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Climate of the Past An interactive open-access journal of the European Geosciences Union
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Discussion papers
https://doi.org/10.5194/cp-2019-36
© Author(s) 2019. This work is distributed under
the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.
https://doi.org/10.5194/cp-2019-36
© Author(s) 2019. This work is distributed under
the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.

Research article 24 Apr 2019

Research article | 24 Apr 2019

Review status
This discussion paper is a preprint. It is a manuscript under review for the journal Climate of the Past (CP).

Reconstruction of track and simulation of storm surge associated with the calamitous typhoon affecting the Pearl River Estuary in September 1874

Hing Yim Mok, Wing Hong Lui, Dick Shum Lau, and Wang Chun Woo Hing Yim Mok et al.
  • Hong Kong Observatory

Abstract. A typhoon struck the Pearl River Estuary in September 1874 (the Typhoon 1874), causing extensive damages and claiming thousands of lives in the region during its passage. Like many other historical typhoons, the deadliest impact of the typhoon was its associated storm surge. In this paper, a possible track of the typhoon was reconstructed by analysis of the historical qualitative and quantitative weather observations in the Philippines, the northern part of the South China Sea, Hong Kong, Macao and Guangdong recorded in various historical documents. The magnitudes of the associated storm surges and storm tides in Hong Kong and Macao were also quantitatively estimated using storm surge model and analogue astronomical tides based on the reconstructed track. The results indicated that the typhoon could have crossed the Luzon Strait from the western North Pacific and moved across the northeastern part of the South China Sea to strike the Pearl River Estuary more or less as a super typhoon in the early morning on 23 September 1874. The typhoon passed about 60 km south-southwest of Hong Kong and made landfall in Macao, bringing maximum storm tides of around 4.9 m above the Hong Kong Chart Datum at the Victoria Harbour in Hong Kong and around 5.4 m above the Macao Chart Datum at Porto Interior (inner harbour) in Macao. Both the maximum storm tide (4.88 m above Hong Kong Chart Datum) and maximum storm surge (2.83 m) brought by Typhoon 1874 at the Victoria Harbour estimated in this study are higher than all the existing records since the establishment of the Hong Kong Observatory in 1883, including the recent records set by super typhoon Mangkhut on 16 September 2018.

Hing Yim Mok et al.
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Hing Yim Mok et al.
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Short summary
The maximum storm surge and storm tide during the passage of the typhoon in 1874 by reconstructing a possible track of the typhoon using available information extracted from historical documents are higher than all the existing records since the establishment of the Hong Kong Observatory in 1883. This revealed that a more detailed frequency analysis of extreme sea levels taking the typhoon in 1874 into account is essential for a more realistic storm surge risk assessment in Hong Kong.
The maximum storm surge and storm tide during the passage of the typhoon in 1874 by...
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