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By The Numbers: 2010/09/17

By: Neapolitan , 12:27 AM GMT on September 18, 2010

A few highlights from the day:

  1. In just the past seven days, we've gathered as much ACE as the entire 2009 season, and in just the past five days, we've gathered as much ACE as all of 1997.

  2. 26 days ago, the seasonal storm count stood at 3-1-0, and ACE was barely over nine. In those 26 days since, we've gone 8-5-5, and gathered nearly 106 ACE units. That is, quite literally, an entire average season's worth of ACE, nearly an entire average year's worth of both tropical cyclones and hurricanes, and double an average season's worth of major hurricanes. And, in case I need to remind you, we're only a week beyond the climatological peak, waters are at near-record high temps (especially in the western Caribbean, where they remain untouched), and atmospheric conditions are still more than primed for major action.

  3. It wasn't until 83 days into the season that ACE hit 10. Reaching 20 took four more days. 30 followed the next day, then 40, 50, and 60 at intervals of two days apiece after that. Nine days passed before ACE reached 70, but then 80 came two days later, followed by 90, 100, and 110, each at a one-day interval.

  4. ACE by Year
    ACE by Year

    ACE by Day
    ACE by Day

    ACE Accumulation
    ACE Accumulation

  5. Much is often made about the hyperactive 35-day 1998 period in which ten storms were named (from Bonnie to Karl), and rightly so: that's a lot of storms. But that span wasn't nearly as powerful as this year's eight-storm, 27-day span; the '98 run saw but a single major hurricane (though to be fair, that was the devastating Cat 4 Georges).

  6. As of the 5 PM TWO, Hurricane Igor has racked up an ACE of 33.72. That makes him more energetic ACE-wise than any 2005 storm but Wilma, and more energetic than any storm since 2004's ACE monster Ivan—with 70.4!—except for Wilma, 2008's Ike, and 2007's Dean. Dean's ACE is only 1.5 points higher, so it's a sure bet Igor will surpass his by tomorrow morning. Ike and Wilma, however, are tied with 39 apiece, and now that Igor's struggling a bit, he may have a hard time reaching them. As a major storm, that would only take a day or less, but as a Cat 1 or 2, or especially as a tropical storm, 39 may be too far out of reach. We'll see.

  7. As part of my ongoing comparison of 2010 with anomalous 2005, a few other points: I'd previously mentioned that this year's Alex was more energetic ACE-wise than 17 of 2005's 27 storms. Karl's ACE currently stands at 5.8725, meaning that he's already proven more energetic than 13 of 2005's storms (he's higher than Zeta and lower than Beta at the moment). Not sure whether he'll be able to contribute much more to the seasonal total; as I write this, he's down to a 60-knot tropical storm, and disintegrating rapidly over the mountains of central Mexico, and there may not be enough of him left at the next TWO to count.

  8. Speaking of Karl: he's the only major hurricane ever known to be in the Bay of Campeche. That's pretty remarkable, when you think about it: that same area has been traversed by, or has been the birthplace of, literally dozens and dozens of tropical cyclones. But because of that orographic wet-blanket the Yucatan Peninsula, majors have obviously had a very difficult time existing there. However, Karl pulled it off, and I suspect that he will be studied for years because of that. (And, yes, it's possible other similar storms could have been missed in the pre-satellite era; over the next few days or weeks, researchers and historians may be able to shed more light on that for us.)

Back later. Thanks for reading, and please feel free to comment...

The views of the author are his/her own and do not necessarily represent the position of The Weather Company or its parent, IBM.

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4. MiamiHurricanes09
3:37 AM GMT on September 18, 2010
Very nice blog. It was a great read. Thank you.
Member Since: December 31, 1969 Posts: Comments:
3. Neapolitan
2:15 AM GMT on September 18, 2010
Thanks. I've actually been maintaining a pretty heavy-duty database of ACE on a TWO basis all season, and getting charts and graphs from it is the fun part. I'll try to update them every other day or so if possible.
Member Since: December 31, 1969 Posts: Comments:
1. Thundercloud01221991
1:57 AM GMT on September 18, 2010
I like the graph of ACE per day
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Weather by the Numbers

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A solid but breezy look at tropical and other extreme weather from a mathematical point of view. People may lie, but the numbers never do!

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