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  • Ecological Impacts of Hurricanes Across the Yucatan Peninsula 1851-2000
  • Boose, Emery
  • Foster, David
  • 2006
  • This study used computer modeling to study the impacts of hurricanes across the Yucatan Peninsula since 1851. For details on methods and results please see the published paper (Boose, E. R., D. R. Foster, A. Barker Plotkin and B. Hall. 2003. Geographical and historical variation in hurricanes across the Yucatan Peninsula. In Lowland Maya Area: Three Millennia at the Human-Wildland Interface. A. Gomez-Pompa, M. F. Allen, S. Fedick and J. J. Jimenez-Osornio, eds. Haworth Press, New York, NY. In press). The Abstract from the paper is reproduced below. "The ecological impacts of hurricanes across the Yucatan Peninsula over the last 150 years were investigated using a simple meteorological model (HURRECON) developed at Harvard Forest as well as a database of historical hurricane data (HURDAT) maintained by the U. S. National Hurricane Center. All hurricanes over the period 1851-2000 with sustained winds of hurricane force (33 meters/sec) within 300 kilometers of the study region were analyzed (n = 105). Each storm was reconstructed to produce estimates of wind damage on the Fujita scale across the region. Individual reconstructions were then compiled to study cumulative impacts of all 105 storms. "Results showed considerable variation in hurricane activity from year to year, and from decade to decade, while at the half-century scale there was an increase in hurricane intensity since the mid-nineteenth century. Ninety percent of the hurricanes causing F1 damage or higher (on the Fujita scale) occurred in the months of August, September, and October. A strong spatial gradient in hurricane frequency and intensity extended across the region from northeast to southwest, resulting from (1) the greater number of hurricanes to the north, (2) the east to west movement of most hurricanes across the area, and (3) the tendency for most hurricanes to weaken significantly after landfall. For example, during the study period, northeastern parts of the peninsula experienced a minimum of one F3 hurricane, six F2 hurricanes, and thirty F1 hurricanes, while southwestern parts experienced no F2 or F3 damage and fewer than five F1 storms. Though a significant disturbance across much of the Yucatan Peninsula, hurricanes may have shorter-lived and less severe ecological impacts than fire or human land use. The interaction of these factors (e.g., fires following hurricanes), however, may be very significant and deserves further study."
  • N: 21.6      S: 15.8      E: -86.7      W: -92.5
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  • doi:10.6073/pasta/94431bb81ab81d172a81c1e7a3025649
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