Southeast Asia, China To Face Much Stronger Typhoons

First Posted: Sep 06, 2016 04:34 AM EDT

Scientists have observed that Southeast and East Asia have been experiencing stronger typhoons over the last four decades due to climate change. A new study shows that typhoons will likely gather more strength and this is because of continuous warming of oceans near the coasts.

In this new study, they found that there is only one main and undeniable culprit - climate change. They also warned people from China, Korea, Japan, and Taiwan because they will surely experience stronger and deadlier typhoons in the future. The reason for this is that ocean surfaces are expected to become warmer in the coming years.

According to Professor Kerry Emanuel of Massachusetts Institute of Technology, "If you have warming coastal water, it means that typhoons can get a little extra jolt just before they make landfall... and that's obviously not good news." Typhoons typically form in tropical areas with winds at least 74 miles per hour. The thing about typhoons is it becomes deadly and destructive once it makes landfall. And just last week, typhoon Lionrock hit Japan and killed more than nine people.

Warming oceans has been a huge problem for tropical areas since it intensifies typhoons by providing more heat thus, more energy easily turning it into a storm. "The fuel that powers the [storm] is an enormous transfer of heat from the ocean to the atmosphere when you have strong winds blowing across the surface," as Emanuel describes it.

In their study, they calculated the intensity of tropical storms since 1977 until today using the data from the Joint Typhoon Warning Center (JTWC) and the Japan Meteorological Agency (JMA). The result showed that East and Southeast Asia have been suffering from intensified typhoons of about 12 to 14 percent stronger. Furthermore, they found that typhoons belonging to the category 4 and 5 have increased from less than five to about seven per year.

The link the intensifying typhoons when they also studied the ocean waters off the coasts of Southeast and East Asia where they found that the water got a lot warmer over the years. Emanuel, who was not part of the study, believes that the team did a great job in cross checking data from the two institutions and said, "I think it's pretty strong."

"Typhoons can cause very severe damage to human society," said lead author Wei Mei of the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. "An important factor in determining the damage is intensity and also the size of the storm," as reported by The VergeThe study was published in the journal Nature Geoscience.

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