Haishen satellite image
Infrared image of Typhoon Haishen from the VIIRS instrument at 16:39 UTC September 3, 2020. At the time, Haishen was a rapidly intensifying category 4 storm with 145 mph winds. (Image credit: University of Wisconsin CIMSS)

Super Typhoon Haishen bombed into a mighty category 4 storm with 155 mph winds on Thursday, becoming Earth’s third-strongest storm of 2020. Haishen is expected to hit South Korea on Sunday, making the third landfalling typhoon in Korea (including both North Korea and South Korea) in a two-week period.

On August 27, Typhoon Bavi made landfall over North Pyongan Province, North Korea, as a minimal category 1 typhoon with 75 mph winds. On September 2, Typhoon Maysak made landfall as a category 2 storm with 100 mph winds just west of Busan, South Korea’s second-largest city and the world’s fifth-largest port.

Haishen put on an impressive display of rapid intensification on Thursday, strengthening in 24 hours from a low-end category 3 storm with 115 mph winds to a 155-mph super typhoon with a central pressure of 915 mb by 2 a.m. EDT Friday, according to the Joint Typhoon Warning Center (JTWC). Haishen maintained that intensity through the 11 a.m. EDT Friday advisory, when the typhoon was located over the record- to near-record warm waters about 700 miles south of Japan, heading northwest at 10 mph towards Korea. Haishen was already bringing heavy rains to the islands south of mainland Japan, as seen on Japanese radar.

Only two storms so far in 2020 have been stronger than Haishen: category 5 Tropical Cyclone Harold in the Southeast Pacific, which peaked with 165 mph winds and a pressure of 912 mb on April 6, and category 5 Tropical Cyclone Amphan, which peaked with 160 mph winds and a pressure of 907 mb on May 18 in the North Indian Ocean.

Figure 1
Figure 1. Departures from average sea surface temperature (degrees Celsius) across the Northwest Pacific on September 3. Typhoons Bavi and Maysak caused cooling of several degrees in their wake in the waters south of Korea, but waters were still record- to near-record warm to the south of Japan, where Super Typhoon Haishen rapidly intensified. (Image credit: tropicaltidbits.com)

Forecast for Haishen

Haishen likely has hit its peak intensity, with the JTWC forecast calling for slow weakening to begin on Saturday morning. Haishen will be over record- to near-record warm ocean waters of 30 – 31 degrees Celsius (86 – 88°F) through Saturday. But it will cross over the cold wake left by Typhoon Maysak, to the south of Korea, by Sunday morning, perhaps inducing more rapid weakening. Haishen is expected to pass near the Japanese island of Amami Oshima, located about 100 miles northeast of Okinawa, around 2 a.m. EDT Sunday. Storm chaser James Reynolds is on Amami Oshima (population 73,000), and will be sending reports via Twitter (https://twitter.com/EarthUncutTV).

Figure 2
Figure 2. Predicted surface winds (colors) and sea level pressure (black lines) from 21Z (5 p.m. EDT) for Sunday, September 6, from the 6Z September 4 run of the HWRF model. The model predicted that Typhoon Haishen would be making landfall to the west of Busan, South Korea, as a category 2 storm with 100 mph winds. (Image credit: Tropical Tidbits)

JTWC predicts that Haishen will hit South Korea on Sunday afternoon (U.S. EDT) as a weakening category 3 or category 2 storm. The typhoon likely will bring significant wind and storm surge damage to the coast. Even if Haishen passes far enough west of Busan to spare the city its strongest winds, the storm’s broad, powerful circulation likely will push a substantial storm surge toward the Busan area, where the geography is particularly prone to surge impacts.

What’s more, typhoons appear to be delivering larger storm surges to the Busan area even after taking into account sea-level rise caused by climate change. A 2016 study in the Journal of Coastal Research led by Sang Myeong Oh and co-authors found that typhoon landfalls from 1962 to 2014 drove a seven-inch increase in the annual maximum surge height in Busan, a rate of increase about 50% higher than the local trend in mean sea-level rise. The researchers attributed the higher surges to stronger typhoons resulting from increasing sea surface temperatures and decreasing wind shear.

