The Hurricanes We Missed

Cool paper out today in GRL by Edmund Chang and Yanjuan Guo about the hurricane record. To try to estimate the number we might have missed when we had to depend on ship-board observations rather than satellites, Chang and Guo fed storm tracks from the satellite era into a simulation that included old-timey ship tracks to see how many would have been spotted and how many would have been missed:

It is estimated that the number of tropical cyclones not making landfall over any continent or the Caribbeans may have been underestimated by up to 2.1 per year during 1904–1913, with this number decreasing to 1.0 per year or less during the 1920s and later decades.

I’ll leave it to the smart people who have been following the hurricane global warming wars to explain the impact this might have on that debate. I just think it’s a really clever methodological trick.