The impact of tropical sea surface temperatures on various measures of Atlantic tropical cyclone activity

Steenhof, P. A.; Gough, W. A.
May 2008
Theoretical & Applied Climatology;2008, Vol. 92 Issue 3/4, p249
Academic Journal
Since 1995 there has been a resurgence of Atlantic hurricane activity, with 2005 being the most active and destructive hurricane season on record. The influence of sea surface temperatures (SSTs) upon trends in Atlantic hurricane activity is investigated by considering SSTs in the southern tropical North Atlantic, an area known as the main development region (MDR). Significant differences in hurricane activity are observed when comparing the ten coolest and ten warmest years of SSTs in the MDR for the period spanning from 1941 to 2006, with increasing MDR SSTs linked to the increased duration and frequency of tropical cyclones. It is concluded that future increases in SSTs, as climate models project, could result in increased Atlantic basin hurricane activity. Understanding how oceanic processes affecting the MDR may change with climate change could therefore help increase the predictive capability for hurricane activity.


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