It appears that Typhoon Maysak’s storm surge on September 2 in Busan was not severe, possibly because Maysak’s angle of approach was somewhat oblique (from the south-southwest) and because Maysak’s eastern eyewall and its strong onshore winds ended up reaching the coast east of the metropolitan area. In contrast, Haishen is expected to strike west of Busan, and the typhoon’s more perpendicular angle of approach would suggest more storm surge in Busan.

Another serious concern is the widespread four-to-eight inches of rain Haishen is expected to dump over both North Korea and South Korea. These rains will be falling atop ground soaked, due to South Korea’s second wettest monsoon season on record and the passage of Typhoon Bevi and Typhoon Maysak.

Figure 3
Figure 3. Estimated rainfall from the GPM satellite for August 25 – September 3, 2020. Two typhoons hit Korea during this period, bringing widespread rains of four to eight inches. (Image credit: NASA Giovanni)

An unprecedented battering for Korea

According to NOAA’s historical hurricanes database, Korea between 1945 and 2019 has not been hit by three typhoons (sustained winds of at least 74 mph) in one year, so Typhoon Haishen’s landfall will be historic. The NOAA database lists 14 typhoons that have passed over South Korea prior to 2020 – 10 at category 1 strength, three category 2s and one category 3. Only three typhoons passed over North Korea prior to 2020, all minimal category 1 storms with 75 mph winds.

Typhoon Maysak is being blamed for two deaths in South Korea and three in Russia. In addition, 41 crew members of a livestock ship are missing after their ship sank in the typhoon. Two crew members have been rescued.

Damage reports from North Korea from Typhoon Bavi’s landfall there are hard to come by, but there are reports that the typhoon caused major flooding in portions of the secretive nation.

Four areas in the Atlantic to watch

In the Atlantic, the National Hurricane Center (NHC) was still issuing advisories for Tropical Depression Omar on Friday. Omar was located in the remote North Atlantic in the waters between Bermuda and Newfoundland, Canada, and it is not a threat to any land areas. Omar will likely dissipate by Saturday.

The 2 p.m. EDT Friday Tropical Weather Outlook from NHC was a busy one, highlighting three disturbances with the potential to develop into tropical cyclones. NHC designated a tropical wave near 11°N, 38°W as 91L. Satellite images showed 91L had changed little since Thursday, with an elongated surface circulation and a modest amount of heavy thunderstorm activity that was being hampered by dry air and high wind shear.

Figure 4
Figure 4. The 2 p.m. EDT Friday, September 4, 2020, Tropical Weather Outlook from NHC highlighted three tropical waves off the coast of Africa with a chance to develop into tropical cyclones over the next five days.

That shear and dry air are predicted to abate by Monday, giving 91L the potential to develop into a tropical depression. NHC gave 91L two-day and five-day odds of development of 20% and 30%, respectively. This system is predicted to meander in the central tropical Atlantic at speeds of around five mph over the coming five days, and has modest support for development from the top three models for predicting tropical cyclone genesis.

A large and complex tropical wave just west of the Cabo Verde Islands, designated 92L by NHC on Friday afternoon, was headed west to west-northwest at roughly 15 mph. Satellite images showed the wave had changed little since Thursday, with a modest amount of poorly organized heavy thunderstorm activity, but a good deal of spin. The system was at the edge of a large area of dry air associated with the Saharan Air Layer, and the dry air may interfere with development through the weekend. When the wave reaches the central Atlantic on Monday and Tuesday, passing to the north of 91L, it is expected to find a moister atmosphere with low-to-moderate wind shear, increasing chances of development. Models give this wave strong support for development. NHC gave the wave two-day and five-day odds of formation of 40% and 80%, respectively. An interaction with 91L may occur, making the future tracks of both of these disturbances difficult to predict.

