2002 Annual

Tuesday, 15 January 2002: 2:15 PM
Predictive United States' hurricane climate
James B. Elsner, Florida State University, Tallahassee, FL; and B. H. Bossak
Poster PDF (80.1 kB)
Predictive climate distributions of U.S. landfalling hurricanes are estimated from observational records over the period 1851--2000. The approach is Bayesian, combining the reliable records of hurricane activity during the 20th century with the less precise accounts of activity during the 19th century, to produce a best estimate of the posterior distribution on the annual rates. The methodology provides a predictive distribution of future activity that serves as a climatological benchmark. Results are presented for the entire coast as well as for the Gulf coast, Florida, and the East coast. Statistics on the observed annual counts of U.S. hurricanes, both for the entire coast and by region, are similar within each of the three consecutive 50-year periods beginning in 1851. However, evidence indicates that the records during the 19th century are less precise. Bayesian theory provides a rational approach for defining hurricane climate that uses all available information and that makes no assumption about whether the 150-yr record of hurricanes has been adequately or uniformly monitored. The analysis shows that the number of major hurricanes expected to reach the U.S. coast over the next 30 years is 18, while the number of hurricanes expected to hit Florida is 20.

Supplementary URL: http://garnet.acns.fsu.edu/~jelsner/HTML/Research/papers/predclim/predclim.html