Global warming and tropical cyclone activity in the North Atlantic basin


Recommended citation: Pérez-Alarcón, A., Fernández-Alvarez, J. C, Sorí, R, Nieto, R, Gimeno, L (2020). Global warming and tropical cyclone activity in the North Atlantic basin. In Procedings The 27th APDR Congress. Portugal, 10-11 September 2020, ISBN 978-989-8780-08-9.


Global warming has led to an increase in sea surface temperature (SST), which combined with other factors creates ideal conditions for the formation of tropical cyclones (TCs). A trend analysis of the sea surface temperatures using the Centennial Time Scale (COBE SST2) dataset from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), revealed a tendency towards the warming of the tropical North Atlantic basin (NATL) of approximately 0.0041 oC/year for the hurricane season (June-November) from 1850 to the end of 2018. In agreement, and despite the uncertainty in the initial records of tropical cyclones, a trend analysis of the number of TCs computed using statistics from the HURDAT2 database of the National Hurricane Center reveals an increase in the genesis of TCs in NATL of approximately 7.4 TCs/decade. Also, the number of systems that reached the category of tropical storm has increased, however, the increase observed in hurricanes is not significant. Finally, our results confirm previous findings that observed a poleward migration in the average latitude at which tropical cyclones have achieved their lifetime-maximum intensity over the NATL basin. Therefore, special attention must be paid to possible observed and future implications of the poleward migration of the destructive effects of TCs on western Europe.