In This Article Expand or collapse the "in this article" section Hurricanes

  • Introduction
  • General Overviews
  • Reference Resources
  • Journals
  • Hurricane Intensity
  • Hurricane Physics
  • Statistical Modeling Approaches
  • Spatial Variability
  • Societal Impacts
  • Hurricane Climatology
  • Case Studies

Geography Hurricanes
Brian Bossak
  • LAST REVIEWED: 26 February 2013
  • LAST MODIFIED: 26 February 2013
  • DOI: 10.1093/obo/9780199874002-0036


Hurricanes are a significant hazard along the East Coast, Gulf Coast, the Florida peninsula, and in many other basins, such as the western Pacific (typhoons), Indian Ocean, and Southern Ocean (cyclones). Hurricanes are the strongest form of tropical cyclone in the Atlantic basin, with the other strengths termed tropical storm and tropical depression, in decreasing intensity, respectively. Hurricanes are multifaceted hazards in that they are contingent events (i.e., require a specific set of ocean–atmospheric parameters to form, develop, intensify, and to eventually make landfall or to remain offshore). These storms present great variability in respect to formation, track, and intensity. In addition, evidence suggests that hurricanes may be linked to long-term trends associated with climate features in the atmosphere and ocean. This online reference guide contains information for basic hurricane reference resources; commonly cited journals containing hurricane-related research articles; and reference papers categorized by frequency, intensity, situation, track, hazard, and climate links. Hurricanes exist (by various names) in basins other than that of the Atlantic Ocean (including the Caribbean and Gulf of Mexico), such as typhoons in the southwestern Pacific Ocean and cyclones in the southeastern Indian Ocean and Australia; however, this bibliography focuses primarily on US-centric hurricane research, and thus, on Atlantic basin hurricanes. The sections in this bibliography include publications that may contain aspects of more than one particular topic—therefore, many of the suggested sources are not mutually exclusive to one section or heading. With that in mind, the effort has been toward placing each entry in the section where it provides the best relevance to the topic under discussion.

General Overviews

Given the diversity of hurricane characteristics, each work included here takes on a comprehensive outlook of tropical cyclones by thoroughly describing the dynamics and history of these deadly storms. Sheets and Williams 2001 describes both early and modern techniques for predicting hurricanes while also providing the state of scientific understanding of these storms. Murnane and Liu 2004, on the other hand, details the past, and the methods to reconstruct the historical hurricane record, but also addresses potential future variability of hurricanes and typhoons. That work also includes articles on the emerging field of paleotempestology, which uses geological proxy evidence to gain insight regarding past tropical cyclone activity. Elsner and Kara 1999 provides a general-purpose introduction to North Atlantic basin hurricanes, and the work is an excellent reference volume. Emanuel 2005 provides expert research about the physics of hurricane development and intensity, and describes these storms’ peculiarities as weather’s greatest hazard.

  • Elsner, James B., and A. Birol Kara. Hurricanes of the North Atlantic: Climate and Society. New York: Oxford University Press, 1999.

    Elsner and Kara provide an excellent general-purpose compendium on North Atlantic basin hurricanes, climate links, and societal impacts from hurricane landfall in North America.

  • Emanuel, Kerry. Divine Wind: The History and Science of Hurricanes. New York: Oxford University Press, 2005.

    Emanuel, one of the leading authorities on hurricanes, gives an account of the physics of the tropical atmosphere as well as how nonthreatening climates can give rise to powerful storms. The author also intertwines literature and history to thoroughly explain hurricane origins.

  • Murnane, Richard J., and Kam-biu Liu, eds. Hurricanes and Typhoons: Past, Present, and Future. New York: Columbia University Press, 2004.

    Summarizes the past, present, and potential future variability of hurricanes and typhoons as well as providing an overview of the newly developed field of paleotempestology. This book also describes an array of sampling techniques, such as using historical material as a guide. These sources include Chinese archives, British naval logbooks, Spanish colonial records, and early diaries from South Carolina.

  • Sheets, Bob, and Jack Williams. Hurricane Watch: Forecasting the Deadliest Storms on Earth. New York: Vintage, 2001.

    This book takes an in-depth look at the dynamics of hurricanes and reveals the science and history of these deadly storms. The authors describe how early seafarers predicted these storms and discuss the modern techniques that involve using satellite images.

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