Christopher W. Landsea

Christopher W. Landsea
National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration | NOAA · National Hurricane Center (NHC)

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104
Publications
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Introduction

Publications

Publications (104)
Article
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Atlantic hurricanes are a major hazard to life and property, and a topic of intense scientific interest. Historical changes in observing practices limit the utility of century-scale records of Atlantic major hurricane frequency. To evaluate past changes in frequency, we have here developed a homogenization method for Atlantic hurricane and major hu...
Preprint
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Atlantic hurricanes are a major hazard to life and property 1,2,3 , and a topic of intense scientific interest 4,5,6 . Historical changes in observing practices limit the utility of century-scale records of Atlantic major hurricane frequency ⁷⁻¹³ . To evaluate past changes in frequency, we have here developed a homogenization method for Atlantic hu...
Article
The Dvorak technique is used operationally by meteorological agencies throughout the world for estimating tropical cyclone intensity and position. The technique consists of constraints that put a maximum threshold for which the Final T-number, relating directly to intensity, can change during a certain time interval (6-hr, 12-hr, 18-hr, and 24-hr)....
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Direct economic losses result when a hurricane encounters an exposed, vulnerable society. A normalization estimates direct economic losses from a historical extreme event if that same event was to occur under contemporary societal conditions. Under the global indicator framework of United Nations Sustainable Development Goals, the reduction of dire...
Article
The tropical cyclone is the largest single-day-impact meteorological event in the United States and worldwide through its effects from storm surge, extreme winds, freshwater flooding, and embedded tornadoes. Fortunately, over the last three decades there have been incredible advances in forecast accuracy, especially for the track of the tropical cy...
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Ch 7. Regional Climates: f. Europe and the Middle East
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Advances in knowledge in tropical meteorological research are discussed in the context of contributions made by Professor William M. Gray. Gray pioneered the compositing approach to observational tropical meteorology through assembling of global radiosonde datasets and tropical cyclone research flight data. In the 1970s, he made fundamental contrib...
Article
The National Hurricane Center (NHC) "best track" hurricane database (HURDAT2) is the main historical archive of all tropical storms, subtropical storms, and hurricanes from 1851 to the present in the North Atlantic basin, which includes the Caribbean Sea and Gulf of Mexico. The Atlantic Hurricane Reanalysis Project is an ongoing effort to maintain...
Article
While the National Hurricane Center (NHC) has been issuing analyses and forecasts of tropical cyclone wind radii for several years, little documentation has been provided about the errors in these forecasts. A key hurdle in providing routine verification of these forecasts is that the uncertainty in the wind radii best tracks is quite large for tro...
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Ten years ago, Webster et al. documented a large and significant increase in both the number as well as the percentage of category 4 and 5 hurricanes for all global basins from 1970 to 2004, and this manuscript examines whether those trends have continued when including 10 additional years of data. In contrast to that study, as shown here, the glob...
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A reanalysis of 1969’s Hurricane Camille has been completed as part of the Atlantic Hurricane Database Reanalysis Project. The reanalysis of Hurricane Camille has been expedited to allow for a homogeneous comparison of all four of the U.S.-landfalling Saffir–Simpson hurricane wind scale category 5 hurricanes since 1900. A review of the available sh...
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A reanalysis of the Atlantic basin tropical storm and hurricane database ("best track") for the period from 1931 to 1943 has been completed as part of the Atlantic Hurricane Database Reanalysis Project. This reassessment of the main archive for tropical cyclones of the North Atlantic Ocean, Caribbean Sea, and Gulf of Mexico was necessary to correct...
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This study investigates tropical cyclones of the past two decades (1990-2010) and the connection, if any, between their size and their ability to subsequently undergo rapid intensification (RI). Three different parameters are chosen to define the size of a tropical cyclone: radius of maximum wind (RMW), the average 34-knot (kt; = 0.1 ms -1) radius...
Article
Best tracks are National Hurricane Center (NHC) poststorm analyses of the intensity, central pressure, position, and size of Atlantic and eastern North Pacific basin tropical and subtropical cyclones. This paper estimates the uncertainty (average error) for Atlantic basin best track parameters through a survey of the NHC Hurricane Specialists who m...
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For the first time in serveral years, the El Nino-Southern Oscillation did not dominate regional climate conditions around the globe. A weak La Ni a dissipated to ENSOneutral conditions by spring, and while El Nino appeared to be emerging during summer, this phase never fully developed as sea surface temperatures in the eastern conditions. Neverthe...
Article
An investigation is conducted to determine how improvements in observing capabilities and technology may have affected scientists' ability to detect and monitor Saffir-Simpson HurricaneWind Scale Category 5 hurricanes in theAtlanticOcean basin during the mid-twentieth century. Previous studies state that there has been an increase in the number of...
