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Keywords:

  • hurricane;
  • tropical cyclone;
  • intensity;
  • intensification;
  • climatology

ABSTRACT

A spatial analysis of intensity change has yet to be considered in hurricane climatology. Here we use a unique hourly interpolated version of the Atlantic hurricane dataset together with a novel spatial tessellation of the basin to examine the climatology of hurricane intensity change. We find that the frequency of hurricanes is highest across the central part of the basin, but regions of highest intensity are located farther south across the Caribbean. Standard errors of the mean intensities are largest in the regions adjacent to land. Highest mean intensification rates are found in the Gulf of Mexico and the Caribbean Sea, and the mean intensification is getting larger in the southeast portion of the basin. We find greater spatial coherency in intensification rates over the period from 1986 to 2011 compared with the period from 1967 to 1985. The reason for this change is unknown but it is likely due to improved surveillance technology. We also find that the statistical relationship between intensity and intensification is getting stronger and tighter and note that this might be associated with the implementation of the Dvorak Technique.