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What Has Changed the Proportion of Intense Hurricanes in the Last 30 Years?

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  • 1 Laboratory for Atmospheres, NASA Goddard Space Flight Center, Greenbelt, and Goddard Earth and Technology Center, University of Maryland, Baltimore County, Baltimore, Maryland
  • 2 Department of Meteorology, and IPRC, University of Hawaii at Manoa, Honolulu, Hawaii, and College of Physical and Environmental Oceanography, Ocean University of China, Qingdao, China
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Abstract

The recently reported increase in the proportion of intense hurricanes is considerably larger than those projected by the maximum potential intensity (MPI) theory and the results of numerical simulation. To reconcile this discrepancy, the authors examined the best-track datasets for the North Atlantic (NA), western North Pacific (WNP), and eastern North Pacific (ENP) basins. It was found that the changes in the tropical cyclone formation locations and prevailing tracks may have contributed to the changes in the proportion of the intense hurricanes over the past 30 yr. The authors suggest that the changes in the formation locations and prevailing tracks have a profound impact on the basinwide tropical cyclone intensity. Thus, how the atmospheric circulation in the tropical cyclone basins responds to the global warming may be a critical factor in understanding the impacts of global warming on tropical cyclone intensity.

Corresponding author address: Dr. Liguang Wu, NASA GSFC, Code 613.1, Greenbelt, MD 20071. Email: liguang@agnes.gsfc.nasa.gov

Abstract

The recently reported increase in the proportion of intense hurricanes is considerably larger than those projected by the maximum potential intensity (MPI) theory and the results of numerical simulation. To reconcile this discrepancy, the authors examined the best-track datasets for the North Atlantic (NA), western North Pacific (WNP), and eastern North Pacific (ENP) basins. It was found that the changes in the tropical cyclone formation locations and prevailing tracks may have contributed to the changes in the proportion of the intense hurricanes over the past 30 yr. The authors suggest that the changes in the formation locations and prevailing tracks have a profound impact on the basinwide tropical cyclone intensity. Thus, how the atmospheric circulation in the tropical cyclone basins responds to the global warming may be a critical factor in understanding the impacts of global warming on tropical cyclone intensity.

Corresponding author address: Dr. Liguang Wu, NASA GSFC, Code 613.1, Greenbelt, MD 20071. Email: liguang@agnes.gsfc.nasa.gov

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