Skip to main content

Tropical cyclones, climate change, and scientific uncertainty: what do we know, what does it mean, and what should be done?

Abstract

The question of whether and to what extent global warming may be changing tropical cyclone (TC) activity is of great interest to decision makers. The presence of a possible climate change signal in TC activity is difficult to detect because interannual variability necessitates analysis over longer time periods than available data allow. Projections of future TC activity are hindered by computational limitations and uncertainties about changes in regional climate, large scale patterns, and TC response. This review discusses the state of the field in terms of theory, modeling studies and data. While Atlantic TCs have recently become more intense, evidence for changes in other basins is not persuasive, and changes in the Atlantic cannot be clearly attributed to either natural variability or climate change. However, whatever the actual role of climatic change, these concerns have opened a “policy window” that, if used appropriately, could lead to improved protection against TCs.

This is a preview of subscription content, access via your institution.

References

  • Aberson SD (2009) Regimes or cycles in tropical cyclone activity in the North Atlantic. Bull Am Meteorol Soc 90(1):39–41

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Bagstadt KJ, Stapleton K, D’Agostino JRD (2007) Taxes, subsidies, and insurance as drivers of United States coastal development. Ecol Econ 63(2/3):285–298

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Bender MA, Knutson TR, Tuleya RE, Sirutis JJ, Vecchi GA, Garner ST, Held IM (2010) Modeled impact of anthropogenic warming on the frequency of intense Atlantic hurricanes. Science 327:454–458

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Bengtsson L (2007) Tropical cyclones in a warmer climate. WMO Bull 56(3):1–8

    Google Scholar 

  • Bengtsson L, Hodges KI (2008) Comments on “Is the number of North Atlantic tropical cyclones significantly underestimated prior to the availability of satellite observations” by E Chang and Y Guo. Geophys Res Lett 35:L09810. doi:10.1029/2007GL032251

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Bengtsson L, Hodges KI, Esch M, Keenlyside N, Kornblueh L, Luo JJ, Yamagata T (2007) How may tropical cyclones change in a warmer climate? Tellus 59A:539–561

    Google Scholar 

  • Bjerknes J (1964) Atlantic air-sea interaction. Adv Geophys 10:1–82

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Bove MC, Elsner JB, Landsea CW, Niu X, O’Brien JJ (1998) Effect of El Niño on US landfalling hurricanes, revisited. Bull Am Meteoreol Soc 79(11):2477–2482

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Bowditch HI (1841) Memoir of Nathaniel Bowditch. James Munroe and Company, Boston

  • Briggs WM (2008) On the changes in the number and intensity of North Atlantic tropical cyclones. J Clim 21:1387–1402

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Brown DP, Franklin JL (2004) Dvorak tropical cyclone wind speed biases determined from reconnaissance-based ‘best track’ data 1997-2003. AMS 26th conference on hurricanes and tropical meteorology, Miami, FL, 2–7 May 2004

  • Camp JP (1999) Hurricane maximum intensity: past and present. University of Colorado Department of Atmospheric Sciences Master thesis, Fort Collins

    Google Scholar 

  • Cane MA (2004) The evolution of El Niño, past and future. Earth Planet Sci Lett 164:1–10

    Google Scholar 

  • Carton JA, Cao X, Giese BS, Da Silva AM (1996) Decadl and interannual SST variability in the tropical Atlantic ocean. J Phys Oceanogr 26:1165–1175

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Chan JCL (2006) Comment on “Changes in tropical cyclone number, duration and intensity in a warming environment”. Science 311:1713b

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Chan JCL (2008) Decadal variations of intense typhoon occurrence in the western North Pacific. Proc R Soc Lond, Ser A 464:249–272

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Chan JCL, Liu KS (2004) Global warming and western North Pacific typhoon activity from an observational perspective. J Clim 17:4590–4602

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Chang EKM, Guo Y (2007) Is the number of North Atlantic tropical cyclones significantly underestimated prior to the availability of satellite observations? Geophys Res Lett 34:L14801

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Chauvin F, Royer JF, Déqué M (2006) Response of hurricane-type vortices to global warming as simulated by ARPEGE-Climat at high resolution. Clim Dyn 27:377–399

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Chen SS, Price JF, Zhao W, Donelan MA, Walsh EJ (2007) The CBLAST Hurricane program and the next-generation fully coupled atmosphere-wave-ocean models for hurricane research and prediction. Bull Am Meteorol Soc 311–317

