Contact Information

General Enquiry

Fax: +(852)-3442-0688
Address: G5703, 5/F, Yeung Kin Man Academic Building (YEUNG),
City University of Hong Kong,
Tat Chee Avenue, Kowloon, Hong Kong SAR
Western North Pacific Typhoon Activity: Observations and Simulations with High-resolution Climate Models
Speaker Name
Speaker Detail

Assistant Research Scientist
University of Iowa, U.S.A.

B5309, 5/F, Yeung Kin Man Academic Building, City University of Hong Kong, Kowloon Tong, Kowloon, Hong Kong

Organizer: School of Energy and Environment
City University of Hong Kong


Typhoon are responsible for severe fatalities and damage to Asian countries, with China being a typical example. Here I will present the efforts I have made together with my collaborators to further understand variability of typhoons and to improve capability of climate models in simulating typhoon activity and impacts (e.g., rainfall and wind), potentially resulting in better prediction skill. Using high-resolution fully-coupled simulation with Geophysical Fluid Dynamics Laboratory (GFDL) Forecast-Oriented Low Ocean Resolution (FLOR) of CM2.5 and observations, we have identified Pacific Meridional Mode and Atlantic sea surface warming (e.g., Atlantic Meridional Mode) as useful predictors for typhoon frequency, which have been used to build seasonal forecast models. Using FLOR and the high-resolution version of FLOR (HiFLOR), we have detected anthropogenic forcing signal from the extremely active 2015 typhoon activity in terms of accumulated cyclone energy. Moreover, a sharp decrease in typhoon activity since 1997 has been attributed to the positive phase of Atlantic Multidecadal Oscillation (AMO), while anthropogenic forcing and the negative Pacific Decadal Oscillation (PDO) phase play only secondary roles in causing this decrease. I will discuss some future plans for next few years targeting at simulation, forecast and projection of typhoon activity and its impacts (e.g., storm surge and extreme rainfall).

About the Speaker

Wei Zhang is currently an assistant research scientist at University of Iowa, focusing on extreme climate and weather events including tropical cyclones, extreme precipitation and atmospheric rivers and their impacts under current and future climates using statistical and dynamical modeling with regional and global climate models. He earned his Bachelor of Science from Hefei University of Technology in 2005 and Ph.D. from The Chinese University of Hong Kong in 2011 working with Professor Yee Leung on the discovery of tropical cyclone dynamics using data mining technologies.

After completing this Ph.D. in 2011, he continued working with Professor Yee Leung for two years before he moved to Nanjing University of Information Science and Technology as a professor in atmospheric sciences in 2013 where he taught a postgraduate course “Synoptic Meteorology”. In July 2014, he moved to the United States working with Professor Gabriel Vecchi at Princeton University and Geophysical Fluid Dynamics Laboratory in the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA GFDL) on high-resolution simulation of tropical cyclones using fully-coupled GFDL climate models. After a two-year stay in Princeton, he accepted a long-term position at University of Iowa as an assistant research scientist in July 2016 and has worked since then with Professor Gabriele Villarini who is now the director of the laboratory. After moving to University of Iowa, he has extended his work to examine the changes in hydrological cycle tied with extreme weather and climate events using regional and global climate models and observations. He is currently playing an important role in the scientific team of Professor Gabriel Vecchi and Professor Gabriele Villarini between Princeton University and University of Iowa.

He has published 50 peer-reviewed journal articles including Nature Climate Change, Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America (PNAS), Bulletin of the American Meteorological Society, Journal of Climate, Climate Dynamics and Geophysical Research Letters.