Karthik Balaguru, Gregory R. Foltz, L. Ruby Leung

Geophysical Research Letters

Published date May 3, 2018

Increasing Magnitude of Hurricane Rapid Intensification in the Central and Eastern Tropical Atlantic

  • Uses an analysis of observations and climate model output
  • Demonstrates that:
    • The magnitude of rapid intensification (RI), defined as an event where a hurricane increases in intensity by 25 knots or higher in 24 hr, increased in the central and eastern tropical Atlantic during the 30‐year satellite period of 1986–2015
    • On the other hand, in the western tropical Atlantic, changes in RI magnitude are insignificant.
  • Finds that conspiring changes in the large‐scale hurricane environment brought about by a positive shift in the phase of the Atlantic Multidecadal Oscillation, the dominant mode of decadal climate variability in the Atlantic, are primarily responsible for these changes in RI
  • Notes that while previous studies examined the frequency of RI, our study is the first to understand potential changes in RI magnitude.
  • Results have substantial implications for the eastern Caribbean Islands, some of which were ravaged by several major hurricanes undergoing RI during the recently concluded 2017 Atlantic hurricane season