A new tropical wave will emerge from the coast of Africa on Sunday, and it is predicted to head west to west-northwest at roughly 15 mph through the Cabo Verde Islands early next week. This wave has strong model support for developing into a tropical depression by Wednesday. NHC gave it two-day and five-day odds of formation of 0% and 60%, respectively.

Climate change is causing more rapid intensification of Atlantic hurricanes

The next name on the Atlantic list of storms is Paulette. The earliest sixteenth named storm on record for the Atlantic is Philippe from September 17, 2005. Including Paulette, only six more names remain on the 2020 Atlantic list before NHC will have to turn to the Greek alphabet, a last resort that’s been used only in 2005. That unforgettable year produced tropical storms Alpha, Beta, Gamma, Delta, Epsilon, and – on December 30 – Zeta.

With the Labor Day weekend at hand, there will be no new post here on the tropics until Sunday, September 6, at the earliest.

Bob Henson contributed to this post.

Website visitors can comment on “Eye on the Storm” posts (see below). Please read our Comments Policy prior to posting. (See all EOTS posts here. Sign up to receive notices of new postings here.)

Posted on September 4, 2020 (3:08pm EDT).

Jeff Masters, Ph.D., worked as a hurricane scientist with the NOAA Hurricane Hunters from 1986-1990. After a near-fatal flight into category 5 Hurricane Hugo, he left the Hurricane Hunters to pursue a...

212 replies on “Super Typhoon Haishen expected to make historic landfall in South Korea”

    1. Some scientists, including Columbia University professor James Hansen, argue that the agonising efforts of scientists to avoid provoking accusations of alarmism have led to an innate optimism bias. The official science reported by the IPCC may in some cases be a cautious underestimate. It’s likely worse – much worse – than we think.

      If the last three decades have taught the international community anything, it’s that “the science” is not a single, settled entity which, presented properly, will spur everyone to action. There are no shortcuts to the technological, economic, political and cultural changes needed to tackle climate change. That was true 30 years ago in Sundsvall. The only thing that has changed is the time in which we have left to do anything.

      1. In response to the comment below from Wyatt’s attempt to try and spur a discussion here, which I also have tried here and failed at … I’ll say this:

        Thank you Susan, for talking, not just posting from the media, but actually … being willing to ‘discuss’ a climate issue. The discuss, in your own words, being the key there. Susan, is a rock star at ‘discussing’ … not just ‘pointing or regurgitating for us (only) just another media article from a talking head.

        The poll? I will participate, and actually … return more often even just to read … when I see a worthy climate discussion. Not just a regurgitation; actual competent discussion from people about it. Not proving it over and over either … discussion as if, ya, it were … real.

        D: When I see a serious discussion about climate, and humans, and sociology, and culture.

        Not until.

        One Susan, is not enough.

      2. Maybe, the discussion @ycc is too serious, doesn’t allow for silly? I don’t see a lot of youtube music vids, jokes, trolls(!)— you know, just thoughtless roll with the punches stuff?

        While we need our Susan’s, we also need to lighten up, chill a little bit.

        Bright blue at the top of Disqus is more pleasing than yellow and black, as was WU tab, with its multicolored image.

      3. We haven’t figured out how to post a Youtube video unless you have some sort of admin account. Maybe you can figure it out. People complained about the trolls on both sites.. But for jokes now..

        Where does a cloud keep his money?

