Researchers: Global Warming May Slow Typhoons

Researchers: Global warming may slow typhoons

A group of researchers says global warming could slow down the speed of typhoons passing over or near Japan, leading to greater damage.

The group is led by Munehiko Yamaguchi, a senior researcher at the Japan Meteorological Agency's Meteorological Research Institute.

The researchers studied changes in the speeds of tropical storms by comparing simulations based on past data and projections that assume global warming will continue at the current pace.

They say they found that speeds will decrease in the mid-latitude area that includes Japan. They say the average speed near Tokyo at the end of the 21st century will be 31 kilometers per hour, or 10 percent slower than now.

The institute says westerly winds are expected to move up north in a future warmer climate. Westerlies that steer tropical storms to the east would weaken around Japan as a result, leading to slower typhoons.

A slower typhoon usually wreaks greater havoc because the heavy rains and strong winds continue for a longer period.

The researchers warn that typhoon damage could intensify if action is not taken to stem global warming.

Yamaguchi says the group will study the possible effects of climate change in different areas so that anti-disaster measures can be specifically designed for them.