This visible image of Haima was taken on Oct. 19 at 1:35 a.m. EDT (05:35 UTC) from the NASA-NOAA Suomi NPP satellite. The Super Typhoon's cloud-filled eye was clearly visible and surrounded by thick bands of powerful thunderstorms. Credits: NOAA/NASA's MODIS Rapid Response Team

Western Pacific Typhoon Trends


JANUARY 5, 2022

By Paul Homewood

For natural reasons, most attention is focussed on Atlantic hurricanes rather than elsewhere.

The Japan Meteorological Agency handily publishes data on the annual count of tropical cyclones reaching at least tropical storm frequency in the western Pacific:

Whatever trend there is appears to be downwards.

The JMA don’t give the split between storms and typhoons, but we can get this from Wikipedia:

The number of cyclones reaching typhoon strength, 74 mph, shows a clear decline.

The trend is less clear for super typhoons, effectively Cat 4 and 5s on the Saffir Simpson scale. There was a sharp drop off in the 1970s and 80s. Since then numbers have reverted to pre-1970 levels.


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Tom Halla
January 6, 2022 6:04 am

Of course, someone will start from 1999, and claim an increase.

AGW is Not Science
Reply to  Tom Halla
January 6, 2022 8:55 am

Of course, someone will start from 1999any date with low activity, and claim an increase.

Generalized that for you.

Ron Long
January 6, 2022 6:15 am

Good data and good presentation. The problem is that the CAGW crowd, their enablers and beneficiaries, are about 2 things: Feelings trump data, and it’s all about control anyway.

alastair gray
Reply to  Ron Long
January 6, 2022 6:42 am

Trouble is “The eejits are worse than we thought” I have modelled them to get even more hysterical, and my model is robust unfortunately. unlike yhose of Schmidt Santer et al which are shonky to use a technical term

John Tillman
Reply to  Ron Long
January 6, 2022 11:57 am

Only two (17th and 28th) of the 50 strongest typhoons since 1951 were in this century. On a random basis, over 14 of them should have been.

Cooler is stormier.

Halsey’s Folly, warned by the late, great “Father of Climatology”, Reid Bryson, then a USAAF meteorologist.

This December 1944 disaster was entirely avoidable. Its lowest recorded pressure however wouldn’t have gotten it onto the worst list for 1941-2020, based upon weather parameters alone.

Unfortunately, Halsey blundered 3rd Fleet into it, at terrible cost. Then he did it again in 1945. After being suckered at the Battle of Leyte Gulf in October 1944, at great cost. Without consequences.

Last edited 1 year ago by John Tillman
John Tillman
Reply to  John Tillman
January 6, 2022 12:16 pm

Indeed, he made five-star flag officer, on the strength of his contributions in 1941-43, with no note taken of his abysmal, nay disastrous, performance in 1944-45!

Pillage Idiot
January 6, 2022 6:37 am

A really good CAGW scientist activist would cherry-pick 1974 as the start date and claim, “There was no such thing as Super Typhoons until humans started driving Ford Pintos!”

Reply to  Pillage Idiot
January 6, 2022 6:43 am

I suppose you could even start at 1950 and argue that “super” typhoons were previously unknown because nobody used that term then, but are obviously significantly enhanced today?

Reply to  Spetzer86
January 6, 2022 8:38 am

A greater problem is the lack of data across the oceans prior to satellite imagery in the mid-1970s. Of course, this could mean that a number of West Pacific typhoons may have been missed in early decades. Sure, there was some recon starting in 1945 (using B-29s) but that was quite limited. As we get better at identifying tropical cyclones over the open oceans, we should be seeing an increase in the numbers, which is the case in the Atlantic.

AGW is Not Science
Reply to  Chris Hebert
January 6, 2022 8:59 am

Agreed, and I never liked the efforts to “guesstimate” what activity was “missed” before satellites monitored every hiccup of every cluster of thunderstorms.

What they should be doing, when examining supposed “trends” in strom activity, is removing from modern “records” every storm that would likely have been missed under previous observation methods, thereby providing the best possible “apples to apples” comparison.

Reply to  Spetzer86
January 6, 2022 3:18 pm

The best increase is obtained by plotting satellite data from 1900 (or 1800 or 1700) to today.

Reply to  Mike Jonas
January 7, 2022 10:41 am

Where are you going to find satellite data prior to the 1970s?

January 6, 2022 8:13 am

The super typhoon data is hard to believe. Two decades averaging six then two decades averaging three then three decades averaging five. Was there lax record keeping in the 70’s and 80’s? I can see the latter three decades being due to better satellite monitoring detecting more 4 & 5’s but how do you explain 1950-1990?

Computing % of super typhoons, 30% then 18% then 37%…

Screenshot 2022-01-06 101020.png
Reply to  menace
January 6, 2022 8:16 am

Maybe better ship monitoring in 50’s-60’s, quality dropped off in the 70’s-80’s then quality maxxed out after 1990’s due to satellites?

Also one would expect satellites picking up the brief mid-ocean 3 to 4 transitions that were missed before, hence the increase to 37% compared to 30% in the 50’s/60’s.

Last edited 1 year ago by menace
Reply to  menace
January 6, 2022 8:43 am

See my posts concerning issues with intensity estimates over the decades. Ships generally try to avoid typhoons, by the way.

John Tillman
Reply to  Chris Hebert
January 6, 2022 11:25 am

Unless they are in fleets commanded by ADM Halsey.

Reply to  menace
January 6, 2022 10:35 am

Are you suggesting that when ships were smaller the storms were relatively bigger?
Otherwise the data presented is convincing.

