Increases in key measures of Atlantic hurricane activity over recent decades are believed to reflect, in large part, contemporaneous increases in tropical Atlantic warmth [e.g., Emanuel, 2005]. Some recent studies [e.g., Goldenberg et al., 2001] have attributed these increases to a natural climate cycle termed the Atlantic Multidecadal Oscillation (AMO), while other studies suggest that climate change may instead be playing the dominant role [Emanuel, 2005; Webster et al., 2005].
Using a formal statistical analysis to separate the estimated influences of anthropogenic climate change from possible natural cyclical influences, this article presents results indicating that anthropogenic factors are likely responsible for long-term trends in tropical Atlantic warmth and tropical cyclone activity. In addition, this analysis indicates that late twentieth century tropospheric aerosol cooling has offset a substantial fraction of anthropogenic warming in the region and has thus likely suppressed even greater potential increases in tropical cyclone activity.
- Slowing of the Atlantic meridional overturning circulation at 25°N, Nature, 438, 655–657, 2005.
- Causes of climate change over the past 1000 years, Science, 289, 270–277, 2000.
- Observed and simulated multidecadal variability in the Northern Hemisphere, Clim. Dyn., 16, 661–676, 2000.
- Interdecadal variations in the thermohaline circulation in a coupled ocean-atmosphere model, J. Clim., 6, 1993–2011, 1993.
- Increasing destructiveness of tropical cyclones over the past 30 years, Nature, 436, 686–688, 2005.
- Sahel rainfall and worldwide sea temperatures, Nature, 320, 602–607, 1986.
- The recent increase in Atlantic hurricane activity: Causes and implications, Science, 293, 474–479, 2001.
- Efficacy of climate forcings, J. Geophys. Res., 110D1810410.1029/2005JD005776, 2005.
- A tropical cyclone data tape for the North Atlantic Basin, 1886–1983: Contents, limitations, and usesNOAA Natl. Hurricane Cent., Miami, Fla., 2005.
- A signature of persistent natural thermohaline circulation cycles in observed climate, Geophys. Res. Lett., 32L2070810.1029/2005GL024233, 2005.
- Global-scale modes of surface temperature variability on interannual to century timescales, J. Geophys. Res., 99D12, 25,819–25,833, 1994.
- Global analyses of sea surface temperature, sea ice, and night marine air temperature since the late nineteenth century, J. Geophys. Res., 108D14440710.1029/2002JD002670, 2003.
- An oscillation in the global climate system of period 65–70 years, Nature, 367, 723–726, 1994.
- Atlantic hurricanes and natural variability in 2005, Geophys. Res. Lett., 33L12704, 2006.
- Changes in tropical cyclone number, duration, and intensity in warming environment, Science, 309, 1844–1846, 2005.