Hurricane Climatic Fluctuations. Part II: Relation to Large-Scale Circulation

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  • 1 National Hurricane Research Laboratory, Atlantic Oceanographic and Meteorological Laboratories, NOAA, Coral Gables, FL 33146
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Abstract

Correlations are computed between interannual fluctuations of hurricane incidence in the Atlantic basin and large-scale patterns of seasonally-averaged sea-level pressure (SLP; 1899–1978), sea-surface temperature (SST; 1899–1967), and 500 mb heights (Z500; 1946–1978). Dominant modes of interannual variability in average August–September–October (ASO) hurricane incidence are used as measures of overall activity and shifts in activity from region to region. These uncorrelated modes are derived using an empirical orthogonal function (EOF) analysis, as described in Shapiro (1982). The hurricane modes are related to dominant modes of variability in seasonal SLP, SST and Z500, also derived using an EOF analysis. Correlations between the amplitudes of the EOF modes are tested for significance using a measure of artificial skill.

May–June–July (MJJ) large-scale SLP anomalies have predictive skill for ASO hurricane activity, significant at the 1.0% level. The correlation predicts about 17% of the variance in activity. Lower SLP precedes more active seasons.

Other significant correlations are found: High SST just west of Africa precedes more active seasons, but adds little predictive skill to that of SLP. Relationships between Z500 and hurricane track are consistent with steering concepts, and the results of previous investigators. Weaker westerlies are concurrent with more active seasons.

Abstract

Correlations are computed between interannual fluctuations of hurricane incidence in the Atlantic basin and large-scale patterns of seasonally-averaged sea-level pressure (SLP; 1899–1978), sea-surface temperature (SST; 1899–1967), and 500 mb heights (Z500; 1946–1978). Dominant modes of interannual variability in average August–September–October (ASO) hurricane incidence are used as measures of overall activity and shifts in activity from region to region. These uncorrelated modes are derived using an empirical orthogonal function (EOF) analysis, as described in Shapiro (1982). The hurricane modes are related to dominant modes of variability in seasonal SLP, SST and Z500, also derived using an EOF analysis. Correlations between the amplitudes of the EOF modes are tested for significance using a measure of artificial skill.

May–June–July (MJJ) large-scale SLP anomalies have predictive skill for ASO hurricane activity, significant at the 1.0% level. The correlation predicts about 17% of the variance in activity. Lower SLP precedes more active seasons.

Other significant correlations are found: High SST just west of Africa precedes more active seasons, but adds little predictive skill to that of SLP. Relationships between Z500 and hurricane track are consistent with steering concepts, and the results of previous investigators. Weaker westerlies are concurrent with more active seasons.

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