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On the changes in number and intensity of North Atlantic tropical cyclones

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      Abstract

      Bayesian statistical models were developed for the number of tropical cyclones and the rate at which these cyclones became hurricanes in the North Atlantic. We find that, controlling for the cold tongue index and the North Atlantic oscillation index, there is high probability that the number of cyclones has increased in the past thirty years; but the rate at which these storms become hurricanes appears to be constant. We also investigate storm intensity by measuring the distribution of individual storm lifetime in days, storm track length, and Emanuel's power dissiptation index. We find little evidence that the distribution of individual storm intensity is changing through time. Any increase in cumulative yearly storm intensity and potential destructiveness, therefore, is due to the increasing number of storms and not due to any increase in the intensity of individual storms.

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      Increasing destructiveness of tropical cyclones over the past 30 years.

      Theory and modelling predict that hurricane intensity should increase with increasing global mean temperatures, but work on the detection of trends in hurricane activity has focused mostly on their frequency and shows no trend. Here I define an index of the potential destructiveness of hurricanes based on the total dissipation of power, integrated over the lifetime of the cyclone, and show that this index has increased markedly since the mid-1970s. This trend is due to both longer storm lifetimes and greater storm intensities. I find that the record of net hurricane power dissipation is highly correlated with tropical sea surface temperature, reflecting well-documented climate signals, including multi-decadal oscillations in the North Atlantic and North Pacific, and global warming. My results suggest that future warming may lead to an upward trend in tropical cyclone destructive potential, and--taking into account an increasing coastal population--a substantial increase in hurricane-related losses in the twenty-first century.
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        Changes in tropical cyclone number, duration, and intensity in a warming environment.

        We examined the number of tropical cyclones and cyclone days as well as tropical cyclone intensity over the past 35 years, in an environment of increasing sea surface temperature. A large increase was seen in the number and proportion of hurricanes reaching categories 4 and 5. The largest increase occurred in the North Pacific, Indian, and Southwest Pacific Oceans, and the smallest percentage increase occurred in the North Atlantic Ocean. These increases have taken place while the number of cyclones and cyclone days has decreased in all basins except the North Atlantic during the past decade.
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          Large-Scale Atmospheric Circulation Features of Warm and Cold Episodes in the Tropical Pacific

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            Author and article information

            Journal
            2007-01-31
            physics/0701345 10.1175/2007JCLI1871.1
            Custom metadata
            24 pages, 9 figures
            physics.ao-ph physics.data-an

            Atmospheric, Oceanic and Environmental physics

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