Thursday, June 11, 2009

Summit Summary

The 2nd International Summit on Hurricanes and Climate Change was held May 31-Jun 5th in Corfu, Greece. Judging by the level of science and by the participants enthusiasm for doing it again, the Summit was an overwhelming success. There were participants from 17 countries. The relative frequency of participants by country is plotted as a word cloud (using wordle). There were 25 participants from the USA, 8 from Germany and China, 7 from France, 6 from Australia and Bermuda, and 5 from the UK. A word cloud illustrating the relative frequency of keywords from the participants abstract titles is also shown.

Summary points arising from the talks and discussions (with help from Rick Murnane):

  1. Although there were a few skeptics, most in attendance would agree that there appears to be an upward trend in the intensity of the strongest tropical cyclones worldwide. Although there does not appear to be a trend associated with the global frequency of tropical cyclones.
  2. There is a growing appreciation among the participants for a significant feedback relationship between TC activity and weather and climate events on the inter-annual time scale and on spatial scales that extend across latitudes.
  3. The availability of quality archival and proxy records of hurricane activity is increasing. These data hold the potential to provide new insights into the linkages between climate variation and tropical cyclone activity.
  4. The idea that Atlantic tropical cyclone activity is controlled by changes in relative sea-surface temperature rather than local sea-surface temperature was discounted on physical and statistical grounds.
The Summit was sponsored by Aegean Conferences, the Risk Prediction Initiative, and Climatek.

Travel awards to help defray some of the costs for students were given to N. Jourdain, R. Hodges, H. Kim, S. Lavender, M. Lenard, J. Malmstadt, K. Sheitlin, A. Suzuki-Parker, E. Vincent, A. Werner.
The talks are being made available here.

Plans are to have Springer publish an edited book of the proceedings.

Plans are underway to hold the 3rd International Summit on Hurricanes and Climate Change in 2011 on the spectacularly beautiful island of Santorini.