Understanding the Sea SurfaceTemperature - Tropical Cyclone Relationship: A Data Driven Approach

Date of Submission: 
April 26, 2012
Report Number: 
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The majority of works investigating future Atlantic tropical cyclone (TC) frequency in a warming environment employ a simulation-based approach. Observational data-driven analyses meanwhile, have focused on basin-wide trends to conclude that no clear relation can be attributed to the recent increase in Atlantic sea surface temperature (SST) and Atlantic TC frequency. We present a data-driven analysis that monitors smaller regions in the Atlantic and is able to capture connections between the warming of certain regions in the Atlantic ocean and Atlantic TC frequency better than the previously used basin-wide analyses. Our results suggest that the warming of the Atlantic off the West African coast near 20◦- 30◦N prior to the TC season, as well as the warming westward of 10◦ − 20◦N between 18◦ and 60◦W during the TC season have a pronounced effect on TC formation. Furthermore, we propose that, unlike other basins, the recent increase in TC activity can be linked to Atlantic SST.