Nov 11, 2013

Why Typhoon Haiyan Caused So Much Damage

Tacloban City, Leyte
Philippines
by
Richard Harris
,
National Public Radio
Typhoon Haiyan struck the Leyte Gulf, in the Philippines, nearly dead-on, creating a 13-foot storm surge that funneled water into Tacloban city. Image: NOAA Office of Coast Survey
Typhoon Haiyan struck the Leyte Gulf, in the Philippines, nearly dead-on, creating a 13-foot storm surge that funneled water into Tacloban city. Image: NOAA Office of Coast Survey

The deadly typhoon that swept through the Philippines was one of the strongest ever recorded...Typhoons — known in our part of the world as hurricanes — gain their strength by drawing heat out of the ocean... These storms also intensify when there's cool air over that hot ocean. "The Pacific at this time of year is very ripe and juicy for big typhoons," says Kerry Emanuel, a climate scientist at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. "Once or twice a year we get a Category 5 typhoon out there."...[C]limate scientists [like Emanuel] say that as the planet continues to heat up, so will the oceans. And that means there will be more energy available for storms — and likely more Class 4 and 5 typhoons.