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THE JOINT HURRICANE TEST BED ITS FIRST DECADE OF TROPICAL CYCLONE RESEARCH-TO-OPERATIONS ACTIVITIES REVIEWED The Joint Hurricane Testbed (JHT) is reviewed at the completion of its first decade. Views of the program by hurricane forecasters at the National Hurricane Center, the test bed's impact on forecast accuracy, and highlights of the top-rated...
Article
A reanalysis of the Atlantic basin tropical storm and hurricane database ("best track") for the period from 1921 to 1930 has been completed. This reassessment of the main archive for tropical cyclones of the North Atlantic Ocean, Caribbean Sea, and Gulf of Mexico was necessary to correct systematic biases and random errors in the data as well as to...
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Several large-scale climate patterns influenced climate conditions and weather patterns across the globe during 2010. The transition from a warm El Nino phase at the beginning of the year to a cool La Nina phase by July contributed to many notable events, ranging from record wetness across much of Australia to historically low Eastern Pacific basin...
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Records of Atlantic basin tropical cyclones (TCs) since the late nineteenth century indicate a very large upward trend in storm frequency. This increase in documented TCs has been previously interpreted as resulting from anthropogenic climate change. However, improvements in observing and recording practices provide an alternative interpretation fo...
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Whether the characteristics of tropical cyclones have changed or will change in a warming climate - and if so, how - has been the subject of considerable investigation, often with conflicting results. Large amplitude fluctuations in the frequency and intensity of tropical cyclones greatly complicate both the detection of long-term trends and their...
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The National Hurricane Center issues analyses, forecasts, and warnings over large parts of the North Atlantic and Pacific Oceans, and in support of many nearby countries. Advances in observational capabilities, operational numerical weather prediction, and forecaster tools and support systems over the past 15-20 yr have enabled the center to make m...
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A reanalysis of the Atlantic basin tropical storm and hurricane database ("best track") for the period of 1911-20 has been completed. This reassessment of the main archive for tropical cyclones of the North Atlantic Ocean, Caribbean Sea, and Gulf of Mexico was necessary to correct systematic biases and random errors in the data as well as to search...
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After more than two decades of relatively little Atlantic hurricane activity, the past decade saw heightened hurricane activity and more than $150 billion in damage in 2004 and 2005. This paper normalizes mainland U.S. hurricane damage from 1900-2005 to 2005 values using two methodologies. A normalization provides an estimate of the damage that wou...
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Climate variability and any resulting change in the characteristics of tropical cyclones (tropical storms, subtropical storms, and hurricanes) have become topics of great interest and research within the past 2 years [International Workshop on Tropical Cyclones, 2006]. An emerging focus is how the frequency of tropical cyclones has changed over tim...
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Objectively derived resolution-dependent criteria are defined for the detection of tropical cyclones in model simulations and observationally based analyses. These criteria are derived from the wind profiles of observed tropical cyclones, averaged at various resolutions. Both an analytical wind profile model and two-dimensional observed wind analys...
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This technical memorandum lists the deadliest tropical cyclones in the United States during 1851- 2006 and the costliest tropical cyclones in the United States during 1900-2006. The compilation ranks damage, as expressed by monetary losses, in three ways: 1) contemporary estimates; 2) contemporary estimates adjusted by inflation to 2006 dollars; an...
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In 1976 and 1977, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration purchased two customized WP-3D (P-3) aircraft to conduct tropical cyclone (TC) research. During their first 30 years, the P-3s have proved to be invaluable research platforms, obtaining data at the micro- to synoptic scale, with missions conducted in 134 TCs in the Atlantic and e...
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Subjective measurements and variable procedures make existing tropical cyclone databases insufficiently reliable to detect trends in the frequency of extreme cyclones.
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The Atlantic warm pool (AWP) of water warmer than 28.5°C comprises the Gulf of Mexico, the Caribbean Sea, and the western tropical North Atlantic (TNA). The AWP reaches its maximum size around September, with large AWPs being almost three times larger than small ones. Although ENSO teleconnections are influential on the AWP, about two-thirds of the...
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1. INTRODUCTION Determining the relationship between minimum sea level pressure (MSLP) and maximum sustained surface winds (MSSW) in tropical cyclones (TC) has been difficult due to the lack of ground truth observations. Previous studies such as Kraft (1961) and Atkinson and Holiday (1977) used limited surface observations at landfall to determine...
Article
Anthropogenic climate change has the potential for slightly increasing the intensity of tropical cyclones through warming of sea surface temperatures. Emanuel has shown a striking and surprising association between sea surface temperatures and destructiveness by tropical cyclones in the Atlantic and western North Pacific basins. However, I question...
Article
In a simulation of enhanced tropical cyclones in a warmer world, Knutson and Tuleya make several assumptions that are not borne out in the real world. They include an unrealistically large carbon dioxide growth rate, an overly strong relationship between sea surface temperature and hurricane intensity, and the use of a mesoscale model that has show...
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This paper reviews recent research on tropical cyclones and climate change from the perspective of event risk-the physical behavior of storms; vulnerability-the characteristics of a system that create the potential for impacts, but are independent of event risk; and also outcome risk-the integration of considerations of vulnerability with event ris...
