Nam-Young Kang and James B. Elsner

American Meteorological Society

Published date February 1, 2016

Climate Mechanism for Stronger Typhoons in a Warmer World

  • Uses an empirical framework to explain physically why observations support a tight connection between increasing ocean warmth and the increasing intensity of supertyphoons in the western North Pacific
  • Shows 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
  • Finds accordingly, that tropical cyclone formation is becoming less common, but those that do form are likely to reach extreme intensities from the discharge of stored energy
  • Finds that 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