NOAA: ’2012 was an active [hurricane] year, but not exceptionally so …10 busier years in the last three decades’

NOTE: see video below, where you can watch the entire 2012 hurricane season on satellite time-lapse, way cool. – Anthony

Busy 2012 hurricane season continues decades-long high activity era in the Atlantic

Four U.S. land-falling storms include devastating Sandy and Isaac

November 30 marks the end of the 2012 Atlantic Hurricane season, one that produced 19 named storms, of which 10 became hurricanes and one became a major hurricane. The number of named storms is well above the average of 12. The number of hurricanes is also above the average of six, but the number of major hurricanes is below the average of three.

Based on the combined number, intensity, and duration of all tropical storms and hurricanes, NOAA classifies the season as above-normal. 2012 was an active year, but not exceptionally so as there were 10 busier years in the last three decades.

This season marks the second consecutive year that the mid-Atlantic and Northeast suffered devastating impacts from a named storm. Sandy, and Irene last year, caused fatalities, injuries, and tremendous destruction from coastal storm surge, heavy rainfall, inland flooding, and wind. Storms struck many parts of the country this year, including tropical storms Beryl and Debby in Florida, Hurricane Isaac in Louisiana, and post-tropical Cyclone Sandy in New Jersey.

“This year proved that it’s wrong to think that only major hurricanes can ruin lives and impact local economies,” said Laura Furgione, acting director of NOAA’s National Weather Service. “We are hopeful that after the 2012 hurricane season, more families and businesses all along the Atlantic and Gulf coasts become more “weather ready” by understanding the risks associated with living near the coastline. Each storm carries a unique set of threats that can be deadly and destructive. Mother Nature reminded us again this year of how important it is to be prepared and vigilant.”

An interesting aspect of the season was its early start, with two tropical storms, Alberto and Beryl, developing in May before the season officially began. Also, this is the seventh consecutive year that no major hurricanes (Category 3, 4 or 5) have hit the United States. The only major hurricane this season was Hurricane Michael, a Category 3 storm that stayed over the open Atlantic.

Several storms this year were short in duration, weak in intensity, and went largely unnoticed by the general public because they stayed out over the Atlantic. A persistent jet stream pattern over the eastern portion of the nation helped steer many of this season’s storms away from the United States. The number of named storms and hurricanes was higher than predicted in NOAA’s pre-season outlook, in large part because El Niño – which likely would have suppressed overall storm activity – never materialized as predicted by many climate models.

Hurricane forecasters remind us that a well-established climate pattern puts us in an ongoing era of high activity for Atlantic hurricanes that began in 1995. Since that time, more than 70 percent of seasons have been above normal, including 2012. Historically, Atlantic high-activity eras have lasted 25 to 40 years, with the previous one occurring from the mid-1930s until 1970. Several inter-related atmospheric and oceanic factors contribute to these high activity years, including warmer Atlantic Ocean temperatures, an enhanced West African monsoon, and reduced vertical wind shear.

NOAA will release its pre-season outlook for the 2013 hurricane season in May.

NOAA’s National Weather Service is the primary source of weather data, forecasts and warnings for the United States and its territories. The National Weather Service operates the most advanced weather and flood warning and forecast system in the world, helping to protect lives and property and enhance the national economy. Working with partners, the National Weather Service is building a Weather-Ready Nation to support community resilience in the face of increasing vulnerability to extreme weather. Visit us online at weather.gov and on Facebook.

NOAA’s mission is to understand and predict changes in the Earth’s environment, from the depths of the ocean to the surface of the sun, and to conserve and manage our coastal and marine resources. Join us on Facebook, Twitter and our other social media channels at http://www.noaa.gov/socialmedia/.

2012 Atlantic hurricane season satellite loop:

- 30 -

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28 Responses to NOAA: ’2012 was an active [hurricane] year, but not exceptionally so …10 busier years in the last three decades’

  1. Harold Ambler says:

    Good to see NOAA is still blaming the victims when it comes to Sandy warning absurdities. If only the people in the storm’s path had spent 30-40 hours studying all the inside-baseball reasons that the National Hurricane Center declined to post hurricane warnings covering the Jersey coast, New York City, Long Island, and coastal Connecticut, then maybe, maybe, they would have been in a better position to know that they were about to have their lives ruined by wind and water that were raised by a hurricane about to stop being a hurricane. Maybe.

