The United States is vulnerable to the devastating impacts of tornadoes & hurricanes. The confluence of more to lose and the increasing risk of loss makes the problem acute. Our mission is to improve understanding and prediction of the hurricane & tornado risk in the face of climate variability and climate change. The mission is conducted through research, education, and service. Work is supported by Florida State University, the National Science Foundation, and the Risk Prediction Initiative.

What is Hurricane Climate?

Hurricane climate is the study of hurricanes that includes the role climate factors play in modulating seasonal, annual, and decadal activity. Hurricane activity often refers to frequency and intensity, but it can include other characteristics like efficiency of intensification. Hurricane climatology is the statistics (e.g., mean number of hurricanes, maximum intensity, etc.) of past hurricane activity over some reference time period. The role climate factors play in modulating hurricane activity are examined using empirical, statistical, and dynamical models. For hurricanes occurring over the North Atlantic, climate factors include El Niņo, the North Atlantic Oscillation (NAO), and sea-surface temperature (SST). Hurricane climate also includes the role global warming has on hurricane activity.

Strongest Hurricanes Are Getting Stronger

Worldwide the strength of the strongest hurricanes is increasing due to rising ocean temperatures. According to our new research, the upward trend is most dramatic over the North Atlantic and is separate from changes caused by El Niņo.

Solar Variability Affects Hurricane Intensity

For hurricanes to form, the air must cool fast enough with height for tall clouds to grow. These tall clouds convert the heat and water from the ocean into destructive winds. According to our new research, this cooling is blocked by solar heating in the ozone layer above the hurricane.

Warming Seas Affect Insured Losses

From year to year the influence of warming seas on insured losses will be minor relative to El Niņo, the North Atlantic Oscillation, and random sea temperature fluctuations, but averaged over a decade or more the effect could be significant.

Program Managers: G. Ostrander (V.P. Research FSU), M. Guishard (RPI). Views expressed on this site are ours and do not necessarily reflect those of FSU or RPI.