279 Tropical Cyclone Effects on Seasonal Climatology in the Gulf and Bordering Atlantic Ocean Regions

Thursday, 19 April 2018
Champions DEFGH (Sawgrass Marriott)
Alex Burnette, Univ. of North Carolina, Chapel Hill, NC

The hurricane season of 2017 experienced long-lived, destructive, tropical cyclones (TCs). Harvey, Irma, and Maria developed successively, registering at at least Category 4 status before making landfall. Harvey made landfall on August 25, 2017, resulting in 80 deaths and extreme flooding in the Houston, Texas area. Irma followed shortly after, making landfall in the Florida Keys on September 10, resulting in 132 deaths, and was the second most intense cyclone in the world in 2017 behind only Hurricane Maria. Maria made landfall in Dominica on September 18 and in Puerto Rico on September 20, resulting in 93 deaths between all the Caribbean Islands that were hit. Maria is the worst natural disaster recorded in Dominica to date and caused a humanitarian crisis in Puerto Rico (modis.gsfc.nasa.gov). This study aims to investigate the effects of tropical cyclones on seasonal climatology in the Gulf and bordering regions of the Atlantic Ocean using NOAA’s HURDAT 2 record for TCs since 1981, including the most recent TCs of the 2017 season. Previous studies explore the ocean’s response to the passing of a TC and conclude that sea surface temperature experiences a downward spike before returning to its climatology after a period of around 26 days (Price 1981; Dare and McBride 2011; Mei et al, 2015). We revisit studies of ocean response and the variability of other climactic factors known to contribute to a TC’s intensification, and we examine whether a TC’s passing makes conditions more favorable for another TC to develop in the same region and season.
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