The global tropical cyclone season of 2010: record inactivity

By: Dr. Jeff Masters , 1:14 AM GMT on April 03, 2011

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The year 2010 was one of the strangest on record globally for tropical cyclones. Each year, the globe has about 92 tropical cyclones--called hurricanes in the Atlantic and Eastern Pacific, typhoons in the Western Pacific, and tropical cyclones in the Southern Hemisphere. But in 2010, we had just 68 of these storms--the fewest since the dawn of the satellite era in 1970. The previous record slowest year was 1977, when 69 tropical cyclones occurred world-wide. Both the Western Pacific and Eastern Pacific had their quietest seasons on record in 2010, the Atlantic had its 3rd busiest season since record keeping began in 1851, and the Southern Hemisphere had a below average season. As a result, the Atlantic, which ordinarily accounts for just 13% of global cyclone activity, accounted for 28% in 2010--the greatest proportion since accurate tropical cyclone records began in the 1970s. Global Accumulated Cyclone Energy (ACE) for 2010 was the lowest since the late 1970s (ACE is a measure of the total destructive power of a hurricane season, based on the number of days strong winds are observed.)


Figure 1. Visible satellite image of 2010's strongest tropical cyclone: Super Typhoon Megi at 2:25 UTC October 18, 2010. A reconnaissance aircraft measured a central pressure of 885 mb and surface winds of 190 mph in the storm, making Megi the 8th strongest tropical cyclone in world history. Image credit: NASA.

A record quiet 2010 Northwest Pacific Typhoon Season
The Western Pacific set records for fewest number of named storms (fifteen, previous record seventeen in 1998) and typhoons (nine, tied with the previous record of nine in 1998. Note that Tropical Storm Mindulle was upgraded to a typhoon in post-analysis after the season was over.) Reliable records began in the mid-1960s. For just the second year in history, the Atlantic had more named storms and hurricane-strength storms than the Western Pacific. The only other year this occurred was in 2005. Ordinarily, the Western Pacific has double to triple the amount of tropical cyclones of the Atlantic. One other notable feature of the 2010 season was the lack of a land-falling typhoon on the Japanese mainland. This is only the second such occurrence since 1988.

In 2010, there was only one super typhoon--a storm with at least 150 mph winds--in the Western Pacific. However, this storm, Super Typhoon Megi, was a doozy. Megi's sustained winds cranked up to a fearsome 190 mph and its central pressure bottomed out at 885 mb on October 16, making it the 8th most intense tropical cyclone in world history. Fortunately, Megi weakened significantly before hitting the Philippines as a Category 3 typhoon. Megi killed 69 people on Taiwan and in the Philippines and did $700 million in damage, and was the second deadliest and damaging typhoon of 2010. Category 3 Typhoon Fanapi was the deadliest and most damaging typhoon of 2010, doing over $1 billion in damage to Taiwan and China and killing 105.

The record quiet typhoon season in 2010 was due, in part, to the La Niña phenomena. During such events, the formation region for Western Pacific typhoons moves northwestward, closer to China. Thus, storms that form in the Western Pacific spend less time over water before they encounter land, resulting in a lesser chance to become a named storm, and less time to intensify. They also accumulate a lower ACE due to their shorter duration. Since the Western Pacific is responsible for 35% of the world's major tropical cyclones, the global ACE value is strongly tied to year-to-year variations in the El Niño/La Niña cycle.


Figure 2.
Statistics for the global tropical cyclone season of 2010. The two numbers in each box represent the actual number observed in 2010, followed by the averages from the period 1983-2007 (in parentheses). Averages and records were computed using the December 23, 2008 release of NOAA's International Best Track Archive for Climate Stewardship.

A record quiet 2010 Eastern Pacific Typhoon Season
In the Eastern Pacific, it was also a record-quiet season. On average, the Eastern Pacific has 15 named storms, 8 hurricanes, and 3 intense hurricanes in a season. In 2010, there were 8 named storms, 3 hurricanes, and 2 intense hurricanes. The previous record quietest season since 1966 was the year 1977, when the Eastern Pacific had 8 named storms, 4 hurricanes, and zero intense hurricanes. La Niña was largely responsible for the quiet Eastern Pacific hurricane season, due in part to the cool sea surface temperatures it brought. It is quite remarkable that both the Eastern and Western Pacific ocean basins had record quiet seasons in the same year--there is no historical precedent for such an occurrence.

