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Testing for a Trend in a Partially Incomplete Hurricane Record

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  • 1 Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution, Woods Hole, Massachusetts
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Abstract

The record of annual counts of basinwide North Atlantic hurricanes is incomplete prior to 1946. This has restricted efforts to identify a long-term trend in hurricane activity to the postwar period. In contrast, the complete record of U.S. landfalling hurricanes extends back to 1930 or earlier. Under the assumption that the proportion of basinwide hurricanes that make landfall is constant over time, it is possible to use the record of landfalling hurricanes to extend a test for trend in basinwide hurricane activity beyond the postwar period. This note describes and illustrates a method for doing this. The results suggest that there has been a significant reduction in basinwide hurricane activity over the period 1930–98.

Corresponding author address: Andrew R. Solow, Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution, Woods Hole, MA 02543.

Email: asolow@whoi.edu

Abstract

The record of annual counts of basinwide North Atlantic hurricanes is incomplete prior to 1946. This has restricted efforts to identify a long-term trend in hurricane activity to the postwar period. In contrast, the complete record of U.S. landfalling hurricanes extends back to 1930 or earlier. Under the assumption that the proportion of basinwide hurricanes that make landfall is constant over time, it is possible to use the record of landfalling hurricanes to extend a test for trend in basinwide hurricane activity beyond the postwar period. This note describes and illustrates a method for doing this. The results suggest that there has been a significant reduction in basinwide hurricane activity over the period 1930–98.

Corresponding author address: Andrew R. Solow, Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution, Woods Hole, MA 02543.

Email: asolow@whoi.edu

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