More Frequent Hurricane Passage Across the Bahamian Archipelago During the Little Ice Age Academic Article uri icon


  • AbstractThe year 2020 Common Era (CE) experienced the highest number of named tropical cyclones in the Atlantic Ocean since 1850 CE, but the short instrumental record makes it challenging to assess if this level of activity is statistically meaningful. Here, we present two nearannually resolved hurricane reconstructions from sediment archived in two blue holes located only 300m apart on the northern margin of Grand Bahama. These two blue holes provide a replicated signal of hurricanes passing within a 50100km radius over the last 1,800years, and the longterm reconstructions document multiple 50to150year intervals when hurricane frequency was significantly higher than it has been over the last 100years. These two records were first merged into a single stack, and then compiled with five other highresolution reconstructions from across the Bahamian Archipelago to form a single 1500year record of Bahamian hurricane frequency. This new Bahamian Compilation documents more hurricanes passing 75W from 21N to 26N during the Little Ice Age (LIA; 13001850 CE) relative to the prior millennium and the last 170years. The US Eastern Seaboard also experienced heightened hurricane activity during the LIA, whereas the Gulf of Mexico and Southern Caribbean were inactive. This suggests that despite a globally cooler climate, regional climate conditions during the LIA remained favorable for cyclogenesis and intensification along certain Atlantic hurricane pathways. Perhaps heightened Sahel rainfall during the LIA indicates an increase in African Easterly waves, which in turn possibly seeded more tropical cyclones in the Atlantic Main Development Region.

published proceedings


author list (cited authors)

  • Winkler, T. S., van Hengstum, P. J., Donnelly, J. P., Wallace, E. J., Albury, N. A., D'Entremont, N., ... Woodruff, J. D.

complete list of authors

  • Winkler, TS||van Hengstum, PJ||Donnelly, JP||Wallace, EJ||Albury, NA||D'Entremont, N||Hawkes, AD||Maio, CV||Roberts, J||Sullivan, RM||Woodruff, JD

publication date

  • November 2023