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2020 Typhoon Season Outlook

The 2020 Typhoon season got off to a calm start and given the state of current events during the start of the year its a bit of a relief. But I do believe things will start to heat up as we head in to the June through July.

The number one question people want to know though is how my storms will we see this year.

According to TSR the 54 year average for tropical systems in the western pacific is 26 named tropical storms, 16 typhoons and 9 intense typhoons. An intense typhoon being wind speeds of 95 knots or greater.

Now hear are my thoughts, I believe overall 2020 will be relatively calmer than the average with a late season start.

I expect

24 named storms

15 typhoons

10 intense typhoons

You might notice I expect more intense cyclones than average. And I’ll get to that in a second. So lets talk about this forecast and break it down.

First and foremost when making a typhoon forecast I use the average amount of storms as a baseline and work from there. The first thing I look at is the state of the ENSO. This governs a lot of the seasonal outcomes in the western pacific and can be a good indicator of what to expect.

This year we are currently in a Neutral ENSO with a long range out looks hinting towards a very weak La Niña. This means stronger trade winds which can disrupt storms but more storms developing around the Philippines and through the South China Sea instead of Typhoon Alley through Guam and by Japan like we seen last year. Not to say they can’t happen there, just less likely.

If you want to take a deeper look at the El Niño vs La Niña watch the video below.

This concept is backed by the ECMWF Ensemble long range outlook, it’s one of the models I like to use and it gives you a good visual. For example it shows below during the spring across the tropics we are going to see below average rainfall which has already been validated. Thus this model is a good one to use when we look at the seasonal outlook for July – September this shows increased rainfall across the Philippines and in to the South China Sea yet below average rainfall further east along typhoon alley. Very indicative of a La Niña season.

Pressure levels also are similar with above high pressure associated with the westpac high expected later this season.

These factors show me we will have a late season start and a less conducive area for development thus lower than average named storms.

The total number of storms I expect to be lower but sea surface temperatures are higher than average in the western pacific thus more fuel severe storms to develop. In recent years this has actually been more common.

This is just a quick overview but some of my thoughts, in summary below average storms, yet above average intense typhoons with more storms expected across SE Asia from the Philippines to Thailand and southern china.

If you have questions please let me know. Plus check out my video discussing what the El Niño or La Nina

Northern Japan Ice Flow Seen From Space

A few days ago I noticed on visible satellite imagery north of Hokkaido Japan a “milky” like cloud. Upon closer examination I quickly realized this was no cloud at all but instead the seasonal ice flow out of the Sea of Okhotsk in far eastern Russia.

Sat Imagery For North East Asia
Zoomed in Image of Okhotsk ice flow

This is nothing unusual and occurs every year in the Far East. Forms off the coast of Sakhalin during the long winter. When the spring fall arrives this allows the ice to move south being ushered along by north westerly winds. This year the ice flow arrived off the coast of Hokkaido about two weeks later than usual according to NHK WORLD. This likely due to the mild winter this past season for the region.

Rain turning to Snow in Tokyo this weekend.

Wet messy weekend across Japan and more specifically the Tokyo area. A low pressure area that spun up off the rainy season front is bringing not only plenty of rain but even late season snow across the Kanto plain in to mid-day Saturday.

In Tokyo it will only be enough snow to really just be seen falling from the sky but in some of the mountains to the north west of the city upwards of 15-20cm is possible. If anyone gets some photos of snow falling on cherry blossoms please do share! Granted I do understand if you don’t since many parks have been closed across Japan due to the Corona Virus.