  2. Gunga Din says:

    And even if this was an execptional year, the onus is still on the Hansonites to prove Man and his CO2 had anything to do with it.
    Was this year’s weather natural or Man made? If they think it was Man made they need to prove it, not just imply it.
    (I still have the first model I ever built. It’s a P-61 Black Widow. The first US purpose-built night fighter. None were ever lost in combat. Even so, I woundn’t try to fly it anywhere. Even if I could fit into it.)

  3. Bob Tisdale says:

    The video was great. Weather.

    But did you notice how you can see Al Gore’s house on the map? Man, that’s a big house.

  4. John R T says:

    “Mother Nature,” “… hurricanes can ruin lives ..”
    Nanny government, scaring us,again..

  5. Rob Dawg says:

    I am pissed off. This NOAA release says: “NOAA’s mission is to understand and predict changes in the Earth’s environment, from the depths of the ocean to the surface of the sun, and to conserve and manage our coastal and marine resources.”

    The real mission statement says: “”The National Weather Service (NWS) provides weather, hydrologic, and climate forecasts and warnings for the United States, its territories, adjacent waters and ocean areas, for the protection of life and property and the enhancement of the national economy. NWS data and products form a national information database and infrastructure which can be used by other governmental agencies, the private sector, the public, and the global community.”

    I say defund these off mission out of control agenda driven advocates now.

  6. Mike Jonas says:

    Hurricane forecasters remind us that a well-established climate pattern puts us in an ongoing era of high activity for Atlantic hurricanes that began in 1995. Since that time, more than 70 percent of seasons have been above normal, including 2012. Historically, Atlantic high-activity eras have lasted 25 to 40 years, with the previous one occurring from the mid-1930s until 1970.

    1930 to 1995 is around the ~60 years of the PDO cycle. This tallies well with the Klotzbach and Gray 2008 document that linked US landfall hurricanes with global cooling. See page 34 figure 15 in http://members.westnet.com.au/jonas1/HurricanesKlotzbachAndGray20080805.pdf [my copy, original link lost]

    Some hurricane statistics are given by NOAA’s Hurricane Research Division http://www.aoml.noaa.gov/hrd/tcfaq/E11.html
    The stats for the last few years are very high but they note “… a rather large increase in short-lived tropical storms and hurricanes in the last decade, which is likely due to improved monitoring capabilities, that may be influencing the climatological average number of TCs in the Atlantic basin. With the artificial jump in the 2000s in the frequency of short-lived systems, a more realistic estimate of the long-term climatology may be closer to 13 tropical storms and hurricanes per year.
    * 1950 is recorded as the busiest season in the whole database for number of Major Hurricanes with 8.
    + 1886 is recorded as the most active hurricane season for the continental USA with 7 landfalling hurricanes.
    “.

  7. William McClenney says:

    That was way cool

  8. Werner Brozek says:

    10 busier years in the last three decades
    And on at least six data sets to the end of October, the ranking is no higher than 9th warmest. Nothing seems too catastrophic this year.

  9. William McClenney says:

    This might come to be known as sandbagging, rev. 2.0.

    In consideration of “1886 is recorded as the most active hurricane season for the continental USA with 7 landfalling hurricanes”, sandbagging might well come to mean “my Sandy is worth [more than] 7 of your aggregate landfalls” prior to the onset of the Anthropocene………..

    Just sayin……………

  10. Richard says:

    Not only was that way cool but I noticed an interesting effect (well, interesting to me anyway – it could be of no consequence)

    Particularly in the first third of the sequence, the clouds around the edge of all continental masses, pulse in unison, in a rhythmic manner. It seems surprising, to me, that the cloud formation/dissipation is uniform from the west coast to the east coast of both North & South America.

    It’s not as though the temperature and/or pressure would be consistent, so I ask the question; why is it so? (Aussie fans will recognise the reference to a scientist most famous for putting eggs into milk bottles).

