Atlantic Hurricane Season Quietest in 45 Years

National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) – National Climatic Data Center (NCDC) – Click the pic to view at source

Image Credit: National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) – National Climatic Data Center (NCDC)

By WUWT Regular Just The Facts

From the Insurance Journal:

“The 2013 Atlantic hurricane season looks set to go down as a big washout, marking the first time in 45 years that the strongest storm to form was just a minor Category 1 hurricane.

There could still be a late surprise in the June 1-Nov. 30 season, since the cyclone that mushroomed into Superstorm Sandy was just revving up at this time last year.

But so far, at least, it has been one of the weakest seasons since modern record-keeping began about half a century ago, U.S. weather experts say. Apart from Tropical Storm Andrea, which soaked Florida after moving ashore in the Panhandle in June, none of this year’s cyclones has made a U.S. landfall.”

“It has been “a very strange sort of year” in the unpredictable world of cyclones, said Jeff Masters, a hurricane expert and director of meteorology at Weather Underground. “We’ve been in this multi-decadal pattern of activity but it just didn’t happen this year,” Masters said, referring to the prolonged period of increased hurricane activity that began in 1995.”

“There were two short-lived Category 1 hurricanes this year, making it the first Atlantic season since 1968 when no storm made it beyond the first level of intensity, according to the National Hurricane Center.

It has also been a year marked by the fewest number of hurricanes since 1982 and the first since 1994 without the formation of a major hurricane.

In terms of so-called “Accumulated Cyclone Energy” (ACE), a common measure of the total destructive power of a season’s storms, 2013 ranks among the 10 weakest since the dawn of the satellite era in the mid-1960s, said Dennis Feltgen, a spokesman for the Miami-based National Hurricane Center. “The ACE so far in 2013 is 33 percent of normal,” he said.”

“Phil Klotzbach, a Colorado State University climatologist, readily admits that the forecasts are based on statistical models that will “occasionally fail,” since the atmosphere is chaotic and subject to fluctuations that cannot be predicted more than a week or two in advance.”

Read More

For reference here are Global Tropical Cyclone Accumulated Cyclone Energy (ACE) – 1971 to Present;

Ryan N. Maue PhD – – Click the pic to view at source

Global Tropical Cyclone Frequency- 1971 to Present;

Ryan N. Maue PhD – – Click the pic to view at source

Global Hurricane Frequency – 1978 to Present;

Ryan N. Maue PhD – – Click the pic to view at source

US Hurricanes 1851 – 2010;

National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) – Atlantic Oceanographic and Meteorological Laboratory – (AOML) – Click the pic to view at source

and Australian Region Tropical Cyclones 1970–2011 (Severe tropical cyclones are those which show a minimum central pressure less than 970 hPa);

Australian Bureau of Meteorology (BOM) – Click the pic to view at source

So I guess that we don’t need to buckle up for those Category 6 hurricanes after all?:

If you look at superstorm Sandy on October 29th, the ocean water east of New Jersey was nine degrees fahrenheit above average. That’s what put so much more energy into that storm. That’s what put so much more water vapor into that storm. Would there be a storm anyway? Maybe so. Would there be hurricanes and floods and droughts without man-made global warming? Of course. But they’re stronger now. The extreme events are more extreme. The hurricane scale used to be 1-5 and now they’re adding a 6. The fingerprint of man-made global warming is all over these storms and extreme weather events. Al Gore – Washington Post

To see more information on Sea Ice please visit the WUWT Tropical Cyclone Page and WUWT “Extreme Weather” Page.


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2010 and 2011 look to be even quieter, judging from Figure 1:


A prediction for 2014.
Hurricanes will number between, very roughly, -3.762 and 117.508. More-or-less, about. Note that no responsibility whatsoever is taken for those relying on the precision – or even the order – of these close climate estimates.
No children or animals were harmed in the production of these scientifically precise numbers, from, with added kitten-power from Twizzle [who’s spoilt!].


Sorry – /sarc.
Did you guess?

