Visualizing the entire 2010 Atlantic hurricane season in one image

The photo below is a stunning and novel piece of imagery and I commend NOAA’s Environmental Visualization Laboratory for this nicely done graphic. If they had done it last year, Al Gore would not have had to Photoshop in some fake (and reverse spinning) hurricanes for his most recent book. See: Not finding any, Gore airbrushes in hurricanes for his new book

11/30/2010 Hurricane Season Ends With High Activity But Few Landfalls

The 2010 Atlantic Hurricane Season ends today after an incredibly active season. A total of 19 storms were named by the National Hurricane Center. This number ties 2010 with 1887 and 1995 for the 3rd most active season on record.

This level of activity was not unexpected, as initially NOAA predicted 14-23 named storms. Twelve of the storms became hurricanes, with sustained winds of at least 74 mph – tied for the second highest number on record. Five storms reached Category 3 strength (111-130 mph), and both Hurricane Igor and Julia reached Category 4 strength (131-155 mph) at the same time. The last time there were to Category 4 storms in the North Atlantic simultaneously was in 1926. Driving this activity was the intensifying La Niña in the Pacific. While La Niña typically produces very few storms in the Eastern Pacific, due to cooler ocean temperatures, it usually results in higher activity in the Atlantic. La Niña tends to reduce the amount of wind shear in the Atlantic Intertropical Convergence Zone, which in turn promotes the formation of storms.

click to enlarge - This image is a composite of all of the named Atlantic hurricanes from June 1 – November 30, 2010, as observed by the GOES-13 satellite.

Higher resolution images -2000 x 1500 pixels (suitable for Al Gore Book covers)

View Hurricane Season Ends With High Activity But Few Landfalls – High Resolution VersionView Hurricane Season Ends With High Activity But Few Landfalls (No Labels) – High Resolution Version

This image is a composite of all of the named Atlantic hurricanes from June 1 – November 30, 2010, as observed by the GOES-13 satellite.
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47 thoughts on “Visualizing the entire 2010 Atlantic hurricane season in one image

  1. Roger says:
    December 6, 2010 at 3:04 pm

    “How did they determine how many storms formed in the Atlantic in 1887?'”

    They use the “strip-kelp” seaweed as a proxy.

  2. Do we suppose that if they made a composite of ALL past known and possible hurricane tracks it would tell us anything? – like, ‘hey man, look – hurricanes come in all shapes and sizes and from many directions’! Wow, says you – ‘the atlantic is covered in swirly cloud!’
    scare tactics and very poor ones at that!
    moreover, it is ridiculous to try and compare real measurement data (i.e. currently measured temps and hurricanes) with historical ‘recorded’ data. It’s like trying to reconcile crime figures from years ago (even a few decades?) with today – most crime before wasn’t recorded (who were the ‘peasants’ gonna tell?) but nowadays everyone calls the cops for every little thing! apples and oranges – yet again!

  3. Offtopic – but its got to be said.

    Today in Scotland literally thousands of motorists were stuck on the major motorways between Scotland’s two biggest cities Glasgow and Edinburgh. According to those there there was no help and after 10 hours stuck in the same place, the police’s response? To tell them they were to stay in their vehicles and not walk the few hundred yards to the service station!

    Scotland has been at a virtual standstill – due to a totally inadequate forecast from the Met Office and what has been the politicians response by this global warming obsessed “government” — no apologies … because they provided a “premier response”.

    What a joke both the Met Office and so called “Scottish government” are. We’ve had the same “once in a lifetime” cold weather twice in a year and the response has been atrocious both times, no doubt because they wasted all their “emergency planning” working out how to respond to warming of 1C, given us the usual weather for England!

  4. Interesting how Sydney’s Herald is always quick to mention La Nina in articles relating to the heavy rainfall here and the end of the drought. Of course there were dozens of articles on how the drought was a result of global warming … always forgetting to mention the increase in rainfall in NSW over the past century.

  5. Pielke Jr and I submitted an article three years ago about trends in the mid-Atlantic versus trends in the west Atlantic.

    One reviewer said that everything in the article was already well known in the literature and recommended rejection. The other reviewer said that everything in the article was wrong and that our statistical analysis was fraudulent.

    The editor said that there was a consensus that the article be rejected. Too bad, it had some interesting points.

