An abrupt increase of intense typhoons over the western North Pacific in early summer

Jien Yi Tu, Chia Chou, Ping Huang, Ronghui Huang

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18 Citations (Scopus)


The frequency and intensity of typhoons have been a focus in studying typhoon-related climate changes. In this study, we focus on a seasonal cycle of intense typhoons (category 4 and 5) over the western North Pacific, particularly changes in the number of intense typhoons in early summer. In general, 81% of intense typhoons occur in July-November (JASON), with maxima in September and October. Our analysis shows that intense typhoons have tended to occur more frequently in May since the year 2000. Before 2000, intense typhoons seldom occurred in May, with a frequency of around once per decade. After 2000, however, the frequency of intense typhoons has become much higher in May - almost once per year. We have also examined changes in the large-scale environment in the past few decades. The results show that the large-scale environment did become more favorable for intense typhoons in the 2000s, which is consistent with a larger tropical cyclone genesis index. The changes include warmer sea surface temperature, higher sea surface height, larger upper-ocean heat content, weaker vertical wind shear, increased tropospheric water vapor, and greater water vapor in the mid-troposphere. The last two might be more important than the others.

Original languageEnglish
Article number034013
JournalEnvironmental Research Letters
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 2011 Jul

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Renewable Energy, Sustainability and the Environment
  • Environmental Science(all)
  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health

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