Friday, June 10, 2016

Hurricanes, This Year and Last

Peter Sinclair has a nice video up at Yale Climate Connections about last year's record-breaking season, and the prospects for this year if a La Nina develops:

Some highlights:
  • Last year (2015) was the most active hurricane year on record, in terms of Category 3+ hurricanes, according to Kevin Trenberth. ("Typhoons" are just another name for hurricanes, occurring outside the North Atlantic).
  • The odds of Florida being hit by a hurricane about about twice as much during La Nina years as during El Nino years.
  • More than half the hurricane damage done in the US since the mid-19th century has come from just 8 events.  
Ryan Maue tabulates ACE values (Accumulated Cyclonic Energy) on a monthly basis here, and a year-to-date basis here.

So far he only has monthly ACE values through September 2015.

I've been trying to record the YTD values on a weekly basis since March 2014. From that I can estimate the monthly values (but not calculate them exactly). When I use that data for estimations of Oct-Dec 2015, I get a global ACE value for 2015 of 1049, in whatever stupid units they use (10,000 knots-squared), which would be the third-highest annual total since 1970 (1992 is first, and 1997 second).

As I've written about before, ACE isn't a great metric, because it does not consider the size of a storm. (It's like calculating the kinetic energy of a moving object without considering the mass of the object!) Two summers ago at an NCAR science journalism workshop in Boulder, on a van ride back from Rocky Mountain National Park, I had a good long talk with a world-renowned hurricane expert (off the record, so I can't name her/him), but s/he told me ACE is about the worst metric out there.

Much better is TIKE - Track Integrated Kinetic Energy. But I haven't seen that calculated on a regular basis anywhere. But I did write about it here for the 2013 North Atlantic hurricane season.

2012's Hurricane Sandy had a higher TIKE value than any other tropical storm or hurricane in the North Atlantic Ocean Basin since 1990. 

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