Theses and Dissertations

Issuing Body

Mississippi State University


Fraza, Erik

Committee Member

Sherman-Morris, Kathleen

Committee Member

Haney, Christa

Committee Member

Fuhrmann, Christopher M.

Date of Degree


Document Type

Graduate Thesis - Open Access



Degree Name

Master of Science


College of Arts and Sciences


Department of Geosciences


Hurricanes are the leading cause of economic loss in the United States, and recent studies have shown that they have increased in intensity. The growth of population and wealth to coastal regions has exacerbated catastrophic losses. The purpose of this study is to examine the role of three modes of natural climate variability as well as hurricane intensification on destructiveness along the Gulf Coast. The study utilized R programming software to create raster grids and evaluate spatial and temporal relationships between intensification, intensity, sea surface temperatures and destructiveness. Destructiveness was synthesized using the Pielke Landsea 2018 (PL18) normalized losses dataset. The principal findings revealed that the Atlantic Multidecadal Oscillation (AMO) has the greatest influence on hurricane intensification and associated damages. The study offers a contribution to research on hurricane intensification and destructiveness associated with natural climate variability and urges stakeholders to dedicate funds for mitigation measures to reduce the vulnerability to Gulf Coast counties.