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The hurricane belt is an area in the Atlantic Ocean, including the Caribbean Sea and Gulf of Mexico, which is prone to hurricanes during the Atlantic hurricane season. The only inhabited Caribbean islands not in the hurricane belt are Barbados, Grenada, Bocas del Toro, Trinidad and Tobago, Bonaire, Curaçao, Aruba, Providencia Island, San Andrés, and the islands off Venezuela (although they do occasionally get impacted as well).
According to an Azores High hypothesis of geographer Kam-biu Liu, an anti-phase pattern is expected to exist between the Gulf of Mexico coast and the North American Atlantic coast. During the quiescent periods (3000–1400 BC, and 1000 AD to present), a more northeasterly position of the Azores High would result in more hurricanes being steered towards the Atlantic coast. During the hyperactive period (1400 BC to 1000 AD), more hurricanes were steered towards the Gulf coast as the Azores High was shifted to a more southwesterly position near the Caribbean. Such a displacement of the Azores High is consistent with paleoclimatic evidence that shows an abrupt onset of a drier climate in Haiti around 3200 years BP, and a change towards more humid conditions in the Great Plains during the late-Holocene as more moisture was pumped up the Mississippi Valley through the Gulf coast. Preliminary data from the northern Atlantic coast seem to support the Azores High hypothesis. A 3,000-year proxy record from a coastal lake in Cape Cod suggests that hurricane activity has increased significantly during the past 500–1,000 years, just as the Gulf coast was amid a quiescent period of the last millennium.
A similar area in the Pacific Ocean exists for typhoons.
- Formation and Movement of West Indian Hurricanes. By Edward H Bowie, Meteorologist.
- Liu, Kam-biu (1999). "Millennial-scale variability in catastrophic hurricane landfalls along the Gulf of Mexico coast". 23d Conf. on Hurricanes and Tropical Meteorology. Dallas, TX: Amer. Meteor. Soc. pp. 374–377.
- Liu, Kam-biu; Fearn, Miriam L. (2000). "Reconstruction of Prehistoric Landfall Frequencies of Catastrophic Hurricanes in Northwestern Florida from Lake Sediment Records". Quaternary Research 54 (2): 238–245. Bibcode:2000QuRes..54..238L. doi:10.1006/qres.2000.2166.
- Higuera-Gundy, Antonia; et al. (1999). "A 10,300 14C yr Record of Climate and Vegetation Change from Haiti". Quaternary Research 52 (2): 159–170. Bibcode:1999QuRes..52..159H. doi:10.1006/qres.1999.2062.
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