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  • Landscape and Regional Impacts of Hurricanes in New England 1620-1997
  • Boose, Emery
  • Foster, David
  • 2014
  • This project used a combination of historical research and computer modeling to study the impacts of hurricanes in New England since 1620. For details on methods and results, please see the published paper (Boose, E. R., K. E. Chamberlin and D. R. Foster. 2001. Landscape and regional impacts of hurricanes in New England. Ecological Monographs 71: 27-48). The Abstract from the paper is reproduced below. "Hurricanes are a major factor controlling ecosystem structure, function and dynamics in many coastal forests and yet their ecological role can be understood only by assessing impacts in space and time over a period of centuries. We present a new method for reconstructing hurricane disturbance regimes using a combination of historical research and computer modeling. Historical data on wind damage for each hurricane in the selected region are quantified using the Fujita scale to produce regional maps of actual damage. A simple meteorological model (HURRECON), parameterized and tested for selected recent hurricanes, provides regional estimates of wind speed, direction, and damage for each storm. Individual reconstructions are compiled to analyze spatial and temporal patterns of hurricane impacts. Long-term effects of topography on a landscape scale are then examined with a simple topographic exposure model (EXPOS). "We applied this method to New England, USA, examining hurricanes since European settlement in 1620. Results showed strong regional gradients in hurricane frequency and intensity from southeast to northwest: average return intervals for F0 damage on the Fujita scale (loss of leaves and branches) ranged from 5 to 85 years, average return intervals for F1 damage (scattered blowdowns, small gaps) ranged from 10 to more than 200 years, and average return intervals for F2 damage (extensive blowdowns, large gaps) ranged from 85 to more than 380 years. On a landscape scale, average return intervals for F2 damage in the town of Petersham MA ranged from 125 years across most sites to more than 380 years on scattered lee slopes. Actual forest damage was strongly dependent on land-use and natural disturbance history. Annual and decadal timing of hurricanes varied widely. There was no clear century-scale trend in the number of major hurricanes. "The historical-modeling approach is applicable to any region with good historical records and will enable ecologists and land managers to incorporate insights on hurricane disturbance regimes into the interpretation and conservation of forests at landscape to regional scales."
  • N: 47.5      S: 40.5      E: -66.9      W: -74.3
  • This dataset is released to the public under Creative Commons license CC BY (Attribution). Please keep the designated contact person informed of any plans to use the dataset. Consultation or collaboration with the original investigators is strongly encouraged. Publications and data products that make use of the dataset must include proper acknowledgement.
  • doi:10.6073/pasta/00f3907eb0f69403438f0076bb6f79a0
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