April 27, 2009

They are not looking in the right smokestacks

FROM- Prometheus

No Trends in Landfalling Tropical Cyclones

A recent paper by Chan and Xu in the International Journal of Climatology looked at trends in landfalling tropical cyclones in East Asia. The paper finds no trends since 1945. From the abstract:

This paper is the first of a two-part series that presents results of a comprehensive study of the variations in the annual number of landfalling tropical cyclones (ATCs) in various parts of East Asia during the period 1945–2004. The objective is to identify possible trends and cycles in such variations, from inter-annual to inter-decadal, and the possible reasons for such variations. The East Asian region is divided into three sub-regions: South (south China, Vietnam and the Philippines), Middle (east China), and North (Korean Peninsula and Japan). . . An important finding from the time series analysis is that none of the ATC time series shows a significant linear trend, which suggests that global warming has not led to a higher frequency of landfalling tropical cyclones or typhoons in any of the regions in Asia.

Considering this finding along with previous research showing no trends in tropical cyclone (i.e., hurricane) landfalls in the United States (e.g., Pielke et al. 2008 in PDF) or Australia (Crompton and McAneney 2008), means that there are few remaining continental locations where such trends might be found. I’d welcome hearing from anyone aware of studies of landfall trends in the other continental regions exposed to tropical cyclones, including the Indian Ocean (including eastern and Horn of Africa) and Eastern Pacific (Mexico).

The data on landfall trends further confirms arguments that global trends in tropical cyclones losses can be explained entirely by growing populations and wealth in regions exposed to tropical cyclone impacts.

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