Changes in Tropical Cyclone Number, Duration, and Intensity in a Warming Environment

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Science  16 Sep 2005:
Vol. 309, Issue 5742, pp. 1844-1846
DOI: 10.1126/science.1116448


  • Fig. 1.

    Running 5-year mean of SST during the respective hurricane seasons for the principal ocean basins in which hurricanes occur: the North Atlantic Ocean (NATL: 90° to 20°E, 5° to 25°N, June-October), the Western Pacific Ocean (WPAC: 120° to 180°E, 5° to 20°N, May-December), the East Pacific Ocean (EPAC: 90° to 120°W, 5° to 20°N, June-October), the Southwest Pacific Ocean (SPAC: 155° to 180°E, 5° to 20°S, December-April), the North Indian Ocean (NIO: 55° to 90°E, 5° to 20°N, April-May and September-November), and the South Indian Ocean (SIO: 50° to 115°E, 5° to 20°S, November-April).

  • Fig. 2.

    Global time series for 1970–2004 of (A) number of storms and (B) number of storm days for tropical cyclones (hurricanes plus tropical storms; black curves), hurricanes (red curves), and tropical storms (blue curves). Contours indicate the year-by-year variability, and the bold curves show the 5-year running average.

  • Fig. 3.

    Regional time series for 1970–2004 for the NATL, WPAC, EPAC, NIO, and Southern Hemisphere (SIO plus SPAC) for (A) total number of hurricanes and (B) total number of hurricane days. Thin lines indicate the year-by-year statistics. Heavy lines show the 5-year running averages.

  • Fig. 4.

    Intensity of hurricanes according to the Saffir-Simpson scale (categories 1 to 5). (A) The total number of category 1 storms (blue curve), the sum of categories 2 and 3 (green), and the sum of categories 4 and 5 (red) in 5-year periods. The bold curve is the maximum hurricane wind speed observed globally (measured in meters per second). The horizontal dashed lines show the 1970–2004 average numbers in each category. (B) Same as (A), except for the percent of the total number of hurricanes in each category class. Dashed lines show average percentages in each category over the 1970–2004 period.


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