Weather Post by Dr. Ryan Maue
The title is a bit facetious since Cindy is a marginal tropical storm (~35 knots) and will not last more than a day as a tropical entity. So, including tropical storms Arlene and Bret, we now have a total of 3-named systems for the 2011 record books.
Back at Climate Audit in 2009, Steve McIntyre, myself, and others had a long running conversation about the potential issue of recent “overcounting” tropical storms due to improved detection techniques, e.g. satellites which weren’t around a half-century ago. We coined these “fish” tropical storms that are short-lived and relatively weak as “Baby Whirls” or “Tiny Tims“. In recent research published in a couple journals, this improved detection has been found to exist. However, it is useful to look back the debate a couple years ago when the narrative revolved around the notion that Atlantic storm frequency had increased drastically due to global warming.
Here is the literature that seemed “to pass muster”:
Landsea,C.W., G.A. Vecchi, L. Bengtsson, and T. R. Knutson, 2010: Impact of Duration Thresholds on Atlantic Tropical Cyclone Counts. Journal of Climate, Vol.23, 15 May 2010, pp.2508-2519 — Paper Link
Villarini, G., G.A. Vecchi, T.R. Knutson and J. A. Smith (2011): Is the Recorded Increase in Short Duration North Atlantic Tropical Storms Spurious?. J .Geophys. Res. doi:10.1029/2010JD015493. Paper Link
Thus, as the North Atlantic sea-surface temperatures warm and the summer rolls into fall, one has to wonder what sort of tropical storms will develop. More of these weak, short-lived variety or some long-lasting monster Cape Verdes?