Effects of Orography on the Tail-End Effects of Typhoon Ketsana

F. Tan*, H.S. Lim, K. Abdullah
School of Physics, Universiti Sains Malaysia, 11800 Penang, Malaysia.

© 2013 Tanet al.;

open-access license: This is an open access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International Public License (CC-BY 4.0), a copy of which is available at: This license permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original author and source are credited.

* Address correspondence to this author at the School of Physics, Universiti Sains Malaysia, 11800 Penang, Malaysia; Tel: +604-653-3200/3198; Fax: +604-657-9150; E-mail:


The study of tail-end effects of typhoon on orography is new to Malaysia. The current study used FY-2D satellite data to investigate the variation of selected parameters of the Typhoon Ketsana system. In situ data, obtained via the radiosonde technique, were used to verify the atmospheric conditions, whereas the Advanced Spaceborne Thermal Emission and Reflection Radiometer Global Digital Elevation Model was applied to determine the structure of the mountains in East Malaysia (EM). This study aimed to identify typhoon-terrain effects, in terms of wind, cloud, and rain of the tail-end effects of typhoon in a regional environment. The tail-end effects of Typhoon Ketsana were altered by the orography in EM such that a slow movement with higher rate of rainfall was distributed along the mountainous western region, and cloud classification distribution patterns were different before, during, and after the tail-end effects of the typhoon. The wind intensity increased with altitude and affected the larger atmosphere region over EM. Additionally, the location of the Sabah region puts it at a higher risk to the impact of the tail-end effect of typhoons compared with the Sarawak region due to its distance from the typhoon. This study concluded that the impacts of the tail-end effects of a typhoon can also be varied and enhanced by the orography.

Keywords: Cloud, Orography, Rain, Tail-End Effects, Typhoon Ketsana, Wind.