Hurricane season has started late this year. NOAA are issuing advisories on Hurricane Guillermo (Category 3) affecting the Pacific Baja Penninsula and heading towards Hawaii, and Tropical Storms Ana and Bill are heading straight towards the Dutch Antilles.
Quite a few commentators are describing this as an ‘odd‘ season – usually the first ‘named’ storm occurs around the 10th of July. By this time last year, five ‘named’ storms had crossed the Caribbean, including Hurricanes Bertha and Dolly. Keep watching this space though, as the last time the Caribbean had a similair dry spell was back in 1992. Then, the first hurricane of the season (Hurricane Andrew) formed on the 17th of August, and made landfall on Florida a week later as a Category 5 Hurricane – the second most powerful to hit the US in the last century!
In other hurricane related news, Michael Mann (the author of the infamous hockey-stick curve, not the director of Miami Vice) published an interesting paper on the history of cyclones in the journal Nature (‘Atlantic hurricanes and climate over the past 1,500 years‘, but see ‘Research to rock you like a hurricane‘ for best news article title). In a nutshell, Mann argues that the peak in Hurricane activity in the past decade is not unique, with a similar peak in Hurricane activity back in 1000AD across the tropical Atlantic. Whilst we know that in increase in sea surface temperatures as a result of global warming will trigger more hurricane activity, if climate change doesn’t increase El Nino activity, then this increase may be tempered. More from the Hurricane season and the impacts on both coral reefs and the 2009 bleaching season as it comes.
Hopefully it gets downgraded before it hits the mainland.