase in the global number of major tropical cyclones (typhoons and hurricanes) as the climate warms but the regional change is hard to predict,” said Xie. “Our results help constrain the prediction of such regional changes.”

The study builds on another paper the researchers published last year that found that the entire Pacific Ocean basin is likely to experience more intense typhoons this century. This study took a regional approach in reviewing observations of annual-mean peak intensity and annual number of strongest typhoons to consider which Pacific typhoons had intensified the most.

Mei said the finding is particularly robust because of the strong agreement between datasets from independent meteorological agencies about the intensity of typhoons over the past 38 years. Records from the Joint Typhoon Warning Center and Japan Meteorological Agency showed that the annual number of category 4 and 5 typhoons – the strongest – has increased by 40 percent and that the proportion of these strong typhoons to the total number of typhoons has more than doubled.

The study predicts that typhoons that strike eastern mainland China, Taiwan, Japan, and Korea will intensify further as human-caused global warming continues. For countries like China that signed on to the Paris agreement, building science-based adaptation strategies is at the forefront of addressing serious climate change impacts in the 21st century.



3 Responses to “Stronger Cyclones like Meranti a Trend in Asia”

  1. So the old climate change denier trope says that AGW alarmists claim that the number and intensity of cyclones/typhoons will increase but there has been a 10-year drought on landfall of category 4 and 5 cyclones on the Atlantic coast of USA, therefore there is no AGW. It appears that as usual they are so continental-USA-centric that changes anywhere else are either ignored or unknown. Seems the Pacific basin is taking the brunt of the increasing energy in these storms.

    • Bob Doublin Says:

      And during that ten year drought there were 3 years in a row,2010 was one of them that had 19 named storms each year in the Atlantic Basin. They were tied for like 3rd or 4th place for all time active years.

    • ubrew12 Says:

      My theory is that the weakened jet stream (due to more summer Arctic Ocean warming) gets ‘pushed around’ by North America more than it used to, jagging North at it leaves the Pacific Ocean way up into Alaska, and then jagging South after it passes the Rockies down all the way to the Gulf of Mexico, and then jagging back North right along the Eastern seaboard, once its safely past the Appalachians. All this means is more top-of-troposphere wind shear in the Gulf and the Caribbeans, which helps to keep hurricane’s from forming or growing if they’ve already formed. Just a guess.

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