Jay Willis
Reply to  menace
January 6, 2022 8:44 am

“but how do you explain 1950-1990?”

You don’t need to.

Reply to  Jay Willis
January 6, 2022 10:08 am

It’s interesting that the “quiet” period in the West Pacific from 1970-1994 closely matches the period of a negative Atlantic Multidecadal Oscillation (AMO). Such cool cycles typically result in reduced activity in the Atlantic. There are other multidecadal cycles that likely affect other basins.

Reply to  menace
January 6, 2022 3:21 pm

Drawing three horizontal lines doesn’t make them meaningful. A sine wave or similar would fit much better, and possibly be more meaningful by relating to ocean oscillations.

January 6, 2022 8:28 am

As a hurricane/typhoon forecaster for the past 42 years, I can tell you that it is very difficult to rely on trends from the data set. For example, the Japanese Meteorological Agency (JMA) is the official RSMC (Regional Specialized Meteorological Center) for the West Pacific. They use a special “Koba” scale for identifying intensity, using 10-min average winds. They’re always too low with intensity estimates compared with other agencies that use 1-min or 2-min wind speed averages.

In addition, there was reconnaissance data in the West Pacific from 1945-1987. Such flights would be able to confirm typhoon intensity using aircraft instrumentation. Post-1987, it’s somewhat of a guess using Dvorak satellite estimates. You’re comparing apples to oranges in some cases from the first half of the data set to the second half.

However, I do think that there is a downward trend in tropical cyclone activity worldwide in recent decades. The only basin not indicating such a trend is the Atlantic, where activity is somewhat governed by multi-decadal water temperature cycles in the Atlantic and Pacific. Sure, we’re seeing more named storms in the Atlantic, but the NHC has changed the way they classify storms over the decades. New wind satellites allow identification of very short-lived and weak storms far out to sea. Just last season, 10 of the 21 named storms in the Atlantic lasted less than 48 hours. The West Pacific had one of its quietest seasons on record in 2021. Different basin RSMCs use different classification methods that change over the decades.

AGW is Not Science
Reply to  Chris Hebert
January 6, 2022 9:05 am

Yes! “Named Storms” is a meaningless moving goalpost always geared towards hyping things more as time goes on, and much of what they yammer about wouldn’t even have been detected before the satellite era.

Per my post above, what they should do when studying “trends” is to REMOVE from the modern records all the storms likely to not have been detected in the past given the observation capabilities in place then. So last season’s “21 named storms” would be 11 at most, and probably less when you use the older and more stringent criteria for sustained wind speeds before a storms is identified as a hurricane or tropical storm.

Reply to  AGW is Not Science
January 6, 2022 10:03 am

Almost everything is in question with the global database due to changing classification criteria and changing methods of measuring TCs over the decades. There was no recon, then recon in some areas, then satellite, then GPS dropwindsondes (Atlantic), then scatterometer satellites that measure surface winds. Different agencies use different criteria for classification. For example the BoM (Australia) requires 34kt (TS) wind in at least three quadrants to classify something as a tropical storm. As I mentioned, JMA has it’s “Koba” scale and uses 10-min winds. With each RSMC using different tools and different methodology, it’s hard to identify real trends in the records.

Jeff Alberts
Reply to  Chris Hebert
January 6, 2022 10:13 am

I’m sure glad all this stuff is settled.

Reply to  Jeff Alberts
January 6, 2022 1:42 pm

About as settled as my stomach after a dodgy vindaloo.

January 6, 2022 10:06 am

Depending on where you start your trend line, you can make it go up or down. As with anything, there’s good years and bad years. It’s easy to see the good years out number the bad. By a considerable margin. But the bad years stick out like a sore thumb. That’s all it takes to get the alarmist alarmed.

Jeff Alberts
Reply to  Alan
January 6, 2022 10:15 am

Alarmists get alarmed for any reason whatsoever. Too hot, too cold, too mild, too many hurricanes, not enough hurricanes, etc. ad nauseum.

John Tillman
Reply to  Jeff Alberts
January 6, 2022 11:28 am

Whatever happens, whether flood, drought, hot, cold, calm, stormy, it’s all bad and caused by humans. Send money and grant power!

Gerald Hanner
January 6, 2022 12:35 pm

I started flying to the Western Pacific in 1966. That year was a real production line of storms in the western Pacific. Following that, the typhoon season grew less intense with the number and severity of storms becoming less. My last year of that was 1972; I last flew in the late summer; we were still having to evacuate operating bases in order to keep up with the pace of operations, but the number and frequency of storms had receded noticeably.

January 6, 2022 1:47 pm

The trend for Aussie cyclones is down for he last 50 years.
Here’s the BOM data and graph since 1970 and note 2015/’16 is the only season WITHOUT a severe cyclone in the region.
And the last super cyclone hit the NE Qld coast about 200 years ago, see Dr Johnathon Nott Catalyst ABC program.

January 6, 2022 2:16 pm

One other thing I could add. Though it is difficult to identify real trends using data that includes the open oceans (for the reasons I identified), we can identify landfall trends. I’ve looked at U.S. hurricane landfalls since 1900 and there is a most definite downward trend.

January 6, 2022 3:54 pm

Ohh noes! What will little Mikee Mann do?!?!? Or AlGore:TheGoreacle ????? Lurch better get out there and hold a press conference, STAT!!!!!!

January 6, 2022 4:33 pm

The short term trend for Typhons will certainly be down after 2021 is factored in according to the ACE index for last year. Same goes for the global ACE since the NW Pacific is where the strongest storms generally occur.

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