  6. Roger says: “How did they determine how many storms formed in the Atlantic in 1887?”

    They measure the thickness of multi-annual layers of guano deposits on certain islands in the Caribbean. It’s called coproclimatology.

  7. “How did they determine how many storms formed in the Atlantic in 1887?’”
    Jon P answers
    They use the “strip-kelp” seaweed as a proxy.

    How many strip kelps were whatevered by Gaston? Zero would be my guess. There is no way that some proxy (for strong storms) is going to be comparable to satellite estimates like Gaston which barely made storm status.

  8. also, I think I remember two ‘hurricanes’ this year that you could count their time
    in seconds or minutes…………….

  9. Did global warming cause the same high number of hurricanes in 1887? Or was there some other phenomenon at play. And if that other phenomenon was at play, could that phenomenon be at play in 2010? (yes, this is rhetorical except for the warmers)

  10. The number of storms was high, but I do not think the total energy was particularly high. The last ACE number I saw was 130 which is above average but well below the highest levels. That was before the last few storms. Will be interesting to see the final number.

  11. Not only were there no landfalling US hurricanes because of the cold fronts, it’s now going down in the 30s tonight in SWFL. There goes our crops. The inshore fish have been devastated by the cold, and the manatees are stuck in the hot water dischares of those evil power plants.

    Such is the state of global warming in Florida.

    Oh yeah, our insurance rates are going up because NOAA counts every wind gust as a named storm.

    Nice graphic …

  12. To reiterate the comments of others, until weather ships ( a WW II thing), we would have little or no historical accounts of Hurricanes at sea. Even when encountered, there would be no lasting historical accounting. The storms were not even named until the modern era.

  13. jorgekafkazar says:
    December 6, 2010 at 3:51 pm

    A reliable proxy, seriously, would be to go to ships’ logs for 1887, and find out how many large ships were lost that year, since it is an accurate matter of maritime record, with the assumption that they had to have been sunk by storms of at least magnitude 2. A simple ratio comparing that number with how many ships were lost in 2010 due to known hurricanes gives you the adjusted storm number.

    As an example, let’s say that one large ship was lost in 2010 due to a known hurricane (one would be the default denominator, since division by zero is a no-no); if, say, one finds that 50 large ships were lost in 1887, then multiply the hurricane number for 1887 by 50/1.

    Simple proxy—logical and not in need of heavy computing power.

    You heard it here first!

  14. Idk. The multiple storms chosen to evoke the emotional “omg look at all the storms” response – rather than explain anything?

    I’d rather have had some ACE data embedded somehow ala Edward Tufte (www.edwardtufte.com). Not sure how that would turn out (include an ACE graph vs time at bottom?) – but would leave viewer more knowledgeable.

  15. They’re showing 12 storms, but, it looks like only 10 were properly developed. Is there any justification for this?

  16. OldOne says:
    December 6, 2010 at 4:41 pm
    In that time period an average of 2 to 3 hurricanes (of 2+ day duration) were missed per year. (see top of page 2514) Plus ??? shorter ones.
    =================================================
    But you know what, if they didn’t know, then they are just guessing at how many
    (of 2+ day duration) were missed too.
    “Plus ??? shorter ones.”
    Of course they missed all of the shorter ones, now the sats give them the ability to name every two clouds that bump together , even if for only five minutes.
    They still have the nerve to claim “most in history” blah blah

  17. Steve McIntyre says:
    December 6, 2010 at 3:50 pm
    “One reviewer said that everything in the article was already well known in the literature and recommended rejection. The other reviewer said that everything in the article was wrong and that our statistical analysis was fraudulent.”

    So logically everything in the literature is wrong and fraudulent.

  18. Awesome.

    That’s the sales pitch for the new Roland Emmerich Movie:

    The Day After, the Day After Tomorrow:
    Synopsis…

    Run away global warming has created a string of super storms that all form on the same day and head west across the Florida keys, our hero, Chas Manlymanson, must struggle against the forces of nature – hereafter called “Axis of Evil Weather Ninja’s” – to rescue his pet Gerbil from impending doom.

    All the while evading a cigar smoking Tea Partier, who relentless tracks him across devastated Swamps, Jungle, Desert, Forest and Urban landscape…in a Humvee.

    Only a cool head will prevail, if he can make it to safety, he can warn the rest of the entire Northern hemisphere, which is unaware of the impending crisis – due to funding cuts brought about by out-sourcing prosperity to third world nations like Tuavalu.

