A time series of hurricanes in the Caribbean basin extending from 1500 to 1990 is investigated with the purpose of establishing the years, time of year, and locations that have been hit by tropical cyclones. The Windward Islands show higher hurricane frequency earlier in the season (July–August) than the Leeward Islands and the Greater Antilles (September–October). In the course of the centuries a certain shift towards a later onset and peak of the season might have occurred, but imperfect early observations subtract validity from this finding. For the same reason it is difficult to prove that hurricane frequency has increased in later centuries. Nevertheless, a concentration of observed hurricanes in particular years, or clusters of years, stands out in the series and allows to distinguish periods of heightened or lowered hurricane activity. When comparisons are made with major climatic fluctuations in the tropical belt, it becomes evident that lesser numbers of hurricanes occur during El Niño conditions in the tropical Pacific and increased numbers tend to develop during Anti-Niño episodes. It also seems that years of high hurricane incidence occur in a conspicuous temporal “vicinity” to major El Niño events, which suggests brisk changes in ocean/atmosphere conditions (Niño to Anti Niño, or vice versa) theoretically explained by “cusp catastrophe” or “chaos theory”.
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Caviedes, C.N. Five hundred years of hurricanes in the Caribbean: Their relationship with global climatic variabilities. GeoJournal 23, 301–310 (1991). https://doi.org/10.1007/BF00193603
- Time Series
- Environmental Management
- Tropical Cyclone
- Climatic Variability