This Is AuburnElectronic Theses and Dissertations

A High-Resolution Hurricane Analysis for the Southeastern United States




Whatley, Christopher

Type of Degree

Master's Thesis


Forestry and Wildlife Science


This study investigated hurricane trends in the Southeastern United States. First, we developed a high-resolution gridded hurricane dataset, GRID-HURDAT2, and calculated Accumulated Cyclone Energy (ACE) index in three spatial domains: the Southeastern U.S., the Eastern U.S., and the entire Atlantic Basin along with the mainland United States. We found little change in ACE over land since 1900, though we did find an increasing trend over the ocean. We then investigated if Atlantic Multidecadal Oscillation (AMO), Pacific Decadal Oscillation (PDO), and El Nino Southern Oscillation (ENSO) were factors relevant to tropical cyclone activity in the Atlantic Basin, and they appear to be, especially AMO. From 1900 to 2019, we found that AMO positively impacted cyclonic activity (r = 0.45), and PDO and ENSO negatively impacted cyclonic activity (r = -0.23, -0.24, respectively). In the second phase, we used the GRID-HURDAT2 dataset along with gridded precipitation data from The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) to analyze the precipitation along the paths of hurricanes. We found an increasing trend in each year's greatest magnitude precipitation events with a p-value of 0.02. To further support the precipitation analysis, we used another metric, Extreme Rainfall Multiplier (ERM), for comparison and found an increasing trend with a p-value of 0.03.