Climate change and the 2008 global tropical cyclone season
We only have about 30 years of reliable global tropical cyclone data, and tropical cyclones are subject to large natural variations in numbers and intensities. Thus, it will be very difficult at present to prove that climate change is affecting global tropical cyclone activity. (This is less so in the Atlantic, where we have a longer reliable data record to work with.) A common theme of many recent publications on the future of tropical cyclones globally in a warming climate is that the total number of these storms will decrease, but the strongest storms will get stronger. For example, a 2010 review paper published in Nature Geosciences concluded: "greenhouse warming will cause the globally averaged intensity of tropical cyclones to shift towards stronger storms, with intensity increases of 2 - 11% by 2100. Existing modeling studies also consistently project decreases in the globally averaged frequency of tropical cyclones, by 6 - 34%. Balanced against this, higher resolution modeling studies typically project substantial increases in the frequency of the most intense cyclones, and increases of the order of 20% in the precipitation rate within 100 km of the storm centre." Last year, I discussed a paper by Bender et al that concluded that the total number of Atlantic hurricanes is expected to decrease by the end of the century, but there could be an increase of 81% in the number of Category 4 and 5 storms. The net effect of a decrease in total number of hurricanes but an increase in the strongest hurricanes should cause an increase in U.S. hurricane damages of about 30% by the end of the century, the authors computed, assuming that hurricane damages behave as they did during the past century. A new paper just published by Murakami et. al predicts that Western Pacific tropical cyclones may decrease in number by 23% by the end of the century, primarily due to a shift in the formation location and tracks of these storms.

In light of these theoretical results, it is interesting that 2010 saw the lowest number of global tropical cyclones on record, but an average number of very strong Category 4 and 5 storms. Fully 21% of last year's tropical cyclones reached Category 4 or 5 strength, versus just 14% during the period 1983 - 2007. Most notably, in 2010 we had the second strongest tropical cyclone on record in the Arabian Sea (Category 4 Cyclone Phet in June) and the strongest tropical cyclone ever to hit Myanmar/Burma (October's Tropical Cyclone Giri, an upper end Category 4 storm with 155 mph winds.) It is too early to read anything into this year's global tropical cyclone numbers, though--we need many more years of data before making any judgments on how global tropical cyclones might be responding to climate change.


Figure 3. Visible satellite image of Tropical Cyclone Phet on Thursday, June 3, 2010. Record heat over southern Asia in May helped heat up the Arabian Sea to 2°C above normal, and the exceptionally warm SSTs helped fuel Tropical Cyclone Phet into the second strongest tropical cyclone ever recorded in the Arabian Sea. Phet peaked at Category 4 strength with 145 mph winds. Only Category 5 Cyclone Gonu of 2007, which devastated Oman, was a stronger Arabian Sea cyclone. Phet killed 44 people and did $700 million in damage to Oman.


Figure 4. Visible MODIS satellite image of Tropical Cyclone Giri taken at 2:55am EDT October 22, 2010, just prior to landfall in Myanmar/Burma. At the time, Giri was a Category 4 storm with 145 mph winds. Giri killed 157 people and did $359 million in damage. Image credit: NASA.

Jeff Masters

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In the 288/300-hour model NCEP map, do I see a possible subtropical storm, or is it just me?
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1318. Grothar
Quoting SQUAWK:


Ha Ha!!! Press is always kvetching about "the Carolinas" and now you start with "that being said." Same thing, but different. LOL.

I think it is funny.


Just saying, you know. LOL
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768 Patrap "There are NO Yucatan Mountains fer sure"

You do know, suh... that this means woah !

Depends whatcha mean by 'Yucatan', 'mountain', and 'peninsula'. If we go by your geology quotation, then exclude everything that doesn't fit...
"The peninsula is the exposed portion of the larger Yucatan Platform, all of which is composed of carbonate and soluble rocks, being mostly limestone although dolomite and evaporites are also present at various depths. The whole of the Yucatan peninsula is an unconfined flat lying karst landscape. Sinkholes, locally called cenotes are widespread in the northern lowlands."
...we're gonna be manuveuring around alotta terrain that don't exist, what with everything that ain't flat ain't bein' a part of the YucatanPeninsula.

