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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Quoting P451:
I give up.... really... what's the point when crap like this goes on:

---

Declaring 2010 "the best year in safety performance in our company's history," Transocean Ltd., owner of the Gulf of Mexico oil rig that exploded, killing 11 workers, has awarded its top executives hefty bonuses and raises, according to a recent filing with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission.

---

Que?

Their whole "logic" behind the bonuses was that EXCEPT for the Deepwater Horizon issue (just a slight problem with a massive explosion, 11 dead, and millions of gallons of oil spilled), they were really safe. That is opposed to 2009, when they only had 4 people die.

IMO, that is like an insurance company saying you are a really safe driver, except for driving drunk and plowing into a family of 4 that one time.
Member Since: August 3, 2008 Posts: 16 Comments: 5903
#412 Q. Ever wonder how, in opposition to all the pressure to avoid giving out information that might trigger public alarm or panic, US EnergySecretary StevenChu had sufficient confidence to announce that 70% of the core of one reactor had been damaged, and that another reactor had undergone a 33% meltdown.


A. That cat had already been accidentally let out of the bag by a researcher from the French nuclear firm who gave a speech at Stanford. The percentage meltdown figures had been derived from atomic forensic studies conducted by the division of the company that specializes in such matters. The information was never intended to be publicly released, and we are unlikely to hear such figures again anytime soon.

WTO

Edit: Here is an article about the approach from the Washington Post, should anyone be interested.

Edit: if you have a NY Times subscription, this article gives more detail on the Stanford talk, etc. Well worth reading.LINK
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Ever wonder how, in opposition to political pressure to avoid giving out info that might distress the public, US EnergySecretary StevenChu had sufficient confidence to announce that "70% of the core of one reactor had been damaged, and that another reactor had undergone a 33% meltdown"
- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -
"...workers were using concrete [that failed to plug the crack believed to be responsible for] "seven tonnes of water with 10,000 times higher radioactivity than normal* escaping from the [nuclear] plant every hour, but are now using a mixture of sawdust, shredded [[news]paper and a polymer [based on cornstarch, used in diapers and kitty litter] capable of absorbing 50 times its own volume in water.
'We were hoping the polymers would function like diapers [and jam the leak with its expansion] but [have] yet to see a visible effect' said...a deputy director general of [Japan's] Nuclear and Industrial Safety Agency.
There are also plans to dump 11,500 tonnes of radioactive water at sea to free up storage space at the plant...(TEPCO) said the water that the company intends to release into the Pacific is only weakly^radioactive and has to be cleared out to make room for more radioactive waste water."

* ie normal reactor core coolant water: disinformation through misuse of partial truths once again.
Seawater has been found to contain nearly 5,000times the radioactive contamination level considered to be safe under industrial regulations...
...after mixing with 330metres(~1100feet) of ocean circulation to the measuring point. So that "10thousand times normal" uses a norm that is a LOT more than what the public thinks of as normal.

^ What he failed to mention is that the barges hauling that "weakly radioactive" water will have to scrapped for being too radioactive to transport any future (non-nuclear) cargo, then treated as radioactive waste.
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Good news... Instead of committing sepukku as all politicians, bureaucrats, and TEPCO executives and board members charged with ensuring nuclear safety should do to salvage their honor, Japanese PrimeMinister NaotoKan visited the workers waiting outside of the EvacuationZone for rotation back into the highly hazardous reactor area to continue trying to clean up the mess to encourage them to die for their country...
...and more importantly, for his political career. Can't find the particular article also headlined with "you can't lose this battle", but he used the same photo op to assure investors that the Japanese government would not take over TEPCO nor allow it to be forced into bankruptcy, but would instead step in to help TEPCO to pay off the financial liabilities arising from the FukushimaDaiichi meltdown.
I woulda been slightly more impressed if he had visited those who were actually at the eating&resting area within a few hundred metres of the nuclear plant for their work shift... but opinion polls show the public is more supportive of him than ever.
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And more good news, TEPCO executives can expect to receive BIG bonuses "to keep competitive with industry norms of executive compensation" this coming year for their splendid safety record, just like TransOcean executives did for the DeepwaterHorizon.
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405. beell
396. RastaSteve 8:26 AM GMT on April 04, 2011

Hey look. A Florida forecaster actually looking at and posting something from the SPC!
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Quoting Neapolitan:

Based on the overwhelming number of positive and supportive emails I get from quality bloggers, there's not a lot of laughing going on from people whose opinion matters to me. (But thanks for using my correct handle; it helps me build those FMP [Frequent Mention Program] points I can redeem later for catalog items.) ;-)

Looks like a really good chance for some very nasty stuff across much of the U.S, today; I read that up to 60 million people live in areas that may be threatened today. Keeping my fingers crossed...