  • Chu JH, Sampson CR, Levine AS, Fukada E (2002) The Joint Typhoon Warning Center tropical cyclone best tracks, 1945-2000. Joint Typhoon Warning Center NRL/MR/7540-02-16

  • Chylek P, Lesins G (2008) Multidecadal variability of Atlantic hurricane activity: 1851–2007. J Geophys Res Atmos 113. doi:10.1029/2008JD010036

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Collins M, CMIP Modeling Groups (2005) El Niño- or La Niña-like climate change? Clim Dyn 24:89–104

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Curry JA, Webster PJ, Holland GJ (2006) Mixing politics and science in testing the hypothesis that greenhouse warming is causing a global increase in hurricane intensity. Bull Am Meteorol Soc 87:1025–1037

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Delworth T, Manabe S, Stouffer RJ (1993) Interdecadal variations of the thermohaline circulation in a coupled ocean-atmosphere model. J Clim 6:1993–2010

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • DeMaria M (1996) The effect of vertical shear on tropical cyclone intensity change. J Atmos Sci 53 (14):2076–2087

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • DeMaria M, Kaplan J (1994) Sea surface temperature and the maximum intensity of Atlantic tropical cyclones. J Clim 7:1324–1334

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Dickson RT, Meincke J, Malmberg SA, Lee AJ (1988) The ,,Great Salinity Anomaly“ in the northern North Atlantic 1968–1982. Prog Ocean 20:103–151

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Dima M, Lohmann G (2007) A hemispheric mechanism for the Atlantic Multidecadal Oscillation. J Clim 20:2706–2719

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Doherty NA, Grace MF, Klein RW, Kunreuther HC, Michel-Kerjan EO, Pauly MV (2008) Managing Large Scale Risks in a New Era af Catastrophes: Insuring, Mitigating and Financing Recovery from Natural Disasters in the United States, An Extreme Events Project of the Wharton Risk Management and Decision Processes Center in conjunction with Georgia State University and the Insurance Information Institute

  • Donnelly JP, Webb T (2004) Back-barrier sedimentary records of intense hurricane landfalls in the Northeastern United States. In: Murnane RJ, Kam-Biu L (eds) Hurricanes and typhoons – past, present and future. Columbia University Press

  • Dorst NM (2007) The National Hurricane Center research project: 50 years of research, rough rides, and name changes. Bull Am Meteorol Soc 88(10):1566–1588

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Dunion JP, Velden CS (2004) The impact of the Saharan Air Layer on Atlantic tropical cyclone activity. Bull Am Meteorol Soc 85(3):353–365

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Dunn GE (1940) Cyclogenesis in the tropical Atlantic. Bull Am Meteorol Soc 21:215–229

    Google Scholar 

  • Dunn GE, Miller BI (1960) Atlantic hurricanes. Louisiana State University Press

  • Dvorak VF (1975) Tropical cyclone intensity analysis and forecasting from satellite imagery. Mon Weather Rev 103:420–430

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Edson RT (2004) Tropical cyclone analysis techniques from Quikscat NRCS, wind and ambiguity data and microwave imagery. AMS 26th Conference on Hurricanes and Tropical Meteorology, Miami, FL, 2-7 May 2004

  • Elsner JB (2003) Tracking hurricanes. Bull Am Meteorol Soc 84:353–356

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Elsner JB, Kossin JP, Jagger TH (2008) The increasing intensity of the strongest tropical cyclones. Nature 444:92–95

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Emanuel KA (1986) An air-sea interaction theory for tropical cyclones. Part I: steady-state maintenance. J Atmos Sci 43(6):585–604

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Emanuel KA (1987) The dependence of hurricane intensity on climate. Nature 326:483–485

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Emanuel KA (1995) Sensitivity of tropical cyclones to surface exchange coefficients and a revised steady-state model incorporating eye dynamics. J Atmos Sci 52 (22):3969–3976

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Emanuel KA (1999) Thermodynamic control of hurricane intensity. Nature 401:665–669

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Emanuel KA (2000) A statistical analysis of tropical cyclone intensity. Mon Weather Rev 128:1139–1152

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Emanuel KA (2003) A century of scientific progress: an evaluation. In: Simpson R (ed) Hurricane: coping with disaster. AGU, Washington D.C., pp 177–204

