Deciphering the Long-Term Trend of Atlantic Basin Intense Hurricanes : More Active Versus Less Active During the Present Epoch
- Wilson, Robert M.
- Dec. 1998.
- Physical Description:
- 1 electronic document
- Restrictions on Access:
- Unclassified, Unlimited, Publicly available. and Free-to-read Unrestricted online access
- During the interval of 1944-1997, 120 intense hurricanes (i.e., those of category 3 or higher on the Saffir-Simpson hurricane damage potential scale) were observed in the Atlantic basin, having an annual frequency of 0-7 events per year, being more active prior to the mid 1960's than thereafter (hence a possible two-state division: more active versus less active), and being preferentially lower during El Nino years as compared to non-El Nino years. Because decadal averages of the frequency of intense hurricanes closely resemble those of average temperature anomalies for northern hemispheric and global standards and of the average temperature at the Armagh Observatory (Northern Ireland), a proxy for climatic change, it is inferred that the long-term trends of the annual frequency of intense hurricanes and temperature may be statistically related. Indeed, on the basis of 4- and 10-yr moving averages, one finds that there exists strong linear associations between the annual frequency of intense hurricanes in the Atlantic basin and temperature (specially, when temperature slightly leads). Because the long-term leading trends of temperature are now decidedly upward, beginning about the mid 1980's, it is inferred that the long-term consequential trends of the annual frequency of intense hurricanes should now also be upward, having begun near 1990, suggesting that a return to the more active state probably has already occurred. However, because of the anomalous El Nino activity of the early to mid 1990's, the switch from the less active to the more active state essentially went unnoticed (a marked increase in the number of intense hurricanes was not observed until the 1995 and 1996 hurricane seasons, following the end of the anomalous El Nino activity). Presuming that a return to the more active state has, indeed, occurred, one expects the number of seasonal intense hurricanes during the present epoch (continuing through about 2012) to usually be higher than average (i.e., greater than or equal to 2), except during El Nino-related seasons when the number usually will be less than average.
- NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS) Collection.
- Document ID: 19990021448., NAS 1.60:209003., NASA/TP-1998-209003., and M-901.
- No Copyright.
View MARC record | catkey: 15643380