11A.2 Investigating patterns and changes in global tropical cyclone storm frequency and intensity

Thursday, 27 January 2011: 8:45 AM
606 (Washington State Convention Center)
Paula Ann Hennon, STG, Inc., Asheville, NC; and K. R. Knapp, M. C. Kruk, and D. H. Levinson
Manuscript (223.3 kB)

Understanding fluctuations in tropical cyclone activity along United States shores and abroad becomes increasingly important as coastal managers and planners seek to save lives, mitigate damage, and plan for resilience in the face of changing storminess and sea-level rise. Tropical cyclone activity has long been of concern to coastal areas as they bring strong winds, heavy rains, and high seas. Given projections of a warming climate, current estimates suggest that not only will tropical cyclones increase in frequency, but also in intensity (maximum sustained winds and minimum central pressures).

An understanding of what has happened historically is an important step in identifying potential future changes in tropical cyclone frequency and intensity. However, the ability to detect such changes depends on a consistent and reliable global tropical cyclone dataset. Until recently no central repository for historical tropical cyclone data existed. To fill this need, the International Best Track Archive for Climate Stewardship (IBTrACS) dataset was developed to collect all known global historical tropical cyclone data into a single point-source for dissemination. With this dataset, a global examination of changes and trends in tropical cyclone frequency and intensity can be performed.

The presentation will use the IBTrACS dataset to show the spatial variability of tropical cyclone frequency and intensity, including during El Niño and La Niña episodes, for the world's seven ocean basins affected by tropical cyclones. Analyses will show where the strongest storms typically occur, the regions with the highest number of tropical cyclones per decade and the locations of highest average maximum wind speeds.

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