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The Increasing Frequency of Tropical Cyclones in the Northeastern Atlantic sector

Lima M.M., Hurduc A., Ramos A.M. and Trigo R.M.
Frontiers in Earth Science, 9, p.1040. DOI: 10.3389/feart.2021.745115

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Abstract

North Atlantic Tropical Cyclones (TCs) are major atmospheric hazards that can cause large disruptions to coastal and near-coastal societies. Although most studies focus on those areas with highest impact (e.g., Caribbean Islands, the Gulf and western coast of United States), there is an increasing interest in characterizing changes in occurrence and impacts in areas usually less affected by TCs, particularly in the framework of a changing climate. Here we provide a long-term context evaluating changes in the frequency of TC in the Northeast Atlantic (NEA) basin during the 19782019 period. In the last decades, scattered information has shown an impact both from TCs and Post-Tropical Cyclones (PTC) in the NEA. We compute several complementary linear trends and show a significant (p ? 0.1) increase in the number of stronger storms in the entire North Atlantic basin, and the amount of TCs and PTCs that reach the NEA, in agreement with previous works. A highly significant relation (p ? 0.05) is found between the Atlantic Multidecadal Oscillation (AMO) index and TC activity in both the entire North Atlantic and the NEA basin. Sea surface temperature anomaly maps are produced to better encapsulate the annual variability without the multidecadal oscillation effects and, important cold (warm) pools in cyclogenesis and development zones are found in years with low (high) TC activity. It is also found that the sea surface temperature field plays a minor role in the guiding of storms into the NEA sector. Long-term trends as well as high/low seasonal activity analysis suggest that atmospheric circulation (vertical wind shear, lapse rate, mean sea level pressure and upper-level steering) is more relevant than sea surface temperature in the NEA region.