Rob Dawg

We cannot guess the next solar cycle. We cannot guess the hurricane count six months in advance. We cannot guess el Niño or la Nina a year in advance. We cannot guess Arctic sea ice extent. We don’t even try to guess cloud cover. Regardless we know with 95% certainty what is going on with CAGW for the next century.

Steven Hill

And Al Gore had a meeting with insurance companies to raise everyone’s rates due to global warming causing more hurricanes. When will Gore face jail time?

This trend should continue into 2025. Then, if my hypothesis is correct, a season with out tropical storms should occur.
My paper.
We are in Solar minimum. Hurricanes should drop off and glacier and Polar Ice Caps should pick up. There should be longer winters and winters without summers.
We may have seen the start of the cooler climate with the lost of more than 20,000 head of cattle in the winter storm that hit South Dakota 4 weekends ago.
This already showed up in smaller countries over the last couple of winters with lost of elderly in the United Kingdom and lambs in Scotland and New Zealand.
The drought worldwide is the result of the lack of sunspot activity
Paul Pierett

Peter Miller

Using Al Gore’s counting methodology – see previous post – the US has experienced 127 hurricanes so far this year with a firm prediction for another 17 over the next six weeks.

Alan Robertson

You see, this is just more proof that the climate is changing and we’ve got to stop it.


Extreme hurricanes are just a thing of the past? Children won’t have a clue what these things were. :-)It won’t be long before a paper comes out blaming man’s eeeeevil Satanic gases for this awful state of affairs.

Nature 2010
Why winds are slowing
Afforestation and climate change are blamed for stilling surface winds in the Northern Hemisphere.

The models predicted it!

Climate Research – 2000
Changing cyclones and surface wind speeds over the North Atlantic and Europe in a transient GHG experiment
It is shown that the rising number of extreme wind events in the GHG simulation is connected to the augmented occurrence of deep cyclones over Northern Europe and the adjacent ocean areas. There are also strong wind speed increases over Hudson Bay and the Greenland Sea.

NZ Willy

On the Extreme Weather page, what’s with the Tornadoes’ US Departure from Normal Annual Running Total 2011 vs 2012 — yoo hoo, it’s 2013 now.

David Borth

What a tragedy for the catastrophists!

looking at your 3rd graph you can see that up until about 98 hurricanes were up , globally, whereas from that time they were down, similarly to temperatures going up until 2000 and global temps. down from 2002. You can see what’s happening?
Just like I told you.
In 7 years time there will be disaster.
No winds…no rain…just droughts up north.

Policy Guy

Excuse me,
Lets stay with the current data as compared to past data and not get mired into fanciful futures.
A fact is a fact and this past season is still weather.


On the two-tailed Gaussian distribution this lack of hurricane activity falls into the extreme low end of occurrences. Thus, it is representative of extreme weather and fully supports climate change and global warming. Should next years hurricane activity be completely average, it could be judged representative of extreme average weather and fully support climate change and global warming. But then, what doesn’t support global warming?


lsvalgaard says:
October 26, 2013 at 10:19 am
2010 and 2011 look to be even quieter, judging from Figure 1:
“Atlantic” and “US” are different things.

Gunga Din

I almost wish we did have a major hurricane this year. We know The Weather Channel has “gone green” but to keep recycling Sandy…… must be getting boring even for them.

Theo Goodwin

Obviously, the heat that used to go into hurricane formation is now being sucked into the deep oceans. Scary thought for Halloween, no? How many thought of Ross Perot?


Most hurricane scales go up to five, but Algore’s goes up to six (with apologies to Spinal Tap fans).

Big storm due this weekend the other side of the pond. 80 mph winds.
Worst in 26 years.
No guesses as to headlines.


Good golly, did ya have to quote Masters! He is one of the biggest alarmists out there. When the weather channel bought his Web site their alarmism stepped up 2 fold. BTW, he is an air pollution meteorologist. WUWT?

This eerie calm is unprecedented. The eeriness and lack of precedence are worse than we thought. Mutilple independent studies confirm the adverse effects of eeriness when unprecedented…
Oh, for chrissake! I can’t keep this tripe up for much longer. Just give me my bloody Nobel!


