Climate mechanism for stronger typhoons in a warmer world

Nam Young Kang, James B. Elsner

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

39 Scopus citations

Abstract

Violent typhoons continue to have catastrophic impacts on economies and welfare, but how they are responding to global warming has yet to be fully understood. Here, an empirical framework is used to explain physically why observations support a tight connection between increasing ocean warmth and the increasing intensity of supertyphoons in the western North Pacific. It is shown that the energy needed for deep convection is on the rise with greater heat and moisture in the lower tropical troposphere but that this energy remains untapped when air pressure is high. Accordingly, tropical cyclone formation is becoming less common, but those that do form are likely to reach extreme intensities from the discharge of stored energy. These thermodynamic changes to the environment most significantly influence the upper portion of extreme typhoon intensities, indicating that supertyphoons are likely to be stronger at the expense of overall tropical cyclone occurrences in the western North Pacific.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1051-1057
Number of pages7
JournalJournal of Climate
Volume29
Issue number3
DOIs
StatePublished - 2016

Keywords

  • Atm/Ocean Structure/Phenomena
  • Climate change
  • Mathematical and statistical techniques
  • Physical Meteorology and Climatology
  • Statistics
  • Tropical cyclones

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