A look back at the extraordinary 2020 Atlantic Hurricane Season.


 

The hyperactive
2020 Atlantic hurricane season officially ended Monday, November 30th. The
season set or tied several records.

In an
average hurricane season, which runs from June 1st through November 30th, we
typically see around 12 named storms, six hurricanes, and three major
hurricanes. This year we more than doubled that number.

The season
started early, on May 14 with the christening of Arthur, more than two weeks
before the season officially began. Tropical Storm Bertha became the second
tropical storm, when she was named on May 27th. This is only the
sixth time since records have been kept in the 1700s that two tropical storm or
greater storms have formed before the start.

The season
had 30 named storms in the Atlantic through November 30th,
surpassing the 28 from 2005.

The Season
consisted of: Arthur, Bertha, Cristobal, Dolly, Edouard, Fay, Gonzalo, Hanna,
Isaias, Josephine, Kyle, Laura, Marco, Nana, Omar, Paulette, Rene, Sally,
Teddy, Vicky, Wilfred, Alpha, Beta, Gamma, Delta, Epsilon, Zeta, Eta, Theta,
and Iota.


 Nearly all of those named storms set records
for being the earliest of their letter to ever form.

13 became
hurricanes with top winds of 74 miles per hour or more. That was the second
most ever, behind only 2005 when 15 hurricanes formed.

6 of the
hurricanes were major with top winds of 111 miles per hour or higher. Those hurricanes
were Laura, Teddy, Delta, Epsilon, Eta and Iota. The only known season with
more major hurricanes was 2005 which had a total of seven.

There was a
total of 12 U.S landfall in 2020; the greatest number of landfalling named
storms in a single season on the CONUS. Five of those storms came ashore in
Louisiana, this set another record for the most landfalling storms in the state
for a single season.

The 2020 hurricane season saw 6 hurricanes make a U.S landfall, this ties 2020 with 1886 and 1985.

July, saw 5
tropical cyclones in the Atlantic. That means the 2020 season tied with 2005
for the most Tropical cyclones in the Atlantic for the month of July in the
historic record.

Most named
Storm Formations during September on Record, September had 10 named storm
formations. On September 18th 3 Storms Formed in just in just six
hours.  The 18th ended up tying
a record for most storms formed on a single day.

The Atlantic
had five active tropical cyclones for a brief time on Sept. 14, including
Paulette, Rene, Sally, Teddy and Tropical Depression Twenty-One. While that’s
not a record, it’s only the second time the Atlantic basin has had five or more
tropical cyclones at one time.

For the
first time in recorded history, two major hurricanes formed in the month of
November.

November also saw 20 named storm days, this ties 1932 for the most storm days in the month of November.

Iota became
the latest hurricane to reach Category 5 status, in the recorded history of the
Atlantic Basin. The only other November category 5 occurred in 1932, and that
one formed in the first week of the month.

Rapid intensifying
tropical cyclones was one of 2020 Atlantic Season hallmarks. 9 of the season’s
13 hurricanes underwent rapid intensification, matching a record set by the
1995 and 2010 seasons. In fact 3 of them underwent 36 hour rapid intensification of at least 100 mph; those were Delta, Eta, and Lota, this feat has only been done by only 8 other storms going back to 1851. 

Rapid
intensification is defined as a storm undergoing a maximum wind increase of at
least 29 mph within a 24-hour period.

 

Here is a
link to part 3 of my 2020 Atlantic Season Hurricane Outlook.  I think it was dead on based on all
metrics.   Part 3.

 

Why was
2020 so active?

We had the
quickly developing La Nina in the equatorial Pacific. This coupled with the
warm Sea Surface Temperatures due to the Atlantic Multi Decadal Oscillation (AMO)
being in its warm phase, as well as a strong West African monsoon. All of this
caused weaker vertical wind shear and a favorable upper wind pattern over the
Atlantic.  The atmospheric and oceanic
conditions over the equatorial Atlantic, Caribbean, and Gulf of Mexico made
what happened possible.

