Atlantic hurricane variability on decadal and interannual time scales is reconsidered in a framework based on a leading mode of coupled ocean-atmosphere variability known as the Atlantic meridional mode (AMM). It is shown that a large part of the variability of overall “hurricane activity,” which depends on the number of storms in a season, their duration, and their intensity, can be explained by systematic shifts in the cyclogenesis regions. These shifts are strongly correlated with the AMM on interannual as well as multidecadal time scales. It is suggested that the AMM serves to unify a number of previously documented relationships between hurricanes and Atlantic regional climate variability.

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Cooperative Institute for Meteorological Satellite Studies, University of Wisconsin—Madison, Madison, Wisconsin

Department of Atmospheric and Oceanic Sciences, and the Center for Climatic Research, University of Wisconsin—Madison, Madison, Wisconsin