  1. Got an announcement from James Hansen today about a new publication (he says Schuckmann is a “Sentinel for the Home Planet”). Here’s the info:
    Heat stored in the Earth system: where does the energy go? Karina von Schuckmann et al. – abstract ->

    Human-induced atmospheric composition changes cause a radiative imbalance at the top of the atmosphere which is driving global warming. This Earth energy imbalance (EEI) is the most critical number defining the prospects for continued global warming and climate change. Understanding the heat gain of the Earth system – and particularly how much and where the heat is distributed – is fundamental to understanding how this affects warming ocean, atmosphere and land; rising surface temperature; sea level; and loss of grounded and floating ice, which are fundamental concerns for society. This study is a Global Climate Observing System (GCOS) concerted international effort to update the Earth heat inventory and presents an updated assessment of ocean warming estimates as well as new and updated estimates of heat gain in the atmosphere, cryosphere and land over the period 1960–2018. The study obtains a consistent long-term Earth system heat gain over the period 1971–2018, with a total heat gain of 358±37 ZJ, which is equivalent to a global heating rate of 0.47±0.1 W m−2. Over the period 1971–2018 (2010–2018), the majority of heat gain is reported for the global ocean with 89 % (90 %), with 52 % for both periods in the upper 700 m depth, 28 % (30 %) for the 700–2000 m depth layer and 9 % (8 %) below 2000 m depth. Heat gain over land amounts to 6 % (5 %) over these periods, 4 % (3 %) is available for the melting of grounded and floating ice, and 1 % (2 %) is available for atmospheric warming. Our results also show that EEI is not only continuing, but also increasing: the EEI amounts to 0.87±0.12 W m−2 during 2010–2018. Stabilization of climate, the goal of the universally agreed United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) in 1992 and the Paris Agreement in 2015, requires that EEI be reduced to approximately zero to achieve Earth’s system quasi-equilibrium. The amount of CO2 in the atmosphere would need to be reduced from 410 to 353 ppm to increase heat radiation to space by 0.87 W m−2, bringing Earth back towards energy balance. This simple number, EEI, is the most fundamental metric that the scientific community and public must be aware of as the measure of how well the world is doing in the task of bringing climate change under control, and we call for an implementation of the EEI into the global stocktake based on best available science. Continued quantification and reduced uncertainties in the Earth heat inventory can be best achieved through the maintenance of the current global climate observing system, its extension into areas of gaps in the sampling, and the establishment of an international framework for concerted multidisciplinary research of the Earth heat inventory as presented in this study.

    1. Thanks, Susan. I’d already seen this, read it, and bookmarked it. Into ‘ocean/water temps,’ one of my 71 various climate crisis bookmark sub-folders. Remarkable. And I don’t see any way Planet Earth can even level off CO2 emissions, let alone reduce to 353 ppm.

      To some, that can seem plausible. Maybe. Optomistic. But not for me, when I account for the thousands of uncountable feedback loops and cascading effects. Like many more people will still become energized, plugged into the electrical grid over the next 30+ years. I’ve somewhat tongue-in-cheek remarked in the past about shrimp and other seafood (especially shellfish and invertebrates) disappearing, but ocean temps are absolutely frightening. Cheers.

  2. Been a busy member for a long long time. First poll ever in an attempt to generate any thread of conversation here. A. You’re satified with the improvements at YCC but waiting for the traffic to transfer here when the full upgrade is made in likely November. B. You’re really struggling with this format and it just does not compare enough to the discus and old Cat6blog for you to be here yet. C. You follow both but don’t participate here yet because it’s so slow. D. Other please specify. Hope you all have a great day with family and loved ones.

    1. if it auto refreshed every minute, or every 30 seconds or so it might be viable, isn’t there an HTML script to do this?
      part the beauty of the old system was that it let you know where the new posts were

      1. It would almost take a complete shutdown of the Disqus site for YCC to really get going, IMO…..if both run in parallel for the next year or so, then I believe most people will stay on old site due to comfortability and easy-of-use……the lack of animation files (gif) upload size for YCC is currently a problem….

      2. I could live with linking to animations, but it was nice to get the material front and center rather than switching to a new tab or window.

    2. I need the notification and back files capabilities of Disqus, particularly the former. The Disqus remnant doesn’t let me go and respond to older responses and keep up with “friends” (including those I disagree with sometimes). This here is doing its best, but without that it doesn’t begin to fill the hole of what’s missing for me. I’ll persist, but much less frequently.

