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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The "Golf Courses on State Parks" idea was an ignorant one, but corporate money is involved so look for Scott to approach that particular hog trough again in the future. But for now, the issue is a dead one:

Jack Nicklaus Golf Bill Withdrawn

"The Senate on Tuesday, March 15, officially accepted a motion to withdraw from consideration a bill (SB 1846) that drew heavy criticism for proposing to let Jack Nicklaus build new golf courses in state parks."

(To be fair, though, while Scott was all over this, it wasn't his idea; that goes to John Thrasher, the former head of the Republican Party of Florida, and a monstrous miscreant in his own right.)
Member Since: November 8, 2009 Posts: 4 Comments: 13555
1568. Jax82
More than twice as many people disapprove of Gov. Rick Scott as did in early February, according to a poll released today by the independent Quinnipiac University.

Scott's approval rating remained the same, at 35 percent, in the survey conducted March 29 of 1,499 registered Florida voters. The poll had a margin of error of plus or minus 2.5 percent.

His negatives — those people who don't like his performance — jumped from 22 percent on Feb. 2 to 48 percent in the most recent poll. Quinnipiac also found that 47 percent of those polled say the governor's budget cuts "go to far," 16 percent say they "don't go far enough" and 29 percent say they are "about right."

There was no ambiguity about Scott's proposal to drug-test state workers. Seventy-eight percent of respondents thought it was a good idea.

Voters didn't like the governor's idea to tie teachers' pay to standardized tests. Fifty-seven percent opposed it; 39 percent approved. They split at 47 percent each on the idea to eliminate tenure for public school teachers hired after July 1.

“Today, Scott is a four-letter word to many Florida voters, but political popularity can change with time," said Peter A. Brown, assistant director of the Quinnipiac University Polling Institute. "The experience of Scott’s predecessor, Charlie Crist, who had 70 percent approval ratings at this point in his tenure, shows how fickle public opinion can be.”

Link
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1567. emcf30
Quoting RastaSteve:
No matter if you are republican or Democratic everyone should agree this is a disatrious idea buy this idiot we call Governor.


amen
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1561, nothing
Member Since: July 14, 2008 Posts: 1 Comments: 9630
Quoting RitaEvac:
lol, that ho77yw00d girl put out her address on that site,



What did she do?
Member Since: September 2, 2007 Posts: 178 Comments: 20443
Quoting PcolaDan:
off topic

Study: Maine Most Peaceful State; Louisiana Least


I believe that. Although I've not spent much time in LA, we've spent time in Maine and it was absolutely one of the most peaceful and best vacations we've been on.
Highs of 72 and chilly during June was an interesting change from the sweltering humidity and heat of SWFL.
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Where's ol Weather456 now days?
Member Since: July 14, 2008 Posts: 1 Comments: 9630
this hurricane season will look more like this:

http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/a/a a/2004_Atlantic_hurricane_season_map.png

http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/d/d d/2008_Atlantic_hurricane_season_map.png

http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/f/f 5/2007_Atlantic_hurricane_season_map.png

and 2 out of 3 ends up starting in may
and 2 out of 3 had cat 5 canes
all 3 had a good concentrations of storms in the NW carib, GOM, Florida, US E Coast so yep a big year for us

my predictions
TD: 17-20
_________
TS: 16-18
HU: 08-11
MH: 03-05

sorry for the pics bad computetr
Member Since: Posts: Comments:



A lot of rain in the North.....Flooding is gonna be a problem down stream in the River Valleys.

Member Since: September 2, 2007 Posts: 178 Comments: 20443
lol, that ho77yw00d girl put out her address on that site,
Member Since: July 14, 2008 Posts: 1 Comments: 9630
1554. Levi32
For the sake of the question, though, the longest that the Gulf of Mexico has gone without a major hurricane since 1950 has been 3 consecutive seasons, on three different occasions. In general, since 1950, the gulf rarely goes more than two seasons without a major hurricane passing through.
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Quoting Levi32:


Hurricane Karl was a Cat 3.



