18th Conference on Climate Variability and Change


Atlantic hurricanes and global warming: Observational evidence

Christopher W. Landsea, NOAA/AOML/HRD, Miami, FL

Hurricanes are arguably the most destructive single day natural phenomenon on the earth. As these systems can be considered Carnot heat cycles, alterations to the moist, warm inflow and the upper level cold exhaust have the potential to change their intensity. Anthropogenic climate change has been recently implicated in altering both the environment of hurricanes and their destructiveness. However, such analyses require the use of somewhat arbitrary bias-removal schemes during the early part of the hurricane record to link them with sea surface temperature changes. Current understanding of wind structure in strong hurricanes, however, cast doubts on whether a large bias- removal (larger than the global warming signal) is still warranted. This presentation will examine the Atlantic hurricane database both with the original records and with the bias-removal employed. Reliable, long-term records of hurricane destructiveness from the United States and Cuba will also be analyzed for a link to SST trends. Finally, it will be emphasized that the hurricane database reanalysis efforts need to be completed as soon as possible so that no such arbitrary bias-removal schemes will need to be utilized any longer. .

Session 4, Observed Climate Change in the Atmosphere and Oceans: Part 2
Tuesday, 31 January 2006, 1:45 PM-5:30 PM, A314

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