    Production will start in 2012 and be filmed entirely on location in the Canadian Rockies using an Indian Bollywood film crew,.

    Leonardo Di Caprio stars as the Gerbil.

  19. Wow! What an image. A very important one for those who think this past season was a bust.

    It was not. Very VERY active.

    Just active AWAY from the USA mainland.

    Joe Bastardi points that frigid Decembers often follow active hurricane seasons in the East….a trick handed down from his father….also a prescient meteorologist.

    Something about so many strong tropical cyclones spinning in the Atlantic over time…leave lower height fields in the means (and as evidenced by the persistent negative NAO), pulling Arctic air down from Canada.

    I hope JB sees this graphic….he will love it.

    Chris
    Norfolk, VA, USA

  20. Mike Haseler says:
    December 6, 2010 at 3:39 pm

    ==========================

    If this keeps up….I predict the Scots (in true Celtic fashion) will attempt to sack the gates of the Met headquarters….just their kinfolk did long ago in Rome….and scare the bejeezus out of them.

    Time to shed the clothes….get the blue paint….and work on the screams. Highlanders and Lowlanders. Come one come all, ye Scots. Get in touch with your roots.

    It worked for the terrified Romans.

    It will work for the computer waifs who are hiding behind the Big Black at the Met and Hadley….trying to force world policy….all at the United Kingdom’s expense…and freezing peril.

    Rise up! And that means ye Angles and ye Saxons too.

    Chris
    Norfolk, VA, USA

  21. latitude says:
    December 6, 2010 at 6:15 pm
    Yes, they were estimates.
    The authors say: “we apply the methodology of VK08, which allows for a quantative estimate of the number of missed TCs that have occurred over the Atlantic, using only the satellite-era storms of duration larger than two days to estimate missing storm rates. Two to three missed medium to long-range TCs are estimated for the 1880s”. VK08 is Veechi and Knutson 2008.
    Previous studies had estimated these ‘missed TCs’. This and previous studies acknowledged that there was uncertainty with these estimates. Previous studies showed a significant increase in number of TCs per year in the last century even after being adjusted for the ‘missing’ storms.

    Landsea’s paper showed “for the first time – that there exists a large trend in the reported frequency of very short-lived Atlantic TCs from less than one per year in the late 1800s and early 1900s to about five per year in the first few years of the twenty-first century.” When they backed out the short-lived storms they found “Examination of the adjusted medium- to long-lived TCs with our estimated number of missed TCs included indicates that no significant trend remains using either an 1878 or a 1900 starting point.”

    So hurricanes aren’t increasing in freq if you back out these brief storms(that were very likely to have been missed because no ship passed through them).

    (Landsea, you probably know, withdrew from the IPCC AR4 in 2005 because the “process” was “motivated by pre-conceived agenda” and was “scientifically unsound”. Sure seems that history has proved him correct)
    Full story: http://cstpr.colorado.edu/prometheus/archives/science_policy_general/000318chris_landsea_leaves.html

  22. Dear Mr. McIntyre:
    ‘………….Pielke Jr and I submitted an article three years ago about trends in the mid-Atlantic versus trends in the west Atlantic.

    One reviewer said that everything in the article was already well known in the literature and recommended rejection. The other reviewer said that everything in the article was wrong and that our statistical analysis was fraudulent.

    The editor said that there was a consensus that the article be rejected. Too bad, it had some interesting points……’
    —————————————————————————————
    I’m a bit dim. Could you please elucidate on your projections and your reasoning. BTW-I don’t collect autographs….but in your case i’d make an exception.
    Johnnnnny

  23. Hey folks, guess what’s gunna be on the cover of Al Gores next book.

    p.s. Seconding johnnythelowery, I’ve never ever desired the autograph of anybody, but S Mcs autograph would be a cherished treasure proudly passed on to my offspring. “I blogged with this man”

  24. Considering that Global Cooling INCREASES the temp/energy gradient between tropics and poles, I predict more major storms over the next 20 years, of increasing severity.

  25. L Nettles says:
    December 6, 2010 at 3:26 pm (Edit)

    you gotta love the extent of the snow cover in that photo composite.

    Rhyl Dearden says:
    December 6, 2010 at 3:39 pm (Edit)

    L Nettles you got there before me.

