Environmental impact of Typhoon Haiyan on the Philippines

Personnel

Investigator: Jessica Pilarczyk
Collaborators: Earth Observatory of Singapore (Switzer, Soria), University of Philippines, Diliman (Siringan), Hermann Fritz, Nicole Khan, Ben Horton

Funding

National Science Foundation (NSF) RAPID EAR-1418717

Project Summary


A major obstacle in producing reliable predictions of catastrophic environmental changes from events such as Typhoon Haiyan is a lack of data on timescales longer than the short instrumental record. Despite the frequency of landfalling tropical cyclones in the Philippines, few studies have been published concerning their sedimentologic and geomorphic impacts. We rapidly dispatched survey teams to collect data from Typhoon Haiyan’s storm surge. We employed a suite of field and laboratory methods to: (1) measure land elevation, storm surge flow depth and direction, and sediment deposit character and thickness; and (2) determine the amount of post-depositional change (e.g., loss of sedimentary structure, loss of microfossils) within overwash deposits. This project provides an important modern analogue for future paleotempestology studies in the Philippines and at other tropical locations.

Key outcomes

• Microfossil assemblages and taphonomy (surface condition) suggest a mixed provenance for sediments deposited by Typhoon Haiyan, including a contribution of sediment sourced from deeper water and terrestrial environments.
• Geochemical analysis revealed a mixed marine and terrestrial source for the Haiyan sediments on the Leyte and Samar coasts.
• A strong correlation between the δ13C, TOC and C/N of storm deposits and the underlying sediment suggests that post-depositional mixing of the storm deposit occurred within 3 months of deposition at most sites.
• Sediments deposited by Typhoon Haiyan share many characteristics with tsunami deposits.

Products

Peer-reviewed papers

Soria, J.L.A., Switzer, A.D., Pilarczyk, J.E., Siringan, F.P., Khan, N.S., Fritz, H.M., 2017. Typhoon Haiyan overwash sediments from Leyte Gulf coastlines show local variations with hybrid storm and tsunami signatures. Sedimentary Geology 358, 121-138.

Soria, J.L.A., Switzer, A.D., Pilarczyk, J.E., Tang, H., Weiss, R., Siringan, F., Manglicmot, M., Gallentes, A., Lau, A.Y., Lin, A.C.Y., Ling, T.K.W., in press. Typhoon Haiyan storm surge carried two distinct sediment assemblages on the carbonate coast of Hernani, Samar, central Philippines. Marine Geology.

Pilarczyk, J.E., Horton, B.P., Soria, J.L.A., Switzer, A.D., Siringan, F., Fritz, H.M., Khan, N.S., Ildefonso, S., Doctor, A.A., Garcia, M.L., 2016. Micropaleontology of the 2013 Typhoon Haiyan deposit from the Leyte Gulf, Philippines. Sedimentary Geology 339, 104-114.

Pilarczyk, J.E., Dura, T., Horton, B.P., Engelhart, S.E., Kemp, A.C., Sawai, Y., 2014. Microfossils in coastal environments as indicators of paleo- earthquakes, tsunamis and storms. Palaeogeography Palaeoclimatology Palaeoecology 413, 144-157.

Conference presentations

Pilarczyk, J.E., Horton, B.P., Soria, L.J., Switzer, A., Fritz, H.M., Siringan, F., Khan, N.S., Ildefonso, S., Ramos, R., Doctor, A., Garcia, M., 2016. Sedimentary and microfossil record of the 2013 Typhoon Haiyan deposit from the Philippines. AGU Ocean Sciences Meeting. February 21 – 26. New Orleans, LA, USA.

Pilarczyk, J.E., Soria, L.J., Switzer, A., Siringan, F., Khan, N.S., Fritz, H.M., Horton, B.P., Ildefonso, S., Ramos, R., Doctor, A.A., Garcia, M.L., 2015. Sedimentary and microfossil record of the 2013 Typhoon Haiyan deposit from the Leyte Gulf, Philippines. XIX INQUA Congress. July 27 – August 2. Nagoya, Japan.

Pilarczyk, J.E., Soria, L., Switzer, A., Siringan, F., Khan, N., Fritz, H., 2014. Characterizing the 2013 Typhoon Haiyan deposit from the Leyte Gulf, Philippines: Implications for long-term typhoon records. Mid-Atlantic Regional Climate Symposium. November 21, 2014. New Brunswick, NJ.

Media

Oceanography Postdocs Uncover Sediments Deposited by Typhoon Haiyan in the Philippines

Supplementary Data

Microfossil data

Foraminiferal, testate amoebae, taphonomic, and test size abundance data (percent) for the Typhoon Haiyan overwash sediments and underlying soils at Ba (Basey). Environment, distance inland (m), elevation (MSL), species richness (R), and lithology are indicated. Test size abundances are based on foraminifera, not testate amoebae, and taphonomic abundances are based on calcareous foraminiferal counts only.

Foraminiferal, testate amoebae, taphonomic, and test size abundance data (percent) for the Typhoon Haiyan overwash sediments and underlying soils at Sc (Santa Cruz). Environment, distance inland (m), elevation (MSL), species richness (R), and lithology are indicated. Test size abundances are based on foraminifera, not testate amoebae, and taphonomic abundances are based on calcareous foraminiferal counts only.

Foraminiferal, testate amoebae, taphonomic, and test size abundance data (percent) for the Typhoon Haiyan overwash sediments and underlying soils at So (Solano). Environment, distance inland (m), elevation (MSL), species richness (R), and lithology are indicated. Test size abundances are based on foraminifera, not testate amoebae, and taphonomic abundances are based on calcareous foraminiferal counts only.

Foraminiferal, testate amoebae, taphonomic, and test size abundance data (percent) for the Typhoon Haiyan overwash sediments and underlying soils at Ma (Magay). Environment, distance inland (m), elevation (MSL), species richness (R), and lithology are indicated. Test size abundances are based on foraminifera, not testate amoebae, and taphonomic abundances are based on calcareous foraminiferal counts only.

Coastal Hazards Research Lab
Division of Marine Science
School of Ocean Science and Technology
University of Southern Mississippi
1020 Balch Blvd., Stennis Space Center, MS 39529