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Tropical Cyclones of the Lesser Antilles

Reference
Chenoweth, M. and Divine, D. 2012. Tropical cyclones in the Lesser Antilles: descriptive statistics and historical variability in cyclone energy, 1638-2009. Climatic Change 113: 583-598.
In an earlier paper (Chenoweth and Divine, 2008), the authors "presented a 318-year record of tropical cyclone activity in the Lesser Antilles and determined that there has been no statistically significant change in the frequency of tropical cyclones (tropical storms and hurricanes) as well as tropical depressions over the entire length of the record or for shorter time periods." And noting that the Lesser Antilles lies partly within the Main Development Region for Atlantic tropical cyclone formation, they say that this fact "makes this record our best source for historical variability of tropical cyclones in the tropical Atlantic in the past three centuries."

In a new paper, Chenoweth and Divine (2012) examine their earlier record in more detail, including an update through 2009, using various statistics "to describe the climatology of tropical cyclones since 1690 and for hurricanes since 1638." In addition, they determined the maximum estimated wind speed for each tropical cyclone for each hurricane season to produce a seasonal value of the total cyclone energy of each storm along various transects that pass through the 61.5°W meridian, which parameter they identify as the annual Lesser Antilles Cyclone Energy (LACE).

In describing their findings, the two researchers say that their "record of tropical cyclone activity reveals no trends in LACE in the best-sampled regions for the past 320 years." Likewise, they report that "even in the incompletely sampled region north of the Lesser Antilles there is no trend in either numbers or LACE," which results they say are similar to those reported on tropical cyclone counts by Chenoweth and Divine (2008). And they add that "LACE is positively correlated with basin-wide Accumulated Cyclone Energy (ACE)."

Such findings refute broad claims of a CO2-induced temperature influence on tropical cyclones; for if there was any relationship among these variables, one would think that in transiting from the frozen depths of the Little Ice Age to the peak warmth of the Current Warm Period - the recent high temperatures of which are frequently described by climate alarmists as being unprecedented over the past millennium or two - that tropical North Atlantic hurricanes would have greatly increased in both number and intensity. But as Chenoweth and Divine show, the growing mountain of real-world evidence reveals that such is not the case.

Additional Reference
Chenoweth, M. and Divine, D. 2008. A document-based 318-year record of tropical cyclones in the Lesser Antilles, 1690-2007. Geochemistry, Geophysics, Geosystems 9: 10.1029/2008GC002066.

Archived 22 January 2013