Typhoons Affecting Taiwan: Current Understanding and Future Challenges

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Of all the natural disasters occurring in Taiwan, tropical cyclones are the most serious. Over a 20-yr period, Taiwan was hit by an average of 3.7 typhoons per year. These storms can produce heavy rainfall and strong winds, leading to severe damage to agriculture and industry, and serious loss of human life. An outstanding example is Typhoon Herb, which made landfall in Taiwan on 31 July 1996. Typhoon Herb took 70 lives and caused an estimated $5 billion of damage to agriculture and property.

Accurate prediction of the track, intensity, precipitation, and strong winds for typhoons affecting Taiwan is not an easy task. The lack of meteorological data over the vast Pacific Ocean and the strong interaction between typhoon circulation and Taiwan's mesoscale Central Mountain range are two major factors that make the forecasting of typhoons in the vicinity of Taiwan highly challenging. Improved understanding of the dynamics of typhoon circulation and their interaction with the Taiwan terrain is needed for more accurate prediction. With this objective in mind, the National Science Council in Taiwan sponsored the Workshop on Typhoon Research in the Taiwan Area at Boulder, Colorado, on 17–18 May 1997. In this paper, the authors review the observational and numerical studies of typhoons affecting Taiwan, present some preliminary results from the study of Typhoon Herb, summarize the recommendations obtained from the workshop, and provide suggestions for future research.

* Department of Atmospheric Sciences, National Taiwan University, Taipei, Taiwan.

+National Center for Atmospheric Research, Boulder, Colorado.

Corresponding author address: Dr. Chun-Chieh Wu, Department of Atmospheric Sciences, National Taiwan University, 61, Lane 144, Section 4, Keelung Rd., Taipei 10772, Taiwan. E-mail: cwu@typhoon.as.ntu.edu.tw

Of all the natural disasters occurring in Taiwan, tropical cyclones are the most serious. Over a 20-yr period, Taiwan was hit by an average of 3.7 typhoons per year. These storms can produce heavy rainfall and strong winds, leading to severe damage to agriculture and industry, and serious loss of human life. An outstanding example is Typhoon Herb, which made landfall in Taiwan on 31 July 1996. Typhoon Herb took 70 lives and caused an estimated $5 billion of damage to agriculture and property.

Accurate prediction of the track, intensity, precipitation, and strong winds for typhoons affecting Taiwan is not an easy task. The lack of meteorological data over the vast Pacific Ocean and the strong interaction between typhoon circulation and Taiwan's mesoscale Central Mountain range are two major factors that make the forecasting of typhoons in the vicinity of Taiwan highly challenging. Improved understanding of the dynamics of typhoon circulation and their interaction with the Taiwan terrain is needed for more accurate prediction. With this objective in mind, the National Science Council in Taiwan sponsored the Workshop on Typhoon Research in the Taiwan Area at Boulder, Colorado, on 17–18 May 1997. In this paper, the authors review the observational and numerical studies of typhoons affecting Taiwan, present some preliminary results from the study of Typhoon Herb, summarize the recommendations obtained from the workshop, and provide suggestions for future research.

* Department of Atmospheric Sciences, National Taiwan University, Taipei, Taiwan.

+National Center for Atmospheric Research, Boulder, Colorado.

Corresponding author address: Dr. Chun-Chieh Wu, Department of Atmospheric Sciences, National Taiwan University, 61, Lane 144, Section 4, Keelung Rd., Taipei 10772, Taiwan. E-mail: cwu@typhoon.as.ntu.edu.tw
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