Aslak Grinsted, John C. Moore, Svetlana Jevrejeva

Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences

Published date April 2, 2013

Projected Atlantic hurricane surge threat from rising temperatures

  • Relates a homogeneous record of Atlantic tropical cyclone activity based on storm surge statistics from tide gauges to changes in global temperature patterns
  • Examines 10 competing hypotheses using nonstationary generalized extreme value analysis with different predictors (North Atlantic Oscillation, Southern Oscillation, Pacific Decadal Oscillation, Sahel rainfall, Quasi-Biennial Oscillation, radiative forcing, Main Development Region temperatures and its anomaly, global temperatures, and gridded temperatures)
  • Finds that gridded temperatures, Main Development Region, and global average temperature explain the observations best
  • Finds the most extreme events are especially sensitive to temperature changes
  • Estimates a doubling of Katrina magnitude events associated with the warming over the 20th century
  • States the increased risk depends on the spatial distribution of the temperature rise with highest sensitivity from tropical Atlantic, Central America, and the Indian Ocean
  • Finds that statistically downscaling 21st century warming patterns from six climate models results in a twofold to sevenfold increase in the frequency of Katrina magnitude events for a 1 °C rise in global temperature