Type of Document Dissertation Author Bossak, Brian H URN etd-08312003-201707 Title Early 19th Century U.S. Hurricanes: A GIS Tool And Climate Analysis Degree Doctor of Philosophy Department Geography, Department of Advisory Committee
Advisor Name Title James B. Elsner Committee Chair E. Jay Baker Committee Member R. Dan Jacobson Committee Member Xufeng Niu Committee Member Keywords
- The Historical Hurricane Impact Tool (HHIT)
Date of Defense 2003-06-01 Availability unrestricted AbstractHurricane climate research is based on data spanning the last 100 years or so. To better
understand rare but potentially catastrophic hurricane events it is helpful to have longer records.
Records from historical archives are available, but they need to be collated and edited. Efforts to collate U.S. tropical cyclone information from the first half of the 19th Century using a
Geographic Information System (GIS) have been conducted in this research. The Historical
Hurricane Impact Tool (HHIT) is based on Environmental Systems Research Institute’s (ESRI)
ArcView GIS 3.1. Statements concerning coastal and near-coastal impacts are reproduced within
map callout boxes. The callout boxes point to the geographic location of the documented
information. Map layers are used for different archival sources. The HHIT, which is available in
hardcopy format and will be online in the near future via an internet map server, can be used by
scientists, emergency managers, and the general public to better estimate the risk of a hurricane
The U.S. hurricane database (“Best-Track”) was recently extended from 1871 back to 1851 through the work of NOAA’s Atlantic Hurricane Reanalysis Project. In addition, the previously mentioned Historical Hurricane Impact Tool (HHIT) has been utilized to collate and list recorded U.S. hurricanes back to the year 1800. The combination of NOAA’s “Best-Track” data back to 1851 and the HHIT collated hurricane list back to 1800 provide an unprecedented look at U.S. hurricane activity since the beginning of the industrial revolution. This research also examines U.S. (major) hurricanes over four 50-year epochs, and then further examines regional trends in U.S. hurricanes. Seasonal distributions are similar across epochs. The earliest epoch contains the greatest ratio of major hurricanes to all U.S. hurricanes. Each epoch is further divided into three separate regions, and hurricane landfalls in Florida and the East Coast region are found to have an inverse relationship. Furthermore, the relationship between climate variables such as ENSO, the NAO, the PDO, and U.S. hurricanes appears to be different in the first epoch (1801-1850) than in the other three epochs (1851-2000). The relationships noted are robust to changes in sample size. A physical explanation for the noted trend is presented in a later chapter. Other climate influences on U.S. hurricanes, including volcanic eruptions and sunspots, are explored for effects on landfall counts.
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