Little evidence of reduced global tropical cyclone activity following recent volcanic eruptions

Little evidence of reduced global tropical cyclone activity following recent volcanic eruptions

Photo credit: NASA

A new npj Climate and Atmospheric Science paper supported by the MAPP Program examined the impact of volcanic aerosols on recent global tropical cyclone activity using observations, reanalysis, and models. 

The paper documents observations of reduced tropical cyclone activity—only in the North Atlantic—following the last three strong volcanic eruptions. However, this signal could not be clearly attributed to volcanoes as all three eruptions were simultaneous with El Niño events. Reanalysis studies did not support a robust impact of volcanic eruptions on potential intensity of tropical cyclones or proxies of storm initiation (genesis indices). In models, historical simulations showed a reduced potential intensity for tropical cyclones following volcanic eruptions. However, this effect did not hold up after accounting for differences between the model environment and observations. Taken together, the study’s results show that in recent eruptions volcanic aerosols did not reduce global tropical cyclone activity.

Read more here>>


About MAPP
The Modeling, Analysis, Predictions, and Projections (MAPP) Program is a competitive research program in NOAA Research's Climate Program Office. MAPP's mission is to enhance the Nation's and NOAA's capability to understand, predict, and project variability and long-term changes in Earth's system and mitigate human and economic impacts. To achieve its mission, MAPP supports foundational research, transition of research to applications, and engagement across other parts of NOAA, among partner agencies, and with the external research community. MAPP plays a crucial role in enabling national preparedness for extreme events like drought and longer-term climate changes. For more information, please visit

View More MAPP News.




Americans’ health, security and economic wellbeing are tied to climate and weather. Every day, we see communities grappling with environmental challenges due to unusual or extreme events related to climate and weather. In 2017, the United States experienced a record-tying 16 climate- and weather-related disasters where overall costs reached or exceeded $1 billion. Combined, these events claimed 362 lives, and had significant economic effects on the areas impacted, costing more than $306 billion. Businesses, policy leaders, resource managers and citizens are increasingly asking for information to help them address such challenges.


Climate Program Office
1315 East-West Hwy, Suite 1100
Silver Spring, MD 20910