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Tropical Cyclones in the Atlantic Basin

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Tropical Cyclones in the Atlantic Basin

Statistical Analysis of the Number of Hurricanes from 1938-2013

Jeremy Erwin

Word Count: 470 For this discussion I decided to research tropical cyclones in the Atlantic and determine how many hurricanes have developed from 1938 to 2013. According to the Atlantic Oceanographic & Meteorological Laboratory (AOML) article found here , there have been a total of 222 storms since 1938 that were strong enough to be categorized as hurricanes. From the population of hurricanes I chose a sample of 76 years to study. This does not represent the population of hurricanes that formed on the planet during those 76 years, only those that occurred in the Atlantic Basin. Also, many storms were missed prior to aircraft reconnaissance and satellite imagery. Therefore, the only reliable information of a complete population of hurricanes in the Atlantic Basin, exist from 1966-2013. The number of hurricanes counted is a discrete random variable because each storm is counted only once. There was some limitation with the random variable, but it was due to the inability to collect a complete data set.
Table 1: Sorted Summary Statistics
Mean-2σ 0.8
Minimum 2.0
Q1 4.0
Mode 4.0
Median 6.0
Mean () 6.1
Q3 8.0
Mean+2σ 11.3
Maximum 15.0 After analyzing the tropical cyclone data I determined the mean, mode, and median in order to identify the various measures of center. As shown in Table 1, the most frequent number of hurricanes per year was 4 and is defined as the mode. The median and mean were very close at 6.0 and 6.1.; which indicates that there was an average of 6 storms per year. Next, I looked at the range, standard deviation, and variance in order to determine how dispersed the data was. Using the values in Table 2, I identified the likelihood of a hurricane forming and how often this phenomenon repeats. The range of 13.0 hurricanes means that there can be a large difference in the number of hurricanes each year. The standard deviation of 2.6, also means that the number of hurricanes per year can fluctuation roughly between 3 and 9. This is a large deviation considering that the maximum and minimum are 15.0 and 2.0, respectively.
Table 2: Other Statistics
Sample Size 222.0 Hurricanes
Range 13 Hurricanes
Standard Deviation (σ) 2.6 Hurricanes
Variance (σ2) 6.8 The values in Table 1 are separated from Table 2 because Table 1 focuses on the values at the center of the data set, whereas Table 2 explains how far the data varies from that center. Table 3 simplifies this by showing where the majority of the data values lie. Therefore, most years have seen between 4.0 and 8.0 storms, with the average being 6.0.
Table 3: 5-Number Summary
Minimum 2.0
Q1 4.0
Q2 (Median) 6.0
Q3 8.0
Max 15.0

Table 4 is the complete set of data of all hurricanes from 1938-2013. Interestingly, there appears to be a steady increase in the number of hurricanes that formed since the 2000s, as shown in Figure 1. AOML attributes this rise to better monitoring capabilities which would translate to a higher average of named storms in the future.

Table 4: Complete Set of Data Values
Year Hurricanes Year Hurricanes Year Hurricanes Year Hurricanes 1938 4 1957 3 1976 6 1995 11
1939 3 1958 7 1977 5 1996 9
1940 6 1959 7 1978 5 1997 3
1941 4 1960 4 1979 5 1998 10
1942 4 1961 8 1980 9 1999 8
1943 5 1962 3 1981 7 2000 8
1944 8 1963 7 1982 2 2001 9
1945 5 1964 6 1983 3 2002 4
1946 3 1965 4 1984 5 2003 7
1947 5 1966 7 1985 7 2004 9
1948 6 1967 6 1986 4 2005 15
1949 7 1968 4 1987 3 2006 5
1950 11 1969 12 1988 5 2007 6
1951 8 1970 5 1989 7 2008 8
1952 6 1971 6 1990 8 2009 3
1953 6 1972 3 1991 4 2010 12
1954 8 1973 4 1992 4 2011 7
1955 9 1974 4 1993 4 2012 10
1956 4 1975 6 1994 3 2013 2

Works Cited

Landsea, C. (2014, May 2). How many tropical cyclones have there been each year in the Atlantic basin? What years were the greatest and fewest seen? Retrieved from Atlantic Oceanographic & Meteorological Laboratory:…...

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