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Coastal storms of the North Atlantic Basin

12 Oct 2022 | Science Notes

From the CO2Science Archive: What was done: The authors assess the “temporal variability of coastal storms (both tropical and extratropical) and the wave climatology in the North Atlantic Basin (NAB), including the Gulf of Mexico.” What was learned: Keim et al. report that “with both storm types, the empirical record shows decadal scale variability, but neither demonstrates highly significant trends that can be linked conclusively to natural or anthropogenic factors.”

Paper reviewed: Keim, B.D., Muller, R.A. and Stone, G.W. 2004. Spatial and temporal variability of coastal storms in the North Atlantic Basin. Marine Geology 210: 7-15.

With respect to the wave climatology of the NAB, they say “the last two to three decades have been rougher at high latitudes than several decades prior, but this more recent sea state is similar to conditions from about 100 years ago.”

What it means: Decadal variability in coastal storms of the North Atlantic Basin is very striking, but there are no long-term trends of any significance over the past century, just as there is no long-term trend in the wave climatology of the North Atlantic Basin. Hence, although Keim et al. mention storm concerns raised by climate models, their study presents no data to support them. With respect to coastal storms of the NAB, therefore, it appears to be “business as usual,” with usual defined by nature.

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