848 The influence of the North Atlantic Oscillation on hurricane landfalls from Virginia to Maine

Wednesday, 26 January 2011
Washington State Convention Center
William Christopher Alston, Rutgers Univ., New Brunswick, NJ

Hurricane activity along the northeast coast from Virginia to Maine was examined from 1950-2009. Historically, major hurricanes having tremendous impacts have made landfall in this geographical area. Given that hurricane activity occurs much less frequently poleward of 35 degrees, not much research has been done to analyze the link between climate factors and hurricane activity from Virginia to Maine. This study analyzes climate factors such as the North Atlantic Oscillation (NAO), sea surface temperature (SST) profiles, and El Nino Southern Oscillation (ENSO) as well as large-scale synoptic weather conditions, with the goal of improving understanding of hurricane activity in the northeastern U.S. Hurricanes involve small scale mesoscale motions and physical processes, but the mechanisms that steer these storms occur on the synoptic scale. The results suggest that the NAO and general synoptic flow have a significant correlation to landfalling hurricanes along the northeast coast. Ascertaining a better understanding of climate factors that affect hurricane activity from Virginia to Maine could have a significant impact on preventive measures and improving methods for modeling, thus decreasing the loss of life and property.
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