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 cat5hurricane:

I sure hope you're listening to this Neapolitan.

This guy has a good head on his shoulders.

Hehe, thank you!

Nea and I are usually on the same page (or at least the same chapter).

Also, while we are on the topic, its not even about taxes. Its a volatile issue, don't get me wrong. But contrary to what some (extremist) sides of the debate will have you believe, raising taxes is not an entirely BAD thing, if those taxes are not wasteful. Ask 10 people that are part of the middle class if they want to pass the national debt, as it currently stands (something north of $45,000 PER PERSON), onto their children. 9 out of 10 of them will say something along the lines of "heck no". Ask those same 10 people if they would be agreeable to increased taxes if those extra funds are to ONLY pay off the debt, and a majority will agree to it.

Now, ask those same 10 people if those taxes can also be used to buy $300 toilet seats or fund tax cuts for different demographic groups, and one person might give their assent.

What I'm trying to say is that to get a coherent voice from the middle class, its all about how you phrase it, and the context its used in.
Member Since: August 3, 2008 Posts: 16 Comments: 5885
Quoting jeffs713:
Its not about satisfying one group over another. Its about not completely screwing over the middle class. If you break all the politics down to their core, either the wealthy get the greatest benefits (at the expense of the middle class and poor), or the poor get the greatest benefits at the expense of the wealthy and middle class. The middle class, by far the largest demographic group in the country, is generally the least represented as many of the people in that group are busy working on day-to-day concerns, rather than political issues. Also, the middle class doesn't have one common goal, or one common voice. We have dozens of "goals" as a group, and our voice is about as coherent as someone walking through the concourse of a major NFL stadium at halftime.


+1000 and so true
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Quoting RitaEvac:
Heard this morning that the Prime Minister in Italy is a crook and no good. Having sex parties and orgies and under age girl just thru the gate wide open. These damn politicians need to be whacked literally. Oust em all out by force
We would get Mel Gibson to lead us,but nobody likes him anymore.
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Quoting RitaEvac:
Heard this morning that the Prime Minister in Italy is a crook and no good. Having sex parties and orgies and under age girl just thru the gate wide open. These damn politicians need to be whacked literally. Oust em all out by force
Heh. He's as crooked as a dog's hind leg, and a dirty old man, to boot.

Member Since: August 3, 2008 Posts: 16 Comments: 5885
Quoting Jax82:


As long as Rick Scott doesnt add a FL income tax....or take away 'happy hour' i'll survive ;) Would you have been happier with Crist? If not, who? Seems all politicians these days hardly satisfy a soul.
Its not about satisfying one group over another. Its about not completely screwing over the middle class. If you break all the politics down to their core, either the wealthy get the greatest benefits (at the expense of the middle class and poor), or the poor get the greatest benefits at the expense of the wealthy and middle class. The middle class, by far the largest demographic group in the country, is generally the least represented as many of the people in that group are busy working on day-to-day concerns, rather than political issues. Also, the middle class doesn't have one common goal, or one common voice. We have dozens of "goals" as a group, and our voice is about as coherent as someone walking through the concourse of a major NFL stadium at halftime.
Member Since: August 3, 2008 Posts: 16 Comments: 5885
Quoting jeffs713:

Tropical cyclones form over water, too.
Actually had Bonnie in 98 Intensify while over the swamps and sounds of North east N.C. caught us all by surprise!
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Quoting Jax82:


As long as Rick Scott doesnt add a FL income tax....or take away 'happy hour' i'll survive ;) Would you have been happier with Crist? If not, who? Seems all politicians these days hardly satisfy a soul.


Walkin' Lawton, get him back from the dead! He was the best for Florida.

While that would never happen, I would have been much happier with Ms. Alex Sink.
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Quoting overwash12:
Texas,South Fl. , Outer banks,N.C. at higher risk for hurricane strikes this season. That's a shocker!

Tropical cyclones form over water, too.
Member Since: August 3, 2008 Posts: 16 Comments: 5885
Quoting Neapolitan:

He's thinking that if he can force a school voucher system on people, he can help for-profit school corporations prosper, while simultaneously having taxpayer money support religious education. He's thinking that by closing down emergency rooms and Fire/rescue operations, he can steer people toward the health clinics that he still owns to the tune of $60 million (oh, wait: he transferred their ownership to his wife when taking office, as Florida is one of only three states that allow such shenanigans). He's thinking that he can strip environmental policies, defund any service that help the less fortunate, and provide even more tax breaks to corporations, all in the name of "job creation" (but which are nothing more than pretty shallow attempts to enrich the rich and screw the middle- and lower classes).

That about sums it up, I think.


Yep, that sums everything up.
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Oh, and for comparison (not saying one is worse than the other), our wonderful Gov. Goodhair (Rick Perry) is proceeding to drive the state of Texas into a very deep financial hole.

