Robust predictors for seasonal Atlantic hurricane activity identified with causal effect networks

Pfleiderer, Peter; Schleussner, Carl-Friedrich; Geiger, Tobias; Kretschmer, Marlene

Atlantic hurricane activity varies substantially from year to year and so does the associated damage. Longer-term forecasting of hurricane risks is a key element to reduce damage and societal vulnerabilities by enabling targeted disaster preparedness and risk reduction measures. While the immediate synoptic drivers of tropical cyclone formation and intensification are increasingly well understood, precursors of hurricane activity on longer time horizons are still not well established. Here we use a causal-network-based algorithm to identify physically interpretable late-spring precursors of seasonal Atlantic hurricane activity. Based on these precursors we construct statistical seasonal forecast models with competitive skill compared to operational forecasts. In particular, we present a skilful prediction model to forecast July to October tropical cyclone activity at the beginning of April. Our approach highlights the potential of applying causal effect network analysis to identify sources of predictability on seasonal timescales.

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Pfleiderer, Peter / Schleussner, Carl-Friedrich / Geiger, Tobias / et al: Robust predictors for seasonal Atlantic hurricane activity identified with causal effect networks. 2020. Copernicus Publications.

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