We already had penny to nickel sized hail last evening from the trailing end of the storms that passed through the Great Lakes last night, and worse predicted today. Stay safe, everyone! Washingtonian, I'll send up the bat signal if we see anything really nasty- I live to your west, I might see it first.
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Quoting SWFLgazer:


Is it any wonder that more people laugh at Neapolitan than take him seriously? Any more ad hominem's to throw around?


Based on the overwhelming number of positive and supportive emails I get from quality bloggers, there's not a lot of laughing going on from people whose opinion matters to me. (But thanks for using my correct handle; it helps me build those FMP [Frequent Mention Program] points I can redeem later for catalog items.) ;-)

Looks like a really good chance for some very nasty stuff across much of the U.S, today; I read that up to 60 million people live in areas that may be threatened today. Keeping my fingers crossed...
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I shouldn't be surprised to see reports appearing that radioactive contamination has spread to the south and west.

Tokyo winds have been out of the N to NNE today at 12 mph. It's now early evening and the winds have dropped to 3 mph, and should be shifting out to sea again.

Hopefully there was no substantive airborne release during the period the wind was blowing to the SSW. We'll soon see. The situation remains grave.
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Quoting RastaSteve:
.

How do you not get banned on here with your egocisticle attitude is besides me

Ummm...why would I get banned for posting something that's true, on-topic, said in response to a prior posting, and not aimed at nor demeaning to any particular forum member? Can you please tell me what rule(s) I have broken that would merit a ban? Thanks!

(But speaking of: what ever happened to your Jeff9641 handle?)
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From CNN (I think) "After some high-profile errors while offering regular radiation measurements on seawater, groundwater and the air, little such new information has been released since Thursday. One reason is that the dosimeters being used don't go above 1,000 millisieverts per hour, Junichi Matsumoto, an executive with the plant's owner Tokyo Electric Power Company, told reporters Sunday"

What a bunch of effing idiots. And I use the word idiots only to avoid having the comment kicked off automatically. It's not just that it's stupid not to use a more appropriate meter, it is that this seems typical of the whole thing: use a bandaid, kiss the booboo, and hope it will be all better somehow.
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Quoting canehater1:
Given that the current inversion and cap are to remain
in place until just before frontal trough arrives, I
suspect that we will not have large scale severe wx
on the tail end of front here in S. Louisiana, just good 'ol T-storms.


The inversion should break between 2 and 3. Those several hours before nightfall should be more than sufficient to generate severe storms. Granted, the greatest threat will be farther north.
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Given that the current inversion and cap are to remain
in place until just before frontal trough arrives, I
suspect that we will not have large scale severe wx
on the tail end of front here in S. Louisiana, just good 'ol T-storms.
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Quoting xcool:




dry air ^^^^


Still quite a bit of moisture

"Image and video hosting by TinyPic">
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Okay I posted my blog.Just note though.That I am mad visious when it comes to tropical weather.
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390. xcool




dry air ^^^^
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Quoting DARPAsockpuppet:
Tribune, KS was 92 yesterday, light snow tonight.



Ugh, from shorts to trap door long johns.
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388. HadesGodWyvern (Mod)
Tropical Cyclone Warning Center Perth
Tropical Cyclone Advice #34
TROPICAL LOW 25U
12:00 PM WST April 4 2011
=======================================

At 11:00 AM CST, Tropical Low (1002 hPa) located at 15.9S 123.1E or 165 km north northwest of Derby and 245 km north northeast of Broome has 10 minute sustained winds of 25 knots with gusts of 45 knots. The low is reported as moving west southwest at 5 knots.

Dvorak Intensity:

The low is currently close to the west Kimberley coast north of Cape Leveque. The low has significantly weakened while over land. It is expected to move further offshore tonight and may begin to strengthen during Tuesday. However as it is very weak at present it will take some time to regain intensity and is unlikely to become a tropical cyclone before Wednesday afternoon.

The low is not expected to cause gales in coastal areas during Monday or Tuesday. GALES with gusts to 100 kilometres per hour may develop in coastal parts between Wallal and Mardie during Wednesday if the low intensifies and takes a more southerly track. The system is unlikely to become a severe tropical cyclone.

HEAVY RAIN may cause flooding over the north and west Kimberley during Monday. During Tuesday heavy rainfall is likely to become confined to coastal parts of the Kimberley. Please refer to latest Flood Advices (IDW39610, IDW39890) for more details.

Tropical Cyclone Watches/Warnings
====================================
The Cyclone WARNING for coastal areas from Kuri Bay to Wallal has been cancelled.

A Cyclone WATCH continues for coastal areas from Wallal to Mardie.
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Quoting IFuSAYso:


Discrete storms, hiding their infidelities?


You know it. ;)
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Some -70c cloud tops popping up


2hr lightning

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384. flsky
Another new word - "egocisticle!!!"
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Quoting RastaSteve:
Heavy rain and thunder seems a good bet for c fl but nothing too severe. Just good fl storms.


