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September 2, 2009

Study: "Increase" in Atlantic storms due to better detection

Scientists at the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration say their analysis of more than a century of Atlantic hurricane data suggests that an apparent increase in the number of storms since the late 19th and early 20th century is the result of better observations and better analysis of the storms as weather science and technology have improved.

The improvements have led to the detection of more short-lived tropical systems that were missed in earlier years, the researchers concluded in a paper published in the American Meteorological Tropical Storm ChantalSociety's Journal of Climate.

Storms lasting barely a day or two that would have gone unnoticed in past decades are now being picked up by satellites and other data collections systems, and better analytical tools are defining more of them as true tropical systems.

Some examples they cite include Andrea, Chantal (forming south of Nova Scotia in the image at left), Jerry and Melissa, in 2007, and last year's Arthur and Nana.  

Although the data do reveal "substantial multi-decadal variability" in the number of tropical storms, the long-term numbers are stable. "The study provides strong evidence that there has been no systematic change in the number of north Atlantic tropical cyclones during the 20th century," said Dr. Brian Soden, a professor at the University of Miami's Rosenstiel School for Marine and Atmospheric Sciences.

The study's authors conclude that their findings are consistent with several recent global warming simulations. They note that while their work found no real increase in Atlantic storm counts, it did not address the argument by some researchers that global warming is increasing the intensity, if not the number of these storms, as well as the number that reach "major" hurricane status each year.

Here's more on the study.

Posted by Frank Roylance at 11:29 AM | | Comments (0)
Categories: Research

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About Frank Roylance
This site is the Maryland Weather archive. The current Maryland Weather blog can be found here.
Frank Roylance is a reporter for The Baltimore Sun. He came to Baltimore from New Bedford, Mass. in 1980 to join the old Evening Sun. He moved to the morning Sun when the papers merged in 1992, and has spent most of his time since covering science, including astronomy and the weather. One of The Baltimore Sun's first online Web logs, the Weather Blog debuted in October 2004. In June 2006 Frank also began writing comments on local weather and stargazing for The Baltimore Sun's print Weather Page. Frank also answers readers’ weather queries for the newspaper and the blog. Frank Roylance retired in October 2011. Maryland Weather is now being updated by members of The Baltimore Sun staff

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