    I’m amused as to why this is, anyone with an explanation, or is it just ‘one of those things’?

    Curiously yours

  11. What Did I Tell You!? says:

    So, claims are made of Hurricanes being almost as accurately recorded a hundred fifty years ago as today, yet this year isn’t in the top ten. Or, just barely is.

    But we have to shut down civilization because some Menn who looked into some magical boreholes,
    using magical hockey stick math to make the “air, water, light, temperature, 13-16 separate elements in proportion, wind, pollutants, temporary fertilization like animals dying at/near/among roots,
    thing
    go away and those magical boreholes become magical treemomiturs -

    because these men say there might also be a magical association of CO2 with heat handling.

    Even though we have nuclear submarines and the men with their fingers on the nuclear buton for that 50ish years, men with degrees in thermodynamics, electrical, electronic, nuclear engineering, biochemistry, men with these degrees, underwater in submarines with CO2 levels at
    FOUR THOUSAND PPM
    underwater with nothing else to do,
    not once not ever noticed these dramatic CO2 heat-handling traits and modified the ventilation systems to get rid of unpleasant interactions
    or for that matter
    even made a note of it and mentioned it to one
    single
    other
    human being.

    We have to shut down WHAT? Because WHY?

    The EPA had better PROVE CO2 to be a pollutant after the men with their finger on the ultimate ‘don’t act polluted when you press this’ button lived with CO2 for all those years.

    The idea that a regulation can simply be placed onto others to obey on someone’s word alone is what’s called the Royal Decrees we revolted against as we formed this country.
    End of story.
    Regulations the government can’t prove are needed aren’t lawful because of denial of due process. It’s the American legal doctrine that established the United States as foremost in civil rights in the world: prove you’ve provided due process in light of evidence you haven’t: for instance, the CO2 in those subs.

    That’s submerging the very people claimed to be protected in the substance ‘shown’ by a lot less proof than that immersion, claimed to be the pollutant.

  12. vukcevic says:

    NOAA data files contain many examples of data to cast strong doubt on the CO2 hypothesis as the dominant driver of the global temperature rise. Here is one of examples that anyone can verify:
    http://www.vukcevic.talktalk.net/NoaaD.htm
    I doubt that any of the NOAA scientists are currently interested to comment, but comment would be welcome and greeted with great deal of interest.

  13. oldspanky says:

    Above normal?! Above “normal” is extreme, by definition. 2012 was above average OK, but it was well within normal. I don’t think the tendencious choice of words could possibly be innocent.

  14. bw says:

    Isaac was not a hurricane at Louisiana landfall. Data from off-shore buoys clearly show that the “sustained” wind speeds were well below hurricane threshold. Isaac had been (just barely) a hurricane earlier in the gulf but weakened substantially just before landfall. NOAA is getting sloppy in making statements of facts. NHC forecasts and reports also are getting deceptive in stating that surface speeds estimated from aircraft can qualify a storm as a hurricane. Then they say the storm has “hurricane gusts” when the sustained wind speeds are below the 33 meters per second required to call the storm a hurricane

  15. Jason Joice MD says:

    The number of named storms is above average because NOAA is now naming any blip on the radar. Meanwhile, the Accumulate Cyclone Energy (ACE) remains below average.

  16. William Truesdell says:

    They are naming storms they would not have named in the past. Plus we can see storms by satellite that we could not see in the past. We can get better wind speed data than we could in the past. On and on to show that there is no way we can compare numbers from the past with those of today.
    Purely anecdotal, when we lived in South Fl in the 50s,I remember we had several hurricanes, when now there are few if any. Most homes were concrete block because of the hurricanes. Also, we had a load of tropical storms that would have been named today, but back then they were just tropical storms.

  17. Gail Combs says:

    Harold Ambler says:
    November 29, 2012 at 7:07 pm

    Good to see NOAA is still blaming the victims when it comes to Sandy warning absurdities. If only the people in the storm’s path had spent 30-40 hours studying all the inside-baseball reasons that the National Hurricane Center declined to post hurricane warnings covering the Jersey coast, New York City, Long Island, and coastal Connecticut, then maybe, maybe, they would have been in a better position to know that they were about to have their lives ruined by wind and water that were raised by a hurricane about to stop being a hurricane. Maybe.
    ________________________________________
    Sandy was NOT a hurricane when it hit.