Article
On 2 October 1858, estimated sustained hurricane-force winds produced by a tropical cyclone located a short distance offshore were felt in San Diego, California. Unprecedented damage was done in the city and was described as the severest gale ever felt to that date, and it has not been matched or exceeded in severity since. A ``southeaster'' and hi...
Article
Hurricane Andrew of 1992 caused unprecedented economic devastation along its path through the Bahamas, southeastern Florida, and Louisiana. Damage in the United States was estimated to be $26 billion (in 1992 dollars), making Andrew one of the most expensive natural disasters in U.S. history. This hurricane struck southeastern Florida with maximum...
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Hurricane Donna, the only major hurricane to strike the United States during the 1960 Atlantic hurricane season, passed over the middle Florida Keys near Sombrero Key before making landfall southeast of Naples, near Goodland, Florida, on 10 September at approximately 1600 UTC. This study makes detailed retrospective surface wind analyses of Hurrica...
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In late October 1998, the remnants of Hurricane Mitch stalled over Honduras and Nicaragua, killing more than 10,000 people and causing as much as $8.5 billion in damage. While Central America and the Caribbean have a history of natural disasters, the fatalities and destruction caused by Mitch were the greatest in at least several decades, prompting...
Article
Since 1984, W. Gray of Colorado State University and a team of researchers have been issuing seasonal tropical cyclone forecasts for the North Atlantic Ocean. Prior to this, little work had been done in the area of long-term tropical cyclone forecasting because researchers saw minimal potential skill in any prediction models and no obvious benefits...
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The years 1995 to 2000 experienced the highest level of North Atlantic hurricane activity in the reliable record. Compared with the generally low activity of the previous 24 years (1971 to 1994), the past 6 years have seen a doubling of overall activity for the whole basin, a 2.5-fold increase in major hurricanes (≥50 meters per second), and a five...
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Atlantic major hurricanes have a profound impact on hu-man and natural environments. Understanding and predict-ing these storms' occurrence on daily, intraseasonal, interan-nual, multidecadal and climatic timescales can be of tremen-dous benefit and should be pursued vigorously. Elsner et al. [2000] (hereafter as EJN) address multidecadal changes o...
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The very limited instrumental record makes extensive analyses of the natural variability of global tropical cyclone activities difficult in most of the tropical cyclone basins. However, in the two regions where reasonably reliable records exist (the North Atlantic and the western North Pacific), substantial multidecadal variability (particularly fo...
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The very strong 1997-98 El Niño was the first major event in which numerous forecasting groups participated in its real-time prediction. A previously developed simple statistical tool—the El Niño-Southern Oscillation Climatology and Persistence (ENSO-CLIPER) model—is utilized as a baseline for determination of skill in forecasting this event. Twelv...
Article
Full-text available
The very strong 1997-98 El Niño was the first major event in which numerous forecasting groups participated in its real-time prediction. A previously developed simple statistical tool-the El Niño-Southern Oscillation Climatology and Persistence (ENSO-CLIPER) model-is utilized as a baseline for determination of skill in forecasting this event. Twelv...
Article
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In the United States, intense hurricanes (category 3, 4, and 5 on the Saffir/Simpson scale) with winds greater than 50 m s -1 have caused more damage than any other natural disaster [Pielke and Pielke, 1997]. Accurate estimates of wind speed exceedance probabilities (WSEP) due to intense hurricanes are therefore of great interest to (re)insurers, e...
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this paper presents a transparent methodology which would allow for a quantitative evaluation of catastrophe models. The paper proceeds in four sections. Section One presents the evaluation methodology. Section Two discusses possible applications. Section Three suggests how the methodology might be implemented in practice. And Section Four presents...
Article
Hurricanes result in considerable damage in the United States. Previous work has shown that Atlantic hurricane landfalls in the United States have a strong relationship with the El Niño-Southern Oscillation phenomena. This paper compares the historical record of La Niña and El Niño events defined by eastern Pacific sea surface temperature with a da...
Article
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Accurate records of basinwide Atlantic and U.S. landfalling hurricanes extend back to the mid 1940s and the turn of the century, respectively, as a result of aircraft reconnaissance and instrumented weather stations along the U.S. coasts. Such long-term records are not exceeded elsewhere in the tropics. The Atlantic hurricanes, U.S. landfalling hur...
Book
This is a list of Eastern Pacific hurricanes since 1949. Provided are charts on the track of the storm plus a text based table of tracking information. The table includes position in latitude and longitude, maximum sustained winds in knots, and central pressure in millibars. The North Atlantic 'best track' is maintained by the forecasters and resea...
Article
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Changes in the frequency of U.S. landfalling hurricanes with respect to the El Niño-Southern Oscillation (ENSO) cycle are assessed. Ninety-eight years (1900-97) of U.S. landfalling hurricanes are classified, using sea surface temperature anomaly data from the equatorial Pacific Ocean, as occurring during an El Niño (anomalously warm tropical Pacifi...