    Chapter  Google Scholar 

  • Emanuel KA (2005a) Increasing destructiveness of tropical cyclones over the past 30 years. Nature 436(4):686–688

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Emanuel KA (2005b) Emanuel replies. Nature 438:E13. doi:10.1038/nature04427

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Emanuel KA (2007) Environmental factors affecting tropical cyclone power dissipation. J Clim 20:5497–5509

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Emanuel K (2008) The hurricane-climate connection. Bull Am Meteorol Soc 89(5):ES10–ES20

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Emanuel K, Sundararajan R, Williams J (2008) Hurricanes and global warming: Results from downscaling IPCC AR4 simulations. Bull Am Meteorol Soc 89:347–367

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Enfield DB, Mestaz-Nuñez AM, Trimble PJ (2001) The Atlantic multidecadal oscillation and its relation to rainfall and river flows in the continental U.S. Geophys Res Lett 28:2077–2080

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Evans JL (1993) Sensitivity of tropical cyclone intensity to sea surface temperature. J Clim 6:1133–1140

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Evan AT, Heidinger AK, Bennartz R, Bennington V, Mahowald NM, Corrada-Bravo H, Velden CS, Myhre G, Kossin JP (2008) Ocean temperature forcing by aerosols across the Atlantic tropical cyclone development region. Geochem Geophys Geosyst 9(5). doi:10.1029/2007GC001774

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Frederick S, Loewenstein G, O’Donoghue T (2002) Time discounting and time preference: a critical review. J Econ Lit XL:351–401

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Garner ST, Held IM, Knutson T, Sirutis J (2009) The roles of wind shear and thermal stratification in past and projected changes of Atlantic tropical cyclone activity. J Clim 22:4723–4734

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Goldenberg SB, Shapiro LJ (1996) Physical mechanisms for the association of El Niño and West African rainfall with Atlantic major hurricane activity. J Clim 9:1169–1187

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Goldenberg SB, Landsea CW, Mestas-Nunez AM, Gray WM (2001) The recent increase in Atlantic hurricane activity: causes and implications. Science 293:474–479

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Government of the United States (1995) The American practical navigator, originally by Nathaniel Bowditch. Online at http://www.irbs.com/bowditch/

  • Gray WM (1968) Global view of the origin of tropical disturbances and storms. Mon Weather Rev 96(10):669–700

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Gray WM (1975) Tropical cyclone genesis. Dept. of Atmospheric Science Paper No 234, Colorado State University, Fort Collins, p 121

  • Gray WM (1984) Atlantic season hurricane frequency. Part I: El Niño and 30 mb Quasi-Biennial Oscillation influences. Mon Weather Rev 112:1649–1668

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Gray WM (1990) Strong association between West African rainfall and US landfall of intense hurricanes. Science 249(4974):1251–1256

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Gray WM (1993) Tropical cyclone formation and intensity change. ICSU/WMO international symposium on tropical cyclone disasters, Beijing, 12–16 Oct 1992

    Google Scholar 

  • Gray WM (1995) Tropical cyclones. Unpublished report prepared at the invitation of the World Meteorological Organization

  • Gray WM (1998) The formation of tropical cyclones. Meteorol Atmos Phys 67:37–69

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Gray WM (2003) Twentieth Century challenges and milestones. In Simpson R (ed) Hurricane!, coping with disaster. AGU, Washington D.C., pp 3–38

    Chapter  Google Scholar 

  • Gray WM, Neumann C, Tsui TL (1991) Assessment of the role of aircraft reconnaissance on tropical cyclone analysis and forecasting. Bull Am Meteorol Soc 71(12):1867–1883

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Gray WM, Sheaffer JD, Landsea CW (1997) Climate trends associated with multi-decadal variability of Atlantic hurricane activity. In: Diaz HF, Pulwarty RW (eds) Hurricanes—climate and socioeconomic impacts. Springer, New York, pp 15–52

    Google Scholar 

  • Gregory JM (2000) Vertical heat transports in the ocean and their effect on time-dependent climate change. Clim Dyn 16:501–515

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Grossmann I (2008) Tropical cyclones, climate change, and scientific uncertainty: What do we know, what does it mean, what should be done? Climate decision making center report. Carnegie Mellon University, Pittsburgh, p 61

  • Grossmann I (2009) Atlantic hurricane risks: preparing for the plausible. Env Sc Tech 43(20):7604–7608

