09/30/2009, 00.00
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Japanese experts expect super-typhoons to cause a lot of damage because of global warming

by Pino Cazzaniga
Warmer sea surface will generate winds of more than 240 kilometres per hour. Catastrophes are predicted for the second half of the century.
Tokyo (AsiaNews) – Japanese weathermen predict that global warming will spawn ‘super-typhoons’ in the second half of this century that will hit coastal Japan, causing unprecedented damages. However, typhoons and tropical storms have already sown death and destruction in the Philippines, Taiwan, China and Vietnam.

“If a super-typhoon makes landfall in Japan, the surges in tides could bring about more serious damage than the Isewan Typhoon,” said Katsuhisa Tsuboki, associate professor of meteorology at Nagoya University. The Isewan Typhoon struck the Ise Bay area in 1959, killing more than 5,000 people, many of whom were swept away in tidal surges.

In August this year, researchers predicted that global warming would raise sea surface temperatures in the Western Pacific, leading to several super-typhoons with winds of more than 240 kilometres per hour from 2074 to 2087.

In May, an Environment Ministry team in an independent study forecast huge damages from surges in tides due to rising sea levels and stronger typhoons. ”Coastal structures will need reinforcement in 40 to 50 years,” said Nobuo Mimura, professor of coastal engineering at Ibaraki University.

Only 65 per cent of the 13,792 kilometres of coastal embankments are high enough to handle tides caused by storms the size of the one that hit Ise Bay.

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