Some background:
1. Texas Legislature meets every other year, so each budget is for 2-year terms.
2. Texas' school funding is backwards and politically charged, and one of the lowest on a per-student basis.
3. Texas has a balanced budget amendment, stating the budget must be balanced before Legislature adjourns.
4. In his first term, he pushed through large-scale property tax cuts, the funds for which were mostly "made up for" by business tax increases. (the same business taxes have had their revenues drop by almost 50% since enacted)
5. He was elected to his second term by a plurality, with 39% of the vote.

Right now, the state is in a $15-23 BILLION hole (the exact numbers depend on who is doing the math). Most economists agree the state wouldn't be in this kind of hole without the large-scale property tax cuts from several years prior. To fix this issue, Perry and the Legislature is trying to mandate funding cuts for education, healthcare, and public services on the bigger side of 10-15% annually. There is some talk of cutting education by 20% or more. As teacher salaries are nearly half of each school's discretionary, flexible budget, this 20% cut would mean that class sizes would be pushing 40 students per class, and campuses would have to be closed.

IMO, if funding is tight, education is one of the LAST things that you cut. Cut education, you are cutting our future. You won't see the effects for 10-15 years, but by the time they are visible, its too late to do anything about them.
Member Since: August 3, 2008 Posts: 16 Comments: 5885
Texas,South Fl. , Outer banks,N.C. at higher risk for hurricane strikes this season. That's a shocker!
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1404. Jax82
Quoting Neapolitan:

.

That about sums it up, I think.


As long as Rick Scott doesnt add a FL income tax....or take away 'happy hour' i'll survive ;) Would you have been happier with Crist? If not, who? Seems all politicians these days hardly satisfy a soul.
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Like the rain volume we are getting but these storms are powerful!

Teachers in my state do NOT get great salaries. I love to teach and don't because of the money. Get REAL! Nobody goes into teaching for the sweet money.
When you average in all the hours grading papers, teacher meetings outside of the workday, researching lessons, and classroom maintenance, it is NOT 30 hours a week.
How many people with the education and qualification to teach have flooded the school boards with resume applications? Yeah, they are turning folks away in droves... NOT.
Sub for a week, then make uninformed posts like those.

The mandatory 5% contribution is a 5% salary cut. Pure and simple.
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April 4th 2010



April 4th 2011



This is of great concern for the upcoming season.
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1399. aquak9
And I agree, the state workers should be drug screened.

Oh, and there were a coupla 5.0's over by Japan yesterday, too. Let's rock the world.
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1398. IKE
  • Oil+0.11Price/barrel$108.45
Gas here in my town is at $3.75.9 for regular unleaded...it went up 7 cents a gallon yesterday.
Member Since: June 9, 2005 Posts: 23 Comments: 37858
I'm sorry if I don't think that asking someone to contribute 5% to their pension fund is tragic.

I have very good friends who are teachers. a 5% contribution to a pension that will pay you 35-40% of your salary for the rest of your life is certainly not 'tragic.'

Also, if you spread their work hours over a 52-week period, they work an average of 30 hours/week tops. They get paid full time and have very good benefits. That's not tragic.

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1396. snotly
They are our mis-leaders and we are the misled.

Quoting FtMyersgal:
Quoting cat5hurricane:

Tragic. Just tragic.
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Quoting FtMyersgal:

That is just it, he is not thinking. And he listens to no one
Oh, he listens to someone.

Benjamin. Speaking from small green fabric bills in large quantities.
Member Since: August 3, 2008 Posts: 16 Comments: 5885
Quoting cat5hurricane:

Tragic. Just tragic. Just what is this guy thinking?


He can't. It's what happens when people elect a person who ran one of the biggest medicare scams in US history and pleaded the fifth 75 times to avoid getting himself in trouble.

He'll get run out of office before his first term is up.
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Quoting TampaSpin:
UNLEADED GAS


GOLD


SILVER


WHEAT


COTTON



DID A LITTLE CHARTING FOR YOU ALL JUST FOR YOUR INFO.....FIND IT INTERESTING THAT THE GOVERNMENT SAYS WE DON'T HAVE MUCH INFLATION OCCURRING......I DON'T KNOW WHAT THEY ARE LOOKING AT?

COFFEE


CATTLE


SUGAR




I REALLY DON'T KNOW WHAT THEY ARE THINKINNG WHEN SOME THINK INFLATION IS NOT KICKING IN?

The government's accounting of inflation is based upon "non-volatile" products, which specifically does not count fuel or food. Basically, inflation is judged on durable goods, and durable goods only. As services are abstract and statistically not comparable from month-to-month due to their dynamic nature, the government's inflation measure is basically junk on any scale less than 5 years or so.
Member Since: August 3, 2008 Posts: 16 Comments: 5885
Quoting cat5hurricane:

Tragic. Just tragic. Just what is this guy thinking?
That is just it, he is not thinking. And he listens to no one
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1391. snotly
We the people, need to pass a law that the gov. must always buy your house at 100% of it's taxed value.


