loading page

North Atlantic tropical cyclone size and storm surge reconstructions from 1950-present
  • +1
  • Avantika Gori,
  • Ning Lin,
  • Benjamin Schenkel,
  • Daniel Chavas
Avantika Gori
Princeton University

Corresponding Author:agori@princeton.edu

Author Profile
Ning Lin
Princeton University
Author Profile
Benjamin Schenkel
University of Oklahoma/CIMMS/NOAA National Severe Storms Laboratory
Author Profile
Daniel Chavas
Purdue University
Author Profile


Tropical cyclones (TCs) are one of the greatest threats to coastal communities along the US Atlantic and Gulf coasts due to their extreme winds, rainfall and storm surge. Analyzing historical TC climatology and modeling TC hazards can provide valuable insight to planners and decision makers. However, detailed TC size information is typically only available from 1988 onward, preventing accurate wind, rainfall, and storm surge modeling for TCs occurring earlier in the historical record. To overcome temporally limited TC size data, we develop a database of size estimates that are based on reanalysis data and a physics-based model. Specifically, we utilize ERA5 reanalysis data to estimate the TC outer size, and a physics-based TC wind model to estimate the radius of maximum wind. We evaluate our TC size estimates using two high-resolution wind datasets as well as Best Track information for a wide variety of TCs. Using the estimated size information plus the TC track and intensity, we reconstruct historical storm tides from 1950-2020 using a basin-scale hydrodynamic model and show that our reconstructions agree well with observed peak water levels. Finally, we demonstrate that incorporating an expanded set of historical modeled storm tides beginning in 1950 can enhance our understanding of US coastal hazard. Our newly developed database of TC sizes and associated storm tides can aid in understanding North Atlantic TC climatology and modeling TC wind, storm surge, and rainfall hazard along the US Atlantic and Gulf coasts.