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The Impact of Climate Change on Typhoon Activity
Reference
Fan, D-D. and Liu, K-b. 2008. Perspectives on the linkage between typhoon activity and global warming from recent research advances in paleotempestology. Chinese Science Bulletin 53: 2907-2922.

Background
The authors write that "the recent increase in typhoon (tropical cyclone) activity has attracted great interest and induced heated debates over whether it is linked to global warming or only a return to an active phase of the well-known multi-decadal variability."

What was done
To help resolve the debate, Fan and Liu present a brief review and synthesis of the major research advances and findings of paleotempestology, which they describe as "a young science" that "studies past typhoon activity spanning several centuries to millennia before the instrumental era through the use of geological proxies and historical documentary records."

What was learned
The two researchers' analysis indicates "there does not exist a simple linear relationship between typhoon frequency and Holocene climate (temperature) change," especially of the type suggested by climate alarmists. They report, for example, that "on the contrary, typhoon frequency seemed to have increased at least regionally during the coldest phases of the Little Ice Age [our italics]." And they also note that there are typically "more frequent typhoon landfalls during [cooler] La Niņa years than during [warmer] El Niņo years."

What it means
Following their own advice about the need "to extend the time span of typhoon activity records" to help resolve the debate over the nature of climate change effects on this important weather phenomenon, Fan and Liu were able to demonstrate that the world's climate alarmists likely have even the sign of the temperature effect on typhoon activity wrong, as global warming seems to reduce tropical cyclone activity over both the long-term and the short-term.

Reviewed 14 January 2009