Estimated return periods for Hurricane Katrina
Article first published online: 19 APR 2006
Copyright 2006 by the American Geophysical Union.
Geophysical Research Letters
Volume 33, Issue 8, April 2006
How to Cite
2006), Estimated return periods for Hurricane Katrina, Geophys. Res. Lett., 33, L08704, doi:10.1029/2005GL025452., , and (
- Issue published online: 19 APR 2006
- Article first published online: 19 APR 2006
- Manuscript Accepted: 9 MAR 2006
- Manuscript Revised: 2 FEB 2006
- Manuscript Received: 10 DEC 2005
 Hurricane Katrina is one of the most destructive natural disaster in U.S. history. The infrequency of severe coastal hurricanes implies that empirical probability estimates of the next big one will be unreliable. Here we use an extreme-value model together with interpolated best-track (HURDAT) records to show that a hurricane of Katrina's intensity or stronger can be expected to occur, on average, once every 21 years somewhere along the Gulf coast from Texas through Alabama and once every 14 years somewhere along the entire coast from Texas through Maine. The model predicts a 100-year return level of 83 ms−1 (186 mph) during globally warm years and 75 ms−1 (168 mph) during globally cool years. This difference is consistent with models predicting an increase in hurricane intensity with increasing greenhouse warming.