As Super Typhoon Maria Bears Down on China, a Chinese Researcher’s Cyclone Insights

July 8, 2018

Climate deniers have a myopic view of global cyclone activity, and often will refer to the count of hurricanes impacting the US coast as some kind of global indicator.

Above, Chinese Researcher Lijing Cheng and NCAR’s Kevin Trenberth remind us that by far the larger number of global Tropical Cyclones (variously called Hurricanes in the Atlantic, Typhoons in the Pacific) occur in the western tropical Pacific.
2017 was a big year for Atlantic storms – but actually 2015 set a record for largest number of Major, meaning Cat 3 or higher, storms globally – most of which occurred in the Pacific, pumped by that year’s massive El Nino heat.


Washington Post:

On Thursday night, about 300 miles to the northwest of Guam in the western Pacific Ocean, a monster was born. Super Typhoon Maria underwent rapid intensification over the past 24 hours, developing into the equivalent of a strong Category 4 hurricane with maximum sustained winds of 155 mph.

The powerhouse storm may threaten China’s east coast early next week.

..once the storm moved back over the ocean on Wednesday evening, Maria quickly deepened into an intense typhoon, feeding off the exceptionally warm (86 degrees) ocean waters of the western Pacific. In just a 24-hour period ending on Thursday at 8 p.m. local time, Maria went from a 70 mph tropical storm to a 160-mph super typhoon, the equivalent of a Category 5 hurricane.

Hurricanes by any name are relatively unusual weather phenomena, and as such, require some decades to establish any kind of trend in terms of numbers, up or down – but the physics, and some observational data, suggest that while absolute numbers of cyclones may remain steady or even decrease, the number or truly monstrous storms could go up – important because the giant storms are responsible for by FAR the greatest amount of damages.

Peter Jacobs gives a clear explanation here.

2 Responses to “As Super Typhoon Maria Bears Down on China, a Chinese Researcher’s Cyclone Insights”

  1. rhymeswithgoalie Says:

    “…feeding off the exceptionally warm (86 degrees) ocean waters of the western Pacific.”

    Holy crap! If Maria moves quickly, there’d probably still be plenty of “fuel” left for a large follow-on storm.

  2. dumboldguy Says:

    Forget about hurricanes and just look at the “new normal” of torrential rains all over the world—-latest place is Japan. To paraphrase an old USMC saying, “Climate change is bringing a whole lot of “rompin’, stompin’, hell, death, and destruction” to the planet.

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