Ya, i forgot about Karl...my old age memory...:)
Member Since: September 2, 2007 Posts: 178 Comments: 20443
1552. kwgirl
Quoting pottery:
With regard to Teachers and Education, watch this and Educate yourself...
It is VERY GOOD>>>

Thanks Pottery. That was wonderful. If only I could believe that our education system would embrace this ideology and change education in such a way. It is a wonderful video.
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Quoting PcolaDan:


Awesome stuff there. And the part about Shakespeare - BRILLIANT!!!! LMAO
agreed... one quote i like in particular, and pertinent to this blog actually: "if you're not prepared to be wrong, you'll never come up with anything original"
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1548. Levi32
Quoting RastaSteve:


If you state it like that we haven't had a major cane in the Gulf since 2005 if I'm not mistaken. I believe IKE and Gustav were Cat. 2's in the Gulf.


Gustav had a peak intensity of Cat 3 in the gulf.

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1547. Levi32
Quoting RastaSteve:


Niether were cat 3 though right?


Hurricane Karl was a Cat 3.
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1544. Levi32
Quoting TampaSpin:



The odds of a storm are great because there has not been one. I am not sure how long or what the longest length of time between a major cane in the GOM. Wish i had the time to look at that.


We had one last year, and very nearly two.
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Quoting pottery:
With regard to Teachers and Education, watch this and Educate yourself...
It is VERY GOOD>>>



Awesome stuff there. And the part about Shakespeare - BRILLIANT!!!! LMAO
Member Since: August 22, 2008 Posts: 12 Comments: 6010
Quoting RastaSteve:


lol! "Pumping The Ridge" quote was the best! I can't stop laughing thinking about that guy! I do agree with him though all joking aside infact if you back and look at my post from last evening that is exactly what i said too. Although some didn't like that on here and I got called a doomcaster. I think we may very well have a cat3 to cat5 in the Gulf this year as it has virtually been untouched since 2008.



The odds of a storm are great because there has not been one. I am not sure how long or what the longest length of time between a major cane in the GOM. Wish i had the time to look at that.
Member Since: September 2, 2007 Posts: 178 Comments: 20443
Quoting cpeterka:

About Education and Teachers.

See http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RxsOVK4syxU

Got some other videos that are good also,thanks!
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Quoting cpeterka:

About Education and Teachers.

See http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RxsOVK4syxU


yes
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1538. emcf30
Quoting RastaSteve:
Tampa has almost had half of what they got all of last year! AMAZING!


Yea that is amazing since were in our DRY season. But as you know have to take it when we can get it. Example in Jan / Feb 1998 we were responding to extreme flooding in the area, historic tornado event which killed many, and a couple of months later was fighting huge wild fires through out CF with extreme drought. Was a crazy year. Thing change.
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Remember StormW?? from his take...


palmharborforecastcenter says:

April 5, 2011 at 11:03 pm
Greg, the Gulf may be a concern, due to the sst anomalies are heating up for one, and if we hit the neutral ENSO pattern, the Azores/Bermuda (A/B) High could set up to where some storms may get steered from the Caribbean, into the Gulf.

Member Since: July 14, 2008 Posts: 1 Comments: 9630

About Education and Teachers.

See http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RxsOVK4syxU

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About Aftershocks.

They normally Decrease over time as the Earth shakes itself off after the Big one.

Sorry for making Mother Nature into a person with that analogy, but it seems to be true.

See http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Aftershock and OMORI's Law.
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Should I dare say Andrew, Katrina, Rita, Gustav, Ike type paths for the upcoming season?
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1530. emcf30


Looks like Tampa is the big winner for the year
Member Since: August 7, 2010 Posts: 0 Comments: 1937
Member Since: July 14, 2008 Posts: 1 Comments: 9630
Quoting RastaSteve:
Later next week on is beginning to look WET in FL. Looks like anoter stormy pattern may build into the state which is great because rain this time of year is a bonus. GFS has trended toward the Euro in regards to a wetter pattern again coming to FL.

http://www.cpc.ncep.noaa.gov/products/predictions /814day/


That's ok, because yall are gonna dry up come summer wishing for rain with high pressure in control and Texas will be getting the rains and hopefully not the big canes going around the ridge of high pressure steering the storms our way
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1526. pottery
With regard to Teachers and Education, watch this and Educate yourself...
It is VERY GOOD>>>

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1524. emcf30
img src="">

cool video
Member Since: August 7, 2010 Posts: 0 Comments: 1937
Quoting PcolaDan:
off topic

Study: Maine Most Peaceful State; Louisiana Least
That's gonna make some people mad in the great state of Luissanne! LOL
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1521. emcf30
ZCZC SPCSWOD48 ALL
ACUS48 KWNS 060907
SPC AC 060907