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Grossmann I, Klotzbach P (2009) A review of North Atlantic modes of natural variability and their driving mechanisms. J Geophys Res 114:D24107

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Gualdi S, Scoccimarro E, Navarra A (2008) Changes in tropical cyclone activity due to global warming: results from a high-resolution coupled general circulation model. J Clim 21(20):5204–5228

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Guard CP, Carr LE, Wells FH, Jeffries RA, Gural ND, Edson DK (1992) Joint typhoon warning center and the challenges of multibasin tropical cyclone forecasting. Weather Forecasting 7:328–352

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Hasegawa A, Emori S (2007) Effect of air-sea coupling in the assessment of CO2-induced intensification of tropical cyclone activity. Geophys Res Lett 34:L05701

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Henderson-Sellers A, Zhang H, Berz G, Emanuel K, Gray W, Landsea CW, Holland G, Lighthill H, Shieh SL, Webster P, McGuffie K (1998) Tropical cyclones and global climate change: a post-IPCC assessment. Bull Am Meteorol Soc 79(1):19–38

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Hoarau K, Chalonge L, Hoarau JP (2006) The reasons for a reanalysis of the typhoon’s intensity in the Western North Pacific. AMS 27th Conf. hurricanes and trop. met., Monterey, CA, 24–28th April

  • Holland GJ (1997) The maximum potential intensity of tropical cyclones. J Atmos Sci 54:2519

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Holland GJ (2007) Misuse of landfall as a proxy for Atlantic tropical cyclone activity. Eos Trans AGU 88(36):349–356

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Holland GJ, Webster PJ (2007) Heightened tropical cyclone activity in the North Atlantic: natural variability or climate trend? Philos Trans R Soc London Ser A 365:2695–2716. doi:10.1098/rsta.2007.2083

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Hoyos CD, Agudelo PA, Webster PJ, Curry JA (2006) Deconvolution of the factors contributing to the increase in global hurricane intensity. Science 312:94–97

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Hussain F (2008) Effectivness of Technological Interventions for Education and Information Service in Rural South Asia, PhD thesis, Engineering and Public Policy, Carnegie Mellon University, 193pp

  • Jaffee D, Kunreuther H, Michel-Kerjan E (2008) Long Term Insurance (LTI) for Addressing Catastrophe Risk, report of the Risk Management and Decision Processes Center, The Wharton School, University of Pennsylvania, 36pp

  • Jarvinen BR (2006) Storm tides in 12 tropical cyclones including four intense New England hurricanes. NOAA/Tropical Prediction Center/National Hurricane Center

  • Jarvinen BR, Neumann CJ, Davis MAS (1984, updated 1988) A tropical cyclone data tape for the North Atlantic basin, 1886-1983: contents, limitations, and uses. NOAA Tech. Memo NWS HHC 22

  • Kamahori H, Yamazaki N, Mannoji N, Takahashi K (2006) Variability in intense tropical cyclone days in the Western North Pacific. Sci Online Lett Atmos 2:104–107

    Google Scholar 

  • Kaplan J, DeMaria M (2003) Large-scale characteristics of rapidly intensifying tropical cyclones in the North Atlantic basin. Weather Forecasting 18:1093–1108

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Kingdon JW (1984) Agendas, alternative and public polices. Little Brown and Company, New York, 240pp

    Google Scholar 

  • Kleindorfer P, Grossi P, Kunreuther H (2005) The impact of mitigation on homeowners and insurers: an analysis of model cities. In: Grossi P, Kunreuther H (eds) Catastrophe modeling: a new approach to managing risk. Springer, New York, pp 69–91

    Google Scholar 

  • Klotzbach PJ (2006) Trends in global tropical cyclone activity over the past twenty years (1986–2005). Geophys Res Lett 33:L010805

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Klotzbach PJ, Gray WM (2008) Multidecadal variability in North Atlantic tropical cyclone activity. J Clim 21:3929–3935

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Knaff JA, Sampson CR (2006) Reanalysis of West Pacific tropical cyclone intensity 1966–1987. AMS 27th Conf. hurricanes and trop. met., Monterey, CA, 24–28th April

  • Knapp KR, Kossin JP (2007) New global tropical cyclone data from ISCCP B1 geostationary satellite observations. J Appl Remote Sens 1:13505–13510

