How much of Typhoon Morakot's extreme rainfall is attributable to anthropogenic climate change?

Chung Chieh Wang, Li Shan Tseng*, Chien Chang Huang, Shih How Lo, Cheng Ta Chen, Pi Yu Chuang, Nan Chou Su, K. Tsuboki

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

11 Citations (Scopus)


Typhoon Morakot (2009), which made landfall in Taiwan during August 7–9, 2009, produced the highest rainfall and became the deadliest typhoon ever recorded in Taiwan since 1958. To assess the role of anthropogenic climate change in the typhoon-related torrent, we compare the water budget between a pair of cloud-resolving sensitivity experiments. The pair consists of a control simulation that reproduces Typhoon Morakot (2009) in current climate and a sensitivity simulation in which the same storm is placed in a slightly different climate background where the late 20th century anthropogenic climate change signal is removed. The anthropogenic signal is estimated with the CMIP5 experiments of 18 models for the period of 1985–2005, during which the global warming trend is discernible. In climate states that differ merely by a 20-year mean anthropogenic change, Morakot (2009) yields 3.4–3.6% more total rainfall in the control experiment than its sensitivity counterpart within a radius of 300–500 km from the storm centre. Water budget analysis indicates that the increase in typhoon rainfall is mainly resulted from the enhanced convergence of vapour flux. The enhancement is, in turn, contributed by the increased tropospheric moisture due to global warming and, to a lesser extent, by a more active secondary circulation in the storm that is associated with the anthropogenic climate change.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)3454-3464
Number of pages11
JournalInternational Journal of Climatology
Issue number8
Publication statusPublished - 2019 Jun 30


  • anthropogenic climate change
  • extreme rainfall
  • secondary circulation
  • sensitivity experiments
  • water budget analysis

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Atmospheric Science


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