Increasing magnitude of hurricane rapid intensification in the central and eastern tropical Atlantic

Rapid intensification (RI) of hurricanes is notoriously difficult to predict and can contribute to severe destruction and loss of life. While past studies examined the frequency of RI occurrence, changes in RI magnitude were not considered. Here we explore changes in RI magnitude over the 30‐year satellite period of 1986–2015. In the central and eastern tropical Atlantic, which includes much of the main development region, the 95th percentile of 24‐hr intensity changes increased at 3.8 knots per decade. In the western tropical Atlantic, encompassing the Caribbean Sea and the Gulf of Mexico, trends are insignificant. Our analysis reveals that warming of the upper ocean coinciding with the positive phase of Atlantic Multidecadal Oscillation, and associated changes in the large‐scale environment, has predominantly favored RI magnitude increases in the central and eastern tropical Atlantic.

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