Variations in the Intensity and Spatial Extent of Tropical Cyclone Precipitation

Danielle Touma*, Samantha Stevenson, Suzana J. Camargo, Daniel E. Horton, Noah S. Diffenbaugh

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

6 Scopus citations

Abstract

The intensity and spatial extent of tropical cyclone precipitation (TCP) often shapes the risk posed by landfalling storms. Here we provide a comprehensive climatology of landfalling TCP characteristics as a function of tropical cyclone strength, using daily precipitation station data and Atlantic U.S. landfalling tropical cyclone tracks from 1900 to 2017. We analyze the intensity and spatial extent of ≥1 mm/day TCP (Z1) and ≥50 mm/day TCP (Z50) over land. We show that the highest median intensity and largest median spatial extent of Z1 and Z50 occur for major hurricanes that have weakened to tropical storms, indicating greater flood risk despite weaker wind speeds. We also find some signs of TCP change in recent decades. In particular, for major hurricanes that have weakened to tropical storms, Z50 intensity has significantly increased, indicating possible increases in flood risk to coastal communities in more recent years.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)13992-14002
Number of pages11
JournalGeophysical Research Letters
Volume46
Issue number23
DOIs
StatePublished - Dec 16 2019

Keywords

  • Atlantic tropical cyclones
  • geostatistics
  • station precipitation data
  • tropical cyclone precipitation

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Geophysics
  • Earth and Planetary Sciences(all)

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