Tropical cyclone statistics in the Northeastern Pacific

E. ROMERO VADILLO, O. ZAYTSEV, R. MORALES PÉREZ

Abstract

The principal area of tropical cyclogenesis in the tropical eastern Pacific Ocean is offshore in the Gulf of Tehuantepec, between 8 and 15º N, and most of these cyclones move towards the west and northwest during their initial phase. Historical analysis of tropical cyclone data in the Northeastern (NE) Pacific over the last 38 years (from 1966 to 2004) shows a mean of 16.3 tropical cyclones per year, consisting of 8.8 hurricanes and 7.4 tropical storms. The analysis shows great geographical variability of cyclone tracks, and that there were a considerable number of hurricane strikes along the Mexican coast. About 50% of the tropical cyclones formed turned north to northeast. It was rare that any passed further north than 30º N in latitude because of the cold California Current. Hurricane tracks that affected the NE Pacific may be separated into 5 groups. We compared the historical record of the sea surface temperature (SST), related with the El Niño events with a data set of tropical cyclones, including frequency, intensity, trajectory, and duration. Although the statistical dependence between the frequencies of tropical cyclones of the most abundant categories, 1 and 2, over this region and SST data was not convincing, the percentage of high intensity hurricanes and hurricanes with a long life-time (greater than 12 days) was more during El Niño years than in non-El Niño years.

Keywords

Tropical cyclone; Northeastern Pacific; hurricane track statistics

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