Yep I agree! It should just be good old heavy thunderstorms. It should be similar to last Monday, however I don't think nearly as high of rain totals will fall because its not going to be a slow moving system like that and the parent low was much closer then to provide large scale lift. PW's will be very high again, temps will be high and a vort max will be present, just a good dose of widespread showers and thunderstorms appears to be the case.
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Quoting KoritheMan:


Some discrete storms may indeed develop ahead of the cold front, in the pre-frontal warm sector. The main threat with those would primarily be large hail, and even then, the threat is only marginal at best.


Discrete storms, hiding their infidelities?
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Quoting washingtonian115:
Ummm okay.So this question might seem retarded.Buuut how do you make a blog?.I tried to but miserablly failed.


See if that works.
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Quoting EYEStoSEA:


Thanks for the reply, Kori....sure hope you're right, I'm thinking the same thing, but locals here saying before noon.


Some discrete storms may indeed develop ahead of the cold front, in the pre-frontal warm sector. The main threat with those would primarily be large hail, and even then, the threat is only marginal at best.
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Quoting KoritheMan:


You're good, then. I'd say the majority of the weather will not occur until the middle of the afternoon. Plus there will be a cap inversion during the 10:00 to 12:00 time frame, which would tend to limit the severe threat, at least temporarily.

Obviously, I'm not Tampa, but I feel I can help out nonetheless.


Thanks for the reply, Kori....sure hope you're right, I'm thinking the same thing, but locals here saying before noon.
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Quoting KoritheMan:


You're good, then. I'd say the majority of the weather will not occur until the middle of the afternoon. Plus there will be a cap inversion during the 10:00 to 12:00 time frame, which would tend to limit the severe threat, at least temporarily.

Obviously, I'm not Tampa, but I feel I can help out nonetheless.
Ummm okay.So this question might seem retarded.Buuut how do you make a blog?.I tried to but miserablly failed.
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Quoting EYEStoSEA:


Tampa, if you're still here, give me your best guess as to a time frame when the weather will be in Jackson Ms tomorrow. Have a family funeral from 10-12....Thanks


You're good, then. I'd say the majority of the weather will not occur until the middle of the afternoon. Plus there will be a cap inversion during the 10:00 to 12:00 time frame, which would tend to limit the severe threat, at least temporarily.

Obviously, I'm not Tampa, but I feel I can help out nonetheless.
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A thunderstorm just passed my area.You could easy hear the sounds of thunder no doubt.More server weather is headed twards our way tomorrow.But it won't be during the day time/rush hour.Thank goodness for that.Soooo I should get a nice early wake up call on Tuesday morning from thunderstorms if our forecast pans out.
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Quoting Jedkins01:
Its been a nice long stretch to a return to mostly good discussions about weather in this blog, please do not ruin it by bringing GW politics back into it, thank you.


Well said, Jedkins.
Member Since: October 8, 2008 Posts: 14 Comments: 4553
Quoting TampaSpin:
Due East of Kansas City looks ugly!


Tampa, if you're still here, give me your best guess as to a time frame when the weather will be in Jackson Ms tomorrow. Have a family funeral from 10-12....Thanks
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Quoting TampaSpin:


Yep i agree not that my opinion really matters. I posted the same thing yesterday that only North Florida might have problems, but South Florida ie. Tampa South will only have a small squall line with straight line winds!


Yeah I agree, that sounds about right to me! I'm not sure about small squall line though, the models aren't looking to support a very high severe threat, but the models have been showing a vort max swinging in, if that's the case, plenty of lift from the vort energy combined with typical high moisture would warrant a good dose of heavy rain and plenty of lightning. We'll see what happens with future model runs...
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Quoting DARPAsockpuppet:
Golf ball sized hail reported with this lone cell



It doesn't even look that strong either. Unbelievable.
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Its been a nice long stretch to a return to mostly good discussions about weather in this blog, please do not ruin it by bringing GW politics back into it, thank you.
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Quoting Neapolitan:

Oh, what a surprise! More propaganda from Singer! Thank you for posting this; it's been almost four days since last time we heard from him, and in that time I nearly forgot what an incompetent, phony, pro-pollution, anti-science, Big Energy shill he is. This brought it right back home.

(As a bonus, it was nice to still see that picture on his home page animation labeled "ALANTIC OCEAN". I submitted an FAQ about it long ago, but he's obviously too busy toadying up to the Koch Brothers to bother making his little pretend project's website look even remotely credible.)

What a fool...


First, I hate smart-phones!

Next, that all comes from Singer?

Too much of a constantly and consistently programmed rebuttal :)

It's not about the viable content any longer, is it?

Think about it~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ It's not necessary by some standards.............

Gheeze............






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About

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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