Pacific typhoons may intensify with even moderate climate change

By on June 3, 2015

A super typhoon centered over Philippines' Panay Island. (Credit: NASA/NOAA)


Researchers at the Scripps Institution of Oceanography have found that the strength and frequency of typhoons in the western Pacific Ocean may increase given even a moderate climate change scenario, according to a release. They predict the intensity could go up by as much as 14 percent.

Scientists came to the figure, which they say is almost equivalent to a full category increase, by looking at changes in climate, sea surface temperatures and the thermal structure of the upper Pacific. With climate change, they found that sea surface temperatures would cause more disturbances in the temperature gradient of the upper ocean.

Researchers indicate the change, though slight, is enough to tip the scales in favor of more intense and frequent typhoons. They add that their analysis is the first to provide observational evidence of the role upper ocean temperatures play in typhoon variability.

Top image: A super typhoon centered over Philippines’ Panay Island. (Credit: NASA/NOAA)

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