GRL: Resolving long-term variations in North Atlantic tropical cyclone activity using a pseudo proxy paleotempestology network approach

Elizabeth J. Wallace, Sylvia G. Dee, and Kerry A. Emanuel

Geophysical Research Letters (2021) e2021GL094891.

doi: 10.1029/2021GL094891


Paleohurricane reconstructions extend the observational record of tropical cyclones back thousands of years. However, these records are subject to biases – capturing only close-moving intense storms at varying resolutions. We devise two pseudo proxy networks drawing from the full suite of published paleohurricane studies in the North Atlantic. We run synthetic storms forced with two global climate model simulations of the past millennium through each pseudo network to assess the theoretical skill of paleohurricane proxies at capturing low frequency variability in North Atlantic basin-wide and intrabasin tropical cyclones. We find that basin-wide and paleohurricane compiled tropical cyclone counts are significantly correlated with one another for the past millennium on annual to multi-decadal timescales, but compilation skill is limited by proxy temporal resolution. Current paleohurricane proxy networks predominantly capture storms moving in the Caribbean/Gulf of Mexico. Increasing the quantity of paleohurricane records from the North American coastline substantially improves reconstruction skill.


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