Well researched, as usual, JTF.

Michael Jankowski

But but but more frequent weather extremes are consistent with global warming…err, climate change…theory.
Now there are even more hurricanes “in the pipeline.”


Is the windy stuff hiding somewhere?

Peter Melia

The UK papers are full of a monster storm arriving there on Monday, where is it coming from if you guys are having it so good?


the forecasts are based on statistical models….
You don’t need all that money and computers to do this…..and who was stupid enough to think you can predict the weather with statistics in the first place…
Is that all we’ve got? after all this time and money?…..betting on a friggin horse race
ACE…is even stupidier!…..a tiny weak storm that just lasts a long time can have an extremely high ACE


Peter Melia says:
Peter, that might be it, top left corner……right below Iceland


What the purpose of top figure in the post (Extremes in Landfalling Tropical Systems)? It seems to me it is decidedly misleading both graphically and descriptively. First off, what “Extreme” are they featuring with the graph? Is it up to the reader to spot it?
Secondly, it’s not particularly clear what “Tropical Systems” count. By my understanding, I would think it includes more than named storms since they have descriptions for the “Tropical Systems” — Tropical Depression, Tropical Storm and they are classified Category A and Category B with max sustained wind speeds and damage estimates. But they show nothing for 2010 or 2011, which means it doesn’t include those, so it would mean would it is limited to hurricanes But they would then need to eliminate Irene in 2011< which made landfall in NC, for some reason, wouldn't they?
Then they have 2012 with a 14%, but there were ten hurricanes in 2012 of which either one or two made landfall in the US and there were two hurricanes Issac and Sandy so the percentage should be either 10% or 20%, not 14% right?
Now I look at 2006 and there we only 5 hurricanes in 2006, none of which made landfall in the US, yet we have a bar showing 93%?
What's going on here? My intent to write this comment started with the thinking there ought to metric incorporated to distinguish between 3 out 3 landfall yearly event vs 3 out of 4 or 3 out of 6, as well and comparing 0 out of 1 or 0 out of 6, none of which you can do with only a 20% average as a guide. I had also thought some shaded standard deviation might help in gauging what is supposed to be the "Extreme" that is shown on the graph. But now I'm just wondering what info they used to create this graph?


I can’t stand this normalcy!
Global sea ice average ✔
Hurricanes unimpressive ✔
Hot air standstill ✔
Antarctica sea ice bit abnormal ✔
Arctic sea ice – rotten rebound X
Soon, global warming alarmists will be a thing of the past. We won’t know what an alarmist is.


Sadly, the lack of destructive storms making landfall or disrupting shipping is a bad thing.
During this quiet time, more people are forgetting just what these storms do. They’re building up in unsafe areas. They’re building their homes by the shore. They’re reducing budgets for disaster relief because they’re not using it. They are getting complacent.
Next time a Cat 1 hits, it’s going to be non-stop bleating about unprecedented destruction and unusual climates. A whole new generation will be blind-sided by what they think is an unexpected catastrophe.
And it will all be because of “carbon pollution”.

Don’t wish to steal Dr. S. thunder, but the NOAA graph
is strictly (scientifically) speaking a bit of a let down, coming from such august institution, namely the 5 year moving average is displaced by 2 (2.5) years to the right.

Berényi Péter

At this rate tropical storms may quickly become things of the past… Children just aren’t going to know what a good ole hurricane is. Or, again, they may.
Anyway, the extreme lack of storms is extreme weather in itself, may well be worse than we thought. If nothing else, projected massive loss of reconstruction jobs is a nightmare.


More to the point the 5yr average at all time lows.
Or do we need a 17yr moving avg to draw any comment under the new rules?

