Pacific storm frequency set to break record: CWB

SMASH HIT::This year is shaping up to break 1994’s record of 34 typhoons or tropical storms, with 30 having formed to date and more expected before the year-end

By Shelley Shan  /  Staff reporter

Wed, Nov 06, 2013 - Page 3

The number of tropical storms and typhoons that formed in the northwest Pacific Ocean this year could break the historical record that was set in 1994, the Central Weather Bureau (CWB) said yesterday.

Statistics from the bureau showed that a total of 30 typhoons or tropical storms had formed this year, including the latest one, Tropical Storm Haiyan, on Monday.

Five of them affected Taiwan, the bureau’s record showed.

That contrasts with the bureau’s previous forecast that there would only be 23 to 27 typhoons or tropical storms, with two to four of them affecting the nation.

The bureau added that based on its latest information, the 31st tropical storm would soon be forming near the Philippines, and that more typhoons or tropical storms would arise before the end of this year.

According to the bureau’s records, there were 34 typhoons or tropical storms in 1994, which was the highest in the nation’s meteorological history.

The second-highest number was in 1997, when there were 31 tropical storms or typhoons.

Cheng Ming-dean (鄭明典), director of the bureau’s weather forecast center, said that an average of 25.7 typhoons or tropical storms form each year, with 3.6 of them having an impact on Taiwan.

However, the average tends to change about every 10 years, he said.

“If you look at the long-term trend from the statistics, you will see that the number of tropical storms or typhoons formed had dropped below the climate average after 1999. The lowest was seen in 2010, when the number slid to 14,” he said.

Cheng added that the northwest Pacific Ocean has entered its 10-year climate cycle, with seawater temperatures rising gradually. This has caused the number of typhoons to increase and would facilitate the formation of typhoons over the next 10 years, he said.

The increase in the number of typhoons also increases the chances of their hitting the nation, the bureau said.