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Knutson TR, Tuleya RE (2004) Impacts of CO2-induced warming on simulated hurricane intensity and precipitation: sensitivity to the choice of climate model and convective parameterization. J Clim 17(18):3477–3495

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Knutson TR, Tuleya RE, Shen W, Ginis I (2001) Impacts of CO2-induced warming on hurricane intensities as simulated in a hurricane model with ocean coupling. J Clim 14:2458–2468

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Knutson TR, Sirutis JJ, Garner ST, Held IM, Tuleya RE (2007) Simulation of the recent multidecadal increase of Atlantic hurricane activity using an 18-km-grid regional model. Bull Am Meteorol Soc 88(10):1549–1565

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Knutson TR, Sirutis JJ, Garner ST, Vecchi GA, Held IM (2008) Simulated reduction in Atlantic hurricane frequency under twenty-first-century warming conditions. Nature Geoscience 1:359–364

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Kossin JP (2008) Is the North Atlantic hurricane season getting longer. Geophys Res Lett 35:L23705. doi:10.1029/2008GL036012

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Kossin JP, Vimont DJ (2007) A more general framework for understanding Atlantic hurricane variability and trends. Bull Am Meteorol Soc 88:1767–1781

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Kossin JP, Knapp JR, Vimont DJ, Murnane RJ, Harper BA (2007) A globally consistent reanalysis of hurricane variability and trends. Geophys Res Lett 34:L04815

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Kunreuther HC, Michel-Kerjan EO, Doherty NA, Grace MF, Klein RW, Pauly MV (2009) At war with the Weather: managing large-scale risks in a new era of catastrophes. MIT, Boston, p 416

    Google Scholar 

  • Lander M (2008) A comparison of typhoon best track data in the western north pacific: irreconcilable differences. AMS 28th Conf. on Hurricanes and Trop. Meteorology, Orlando, Florida, 28 April–2 May 2008

  • Landsea CW (2005) Hurricanes and global warming. Arising from K. Emanuel Nature 436 (2005). Nature 438(22/29):E11–E13

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Landsea CW (2007) Counting Atlantic tropical cyclones back to 1900. Eos Trans AGU 88(18):197–208

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Landsea CW, Gray WM (1992) The strong association between Western Sahelian monsoon rainfall and intense Atlantic hurricanes. J Clim 5:435–453

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Landsea CW, Bell GD, Gray WM, Goldenberg SB (1998) The extremely active 1995 Atlantic hurricane season: environmental conditions and verification of seasonal forecasts. Mon Weather Rev 126:1174–1193

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Landsea CW, Pielke RA Jr., Mestas-Nuñez AM, Knaff JA (1999) Atlantic basin hurricanes: indices of climatic changes. Clim Change 42:89–129

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Landsea CW, Anderson C, Charles N, Clark G, Dunion J, Fernandez-Partagas J, Hungerford P, Neumann C, Zimmer M (2004) The Atlantic hurricane database reanalysis project: documentation for the 1851–1910 alterations and additions to the HURDAT database. In: Murname RJ, Liu KB (eds) Hurricanes and typhoons: past, present and future. Columbia University Press, West Sussex

  • Landsea CW, Harper BA, Hoarau K, Knaff JA (2006) Can we detect trends in extreme tropical cyclones? Science 313:452454

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Landsea CW, Glenn DA, Bredemeyer W, Chenoweth M, Ellis R, Gamache J, Hufstetler L, Mock C, Perez R, Prieto R, Sanchez-Sesma J, Thomas D, Woolcock L (2008) A renalysis of the 1911-1920 Atlantic hurricane database. J Clim 21:2138–2168

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Landsea CW, Vecchi GA, Bengtsson L, Knutson TR (2009) Impact of duration thresholds on Atlantic tropical cyclone counts. J Clim 23:2508–2519

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Lave LB, Apt J (2006) Planning for natural disasters in a stochastic world. J Risk Uncertain 33:117–130

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Ludlum DM (1963) Early American hurricanes 1492–1870. American Meteorological Society, Boston

    Google Scholar 

  • Manabe S, Holloway JL Jr, Stone HM (1970) Tropical circulation in a time-integration of a global model of the atmosphere. J Atmos Sci 27:580–612

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Mann ME, Emanuel KA (2006) Atlantic hurricane trends linked to climate change. Eos Trans AGU 87(24):233–244