Dr. John M. Ware

In some of the communications above I saw phrases such as “above normal” and “below normal.” Weather cannot be logically treated in terms of “normal.” Normal means conforming to a norm, a pre-set reading or figure arrived at in each case, but not applicable to a chaotic system such as weather is.
For example: Normal eyesight has been designated in part as 20/20 (seeing something 20 feet away as though it actually is twenty feet away); as playwright George Bernard Shaw learned, he had normal eyesight, which condition was very rare, according to his oculist.
Who has set the bounds for normal weather–i.e., what weather is supposed to be? No one knows what it is supposed to be. We did not create it; we can’t set it. The correct term in the above communications is “average,” not “normal.” Even the average is suspect because the period from which the average is derived is arbitrary and most likely does not go back to the beginnings of keeping records. (Going back to the previous example: Note that normal eyesight is not at all like average eyesight and cannot be derived from averages.)
Today in central Virginia the high temperature has been 56 degrees Fahrenheit after an early-morning low of 27 with frost. The average temps for this date are (guessing here) about 68 and 48. Thus, our high today is about 12 degrees below average, and the low about 21 degrees below average. Is this, therefore, an abnormal day? Hardly–it is perfect late October weather that happens to be cooler than average. Earlier this month the temperature reached 90 degrees one afternoon, which at that point in the month was about 18 degrees above average. Unusually warm, but nowhere near a record; not abnormal; just not average.

Tom in Florida

Now if I were a layman,(I am), and I was just eyeballing Fig 1 ( I am ) I could conclude that it was the global cyclonic activity that dispersed the rising ocean heat in both the time periods ’93-’98 an’ 03-’07. Then I might think about these storms as a global temperature regulator. But alas, I am just a layman and just eyeballing a simple chart and will leave it to the experts to decipher.


justthefactswuwt says:
[October 26, 2013 at 11:21 am]
Okay, I never expected. Is there useful purpose for creating this graph?


I’ll post another Blog during the off-season that explores the probability that the 2014 season may be even quieter than this year.

Could we possibly get some statistics on the sale of baked beans in relationship to the magnitude and frequency of hurricane/cyclone activity.
I am sure there is a link in there somewhere…


Latitude says:
October 26, 2013 at 1:19 pm
“ACE…is even stupidier!…..a tiny weak storm that just lasts a long time can have an extremely high ACE.”
I’ll admit to being stupider than a stone.
But, have you any better metrics to use ?
If so, please enlighten us.


This is an important point to make. That is also why I shiver when I hear the term “Superstorm” Sandy. Sandy was “super” because of death and destruction for the reasons you just described and it was only a Category 2!
I would also watch out for the Warmists spinning this recent NOAA statistic. Anything deviating from the average frequency is considered Extreme. Too many, or too few. You can all already see it appear in The Literature. Lack of Hurricans/Tornadoes being “blamed” on Climate Change /Global Warming.


models that will “occasionally fail,” since the atmosphere is chaotic and subject to fluctuations that cannot be predicted more than a week or two in advance.”
So why do they make predictions that are years in advance.

Meanwhile National Geographic has a scary looking tornado on its cover with with the even more scary headline THE MONSTER STORM.