    Pity they left out the Arctic ice!

    —…—…

    Funny Thing from the NASA Photo Laboratory I: The entire land mass around Hudson Bay and the northern islands off Canada’s Arctic coast are fully coated with snow and ice … but no sea ice is anywhere to be found on their “satellite” photographs.

    Funny Thing from the NASA Photo Laboratory II: No Arctic sea ice to be found between Greenland and Canada, but then again, Canada’s coast is covered in snow and ice at the same time these numerous hurricanes were photographed sweeping across the south Atlantic Ocean in June, July, August, September and October …. (Sure, its a composite photo. But can we get a photo of the “real” arctic skies and cloud cover and ice?)

    Funny Thing from the NASA Photo Laboratory III: The Greenland-Canada straits suddenly got much larger …. Does Denmark know their island moved? 8<)

  26. Sometimes I wonder about the collective intelligence of the contributors here. Clearly, there is an accurate proxy for the 1887 year available.
    Everyone knows that these storms of the US east coast are low pressure cells and to keep a state of global equilibrium, this has to be balanced by an area of high pressure somewhere else. As luck would have it, that balancing area is in the western US where, as luck would have it, the Bristlecones (a well studied species) grow. The high pressure compresses the trees making the growth rings closer together providing an accurate historical record. The more storms, the greater the compression, the tighter the rings – a direct correlation. Mann, himself, supports this theory as he asserted that “trees could capture .. signals from far away by means of teleconnections”.
    It is all there in the tree rings folks, look no further.

    [Tree rings (offshore and buried near-shore) were recently used by US "researchers" to create proxies for US hurricane impacts in the Gulf of Mexico based on beaches ranging as far north up the East coast as Massachusetts and Connecticut, going as far back as precolonial era's. With this year's (lack of) any US impacts of hurricanes anywhere, one wonders how the proxies for New England storm count would affect a US Gulf Coast storm count. Or does it validate the assumption New England stoarms ARE an accurate/valid proxy for Gulf storms? Robt]

  27. I wonder if NASA gets dizzy from all the spinning they do?

    Atlantic Accumulated Cyclone Energy (ACE) in 2010 was 160.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Accumulated_cyclone_energy#Atlantic_hurricane_seasons_by_ACE_index.2C_1950.E2.80.932010

    This was barely in the “hyperactive” category and was exceeded in 11 other years since 1950:

    Year/ACE

    2005/248
    1950/243
    1995/228
    2004/225
    1961/205
    1955/199
    1998/182
    1999/177
    2003/175
    1964/170
    1996/166
    2010/160
    1969/158

  28. I propose weather sattelites cause strong hurricane seasons. Since the deployment of the first weather sattelites hurricane rates have skyrocketed!

    Same with Doppler Radar and Tornados.

    Ban both devices and we will be back to pre-industrial levels of storms.

    Can I have my Nobel Prize now please?

  29. So how about the ACE and the Pacific Basin storms in 2010. What was the whole world experiencing?

    Or do we focus only on that which excites our fears (after, people do choose to go to horror movies voluntarily)

  30. Hmmmn. In chronological order,

    1950/243
    1955/199
    1961/205
    1964/170
    1969/158
    1995/228
    1996/166
    1998/182
    1999/177
    2003/175
    2004/225
    2005/248
    2010/160

    Not too much of a coorelation to the “end” of the 1940’s Medium Warming Period, nor the “peak” of today’s Modern Warming Period, but they seem torelate well with the El Nino cycles of 1998 and 2010. Earlier?

  31. Seems a BIG part of the Central and North Central Atlantic lost a lot of heat this year. Of course that’s nothing compared to 1990-2007 (see Dr Maue’s link below). At the end of the MWP I recall that there were a number of very large Atlantic storms that did a great deal of damage to Western Europe (and probably messed up things in Newfoundland a bit too). Guess the EU might be in for a century or two of Cat V’s if the trend repeats itself. Don’t you wish people kept better records during the last 12,000 years? It would make prognostication in the Art of Climatology sooooo much easier today.

    PS: Wouldn’t you think that Western Pacific Storms would have been a little off the norm and more off shore too?
    PPS: You do have to wonder how all that ice ended up in Canada and Sweeden during the last “IceAge”. Must have had some different patterns to the weather and where the hurricanes impacted. Must have?

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