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Mann ME, Sabbatelli TA, Neu U (2007a) Evidence for a modest undercount bias in early historical Atlantic tropical cyclone counts. Geophys Res Lett 34:L22707

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Mann ME, Emanuel KA, Holland GJ, Webster P (2007b) Atlantic tropical cyclones revisited. Eos Trans AGU 88(36):349–350

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Marshall J, Kushnir Y, Battisti D, Chang P, Czaja A, Dickson R, Hurrell J, McCartney M, Saravanan R, Visbeck M (2001) North Atlantic climate variability: phenomena, impacts and mechanisms. Int J Climatol 21(15):1863–1898

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Maue R (2009) Northern hemisphere tropical cyclone activity. Geophys Res Lett 36:L05805. doi:10.1029/2008GL035946

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • McDonald RE, Bleaken DG, Cresswell DR, Pope VD, Senior CA (2005) Tropical storms: representation and diagnosis in climate models and the impacts of climate change. Clim Dyn 25:19–36

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Meehl, GA, Stocker, TF, Collins, WD, Friedlingstein, P, Gaye, AT, Gregory, JM, Kitoh, A, Knutti, R, Murphy, JM, Noda, A, Raper, SCB, Watterson, IG, Weaver, AJ, Zhao, ZC (2007) Global climate projections. In: Climate change 2007, the physical science basis. Contributions of working group I to the fourth assessment report of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change

  • Merryfield WJ (2006) Changes to ENSO under CO2 doubling in a multimodel ensemble. J Clim 19:4009–4027

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Michaels PJ, Knappenberger PC, Davis RE (2006) Sea-surface temperatures and tropical cyclones in the Atlantic basin. Geophys Res Lett 33:L09708. doi:10.1029/2006GL025757

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Namias J (1963) Interactions of circulation and weather between hemispheres. Mon Weather Rev 91:482–286

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Nolan DS, Rappin ED (2008) Increased sensitivity of tropical cyclogenesis to wind shear in higher SST environments. Geophys Res Lett 35:L14805. doi:10.1029/2008GL034147

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Nyberg J, Malmgren BA, Winter A, Jury MR, Kilbourne KH, Quinn TM (2007) Low Atlantic hurricane activity in the 1970s and 1980s compared to the past 270 years. Nature 447:698–702

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Oouchi KJ, Yoshimura J, Yoshimura H, Mizuta R, Kusunoki S, Noda A (2006) Tropical cyclone climatology in a global-warming climate as simulated in a 20 km-mesh global atmospheric model: frequency and wind intensity analysis. J Meteorol Soc Jpn 84(2):259–276

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Palmén E (1948) On the formation and structure of tropical cyclones. Geophysica 3:26–38

    Google Scholar 

  • Persing J, Montgomery MT (2005) Is environmental CAPE important in the determination of maximum possible hurricane intensity? J Atmos Sci 62:542–550

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Piddington H (1860) The sailor’s horn-book for the law of storms. Williams & Norgate, London

    Google Scholar 

  • Pielke RA Jr, Landsea CW (1999) La Niña, El Niño, and Atlantic hurricane damages in the United States. Bull Am Meteorol Soc 80(10):2027–2033

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Pielke RA, Landsea C, Mayfield M, Laver J, Pasch R (2005) Hurricanes and global warming. Bull Am Meteorol Soc 86:1571–1575

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Pielke RA Jr, Gratz J, Landsea CW, Collins D, Saunders MA, Musulin R (2008) Normalized hurricane damage in the United States: 1900–2005. Nat Hazards Rev 9(1):29–42

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Rappaport EN, Simpson RH (2003) Impact of technologies from two world wars. In Simpson R (ed) Hurricane: coping with disaster. AGU, Washington D.C., pp 39–62

    Chapter  Google Scholar 

  • Ritchie EA, Simpson J, Liu WT, Halverson J, Velden C, Brueske KF, Pierce H (2003) Present day satellite technology for hurricane research: a closer look at formation and intensification. In Simpson R (ed) Hurricane!, coping with disaster. AGU, Washington D.C, pp 249–290

    Chapter  Google Scholar 

  • Royer JF, Chauvin F, Timbal B, Araspin P, Grimal D (1998) A GCM study of the impact of greenhouse gas increase on the frequency of occurrence of tropical cyclones. Clim Change 38:307–343

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Saunders MA, Lea AS (2008) Large contribution of sea surface warming to recent increase in Atlantic hurricane activity. Nature 451:557–561