      I also loved the chaos. This seems much more disciplined and on topic, and given the world we live in today, that is too narrow for me (yes, I all too frequently transgressed, but shutting it down is not the answer imnsho).

      1. You and I both Susan. So few places anymore where people can openly share thoughts. Even to share what we can here is rare. Puplic platforms of expression ever faster disappearing these days.

      2. I would also like to know who the upvoters and persistent downvoter(s) are, a feature with Disqus.

  3. “Lot of weak storms”, how some sum up the 2020 Hurricane Season. Isaias and Laura would beg to differ. Florida sticks out doesn’t it? So much so that roughly 40% of all landfalls for hurricanes have been in Florida in recorded history. MJO returning end of September, beginning of October, is no joke. Likely one of the worst setups ever seen for a Hurricane Season. One or more of the likes of Andrew, Katrina, Sandy, this is a probability not a possibility this year. Savanna, Georgia to Charleston, South Carolina, that coastal area has been fortunate for a long time, we’ll see where T.S Paulette and T.D 18 final destinations are soon enough. No reason for panic or worry. A reason to remain prepared. After a brief dry out, the Southeast in line for more rains many areas can’t handle. I’m surrounded by hundreds of acres of dead corn, too much soil saturation combined with heavy rains has killed it all. Farmer neighbor cut his crop down yesterday, full loss. https://www.cpc.ncep.noaa.gov/products/predictions/610day/610prcp.new.gif

  4. Morning everyone…..we have Paulette now and still TD18 out in the Atlantic….some SAL/dry air and wind shear out ahead of Paulette….TD18 will have a better overall environment for intensification…..SAL/dry air image

  5. Short Range Forecast Discussion
    NWS Weather Prediction Center College Park MD
    349 AM EDT Mon Sep 07 2020

    Valid 12Z Mon Sep 07 2020 – 12Z Wed Sep 09 2020

    …There are winter weather advisory and winter storm watches along parts
    of the Northern/Central Rockies/High Plains…

    …Excessive heat and potential new daily temperature records through

    …Critical/extreme conditions for wildfires persist across the West and
    Northern/Central Rockies through midweek…

    A robust low pressure system and surface front crossing through the Great
    Lakes to the Northeast will cause scattered to widespread showers and
    thunderstorms from the Plains to Great Lakes. Cool, Canadian air will
    filter and settle into the Rockies and Plains as surface high pressure
    slides south in the wake of the cold front. A significant cool down is
    expected to parts of the Northern/Central Rockies and the surrounding
    areas. Snow will be possible at higher elevations for this area with this
    early season cold blast. Winter Weather Advisories and Winter Storm
    Watches are in effect for portions of the Northern/Central Rockies Monday
    evening into Tuesday. Freeze Watches are in effect across most of North

    Oppressive heat rages on across a large portion of the West through Labor
    day and into Tuesday. With temperature values reaching/sustaining upwards
    of 30 degrees above average, several locations may set new daily
    temperature records. Strong, gusty winds will develop ahead of an
    approaching cold front from the north; which will keep critical conditions
    (extreme across northwest Oregon) in place today and Tuesday, further
    drying out fuels (grass, trees, shrubs, dried leaves etc). The slightest
    of sparks could cause a wildfire that quickly spreads out of control.
    Excessive Heat Warnings are in effect from southwest Oregon to southern
    Arizona. Red Flag Warnings cover the Pacific Northwest, Great Basin and
    the Northern/Central Rockies. As the cold front pushes south, cooler air
    will filter into the region reducing the extent of current heat wave. The
    stronger winds will also help in clearing out the smokey air trapped in
    the valleys across the region.


  6. High Plains Drifter dropping down
    gives first of the winter 20/21 weather

    Winter Storm Warnings and Watches are Required

Comments are closed.