Quoting TampaSpin:


thats easy your local Gov. won't revaluate your property cause they would be taking in less tax revenues.
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Quoting cat5hurricane:

Tragic. Just tragic.


My friends mom teaches 8th grade science. I've known them since I was 4 years old, and I got to be in her class. She is a very great teacher, very smart too. She graduated in the top of her class at Kansas University. Her husband (his dad) is also a teacher too. He teaches high school science (I think it's biology). They're two great people who do not deserve this. Rick Scott is basically about to destroy Florida with cutting education, law enforcement and fire fighters, like Jeff said.

My mom and aunt work with PBC Fire Rescue. They're about to get hit with the wrath of Scott over there too. It's too hard to watch the people closest to you suffer from this madness.
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Good news: the radioactive gusher of water has stopped.

Bad news: hydrogen pressures within the containment vessel are building, so an explosion may be imminent.

Mediocre news: Edano has apologized to nearby countries for irradiating their ocean wiithout notifying them. Whoopsie!

Japanese Plug Nuclear Plant Leak, Now Face Hydrogen Build-up

Troubles continue at Japan's crippled nuclear plant, where technicians believe they have solved one big problem but are confronting another.

Officials said Wednesday they have finally stopped a leak of radioactive water from the Fukushima power station that was raising radiation in the nearby ocean to millions of times the legal limit.

But now they are worried about a build-up of hydrogen inside the containment vessel at another of the plant's six reactors, creating the risk of an explosion that could release large amounts of radiation into the atmosphere. Plant officials said they may pump nitrogen into the reactor in an attempt to halt the chemical reaction.

Also Wednesday, Chief Cabinet Secretary Yukio Edano apologized to neighboring countries for Japan's failure to notify them before it began pumping thousands of tons of low-level radioactive water into the sea near the plant.

Officials at the Tokyo Electric Power Company, which operates the Fukushima plant, said the latest threat of a hydrogen build-up is taking place at its number-one reactor. Japan's NHK television quoted officials saying the build-up is occurring inside the containment vessel that keeps radiation from escaping into the atmosphere, and is an indication that the reactor's core has been damaged.

Hydrogen explosions destroyed the outer buildings housing the number-one and three reactors earlier in the crisis, which began when a massive earthquake and tsunami destroyed the power plant's cooling systems on March 11. Those blasts may also have damaged the containment vessels.

VOA Article...

Rick Scott is an embarrassment and, so far, a disaster. The guy is so reviled by both sides at this point that he has absolutely no shot at a second term, and very well may not even finish his first before he's run out of town on a rail. Corrupt to the core...
Member Since: November 8, 2009 Posts: 4 Comments: 13551
1383. Jax82
Quoting RastaSteve:


My wife's a 3rd grade teacher here in Lake Mary and I can tell you this our d-bag governer Rick Scott want's to cut from education, law enforcement, and fire fighters and instead of cutting from other resources. Cutting from the education system will not solve the problems here in FL. Rick Scott now wants teachers to pay for there Health Care and mind you it's like they get paid a lot for what they do. This alien looking freak needs to get out of office.


Unfortunately, he just got there and will be there a while. Every state is making cuts and making changes that wont make everyone happy. I do disagree with cutting teacher pay, i think they ought to be paid a lot more than they are. Maybe cut all those corporate executives million dollar bonuses and hand it down to the people that need it.

On a chillier note, its currently 53 degrees at Jax beach and it feels wonderful!
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I was certified in English Grade 6-12 and now work for a non-profit that delivers educational services. 90% of the people I hire are public school teachers who help kids from lower income families in critical academic areas. So yeah, I see it up close and personal. There is no better system than public education, and they are doing much better with the children than the charter schools are.
Education is not a for-profit business in the traditional sense because you won't realize the gains for many years, but it is our most worthwhile enterprise.
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1375. IKE
5 day QPF....


Member Since: June 9, 2005 Posts: 23 Comments: 37858
"While Washington (state's) budget is basically re-written and re-evaluated every two years, corporate tax breaks, once passed by the Legislature, are never seen in public for a vote again. With state spending under the microscope, it’s important that state lawmakers examine whether tax breaks for big business really add public value for Washington taxpayers."

http://washingtonpolicywatch.org/2011/02/02/do-wa shingtons-corporate-tax-exemptions-really-deliver- public-value/

It's that pesky public education system and all those people out of work that is dragging down the state, for sure. Just keep cutting and see what's left.
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25% rapid reduction of the ozone? might allow the oceans to warm even more this summer
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Quoting InconceivableF6:

How about Charlie?


Actually in Boca FL, from what I remember Charley didn't do much to us but I know it was really bad 150 miles back West near Fort Myers-Port Charlotte FL.
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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.