But I think most folks here picture the northward spur of land that separates the westernCaribbean from the Bay of Campeche (southern Gulf of Mexico).
So let's draw a line from the westernmost point of the Caribbean at 15.963n88.935w to the southernmost point of Laguna de Terminos at 18.442n91.563w on the Gulf of Mexico.
Then say that everything north of that line is part of the YucatanPeninsula.

The unconnected dots represent (from north to south) Cancun, CerroBenitoJuarez, CerroElCharro, CerroChamperico, and Doyle'sDelight.

Since you challenged, I get to choose the weapons. Rapid fire coil guns launching myriads of myriads of BIG Saturnian snowballs at hundreds of billions paces. Targeting the atmosphere over the Arctic, the Antarctic, and the ThirdPole: ie the TibetanPlateau and the HimalayanRange.
(We may not be able to stop the fuss over AnthropogenicGlobalWarming, but we can sure melt the ice caps with 25thousand-plus-mph reentry heat. Then more vaporized snowballs cuz the icecaps won't supply enough water.)

Florida, Delaware, and Louisiana go underwater before Yucatan(state), then QuintanaRoo.
.. 345feet -- Florida -- Britton Hill
.. 448feet -- Delaware -- Ebright Azimuth
.. 535feet -- Louisiana -- Driskill Mountain
.. 689feet -- Yucatan -- Cerro Benito Juarez (210metres) 19.945n89.393w
.. 689feet -- Campeche -- Cero El Gavilan (210metres)
.. 755feet -- Quintana Roo -- Cerro El Charro (230metres) 18.099n88.9w
Then Mississippi, RhodeIsland, Illinois, and Indiana are flooded over before Campeche(state).
.. 806feet -- Mississippi -- Woodall Mountain
.. 812feet -- Rhode Island -- Jerrimoth Hill
.. 830feet -- Campeche -- Cerro El Doce (250metres)
1,115feet -- Campeche -- Cerro El Ramonal (340metres)
1,214feet -- Campeche -- Cerro Los Chinos (370metres)
1,235feet -- Illinois -- Charles Mound
1,257feet -- Indiana -- Hoosier Hill
1,280feet -- Campeche -- Cerro Champerico (390metres) 17.9n89.467w
Finally Ohio, Iowa, Missouri, NewJersey, Wisconsin, Michigan, Minnesota, Connecticut, Alabama, Arkansas, Pennsylvania, Maryland, Massachusetts, NorthDakota, and SouthCarolina go under... leaving Doyle'sDelight shorter but still dry.
1,549feet -- Ohio -- Campbell Hill,
1,670feet -- Iowa -- Hawkeye Point
1,772feet -- Missouri -- Taum Sauk Mountain
1,803feet -- New Jersey -- High Point
1,951feet -- Wisconsin -- Timms Hill
1,979feet -- Michigan -- Mount Arvon
2,301feet -- Minnesota -- Eagle Mountain
2,380feet -- Connecticutt -- Mount Frissell
2,405feet -- Alabama -- Cheaha Mountain
2,753feet -- Arkansas -- Magazine Mountain
3,213feet -- Pennsylvania -- Mount Davis
3,360feet -- Maryland -- Backbone Mountain
3,487feet -- Massachusetts -- Mount Greylock
3,506feet -- North Dakota -- White Butte
3,560feet -- South Carolina -- Sassafrass Mountain
3,852feet -- Belize -- Doyle's Delight (1174metres) 16.494n89.046w

There are other peaks within the MayaMountainRange of Belize and Guatemala that are higher than the highest point in Campeche.

Note the Mounts and Mountains that go under. Unfortunately collateral damage would include SaintLucia, Trinidad&Tobago, Montserrat, NetherlandsAntilles, Grenada, the BritishVirginIslands, the USVirginIslands, SaintMartin, Antigua&Barbuda, Barbados, SaintBarthelemy, SaintPierre&Miquelon, Aruba, Bermuda, Navassa, Anguilla, the Bahamas, the Turks&Caicos, and the CaymanIslands.
What if they held a hurricane and there was no one there to attend?
sigh... So much for my flooding the world to prove a point.
Member Since: August 21, 2007 Posts: 0 Comments: 4860
Quoting InconceivableF6:

Maybe even better to me? LOL. You must not live in a susceptible region? No?