DAY 4-8 CONVECTIVE OUTLOOK
NWS STORM PREDICTION CENTER NORMAN OK
0407 AM CDT WED APR 06 2011

VALID 091200Z - 141200Z

...DISCUSSION...
COMPARISONS OF THE PAST 1-2 DAYS OF THE GFS AND ECMWF SHOWED LESS
INTER- AND INTRA-MODEL SIMILARITIES...THOUGH THERE IS AGREEMENT THAT
THE WRN U.S. TROUGH WILL PROGRESS EWD ACROSS THE CONUS MOVING INTO
THE ERN STATES ON DAY 6 /MON APR 11/. IN THE WEST ON DAY 6...THE
NEXT UPSTREAM PACIFIC TROUGH IS EXPECTED TO MOVE INLAND WHILE
TENDENCIES FOR A SPLIT FLOW REGIME PERSISTS ACROSS THIS REGION.
MODELS DIFFER WITH THE EWD PROGRESSION OF A SYSTEM ALONG THE
U.S./CANADIAN BORDER TOWARD THE UPPER GREAT LAKES DAY 7 /TUE APR 12/
AND DAY 8 /WED APR 13/. FARTHER S...THERE IS AGREEMENT THAT A
PROGRESSIVE TROUGH SHOULD REACH THE SRN PLAINS ON DAY 8...BUT THE
GFS/ECMWF DIVERGE IN THE STRENGTH OF THIS SYSTEM.

...DAY 4 /SAT APR 9/...
ALTHOUGH MODELS DIFFER SOMEWHAT IN THE TIMING OF A SHORTWAVE TROUGH
MOVING EWD ACROSS THE NRN PLAINS ON SATURDAY...THERE IS AGREEMENT IN
THE LOW LEVELS SHOWING AN AREA OF LOW PRESSURE TRACKING FROM THE
CENTRAL PLAINS TO WRN WI BY 12Z SUNDAY. STRENGTHENING SSWLY LOW
LEVEL WINDS FROM THE SRN/CENTRAL PLAINS TO THE UPPER MS VALLEY WILL
ADVECT MOISTURE NWD BENEATH A PLUME OF STEEP LAPSE RATES. MODERATE
TO STRONG INSTABILITY AND INCREASING SWLY MIDLEVEL WINDS WILL
SUPPORT ORGANIZED STORMS DEVELOPING OVER PORTIONS OF THE LOWER-MID
MO VALLEY AND SPREADING NEWD INTO THE UPPER MS VALLEY.

...DAY 5 /SUN APR 10/...
THE 00Z ECMWF SOLUTION FOR SUNDAY HAS DIVERGED FROM ITS EARLIER RUNS
AND IS NOW INDICATING A CLOSED COMPACT LOW TRACKING ACROSS THE SRN
PLAINS TO MID MS VALLEY. MEANWHILE...THE GFS MAINTAINS MORE OF A
OPEN LONGWAVE TROUGH MOVING FROM THE PLAINS REACHING THE GREAT LAKES
TO LOWER MS VALLEY BY 12Z MONDAY. DESPITE THESE DIFFERENCES...EACH
MODEL SHOWS STRONG SWLY MIDLEVEL WINDS EXTENDING FROM TX TO THE
MIDWEST/GREAT LAKES SUNDAY AFTERNOON. THUS...CONFIDENCE REMAINS FOR
A REGIONAL SEVERE WEATHER THREAT AREA MID MS/LOWER OH VALLEYS...WITH
A W/SWWD EXTENSION ADDED AT THIS TIME DUE TO THE SLOWER 06/00Z
ECMWF.

...DAY 6 /MON APR 11/...
GIVEN THAT THE ECMWF AND GFS SOLUTIONS DIVERGE ON THE PORTION OF THE
ERN HALF OF THE U.S. THAT WILL BE AFFECTED BY TSTMS ON MONDAY...A
REGIONAL SEVERE WEATHER THREAT AREA WILL NOT BE INCLUDED AT THIS
TIME.

..PETERS.. 04/06/2011

CLICK TO GET WUUS48 PTSD48 PRODUCT

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1520. emcf30


The next round, welcome to April
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off topic

Study: Maine Most Peaceful State; Louisiana Least
Member Since: August 22, 2008 Posts: 12 Comments: 6010

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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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