Asia Fall Forecast 2015: El Nino to Boost West Pacific Typhoons, Intensify Drought From India to Indonesia

By By Alex Sosnowski, senior meteorologist.
October 30, 2015, 5:06:42 AM EDT

Typhoons and building drought will impact more than one billion people in southeastern Asia this fall.


JUMP TO: Number of Super Typhoons May Challenge Record | Monsoon to Wind Down Quickly; Drought to Spread from Papua New Guinea to India | Warmth in Store for Much of Asia

Typhoons will threaten areas from Japan and eastern China to the Philippines during part of the fall, while building drought can lead to hardship from central India to Indonesia.

Number of Super Typhoons May Challenge Record

The 2015 typhoon season is on pace to surpass average numbers, but could challenge the record number of typhoons and super typhoons since 1959, due in a large part to El Niño.

El Niño is forecast to remain strong through the fall and will keep waters warmer than average in the part of the Pacific Ocean where tropical systems usually develop. The rising air in this region leads to a high probability of tropical system formation.

During 1965 and 1997 seasons, there were 11 super typhoons. AccuWeather meteorologists are forecasting nine super typhoons this year, which will be the third most active season on record. This number is up two from the May prediction, due to the high number of super typhoons thus far (six).


According to AccuWeather International Meteorologist Anthony Sagliani, “We could challenge the record of 11 super typhoons and 20 typhoons, if we have a very active late season this year.”

Typhoon season lasts through the entire year with a tropical cyclone possible during any month, regardless of whether or not an El Niño is occurring.

“The quietest months tend to be from December through April, but this year we have a very good chance at remaining quite active through December,” Sagliani said.

In terms of which areas are likely to be hit through the end of the year, all areas of the western Pacific basin have a threat for tropical cyclones to impact them. The areas of greatest concern will shift southward progressing through the fall and into the early winter.

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Some areas hit hard by typhoons thus far this season are likely to continue to be hit into the first part of the autumn season.

“The greatest threat in September and October will be across Taiwan, China, the Korean Peninsula and Japan,” Sagliani said.

The Philippines have seen minimal activity through the middle of August this season, but that is likely to change later this fall.

“Once we get into November and December, the threat will shift into the Philippines due to disruptive winds aloft making the atmospheric environment too hostile for tropical cyclones farther north,” Sagliani said.

The danger being while the Philippines have been spared during the summer months, all it takes is one major typhoon to make for a disastrous season.

Meanwhile, in the upper part of the Indian Ocean, there will be the potential for multiple tropical cyclones during late October into November.

A couple of the cyclones could wander close to the coastline from Yemen and Oman to India and Bangladesh.

A couple of the tropical cyclones could become the equivalent of a Category 3 hurricane or stronger.

Monsoon to Wind Down Quickly; Drought to Spread from Papua New Guinea to India

Just as El Niño will continue to bring a very active and high-ranking typhoon season, it will likely result in an earlier or faster-than-average shutdown of the monsoon.


According to AccuWeather Chief International Meteorologist Jason Nicholls, much of southeastern Pakistan and parts of northwestern and far-eastern India were spared a serious drought. However, in much of central and southern India as well as the upper part of the Ganges River basin, rainfall has slipped well-below average late in the summer.

“With the early retreat of the monsoon, the areas that are abnormally dry now will slip into drought conditions this fall,” Nicholls said.

Waters remained very warm in the India Ocean, despite El Niño. A major pulse of tropical showers and thunderstorms in June, and a weaker pulse in July were largely responsible for the near- to slightly below-average rainfall in Pakistan to northwestern and far-eastern India.

Very little rainfall has occurred in a large part of southeastern Asia, due to a strong El Niño this summer.


“Drought building in part of Indo China, Malaysia and Indonesia will get worse this fall,” Nicholls said. The existing or building drought conditions could cut crop yields such as palm oil, millet, wheat and rice in some locations.

“While the monsoon will quickly retreat over much of southeastern Asia, an area where rain will become frequent is along the coast of southeastern China to northern Vietnam,” Nicholls said. “Flooding could be a problem in this area.”

Warmth in Store for Much of Asia

The vast majority of Asia will experience near- to above-average temperatures this fall, except for part of far-eastern Russia.

“The portion of far-eastern Russia that borders Mongolia and northeastern China may get colder faster than average this fall,” Nicholls said. “Potentially, this could lead to a couple of snow events near the coast of far-eastern Russia to the mountains northern Japan late in the autumn.”

A storm track will set up from the Mediterranean to central China during much of the autumn. This will lead to bouts of significant rainfall from Israel and Syria to northern India, northeastern Pakistan, Kyrgyzstan and southern Kazakhstan.

Several rounds of gusty winds with episodes of blowing dust will extend from northern Egypt and northern Saudi Arabia to Iraq, Iran and southern Afghanistan.

Areas from northernmost India to Nepal and south-central China will turn stormy, following dry conditions early on.

“Areas from the Caspian Sea through much of the Eastern Frontier of Russia will be warmer than average,” Nicholls said. “The warmth will be due to an above-average number of sunny days, while rainfall should still be close to average in most locations, which tends to be lean to begin with.”

Other than the high country of the Himalayas, there is another area in southern Asia that could get early season snow.

Toward the end of the autumn, as the storm track shifts there may be enough chilly air drawn in to support snow in eastern Turkey, mainly in the Caucasus Mountains.

In the western plains and the central plateau areas of Siberia, winter could get off to a slow start.

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