Research led by Dr Li Jianfeng, Assistant Professor in the Department of Geography, has revealed that the observed average moving speed (or translation speed) of tropical cyclones making landfall over the coast of China dropped by 11% between 1961 and 2017. These slow-moving tropical cyclones brought about 20% more local total rainfall on average when compared with fast-moving ones, resulting in greater flood risks in the region.

The study also found that the occurrence of tropical cyclones with lower moving speeds and higher total rainfalls became more frequent after 1990 in the Pearl River Delta.

Dr Li, Miss Lai Yangchen, a PhD candidate in the Department of Geography, and researchers from other universities studied 406 tropical cyclones which lasted for more than two days and made landfall over the coast of China, and specifically the Pearl River Delta where Hong Kong is located, between 1961 and 2017. The findings offers invaluable insights that will enable the development of better flood management and adaptation strategies in the coastal region of China which is under threat due to tropical cyclones. The research findings were published in the renowned scientific journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America.

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