Trends in global tropical cyclone activity over the past twenty years (1986-2005)
|Title||Trends in global tropical cyclone activity over the past twenty years (1986-2005)|
|Publication Type||Journal Article|
|Year of Publication||2006|
|Journal||Geophysical Research Letters|
The recent destructive Atlantic hurricane seasons and several recent publications have sparked debate over whether warming tropical sea surface temperatures (SSTs) are causing more intense, longer-lived tropical cyclones. This paper investigates worldwide tropical cyclone frequency and intensity to determine trends in activity over the past twenty years during which there has been an approximate 0.2 degrees - 0.4 degrees C warming of SSTs. The data indicate a large increasing trend in tropical cyclone intensity and longevity for the North Atlantic basin and a considerable decreasing trend for the Northeast Pacific. All other basins showed small trends, and there has been no significant change in global net tropical cyclone activity. There has been a small increase in global Category 4 - 5 hurricanes from the period 1986 - 1995 to the period 1996-2005. Most of this increase is likely due to improved observational technology. These findings indicate that other important factors govern intensity and frequency of tropical cyclones besides SSTs.