Modal Inter-Comparisons between North Atlantic Accumulated Cyclone Energy and the Atlantic Multi-Decadal Oscillation, and the Pathology of the 2013 Hurricane Season


It is a community wide belief that the Atlantic Multi-decadal Oscillation (AMO) and the Accumulated Cyclone Energy (ACE) are strongly positively correlated and in lock-step for the characterization of a tropical cyclone (TC)—hurricane season; including how many named TCs will form and how many will become hurricanes and major hurricanes [1]-[4]. In this paper, we decompose the AMO and ACE time series into their internal modes of variability using the Hilbert-Huang Transform REF _Ref386094582 \r \h [5] and the Ensemble Empirical Modal Decomposition (EEMD) REF _Ref386094585 \r \h [6], and look into the relationships that exist between the individual corresponding modes of the AMO and the ACE. We then evaluate the degrees of frequency domain correlations between the internal modes of variability of the AMO and the ACE across the entire record length time series. The 2013 North Atlantic Hurricane Season, which had been predicted to be “above normal”, with an ACE estimated to be between 122 and 138 by the National Oceanic & Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), turned out to be one of the quietest on record. The actual 2013 observed ACE was only 33 (unit: 104 kn2) or 29% of the 65 year (1948-2012) average of 103 (with a median of 89.5) and is the 5th lowest value since 1950. Following the visual correlations between the ACE and the AMO in the past, and assuming past is prologue to the future, the “above normal” forecast of the ACE led to a tropical cyclone community wide forecast of a highly active 2013 hurricane season. So why the busted 2013 forecast? This study will address the possible reasons.

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Yan, T. , Bao, S. , Pietrafesa, L. and Gayes, P. (2014) Modal Inter-Comparisons between North Atlantic Accumulated Cyclone Energy and the Atlantic Multi-Decadal Oscillation, and the Pathology of the 2013 Hurricane Season. Natural Science, 6, 597-604. doi: 10.4236/ns.2014.68059.

Conflicts of Interest

The authors declare no conflicts of interest.


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