What happened to that hyper-busy 2022 hurricane season? Forecasters say wait

Posted: August 18, 2022 by oldbrew in atmosphere, dust, Forecasting, Uncertainty, weather
Tags:

Saharan dust cloud over the Atlantic [image credit: NASA]


For the first time in seven years, no hurricane has formed in the Atlantic Basin by mid-August. An excess of Saharan dust is thought to be a factor.
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After two years of alphabet-exhausting tropical storms, and the disruptive remnants that have soaked the Philly region, the 2022 Atlantic hurricane season is off to a surprisingly benign start, says The Philadelphia Inquirer.

And it may have something to do with all the heat the Philly region and much of the East endured July into August.

All those ominous outlooks notwithstanding, for the first time in seven years, no hurricane has formed in the Atlantic Ocean, Caribbean Sea, or the Gulf of Mexico by Aug. 15. The long-term average for a first hurricane, one with peak winds of at least 74 mph, is Aug. 11.

So far only three named storms — those with qualifying winds of at least 39 mph — have developed, and none since Colin fizzled back on July 3.

“It sure has been quiet the past few weeks in the Atlantic,” said Philip Klotzbach, a Colorado State University hurricane specialist who was among those calling for quite an active season. He still is, but in his update issued Aug. 4, he bumped down his numbers slightly.

On the same day that National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration forecasters at the Climate Prediction Center also subtly — very subtly, as in magnifying-glass level — downgraded their outlooks.

However, be apprised that the climatological peak of the season doesn’t arrive until Sept. 10, and forecasters are confident that even if this one doesn’t match the output of the destructive 2020 and 2021 seasons, it still will have ended up being quite a busy one.

In the meantime, here is what hurricane experts say is behind the late start.

Saharan dust

Klotzbach and AccuWeather’s Jonathan Porter cite the dust coming off the Sahara Desert as a factor.

This so-called ultra-dry Saharan Air Layer, or SAL, an annual occurrence, has been occupying the air in the hurricane-spawning grounds, and it is quite an effective tropical storm repellent, according to Jason Dunion, SAL researcher with the University of Miami’s Rosenstiel School and other specialists.

Disturbances along the southern Sahara lift massive amounts of dust that can be 2-miles thick or more as it travels across the Atlantic from late June to mid-August, he says. That can put the kibosh on would-be tropical storms.

“Interestingly, the U.S. East Coast has seen quite a bit more Saharan dust than usual, especially from mid-July to early August,” Dunion said. That may have something to do with the area of high pressure over the Atlantic that baked the East with heat. “But for now, I’d call it a mystery that we’ll need to dig into.”

“SAL certainly has helped keep things calm,” Klotzbach said last week.. “We can see a fair amount of dry air across the tropical Atlantic.”

Cooler Atlantic

Sea-surface temperatures in the “main development region” have been below long-term averages at times during the last two months, say the climate center specialists.

Warm water is a critical fuel source for hurricanes.

In addition, says Klotzbach, the temperature contrasts have been favorable for stirring up shearing winds that can keep a storm from developing.

Wind shear

Hurricanes form and grow when warm, moist air over the ocean rises. Strong upper-level shearing winds can put a cap on the ascending air, stifling a storm’s growth.

“We’ve had some decent pulses of stronger-than-normal shear over the past two months,” Klotzbach said, although not “crazy strong.”

And conditions in the tropical Pacific, where sea-surface temperatures are below normal, or in La Niña, argue for an uptick in hurricane activity.

Full article here.

Comments
  1. JB says:

    My bride has used that word more than any other for 30 years.

    (Sound of thumper rabbit in the background)

  2. oldbrew says:

    ‘downgraded their outlooks’ = failed predictions, let’s have another go

  3. Phoenix44 says:

    Our forecasts will still be right even though so far they are quite badly wrong and we don’t know why. Said an “expert”.

  4. oldbrew says:

    Off topic: ‘Could we be wrong about the annual cycle of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere?’

    Source: https://www.netzerowatch.com/the-annual-atmospheric-co2-variation-a-new-theory/

  5. Gamecock says:

    Do we now have in Saharan Air Layer a force more powerful than Climate Change?

  6. mort says:

    unsustainable betterness

    turns out more CO2 is hurricane killer
    whodathunk?

  7. oldbrew says:

    Joe Bastardi: ‘I think we will see a fast and furious period from mid and late August into early September, followed by a lull and then another active period. I don’t have any below normal risk impact areas, though there certainly will be when the season is looked at retrospectively.
    . . .
    I still think it’s a matter of where (and not if) the significant impacts will occur.’

    https://www.cfact.org/2022/08/18/2022-hurricane-update/

  8. Gamecock says:

    Joe Bastardi is one of the good guys. But he too is guessing. He doesn’t know.

    Speculation is fun. But it is for entertainment purposes only.