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Shapiro LJ, Goldenberg SB (1998) Atlantic sea surface temperatures and tropical cyclone formation. J Clim 11:578–590

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Shea DJ, Gray WM (1973) The hurricane’s inner core region I: symmetric and asymmetric structure. J Atmos Sci 30:1544–1564

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Shen W, Tuleya RE, Ginis I (2000) A sensitivity study of the thermodynamic environment on GFDL model hurricane intensity: implications for global warming. J Clim 13:109–121

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Shepherd JM, Knutson T (2007) The current debate on the linkage between global warming and hurricanes. Geography Compass 1(1):1–24

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Smed J (1943) Annual and seasonal variations in salinity of the North Atlantic surface water. Rapp. Et Process-Verb. des Re’unions, International Council for exploration of the sea, pp 77–94

  • Smith RK, Montgomery MT, Vogl S (2008) A critique of Emanuel’s hurricane model and potential intensity theory. Quart J Roy Meteor Soc 134:551–561

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Solow AR, Beet AR (2008) On the incompleteness of the historical record of North Atlantic tropical cyclones. Geophys Res Lett 35:L11803. doi:10.1029/2008GL033546

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Solow AR, Moore L (2002) Testing for trend in North Atlantic hurricane activity, 1900-1998. J Clim 15:3111–3114

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Sriver R, Huber M (2006) Low frequency variability in globally-integrated tropical cyclone power dissipation. Geophys Res Lett 33:L11705

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Sugi M, Noda A, Sato N (2002) Influence of the global warming on tropical cyclone climatology: an experiment with the JMA global model. J Meteorol Soc Jpn 80(2):249–272

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Sugi M, Murakami H, Yoshimura J (2009) A reduction in global tropical cyclone frequency due to global warming. Sc Online Lett Atmos 5:164–167

    Google Scholar 

  • Sun D, Lau KM, Kafatos M (2008) Contrasting the 2007 and 2005 hurricane seasons: evidence of possible impacts of Saharan dry air and dust on tropical cyclone activity in the Atlantic basin. Geophys Res Lett 35:L15405. doi:10.1029/2008GL034529

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Sutton RT, Hodson DLR (2005) Atlantic ocean forcing of North American and European Summer Climate. Science 309:115–118

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Swanson KL (2007) Impact of scaling behavior on tropical cyclone intensities. Geophys Res Lett 34:L18815. doi:10.1029/2007GL030851

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Swanson KL (2008) Nonlocality of Atlantic tropical cyclone intensities. Geochem Geophys Geosyst 9:Q04V01. doi:10.1029/2007GC001844

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Talib NN (2007) The black swan: the impact of the highly improbable. Random House 2007, p 366

  • Tsutsui J (2002) Implications of anthropogenic climate change for tropical cyclone activity: a case study with the NCAR CCM2. J Meteorol Soc Jpn 80(1):45–65

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Vecchi GA, Knutson TR (2008) On estimates of historical North Atlantic tropical cyclone activity. J Clim 21:3580–3600

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Vecchi GA, Soden BJ (2007a) Effect of remote sea surface temperature change on tropical cyclone potential intensity. Nature 450(7172):1066–1070

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Vecchi GA, Soden BJ (2007b) Increased tropical Atlantic wind shear in model projections of global warming. Geophys Res Lett 34:L08702

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Vecchi GA, Swanson KL, Soden BJ (2008) Whither hurricane activity? Science 322:687–689

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Velden C, Harper B, Wells F, Beven JLII, Zehr R, Olander T, Mayfield M, Guard C, Lander M, Edson R, Avila L, Burton A, Turk M, Kikuchi A, Christian A, Caroff P (2006) The Dvorak tropical cyclone intensity estimation technique. Bull Am Meteorol Soc 87:1195–1210

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Vimont DJ, Kossin JP (2007) The Atlantic Meridional Mode and hurricane activity. Geophys Res Lett 34:L07709

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Walker GT (1924) Correlations in seasonal variations of weather. Ind Met Mem 24(IX):275–332

    Google Scholar 

  • Walsh KJE, Nguyen KC,McGregor JL (2004) Fine-resolution regional climate model simulations of the impact of climate change on tropical cyclones near Australia. Clim Dyn 22:47–56

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Wang Y, Wu CC (2004) Current understanding of tropical cyclone structure and intensity changes—a review. Meteorol Atmos Phys 87:257–278

