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Examination of hurricane data involves assessment of archive maps of hurricane tracks that can be accessed via links in the National Hurricane Center (NHC) Data Archive (Archive (Links to an external site.)) via selection of records for selected years focusing first on the Atlantic, Caribbean & Gulf of Mexico, and subsequently on hurricanes in the East Pacific.
The procedure requires selection of the chosen year for the designated region from the appropriate pull-down menu in the section entitled Tropical Cyclone Reports (see illustration below) followed by the Go button. This action presents a page with a listing of the storms in the specified region for the chosen year with a map of the hurricane tracks below and the option to select other years from the menu below the title. Clicking on the map provides an enlarged image of the map.
The left-hand column on the National Hurricane Center website gives links that provide access to many pages of information about hurricanes.
Question 1: Answer both parts of this question:
- What is the approximate range of latitudes where tropical storms become hurricanes in the North Atlantic, Caribbean and Gulf of Mexico?
- How early and how late (i.e. the overall time range) can hurricanes (not just tropical depressions or storms) occur in the North Atlantic, Caribbean and Gulf of Mexico?
A strong answer will supply details of the timing of hurricane occurrences and the approximate latitudes where they form based on data for a number of recent years and make general conclusions from an assessment of these data by comparison of the characteristics for several years.
Question 2: Answer all parts of this question:
- What is the approximate range of latitudes where tropical storms become hurricanes in the East Pacific?
- How early and how late (i.e. the overall time range) can hurricanes (not just tropical depressions or storms) occur in the East Pacific?
- Are the time periods and latitudinal ranges for hurricane occurrences in the East Pacific similar to those in the North Atlantic, Caribbean & Gulf of Mexico?
A strong answer will supply details of the timing of hurricane occurrences and the approximate latitudes where they form in specific years making general conclusions from an assessment of data for several years, and comparing the values for the East Pacific with those for the North Atlantic, Caribbean and Gulf of Mexico.
Question 3: Does there appear to be a correspondence in the intensity of hurricane seasons in the two ocean regions? (i.e., in years when the number of hurricanes is significant more or less than the average in the Atlantic does the East Pacific show similar characteristics?)
A strong answer will compare the characteristics of hurricane occurrences and the numbers of hurricanes in a number of given years for the two regions, sufficient to establish whether a pattern exists.
Question 4: Reports in the media commented on the exceptional magnitude and number of hurricanes in the East Pacific in 2015. Based on comparison of the hurricane track map for the East Pacific for 2015 with those for other years is this assessment valid? Similarly, the series of major hurricanes in the Atlantic in 2017 and in 2018 raised questions about whether these years were also exceptional, or within the range in the number and severity of storms during a typical hurricane season?
A strong answer will include reference to the number and magnitude of hurricanes in the east Pacific in 2015 versus those in a number of other years, using these comparative data to explain whether 2015 is indeed exceptional. It will make a similar assessment of hurricane data for the Atlantic in 2017 and 2018, discussing whether there number and intensity fell within the typical rnage.