(1/2) Formidable Tropical Cyclones: The Typhoon and the Kamikaze (神風)

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Aug 27, 2017 01:22
The other day, Dan, a guy I went to college with, called me and said, “Hey SP! Tell me where you bought your laptop online from… Mine has died because of flooding from the typhoon.”

Dan works in Zhuhai, a Chinese city neighboring Macau and near Hong Kong. The seaside office building he worked in was inundated by mountainous waves. As a guy who lived far inland and had never experienced a typhoon, out of curiosity I asked him, “What is it like to have a typhoon coming over?”

“Not a big deal. We’d received warnings. No work and school. People all holed up, but I could still feel the building mildly shaking. This typhoon made landfall right here, so the damage this time is worse than ever.”

Thanks to modern technology, typhoons can be detected even when they are in their initial stage -- tropical storms. Today, I went on a real-time typhoon monitoring website and was surprised to find that another tropical storm had formed and was moving fast towards south China's coastline. This storm originated (and was in its weaker stage) in the Pacific to the east of the Philippines, and was developing into a larger scale in the South China Sea as it moved northwest, which meant this storm might turn into a typhoon and hit southern China again!

Despite having no typhoon experience, I always stand in awe when seeing how big they can be on satellite pictures -- as expanse as a couple provinces put together! I always wonder how people in ancient times prepared for them. They had no such a thing as geostationary satellites to monitor the formation and paths of typhoons. Though the fishermen might accumulate some experience through observing the horizon, irregular sea vortices, etc., their preparedness was surely far from sufficient and could not ride out disasters as we do today.

A typhoon also changed history. I heard as warships sent by Genghis Khan were heading off to attack Japan, they were all wrecked by a typhoon. The Japanese called that typhoon kamikaze (Devine Wind). During World War II, the Japanese dubbed their airforce this name as they hoped it would bring them good luck.

[1] Chna's real-time typhoon monitoring website: http://typhoon.zjwater.gov.cn/default.aspx
[2] The typhoon Haiyan captured by a satellite
http://images.scienceworldreport.com/data/images/full/6481/typhoon-haiyan-approaching-the-philippines-captured-by-the-geostationary-satellites.jpg?w=1090
几天前,大学同学D打电话给我,“你在哪个网店买的笔记本电脑,地址发给我吧,这次刮台风我的电脑进水了。”

D在珠海工作,近香港,和澳门毗邻。他工作的大楼这次被滔天巨浪淹没。我一直在内陆生活,没有经历过台风,所以我好奇地问他,“刮台风是什么样的感觉?”

“倒没什么。我们收到了台风预警。不用上班、学校也停课。大家都躲在室内,不过我还是能感觉到房子在轻微地摇动。只不过,这次台风直接在这里登陆,所以损失很大。”

多亏了现代科技,台风在初期形成阶段就可以被监测到。今天我去看了一下实时台风监控网站,惊讶地发现,又一个热带风暴已经形成,正快速朝着中国南部沿海一带移动、这个热带风暴在菲律宾以东的太平洋面形成,规模还不太大,然后在向西北方向移动的时候,在中国南海地区强度迅速增大,所以很可能再次形成台风,并袭击中国南部沿岸地区!

虽然从未经历过台风,每次看到台风的巨大面积时,我总是不由得充满敬畏,在卫星图片上,他们和几个省的面积总和差不多大!不知道古时侯人们是怎么预防台风的,他们没有卫星设备监控台风的形成和路径。也许渔民们积累了相关经验,比如观察地平线、海浪是否异常等,防备起台风来还是远远不够的,也不能和现在一样,充分地抵抗台风袭击。

台风也曾经改变过历史,据说元朝海军攻打日本时,受到台风袭击,出师未捷身先死。日本人称那场台风叫做“神风”,在二战时,日本将他们的空军起名为“神风敢死队”,希望这个名字能够带来好运。
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