MURAL - Maynooth University Research Archive Library

    The water mass transformation framework and variability in hurricane activity

    Harris, Elizabeth A. and Marsh, Robert and Grist, Jeremy. P. and McCarthy, Gerard (2022) The water mass transformation framework and variability in hurricane activity. Climate Dynamics, 59 (3-4). pp. 961-972. ISSN 0930-7575

    Download (2MB) | Preview

    Share your research

    Twitter Facebook LinkedIn GooglePlus Email more...

    Add this article to your Mendeley library


    Hurricane activity has been higher since 1995 than in the 1970s and 1980s. This rise in activity has been linked to a warming Atlantic. In this study, we consider variability of the volume of water warmer than 26.5 ºC, considered widely to be the temperature threshold crucial to hurricane development. We find the depth of the 26.5 ºC isotherm better correlated with seasonal hurricane counts than SST in the early part of the Atlantic hurricane season in some regions. The volume of water transformed by surface heat fluxes to temperatures above 26.5 ºC is directly calculated using the Water Mass Transformation framework. This volume is compared with the year-to-year changes in the volume of water of this temperature to see how much of the volume can be explained using this calculation. In some years, there is notable correspondence between transformed and observed volume anomalies, but anomalies in other years must be largely associated with other processes, such as the divergence of horizontal heat transport associated with the AMOC. This technique provides evidence that, in a given year, coordinated physical mechanisms are responsible for the build-up of anomalous ocean heat; not only net surface heat exchange but also the convergence of horizontal heat transport from ocean currents, to provide fuel for larger numbers of intense hurricanes.

    Item Type: Article
    Keywords: Hurricane; Water mass transformation; Surface heat flux; Atlantic; Warm water anomalies;
    Academic Unit: Faculty of Social Sciences > Geography
    Faculty of Social Sciences > Research Institutes > Irish Climate Analysis and Research Units, ICARUS
    Item ID: 17488
    Identification Number:
    Depositing User: Gerard McCarthy
    Date Deposited: 05 Sep 2023 13:45
    Journal or Publication Title: Climate Dynamics
    Publisher: Elsevier
    Refereed: Yes
      Use Licence: This item is available under a Creative Commons Attribution Non Commercial Share Alike Licence (CC BY-NC-SA). Details of this licence are available here

      Repository Staff Only(login required)

      View Item Item control page


      Downloads per month over past year

      Origin of downloads