Classroom/Laboratory Activity: Statistical Methods to Determine Trends in Hurricane Intensity

A classroom/laboratory activity to learn about linear slope, trends, confidence intervals, and Student’s t-distribution by calculating trends and uncertainties using hurricane data records over 40 years.

Using hurricane-related data for the Atlantic Ocean, students will plot graphs and determine trends by calculating linear slope. They will also calculate confidence intervals and trend values by using Student’s t-distribution.

Use this tool to help your students find answers to:

  1. Calculate the trend and determine the confidence interval for the frequency of hurricanes in the Atlantic Ocean (from past records).
  2. Calculate the trend and evaluate the uncertainty for the intensity of hurricanes (from given data).
  3. What are the possible effects of climate change on the intensity and number of tropical cyclones/hurricanes?

About the Tool

Tool Name Is There a Trend in Hurricane Intensity?
Discipline Statistics
Topic(s) in Discipline Linear Slope; Trend Lines; Confidence Intervals; Standard Deviation; Students t-distribution
Climate Topic Disasters and Hazards; Climate and the Atmosphere; Climate and the Hydrosphere
Type of Tool Laboratory Activity
Grade Level Undergraduate
Location  Global
Language English
Developed by Todd Ellis, SUNY College at Oneonta
Hosted at Science Education Resource Center at Carleton College
Access Online/Offine
Computer Skills Basic


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