Tropical Cyclones and Climate Change

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Tropical cyclones (TCs) are of the most extreme and dangerous weather phenomena on Earth. In the United States, landfalling TCs account for an average of $10 billion damages annually (Pielke et al. 2008). Hurricane Katrina (2005) alone caused $81 billion of damages and took more than 1,800 lives away. In developing countries, TC landfalls can be extremely detrimental. For example, Cyclone Nargis (2008) took more than 130,000 lives in Myanmer (Burma) . Due to the catastrophic nature of TCs, substantial efforts have been devoted to short-term predictions of TC track and intensity in an effort to minimize the damages and casualties. In recent years, the relationship between TC activity and climate change has attracted strong attentions in…show more content…
At intraseasonal (30-90 day) scale, the Madden-Julian Oscillation (MJO, Madden and Julian 1972) has substantial impacts upon retional TC activities in multiple basins; Indian Oceans (Hall et al. 2001, Bessafi and Wheeler 2006), western North Pacific (e.g., Liebmann et al. 1994), eastern North Pacific (e.g., Maloney and Hartmann 2000a), and Gulf of Mexico (Maloney and Hartmann 2000b). Association of these modes of variabilities to TC activity has contributed to substantial increase of understanding in long-term variation of TC activities in different regions. It is also true that the modulations of seasonal to interannual variations of TC activities by these modes of variability complicate the separation of natural variabilities and climate change signal. Recent studies have identified some emerging trends in regional TC activities. Using observed TC track data, Webster et al. (2005) reported increasing trends in intense (Category 4+ in the Saffir-Simpson Hurricane Scale) TCs in all TC basins. North Atlantic TC activity over the past 30-years has particularly attracted strong interest in part due to the availability of more reliable observed TC track data (discussed later in the chapter) and the noted increasing trends both in frequency and intensity. Increase of North Atlantic intense storms is reflected to the increasing trend of the overall destructiveness of hurricanes, as measured by the
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