Not as in the damage totals, as in more activity. I do NOT want any Katrina for New Orleans.
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1313. KEEPEROFTHEGATE (Mod)
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Quoting washingtonian115:
I'm keeping my 16-17.Hell nobody new 2005 would get 28 storms.A matter of fact many forecasters were forecasting 14-16 storms.And look what happend....not saying we'll see a 2005.But we never know what to expect.


16-17 could be reasonable, perhaps. I'd say a bit more, but I dont wanna appear to be a doomcaster or whatever you call peoople like that so I'm not gonna get up there and say 30+ named storms or whatever some are saying.
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Quoting washingtonian115:
Sorry.But I don't belive that for a second.Either their being to conservative,or to afraid to put 15+ storms up their.I think they're underestimating this season.By a long shot that is.


Well I must agree with u. I dont know about the part with 15+ storms but this could approach the record-breaking level, my prediction is 17-24 named storms, see if u agree. This should be very much like last year or 1995 in total activity, MAYBE even worse (better to me).
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Quoting InconceivableF6:

I don't. I thinks that's spot on. Many agencies agree that between 7-10 hurricanes on tap for the Atlantic Season with perhaps a few majors (1-3).
I'm keeping my 16-17.Hell nobody new 2005 would get 28 storms.A matter of fact many forecasters were forecasting 14-16 storms.And look what happend....not saying we'll see a 2005.But we never know what to expect.
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1306. KEEPEROFTHEGATE (Mod)
ATLANTIC SEASON NUMBER OUTLOOK for 2011
TOTAL STORMS 17 TO 19
TOTAL HURRICANES 9 TO 11
TOTAL MAJORS 5 TO 7
TOTAL CAT 5's 2 TO 4
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1304. SQUAWK
Quoting Grothar:


In what? What does that mean?


Ha Ha!!! Press is always kvetching about "the Carolinas" and now you start with "that being said." Same thing, but different. LOL.

I think it is funny.
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1303. KEEPEROFTHEGATE (Mod)
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Quoting raggpr:
TSR Hurricane season 2011 predictions are out.
They call for:
14.2 tropical storms
7.5 hurricanes
3.6 intense hurricane

Link
Sorry.But I don't belive that for a second.Either their being to conservative,or to afraid to put 15+ storms up their.I think they're underestimating this season.By a long shot that is.
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Quoting Grothar:


Figured you would be lurking. Well, that being said, How are you? We just got a little wind today and no rain at all.


Funnel cloud spotted, gusty winds, and a half-an-inch of rain. Other than that, the weather gave me a good opportunity to clean my room before my aunt comes down Thursday. How're you?
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1298. Grothar
Quoting caneswatch:


This person is from Babylon and still uses a camera from the 1800's.

Q: What is Grothar?


Figured you would be lurking. Well, that being said, How are you? We just got a little wind today and no rain at all.
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Quoting Grothar:
1 hour and no posts. HMMM. Jeopardy must be on.


This person is from Babylon and still uses a camera from the 1800's.

Q: What is Grothar?
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1296. Grothar
1 hour and no posts. HMMM. Jeopardy must be on.
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Sorry about this and all, but my computer has some kind of bug and it won't allow me to open any links whatsoever so if u don't mind what are the TSR predictions?
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You seem like a real "Down to Earth" person, RitaEvac.
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The blog needs some working on, I thought earlier in the day when maintenance was ongoing it said a newer and better blog will be coming
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Quoting Patrap:
One can "HIDE" a comment that seems disruptive,,..

or not
the vids don't mess up my comp. But I don't get the point of them.

They're not even his forecasts he's just echoing some weather report. And they're are hardly any bloggers on here from Puerto Rico who might actually care about the weather in Puerto Rico. And most of those Puerto Rican bloggers only show up for hurricane season. Meaning none of then are here right now.

Just seems like a waste of time imo. Also screws up many peoples browsers
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1290. Grothar
Quoting SQUAWK:


You are really Presslord in drag, aren't you?


