Redefine Tropical Cyclone Intensity: Integrated Energy Index
Haowen Qin
St George's School
Floor Location : S 049 N

Severe tropical cyclone disasters have become more frequent in recent years, requiring the need for more comprehensive energy-scales, rather than a maximum-wind-scale. It is known that the destructive potential and the maximum wind speed of a tropical cyclone are not necessarily correlated. This study analyzed the strongest tropical cyclones from the Pacific and Atlantic basins from 2001 to 2018 and created an index from their integrated kinetic energy. This index is used to better estimate the cyclone’s overall energy through satellite-determined wind speed and it creates a new categorization for tropical cyclones. Other studies have explored the relationships between cyclone size and intensity and have proposed damage scales based on integrated kinetic energy, but those researches are restricted to the Atlantic and Eastern Pacific basins. This research uses the Tropical Cyclone Archive from Joint Typhoon Warning Centre, the United States Naval Research, and the University of Wisconsin to obtain the information necessary to build an integrated kinetic energy index. The index is then compared with the traditional wind-scale, other features of cyclones that are used to determine intensity (e.g. eye temperature and cloud temperature), and the fatalities and damages of each cyclone. This research finds that the integrated energy of a cyclone better reflects the destructive potential with respects to the distance from cyclone center, which is correlated with its maximum wind speed but not eye temperature or cloud temperature. Integrated energy consistently shows a better linear correlation than the traditional wind-scale does with fatalities and damages. A holistic view of both the integrated energy and the maximum wind speed will better reflect the overall destructive potential of a tropical cyclone.