  9. oldbrew says:

    Two storm systems brewing in Atlantic after quietest hurricane season in 40 years
    30th August 2022

    https://www.msn.com/en-gb/weather/topstories/two-storm-systems-brewing-in-atlantic-after-quietest-hurricane-season-in-40-years/ar-AA11gUku
    . . .
    AUGUST 30, 2022
    A storm by any name: Sleepy hurricane season may wake up in September

    https://phys.org/news/2022-08-storm-sleepy-hurricane-season-september.html

  10. oldbrew says:

    Axios: ‘What’s missing from hurricane season? Hurricanes’ – Despite ‘unanimous’ forecasts for ‘above-average season’
    August 31, 2022

    What they’re saying: Michael Lowry, a hurricane specialist with WPLG-TV in Miami, tells Axios that the lack of a pickup in activity this late in August means there are diminishing odds for an above average season, despite what all the forecasts are calling for.

    “With each passing day, the silence in the Atlantic grows louder,” Lowry said in an email.

    https://www.climatedepot.com/2022/08/31/axios-whats-missing-from-hurricane-season-hurricanes-despite-unanimous-forecasts-for-above-average-season/

    Axios thinks a few molecules of CO2 makes hurricanes more ‘intense’. No explanation of why.

  11. oldbrew says:

    Joe Bastardi throws the towel in…

    A possible explanation (excuse) for 2022’s lack of hurricanes
    By Joe Bastardi | August 31st, 2022

    While not over, I feel readers should understand I don’t run from errors. My strength has always been in response to mistakes and so far this has been one. But I am on top of it, not denying it. Hopefully, when the season is done, we get an explanation, not an excuse.

    https://www.cfact.org/2022/08/31/a-possible-explanation-excuse-for-2022s-lack-of-hurricanes/

  12. oldbrew says:

    ‘Forecasters say wait’

    Still waiting 😟

  13. oldbrew says:

    Atlantic hurricane season reaches peak, still quiet overall
    Posted: Sep 13, 2022

    Only 5 storms have been named through September 13. Meanwhile, during this same time frame in prior years, it was far more active.
    . . .
    Tropical Storm Colin has been the only system to make landfall in the U.S this season.

    https://www.wishtv.com/weather/weather-stories/atlantic-hurricane-season-reaches-peak-still-quiet-overall/

    Looks like a big fail for the forecasters. NOAA was miles off…

    NOAA predicts above-normal 2022 Atlantic Hurricane Season
    Ongoing La Niña, above-average Atlantic temperatures set the stage for busy season ahead

    https://www.noaa.gov/news-release/noaa-predicts-above-normal-2022-atlantic-hurricane-season

  14. oldbrew says:

    A month since the post and still nothing much to report.

    This year’s hurricane season has been eerily quiet. Will it last?

    https://www.salon.com/2022/09/15/this-years-hurricane-season-has-been-eerily-quiet-will-it-last_partner/

    This report thinks ‘climate change’ could still suddenly pounce ☔

  15. oldbrew says:

    Spot of trouble on the horizon?

    Hurricane Ian Looks Like an Absolute Beast in Space Images
    Satellites are tracking the dangerous storm’s path across the Atlantic.

    Sept. 26, 2022

    The hurricane’s ultimate path is still a bit uncertain. As of Monday afternoon, it was packing sustained winds of 85 mph (137 km/h), which would qualify it as a Category 1 storm on the Saffir-Simpson Hurricane Wind Scale

    https://www.cnet.com/science/space/hurricane-ian-looks-like-an-absolute-beast-in-space-images/

  16. oldbrew says:

    Hurricane Ian has the potential to bring up to 15 feet of storm surge in some areas of western Florida, as well as prolonged wind and flooding, said Rick Davis, a senior meteorologist with the National Weather Service’s Tampa office.

    “The Tampa Bay area hasn’t seen this type of storm in decades, if not 100 years,” Davis said. “All the threats that hurricanes can have — we are definitely in the high to extreme category in all these threats.”
    . . .
    NASA is “foregoing a launch opportunity” for Artemis I on Tuesday because of Hurricane Ian, it said in news release Saturday.

    https://www.nbcnews.com/news/us-news/live-blog/hurricane-ian-live-updates-rcna49477

    Some mandatory evacuations have been ordered.

  17. oldmanK says:

    Maybe one should check planetary alignment (it is interesting; was being followed icw earthquakes), particularly for the 25th. New moon on 25th.

  18. oldbrew says:

    Jupiter to Reach Opposition, Closest Approach to Earth in 59 Years!
    Posted on September 16, 2022

    Stargazers can expect excellent views of Jupiter the entire night of Monday, Sept. 26 when the giant planet reaches opposition. From the viewpoint of Earth’s surface, opposition happens when an astronomical object rises in the east as the Sun sets in the west, placing the object and the Sun on opposite sides of Earth.

    Jupiter’s opposition occurs every 13 months, making the planet appear larger and brighter than any other time of the year. But that’s not all. Jupiter will also make its closest approach to Earth since 1963 – almost six decades ago! This happens because Earth and Jupiter do not orbit the Sun in perfect circles – meaning the planets will pass each other at different distances throughout the year. Jupiter’s closest approach to Earth rarely coincides with opposition, which means this year’s views will be extraordinary. At its closest approach, Jupiter will be approximately 367 million miles in distance from Earth, about the same distance it was in 1963. The massive planet is approximately 600 million miles away from Earth at its farthest point.

    https://blogs.nasa.gov/Watch_the_Skies/2022/09/16/jupiter-to-reach-opposition-closet-approach-to-earth-in-70-years/

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