Last updated September 29, 2021

Persistent northward North Atlantic tropical cyclone track migration over the past five centuries

  • States that accurately predicting future tropical cyclone risk requires understanding the fundamental controls on tropical cyclone dynamics
  • Presents an annually-resolved 450-year reconstruction of western Caribbean tropical cyclone activity developed using a new coupled carbon and oxygen isotope ratio technique in an exceptionally well-dated stalagmite from Belize
  • States that western Caribbean tropical cyclone activity peaked at 1650 A.D., coincident with maximum Little Ice Age cooling, and decreased gradually until the end of the record in 1983
  • Considered with other reconstructions, the new record suggests that the mean track of Cape Verde tropical cyclones shifted gradually north-eastward from the western Caribbean toward the North American east coast over the last 450 years
  • Finds that, since ~1870 A.D., these shifts were largely driven by anthropogenic greenhouse gas and sulphate aerosol emissions
  • The results strongly suggest that future emission scenarios will result in more frequent tropical cyclone impacts on the financial and population centres of the northeastern United States