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USGS Scientist Studies Causes of Anomalous U.S. Hurricane Landfall Count in 2004

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map showing tracks of Hurricanes Charley, Frances, and Jeanne across central Florida
Above: The tracks of Hurricanes Charley, Frances, and Jeanne across central Florida. Lines represent tracks, and point symbols represent eye positions as reported by the National Hurricane Center (of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration's National Weather Service). [larger version]

A U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) scientist at the St. Petersburg Science Center in St. Petersburg, FL, has examined climate features likely to have influenced this year's record number of U.S. hurricane landfalls. In an article published as the cover story in the December 14, 2004, issue of Eos (American Geophysical Union Transactions, v. 85, no. 50), Brian Bossak, a USGS Mendenhall Postdoctoral Fellow, concluded that overall North Atlantic tropical cyclone activity in 2004 was not excessively high. He found that multiple climate features were juxtaposed in such a way as to encourage both hurricane intensification and a track bringing hurricanes ashore south of the North Carolina State line. The state of the El Niño-Southern Oscillation (ENSO) and Atlantic sea-surface temperatures (SSTs) supported an active season in terms of the formation of North Atlantic tropical cyclones. In particular, a climate feature known as the North Atlantic Oscillation (NAO) was implicated in influencing the position of the Bermuda High Pressure system, thereby steering hurricanes on a more southerly track toward the Southeastern United States instead of a track curving out to sea, as has been the case in the past several years. Furthermore, climate features affecting vertical wind shear over tropical regions were favorable for hurricane intensification, explaining the abnormal number of major hurricanes that made landfall in 2004. Bossak is currently completing work on his pilot project at the USGS, the Coastal Impact Assessment Tool (CIAT), and conducting a statistical verification of observed climate influences on U.S. hurricanes.

The article that Brian sent to Eos, entitled "'X'" Marks the Spot: Florida, the 2004 Hurricane Bull's-Eye," can be downloaded as a PDF from URL http://soundwaves.er.usgs.gov/2005/04/outreach3.html.

Related Sound Waves Stories
USGS Scientists Gather Images and Information About Recent Hurricanes
October 2004
USGS Maps and Data Show Why the Gulf of Mexico's Eroding Shoreline is Vulnerable to Hurricanes
October 2004
Mendenhall Postdoctoral Fellow Joins the USGS in St. Petersburg, FL
February 2004

Related Web Sites
St. Petersburg Science Center News
U.S. Geological Survey (USGS)
Hurricane and Extreme Storm Impact Studies
U.S. Geological Survey (USGS)
American Geophysical Union (AGU)
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Research Nearshore Impacts of Dam Removal

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Climate Features Influenced 2004 Hurricane Landfall Count

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Updated December 02, 2016 @ 12:09 PM (JSS)