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tropical cyclones, North Atlantic, Hurricane Matthew, Category 5

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The 2016 North Atlantic hurricane season had an early start with a rare and powerful storm for January impacting the Azores at hurricane force. Likewise, the end of season heralded Otto which was record breaking in location and intensity being a high‐end Category 2 storm at landfall over southern central America in late November. We show that high precipitable water, positive relative vorticity, and low sea level pressure allowed for conducive conditions. During the season, few storms occurred in the main development region. While some environmental conditions were conducive for formation there (such as precipitable water, relative vorticity, and shear), the midlevel relative humidity was too low there for most of the season, presenting very dry conditions in that level of the atmosphere. We further find that the October peak in the accumulated cyclone energy was related to environmentally conducive conditions with positive relative humidity, precipitable water, relative humidity, and low values of sea level pressure. Overall 2016 was notable for a series of extremes, some rarely, and a few never before observed in the Atlantic basin, a potential harbinger of seasons to come in the face of ongoing global climate change.

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Citation / Publisher Attribution

Geophysical Research Letters, v. 44, issue 10, p. 5071-5077

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