Consistent decrease in North Atlantic Tropical Cyclone frequency following major volcanic eruptions in the last three centuries

Alvaro Guevara-Murua*, Erica Hendy, Alison C Rust, Katharine V Cashman

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle (Academic Journal)peer-review

14 Citations (Scopus)
313 Downloads (Pure)

Abstract

Injection of sulphate aerosols into the stratosphere following major volcanic eruptions alters global climate through the absorption and scattering of solar radiation. One proposed consequence is a decrease in North Atlantic Tropical Cyclone (TC) activity, as was observed following the El Chichõn (1982) and Mount Pinatubo (1991) eruptions. We test this relationship using documentary and proxy reconstructions of major volcanic eruptions and TC frequency in the North Atlantic basin over the last three centuries. We find a consistent reduction in the number of TCs formed during the 3 years following major eruptions compared to the preceding 3 years, including after eruptions located at northern high latitudes. Our findings suggest that low-latitude eruptions reduce Atlantic TC frequency by decreasing local sea surface temperatures, whereas the mechanisms for the decrease in TC frequency following high-latitude eruptions are less clear and attribution is hampered by poor identification of these events.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)9425-9432
Number of pages8
JournalGeophysical Research Letters
Volume42
Issue number21
Early online date7 Nov 2015
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 16 Nov 2015

Keywords

  • volcanoes and tropical cyclones

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