In what? What does that mean?
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Quoting Patrap:
One can "HIDE" a comment that seems disruptive,,..

or not


Did you "+" comment 1284?!
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Puerto Rico 1918 October 11 14:14 UTC - Magnitude 7.5

This was one of the most violent earthquakes felt on Puerto Rico since its occupation by Europeans. Immediately following the shock a tsunami broke upon the shore, drowning many persons and destroying many native dwellings. Property damage was estimated at about $4,000,000 and 116 lives were lost.

Before the tsunami arrived, the ocean withdrew and exposed reefs and stretches of seafloor never visible during low tide.When the water returned, it reached heights that were equally high above normal, perhaps 9.5 feet....



This earthquake had an approximate magnitude of 7.5 on the Richter scale and was accompanied by a tsunami ("tidal" wave) which got up to 6 meters (19.5 feet) high.


Link
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1287. lhwhelk
Quoting RitaEvac:
Lot of people don't know what these are along the gulf coast

LOVE BUGS!!

Love Bugs are what we get too many of down here. They coat the windshield of your car (and any other exposed places) when you drive and are a royal pain to remove. Hooked up like that, they remind me of Dr. Dolittle's Pushmepullyou, and probably can't see or decide where they are going.
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1286. Patrap
One can "HIDE" a comment that seems disruptive,,..

or not
Member Since: July 3, 2005 Posts: 428 Comments: 129817
1282 remove it, it's messed up
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Quoting RitaEvac:
If a 9.0 happened off Puerto Rico the East coast would see it's first tsunami in recorded history

'Twould be large, but nowhere near the first:

TSUNAMI"
November 14, 1840 - Great Swell on the Delaware River
November 17, 1872 - Maine
January 9, 1926 - Maine
May 19, 1964 - Northeast USA

POSSIBLE TSUNAMI:
June 9, 1913 - Longport, NJ
August 6, 1923 - Rockaway Park, Queens, NY. An article on triplicate waves."
August 8, 1924 - Coney Island, NY.
August 19, 1931 - Atlantic City, NJ
September 21, 1938 - NJ coast.
July 3-4, 1992 - Daytona Beach, FL

It has, can, and will happen...
Member Since: November 8, 2009 Posts: 4 Comments: 13797
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Quoting RitaEvac:
Precursor to a big one off Puerto Rico?



USGS expert on TV news says that it happens frequently in the area though you can't discard a big one; Be prepared they said... with a personal contingency plan
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Interesting Hurricane Season Forecast by a blogger; a good read so get the popcorn.

Link
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Early season prediction outlooks aside (and not accurate this far out), we will not have a clue what impacts h-season will have on the US this year until it actually unfolds. The high numbers were correct last year but I think very few folks expected such a fortunate year for the Gulf/US (and no oil/cane apocalypse).....This is why tropical weather is so facinating to see unfold every year with all of the possible combinations and "x" factors that can impact a season such as SAL outbreaks and the like.
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If a 9.0 happened off Puerto Rico the East coast would see it's first tsunami in recorded history
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Precursor to a big one off Puerto Rico?
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Quoting SQUAWK:


You are really Presslord in drag, aren't you?


Everyone knows he is LOL
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1274. SQUAWK
Quoting Grothar:


Sure I can.


You are really Presslord in drag, aren't you?
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More than 30 small quakes N of PR in the last 24 hrs.

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1272. Grothar
Quoting Jedkins01:


Well, "that being said" is a great transition, it just shouldn't be used to end statements. In fact I use "that being said" often as a transition, and being someone who gets straight A's and sometimes 100's with ease on college papers, writing correctly comes natural. Therefore you can't just dismiss "that being said" as all around, horrible to use.


Sure I can.
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Lot of people don't know what these are along the gulf coast

LOVE BUGS!!




Link
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1270. kwgirl
Good night all. I will check in tomorrow some time.
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1269. kwgirl
Quoting MrMixon:


Here ya go - from wikipedia:


Magnificent Frigatebird

Seeing a bunch of these guys in one place must be breathtaking...

They are, especially since they rarely flap their wings, just wheel and soar with the thermals. Thank you for the picture.
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Jeff co-founded the Weather Underground in 1995 while working on his Ph.D. He flew with the NOAA Hurricane Hunters from 1986-1990.

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