  18. John Day says:

    @Richard
    >the clouds around the edge of all continental masses,
    >pulse in unison, in a rhythmic manner. It seems surprising, to me…

    I think you’re referring to the diurnal cloud formation patterns, caused by lowering temperatures around late afternoon and dusk. Air temperatures can sometimes sink to dew-point temperature, so invisible water vapor condenses out as clouds. Yes, in these time loops, this often appears to happen uniformly and quickly over vast regions, which surprises me too when I look at satellite water vapor loops.

  19. According to Chris Landsea,

    During recent years, there have been a number of Category 4 hurricanes that might have only been classified as weak hurricanes or even tropical storms if they had taken place at the same location during the late 1940s and early 1950s.

    Out of eight Category 5 Atlantic hurricanes listed for 2001-10 (all, not just landfalling), only two (both landfalling) would have been categorised as Cat 5, had they occurred in the 1940′s and 50′s.

    Comparison of hurricane numbers with any period earlier than the 1990′s is meaningless.

    More on Landsea’s paper, “On the Classification of Extreme Atlantic Hurricanes Utilizing Mid-Twentieth-Century Monitoring Capabilities” here.

    http://notalotofpeopleknowthat.wordpress.com/2012/08/31/more-evidence-mann-is-wrong-about-hurricanes/

  20. ferdberple says:

    vukcevic says:
    November 30, 2012 at 12:53 am
    http://www.vukcevic.talktalk.net/NoaaD.htm
    I doubt that any of the NOAA scientists are currently interested to comment, but comment would be welcome and greeted with great deal of interest.
    =============
    As I understand the graph, the observed North Pacific data is currently forecasting global temperatures 15 years in advance with significantly greater accuracy than climate models.

    This indeed would be significant as the billions of dollars spent on climate research could instead be replaced by an existing data feed and the money returned to scientific research in other fields from which it was stripped in the name of saving the planet.

  21. Gene Selkov says:

    What are the thin and widely spread clouds travelling west at a uniform speed that seems to be several times higher than that of surface wind?

  22. vukcevic says:

    Hi ferd
    No, I am sorry to disappoint you, that is not the case, it is the other way around in the Pacific. In the far north Atlantic geomagnetic changes are few years in advance of the temperature changes, but in the Pacific geomagnetic changes are trailing the temperature. Why would this be so one can speculate:
    Earth inner core which is suppose to be solid is asymmetric, has a lump and rotates at slightly different rate to the crust. The lump is in the western hemisphere, where magnetic field is rapidly loosing its strength, while opposite is the case in the eastern hemisphere with small gain in the strength. The lamp may be slowing down circulation in the west and hence reduction in the field and movement of the S. Atlantic anomaly further westward.
    Currently both magnetic poles are deep inside eastern hemisphere
    http://www.ngdc.noaa.gov/geomag/data/mag_maps/pdf/F_map_mf_2010.pdf
    at 65N, 107E and 135E, 62S. Of some interest is that two poles instead being separated by 180 degree latitude, they are only 130 degrees apart, and looks they may cross over in few thousand years.
    It thought that the dynamics of liquid core movements is very slow, according to the NASA and the Oxford university experts it takes some 15 years for changes from equatorial part of the core to percolate to the Arctic and vice versa:
    The total CAM (core angular momentum) results from the summation of the individual cylinders with a maximum at a 15-year lead with respect to LOD (length of day=crust rotation rate)…… see page 9
    http://trs-new.jpl.nasa.gov/dspace/bitstream/2014/22423/1/97-0910.pdf
    This is in agreement what I found in the NOAA’s data link
    http://www.vukcevic.talktalk.net/NoaaD.htm
    Movements of the inner solid core, the outer liquid core and the crust’s tectonic plates are likely to affect each other, so I am not surprised that there is correlation between the geophysic’s and the climate’s data which is also found in the North Atlantic
    http://www.vukcevic.talktalk.net/SST-NAP.htm
    Atlantic 15 years ahead, Pacific 15 years lag (AMO-PDO phase difference), making total about half of 60ish year cycle, present both in the AMO and the earth core’s differential rotation (see page 9 second pdf link above).
    Has sun anything to do with this?
    I would say yes:
    http://www.vukcevic.talktalk.net/SSN-NAP.htm
    http://www.vukcevic.talktalk.net/TMC.htm
    and as calculated in more detail here:
    http://www.vukcevic.talktalk.net/EarthNV.htm

