The Interannual variability of hurricane activity in the Atlantic and east pacific regions
Metadata[+] Show full item record
The investigation of the interannual and interdecadal variations in hurricane activity has been an important topic of study lately, especially with regard to their implications for climate change issues. On the interannual time-scale, the El Niño and Southern Oscillation (ENSO) phase has been correlated with hurricane activity in the Atlantic and Eastern Pacific Ocean Basins. For example, various atmospheric and oceanic parameters that influence hurricane development become significantly altered during an El Niño event, leading to suppressed easterly wave development and growth in the Atlantic, but more activity in the Eastern Pacific Ocean Basin. This study examined the interannual variability of hurricane intensity (measured as wind speed and interpreted through the Saffir-Simpson Scale) from 1938 through 2007 in the Atlantic and 1970 through 2007 in the Pacific basins, respectively. These data were then compared with the occurrence of El Niño/La Niña events as defined using the Japan Meteorological Association (JMA) index. El Niño/La Niña variability superimposed on variability associated with the Pacific Decadal Oscillation (PDO) was also examined here. Not surprisingly, during an El Niño year the intensity of Atlantic hurricanes was found to be weaker than during a neutral year or a La Niña year, but these conclusions were opposite in the Eastern Pacific Ocean Basin. There were also significant differences found in hurricane intensity between El Niño and La Niña years when the PDO was in phase 1 (warm phase), rather than when the PDO was in phase 2 (cool phase). This study also examined the interannual variation in hurricane intensity by genesis region (i.e. Atlantic: the eastern and western Atlantic Ocean Basins, the Caribbean, and the Gulf of Mexico; Eastern Pacific: divided into quadrants using 20o N and 125o W as the quadrant intersection point). Finally, the utility of this information in a long-range forecast application is demonstrated.
National Weather Digest July 2008, 32:1, 11-33.