Climate effect on hurricane tracks studied

Sept. 9, 2011 at 5:52 PM
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MIAMI, Sept. 9 (UPI) -- U.S. scientists say an analysis of more than 60 years of tropical storm data has yielded landfall threat patterns.

Scientists at the University of Miami have found an intriguing relationship between hurricane tracks and climate variability, a university release reported Friday.

In the analysis of Atlantic storm data recorded from 1950 to 2010, storms fell into three categories identified by their projected paths: straight moving, recurving landfall and recurving ocean.

Storms that were born farther south and/or west in the tropical Atlantic were likely to become straight moving storms that affected the Gulf Coast of the United States and the Western Caribbean.

However, researchers said, storms that form more north or east have a greater chance of either presenting a risk to the Eastern seaboard or simply recurving into the open ocean.

Climate variations such as El Nino not only caused fewer storms but could affect their ultimate track as well, the researchers said.

"In a typical El Nino season, we found that storms have a higher probability of curving back out into the ocean as opposed to threatening to make landfall along the East Coast of the United States due to a change in the circulation across the Atlantic," UM graduate student in meteorology and physical oceanography Angela Colbert said.

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