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The Most Intense Typhoons

June 21, 2021

By Paul Homewood





In his evidence to the Energy & Climate Change Committee in 2014, which I covered earlier, David King claimed:

The most intense hurricane ever to hit land was Hurricane Haiyan”, the typhoon which hit the Philippines in 2013.


There has been much controversy about such claims, which are based on satellite estimates, that have of course only been widely available since the 1980s. Prior to satellites, monitoring of typhoons in the Western Pacific relied on airplanes, which were not able to cover the full ocean, and which also avoided direct contact with the strongest typhoons, for obvious reasons. Before that we only had land based anemometers, which were rarely located at the point of highest wind speeds, and which in any event would not survive such high wind speeds.

That is why the most important measurement in pre-satellite days was always central pressure. And here we find that Haiyan was a long way from being the most intense typhoon.





Far from being the most intense, Haiyan is way down the list. There have been twenty four Western pacific typhoons which have been more intense than Haiyan, which is also tied with 16 others at 895 hPa. In other words, Haiyan only makes the top 51.

This list only dates back to 1927, so there have doubtlessly been many other, more intense typhoons on record before.

And it is not only Haiyan. Typhoon Goni, which hit the Philippines last year, is said to be the most intense landfalling storm, with winds of 195 mph. Yet its central pressure never got below 905 hPa, which does not even put it in the top 80 Western Pacific typhoons. There is clearly a disconnect between claimed wind speeds and central pressure.

It is true that pressure is not the only determinant of wind speed. Small, tightly wound cyclones can have high wind speeds because their isobars are closer together.

However, global warming theory predicts that warmer oceans will lead to more intense hurricanes, as measured by pressure. Clearly in the Western Pacific at least, this theory falls flat on its face.



  1. June 21, 2021 3:55 pm

    The other issue is that it is not possible to test for the impact of global warming on tropical cyclones in a single cyclone basin.

    Please see

  2. June 21, 2021 4:48 pm

    So we are saying the lower the pressure the worse the typhoon

    To me 870 doesn’t seem much lower than 895
    Am I wrong ?

    • June 21, 2021 5:55 pm

      It is maybe the pressure difference that matters, the pressure relative to the surrounding level of around 1000, if so then it is 130 relative to 105, which bigs it up a lot.

  3. June 21, 2021 7:04 pm

    Paul, in recent years, all of the typhoon lowest pressures and highest winds are estimates based on satellite imagery and I suspect the accuracy is at best +/- 20 mb pressure and +/- 20 kt on winds … and perhaps more based on what I have seen when reconnaissance aircraft have first flown into strong hurricanes in the Atlantic where pressure and wind had previously been estimated from satellite imagery. Thus you can’t really use either highest wind or lowest pressure for an accurate comparison for typhoons. The reality is that there is no accurate way to compare pre-satellite storms with post satellite storms. The uncertainties are quite large, even comparing modern satellite derived estimates alone. As you go back in time the uncertainties can be much larger. About all we can do is generalize that it was a very strong storm, but we will never know which storm was the strongest of the very strong storms.

  4. June 21, 2021 7:42 pm

    ITV local news weather
    “It’s Show Your Stripes Day to raise awareness of the Climate Emergency
    .. look for the hashtag on Twitter !”
    Oh #PRasNews PR inserted into a new show again

    FFS.. here’s some reality from a skeptic’s tweet last year

  5. John Hultquist permalink
    June 21, 2021 8:19 pm

    The Wikipedia entry for Typhoon Tip (Warling) claims: It ” was the largest and most intense tropical cyclone ever recorded. ”
    . . and
    “U.S. Air Force aircraft flew 60 weather reconnaissance missions into the typhoon, making Tip one of the most closely observed tropical cyclones.”

  6. MrGrimNasty permalink
    June 21, 2021 10:04 pm

    A lot of news outlets are covering the supposedly record breaking unprecedented heatwave in the US fueled by global heating and worsening the mega-drought blah blah – but other than a brief mention on the weather today the BBC has been strangely quiet.

    There’s also another Siberian hotspot they could jump on.

    Curious……. What are they up to?

    • June 21, 2021 10:07 pm

      cos the temperature is below normal today
      They’ll bang it out on a hot day …maybe tmw

  7. June 21, 2021 10:41 pm

    There are only so many barrels the climate alarmists can scrape in their desperate attempts to rattle the masses. Not working too well so far, apart from some over-impressionable snowflakes and assorted oddballs.

    • It doesn't add up... permalink
      June 22, 2021 2:52 am

      Much the same nonsense as in February. The Texan problem is a lack of dispatchable capacity, not a lack of interconnection to other states which have no dispatchable capacity to spare in a heatwave either. It arises because grid priority has been given to wind. When it gets really hot, there’s no wind. Been there to know.

  8. CheshireRed permalink
    June 21, 2021 11:35 pm

    O/T Michael Schellenberger (sp?) is on Twitter claiming solar will be 4 X the price due to failure to account for correct disposal costs.

    Quite a long thread so would need some serious scrutiny. Hell of a claim though.

    • John Hultquist permalink
      June 22, 2021 3:42 am

      I learned the “costs” of disposal this week.
      We once used a pickup camper, such as the one in this image.

      Over 15 years ago we graduated to something better/nicer. The old one sat out in all kinds of weather, and became habitat for critters, including wasps.
      I started to dismantle it, then realized that isn’t possible. Such things have to be demolished. I would have finished today, except the temperature went to 94°F (34.4°C).
      I suspect large solar facilities will be sold, and sold again, while maintenance suffers and some panels go dark. Cleanup will come at taxpayers expense.

  9. Gerry, England permalink
    June 22, 2021 12:02 pm

    A key question is whether King is ignorant or is he lying? Or a combination of the two?

  10. MrGrimNasty permalink
    June 22, 2021 1:39 pm

    UK random weather – in a June with a mean temperature that is running a fair bit warmer than ‘normal’, the BBC weatherman said:

    Places in Scotland had an air frost and the coldest UK June night since 2012.

    Many places had a lower max. temp on the Summer Solstice than they did for the Winter one!

    • June 22, 2021 2:12 pm

      Are you sure you are not in Norway!? In Stavanger I have noticed several years when it was warmer on the Winter Solstice than on the “summer” Solstice.

      Weather…..take a potential Brownian motion producer, add energy in an asymmetrical way and what do you get?

  11. Gamecock permalink
    June 22, 2021 3:09 pm

    Maybe the physics in the western Pacific are different than in the North Atlantic basin, but I doubt it.

    The nature of hurricanes in the North Atlantic/Caribbean/Gulf of Mexico – their existence, their strength, their tracks – are functions of WEATHER. These waters are warm enough to support hurricanes EVERY YEAR. Whether they form and what they do depends on weather.

    E.g., El Niño events generally suppress Atlantic hurricane activity.

  12. tomo permalink
    June 23, 2021 3:59 am

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