William Astley

In reply to:
Taphonomic says:
October 26, 2013 at 11:23 am
Should next years hurricane activity be completely average, it could be judged representative of extreme average weather and fully support climate change and global warming. But then, what doesn’t support global warming?
The following supports the assertion that AGW will not affect Hurricane Activity (along with the fact that hurricane activity has been the lowest in modern history) and that IPCC works to push an agenda rather than to solve a scientific puzzle. Not surprisingly the IPCC have failed to solve the scientific puzzle. No worry other scientists are still practicing science. See paper attached to end of this comment.
”After some prolonged deliberation, I have decided to withdraw from participating in the Fourth Assessment Report of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC). I am withdrawing because I have come to view the part of the IPCC to which my expertise is relevant as having become politicized. In addition, when I have raised my concerns to the IPCC leadership, their response was simply to dismiss my concerns. …. ….Shortly after Dr. Trenberth requested that I draft the Atlantic hurricane section for the AR4’s Observations chapter, Dr. Trenberth participated in a press conference organized by scientists at Harvard on the topic “Experts to warn global warming likely to continue spurring more outbreaks of intense hurricane activity” along with other media interviews on the topic. The result of this media interaction was widespread coverage that directly connected the very busy 2004 Atlantic hurricane season as being caused by anthropogenic greenhouse gas warming occurring today. Moreover, the evidence is quite strong and supported by the most recent credible studies that any impact in the future from global warming upon hurricane will likely be quite small. The latest results from the Geophysical Fluid Dynamics Laboratory (Knutson and Tuleya, Journal of Climate, 2004) suggest that by around 2080, hurricanes may have winds and rainfall about 5% more intense than today. It has been proposed that even this tiny change may be an exaggeration as to what may happen by the end of the 21st Century (Michaels, Knappenberger, and Landsea, Journal of Climate, 2005, submitted). …. ….It is beyond me why my colleagues would utilize the media to push an unsupported agenda that recent hurricane activity has been due to global warming. Given Dr. Trenberth’s role as the IPCC’s Lead Author responsible for preparing the text on hurricanes, his public statements so far outside of current scientific understanding led me to concern that it would be very difficult for the IPCC process to proceed objectively with regards to the assessment on hurricane activity.”
William: In response to your last question what does not support AGW. The following does not support global warming. The following supports (one of about 6 fundamental observations/analyses that disproves the AGW hypothesis) the assertion that the majority of the 20th century warming has caused by solar magnetic cycle changes rather than the increase in atmospheric CO2 and that the majority of the increase in atmospheric CO2 was caused the warming, rather than by anthropogenic increases. If the assertions made in the attached paper are correct the planet will now cool and atmospheric CO2 will now drop.
The phase relation between atmospheric carbon dioxide and global temperature
…As cause always must precede effect, this observation demonstrates that modern changes in temperatures are generally not induced by changes in atmospheric CO2. Indeed, the sequence of events is seen to be the opposite: temperature changes are taking place before the corresponding CO2 changes occur. …. …..As the theoretical initial temperature effect of changes in atmospheric CO2 must materialize first in the troposphere, and then subsequently at the planet surface (land and ocean), our diagrams 2–8 reveal that the common notion of globally dominant temperature controls exercised by atmospheric CO2 is in need of reassessment. …. ….Empirical observations indicate that changes in temperature generally are driving changes in atmospheric CO2, and not the other way around….


justthefactswuwt says:
[October 26, 2013 at 11:21 am]
Thanks again for that additional info, JTF-WUWT. I’m just a lowly civil engineer, so while I’m generally conversant in the sciences, this climate stuff is not my bailiwick and when it gets complicated, I only try to take what’s given and lay it over general principles to get a feel for what is being presented for understanding it. That is why, lacking any explanatory legend, I was so off the mark in my presumptions of what they were graphing.
I’m not sure what to make of your bolded portions of their explanation. I have no clue what they mean by “This new indicator is calculated only for periods in which tropical storms and hurricanes are consistently active. Results for periods where tropical system activity is extremely infrequent (i.e. a few observations for the entire period of record) were difficult to work with and were subsequently left out of the index.” Did they skip 2011 because Hurricane Irene and TS Don and Lee weren’t worth the effort or something?
I think my last question still pertains: For what useful purpose is this graph being created? Or put differently, What will this graph help climate scientists understand?


u.k.(us) says:
October 26, 2013 at 3:03 pm
a stupid metric is still a stupid metric…
No, I don’t have a better one…..but I wouldn’t use a stupid one just to say I have one

Go Home

Currently, 2013 as far as ACE goes, is the 7th smallest ACE since 1950, and in two days that drops to 6th smallest. Yeah team!


All summer I waited for the ITCZ to move north, as it usually does, to generate those big cyclonic storms that surge across the Atlantic. It never happened and neither did the hurricanes. Maybe some of you could explain why the ITCZ stayed so far south that it was seldom north of the South American land mass.

Kelvin Vaughan

CO2 in the atmosphere makes the air heavy and butterflies are having trouble flapping their wings.
Also global warming is reducing the number of butterflies.