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Wang C, Lee S-K, Enfield DB (2008) Atlantic Warm Pool acting as a link between Atlantic Multi-decadal Oscillation and Atlantic tropical cyclone activity. Geochem Geophys Geosys 9(5)

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Webster PJ, Holland GJ, Curry JA, Chang HR (2005) Changes in tropical cyclone number, duration and intensity in a warming environment. Science 309:1844–1846

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Willoughby HE, Clos JA, Shoreibah MG (1982) Concentric eyewalls, secondary wind maxima, and the evolution of the hurricane vortex. J Atmos Sci 39:395–411

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Wilson RM (1999) Statistical aspects of major (intense) hurricanes in the Atlantic basin during the past 49 hurricane seasons (1950–1998): implications for the current season. Geophys Res Lett 26(19):2957–2960

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Wing AA, Sobel AH, Camargo SJ (2007) Relationship between the potential and actual intensities of tropical cyclones on interannual time scales. Geophys Res Lett 34:L08810. doi:10.1029/2006GL028581

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Wohlleben TMH,Weaver AJ (1995) Interdecadal climate variability in the subpolar North Atlantic. Clim Dyn 11:459–467

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Wong S, Dessler AE (2005) Suppression of deep convection over the tropical North Atlantic by the Saharan Air Layer. Geophys Res Lett 32:L09808. doi:10.1029/2004GL022295

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • World Meteorological Organization (2006) Statement on tropical cyclones and climate change. WMO 6th International Workshop on Tropical Cyclones, San Jose

  • Wu L, Wang B (2008) What has changed the proportion of intense hurricanes in the last 30 years. J Clim 21:1432–1439

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Wu L, Wang B, Braun SA (2008) Implications of tropical cyclone power dissipation index. Int J Climatol 28:727–731

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Wu MC, Yeung KH, Chang WL (2006) Trends in Western North Pacific tropical cyclone intensity. Eos Trans AGU 87(48):537–548

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Xie L, Yan T, Pietrafesa L (2005) The effect of Atlantic sea surface temperature dipole mode on hurricanes: implications for the 2004 Atlantic hurricane season. Geophys Res Lett 32:L03701

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Yoshimura J, Sugi M, Noda A (2006) Influence of greenhouse warming on tropical cyclone frequency. J Meteorol Soc Jpn 84 (2):405–428

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Zehr RM (1992) Tropical cyclogenesis in the western North Pacific. NOAA Technical Report NESDIS 61

  • Zeng Z, Wang Y, Wu CC (2007) Environmental dynamical control of tropical cyclone intensity—an observational study. Mon Weather Rev 135:38–59

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Zhang R (2007) Anticorrelated multidecadal variations between surface and subsurface tropical North Atlantic. Geophys Res Lett 34:L12713

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Zhang R (2008) Coherent surface-subsurface fingerprint of the Atlantic meridional overturning circulation. Geophys Res Lett 35:L20705

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Zhang R, Delworth TL (2006) Impact of Atlantic multidecadal oscillations on India/Sahel rainfall and Atlantic hurricanes. Geophys Res Lett 33:L17712

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Zhao M, Held IM, Lin S-J, Vecchi GA (2009) Simulations of global hurricane climatology, interannual variability, and response to global warming using a 50 km resolution GCM. J Clim 22:6653–6678

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Zickfeld K, Levermann A, Morgan MG, Kuhlbrodt T, Rahmstorf S, Keith DW (2007) Expert judgments on the response of the Atlantic meriodional overturning circulation to climate change. Clim Change 82:235–265

    Article  Google Scholar 

Download references

Author information

Authors and Affiliations

Authors

Corresponding author

Correspondence to Iris Grossmann.

Rights and permissions

Reprints and Permissions

About this article

Cite this article

Grossmann, I., Morgan, M.G. Tropical cyclones, climate change, and scientific uncertainty: what do we know, what does it mean, and what should be done?. Climatic Change 108, 543–579 (2011). https://doi.org/10.1007/s10584-011-0020-1

Download citation

  • Received:

  • Accepted:

  • Published:

  • Issue Date:

  • DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/s10584-011-0020-1

Keywords

  • Tropical Cyclone
  • Tropical Cyclone Activity
  • Tropical Cyclone Intensity
  • Tropical Cyclone Track
  • Joint Typhoon Warning Center