 

We had a
record number of named storms, but was 2020 the most intense season on record?

 

Some climate
scientists and many climate change activists say because the earth is warming
hurricanes will become stronger than they were in the past. While in theory a
warming planet, with warm sea surface temperatures would increase both the
number and intensity of tropical cyclones. In reality there is no definitive
proof that is really the case.
 2020 is a
perfect reminder of that.

To see that
we have to look at the Atlantic Accumulated Cyclone Energy (ACE) Index for 2020.
ACE is a measure of the intensity and longevity of all the named storms during
the entire year. The index is all about wind energy.


An ACE Value
of 104 to 106 is considered an average season in the Atlantic Basin. Data from
the Department of Atmospheric Science at Colorado State University, shows that
the ACE so far this year in the North Atlantic is 179.8.  That is well above average.

But the
hurricane season that saw the highest ACE value was 1932 with an ACE of 259 to 260.
2005 ranks 2nd with a value of 250 to 251. So, while 2020 saw the highest
number of total named storms of any season on record in the Atlantic. The ACE
value shows this year is nowhere near the top of the list. In fact, 2020 ranks
13th on the list of highest ACE years in the Atlantic. That list
goes back to 1851.

So, while
2020 was a very active season, it ranks much less intense than several other
years. It was very active but not super extreme. Why is that the case?

Technology
and naming questionable disturbances.

Tropical
Cyclones in the Atlantic have been observed and recorded for centuries. At
first most reports were land based. But as shipping active increased, ship
reports became very important for warning people along the coast.  But unless a hurricane came ashore, or a ship
happened to encounter one. Many most likely went unnoticed. Technology advances
such as the Telegraph, meant many more people could be warned in advance. When
Aircraft came about, they two increased the likelihood that a hurricane would
be seen and tracked. The continue advancement of technology has made keeping
track of hurricane easier and more accurate.

The satellite
era began back in April of 1960. That gave meteorologist a vastly improved platform
for tracking tropical cyclones.  As Satellite,
Radar, and computers advanced so did our understanding of and tracking of tropical
cyclones increased.  The newer technology
we now have allows us to see and analyze smaller storms, that may have gone
unnoticed 10 or 20 years ago.  

The National
Hurricane Center has a very difficult job; a job they handle very well. But
over the last 5 years they have been naming storms that wouldn’t have been
named before. I’m not going to say the NHC has some kind of global warming agenda,
or that they are trying to pad the numbers. The NHC named several tropical
cyclones in 2020 that lasted only for a day or less. As was the case during the
2019 season, some of these named storms formed over cold water. The NHC’s main goal
is to save lives and property. So, while advanced satellite and computer algorithms
allow us to detect storms that used to be undetectable; it might be a dual edged
sword. In my opinion. Maybe it time to come up with a different criterion for
naming storms.  Or maybe divide the Atlantic
Basin into two separate hurricane seasons. 

The season is
officially over, but that doesn’t mean we can’t have more tropical activity in
December, it is 2020 after all.     

    


ror ror ror ror ror ror ror ror ror ror ror ror ror ror ror ror ror ror ror ror ror ror ror ror ror ror ror ror ror ror ror ror ror ror ror ror ror ror ror ror ror ror ror ror ror ror ror ror ror ror ror ror ror ror ror ror ror ror ror ror ror ror ror ror ror ror ror ror ror ror ror ror ror ror ror ror ror ror ror ror ror ror ror ror ror ror ror ror ror ror ror ror ror ror ror ror ror ror ror ror ror ror ror ror ror ror ror ror ror ror ror ror ror ror ror ror ror ror ror ror ror ror ror ror ror ror ror ror ror ror ror ror ror ror ror ror ror ror ror ror ror ror ror ror ror ror ror ror ror ror ror ror ror ror ror ror ror ror ror ror ror ror ror ror ror ror ror ror ror ror ror ror ror ror ror ror ror ror ror ror ror ror ror ror ror ror ror ror ror ror ror ror ror ror ror ror ror ror ror ror ror ror ror ror ror ror ror ror ror ror

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.