  23. w.w.wygart says:

    “This season marks the second consecutive year that the mid-Atlantic and Northeast suffered devastating impacts from a named storm. Sandy, and Irene last year, caused fatalities, injuries, and tremendous destruction from coastal storm surge, heavy rainfall, inland flooding, and wind.”

    Yeah, but… don’t ALL hurricanes do this? cause “destruction from coastal storm surge, heavy rainfall, inland flooding, and wind,” – its the nature of the beast. The only real question is when talking about hurricanes what deserves the ranking of ‘exceptional’ in terms of the tremendous destruction it generates.

    W^3

  24. Bruce of Newcastle says:

    I wonder when NOAA will start naming individual clouds?

  25. What Did I Tell You!? says:

    ‘which the magic gas/magic infrared light men’

    shud be

    ‘which the magic gas/magic infrared light minn’

    abuv but this is to importunt two spayl!!!?! We got to git down own durdy cole. Is wat i’hm say’n.
    Thanyk Yew awl skptuhkuls yew aint awl bad but this is bad. !!!This is bad yew kin ketch on fIRE!!!

  26. E.M.Smith says:

    One was named “Michael”… Oh Boy! Now if only it had been the one to hit NYC… I could have felt smug for decades. Instead “Michael” wasn’t even noticed… Oh Well…

    Looked like a ‘less than historic’ pattern, though. Not an Andrew in the bunch of them.

    I do note that the last time we had an active Atlantic season came just after the last time we had a hot turn ( ’30s ) so take that to be confirmation that we’re cooling now.

  27. Caleb says:

    The video is definitely way cool. However it would be good to compare it with videos from other years. I’ve watched them, and they are in some ways way cooler, because they have better looking hurricanes.

    The past season didn’t have a single Cape Verde storm, rolling east to west for a thousand or two miles with a clear eye, before even thinking of turning to the north. To be quite frank, most of the storms are fairly shoddy, and badly formed. (Not that I am criticizing the Former of storms; actually I prefer shoddy storms to a Perfect Storm such as Katrina.)

    It is also quite clear the past season’s “fish” storms would likely have been missed, in the old days. Before satellites the only reports about such storms came from the captains of tankers and tramp steamers, crossing the Atlantic, and they likely ignored a “blow” when winds didn’t get much above 45 mph.

    Unlike a North Atlantic gale, a tropical storm, by definition, has its strongest winds in a small area around the eye. Even a tropical storm with winds up near hurricane force may have those winds in a narrow band, only to one side of the center. Often the reports state, “Tropical force winds extend up to sixty miles from the center.” (Notice they say, “up to,” and not “on all sides.”) Those “tropical force winds” may be as low as forty five miles an hour.

    Compare that with the huge low now off Labrador, towards Greenland. Huge gales like that park up there all the time, with pressures as low as hurricanes and with wind fields many times larger. Ships crossing the Atlantic have to deal with those monsters.

    Do you really think one of the pip-squeak tropical storms they named last summer would have been anything such a captain would write home about? He might have sailed right by it and missed the center and noticed nothing but a breezy summer rain.

    That being said, the video is still way cool. Sandy’s hook to the west is especially interesting to watch and replay. Weather is always full of surprises, and the antics of Sandy were something I don’t recall ever seeing before, (even if it was a pretty shoddy-looking storm.)

  28. Justthinkin says:

    Gail nails it. Sandy was NOT a hurricane when it made landfall. Can’t we sue and/or fire the lying (snip) calling themselves reporters?

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