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The 2013 Atlantic hurricane season - A summary


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  • Location: The Netherlands
  • Location: The Netherlands

    With the arrival of the new year, the 2013 Atlantic hurricane season has come to an end. Therefore, it's time take a look back to this

    hurricane season and the storms that developed in this period in the Atlantic. 

     

    Storms

     

    TS Andrea

     

    The Atlantic hurricane season was off a quick start. The first storm, Andea, developed at the fifth of June. The storm was a short-lived one, though. The system impacted Florida and the eastern coast of the US when it moved generally northeastward during its lifetime.

     

    TS Barry

     

    The second storm of the season, Barry, developed on the 15th of June. The system was one of the 4 storms which impacted Mexico, the others being Ingrid, Fernand and TD Eight. The system was always close to land during its lifetime, which was the main controlling factor of its intensity.

     

    TS Chantal

     

    Chantal was another short-lived storm, which developed on July 7. The system moved generally westward during its lifetime. It developed to the east of the Carribean and found its demise in central Carribean. Chantal is noted for having a very rapid forward speed during its lifetime, with speeds up to 55 km/h being measured. This hampered the organization of the cyclone significantly.

     

    Posted Image

    Satellite image of Chantal (from NASA)

     

    TS Dorian

     

    Dorian was a storm that developed on 23 July just to the west of Africa, where it became a tropical storm. The system was short-lived, though it had 2 lives, as it regenerated just to the east of Florida. It never made it past TD status at that point, due to high shear values present in that area.

     

    TS Erin

     

    Erin continued the theme of the Atlantic hurricane season to produce short-lived tropical storms. Erin developed on the 15th of August to the west of Africa. The system was surrounded by vast areas of dry Saharan air, and dissipated 3 days after its development due to this dry air.

     

    TS Fernand

     

    Fernand was one of the 4 cyclones to hit Mexico during the season. It developed unexpectedly on the 25th of August. The system was located in the southeastern extreme of the Gulf of Mexico. Because the system moved westward fairy quickly, it reached land in a hurry and dissipated soon therafter.

     

    TS Gabrielle

     

    Gabrielle developed on the 26th of August. The system moved generally northward during its short lifetime, and it impacted Bermuda on its track. Moreover, Haiti and Puerto Rico were hit by the tropical wave that spawned Gabrielle.

     

    TD Eight

     

    There was also one tropical depression that never reached hurricane status. The system developed on the 6th of December. It was one of the 4 storms to impact Mexico.

     

    Hurricane Humberto

     

    Humberto was the first hurricane to develop in the 2014 Atlantic hurricane season. It was also the strongest cyclone of the season, with peak winds of only 150 km/h (!). Humberto also had 2 lives, redeveloping for a short while in the Central Atlantic. It impacted the Cape Verde islands as a tropical storm. 

     

    What was interesting about Humberto was that it was almost the latest hurricane formation on record. It was just in time to prevent the season from attaining this dubious record.

     

    Hurricane Ingrid

     

    Ingrid also became a hurricane, developing on the 21th of September. The cyclone stayed in the Gulf of Mexico during most of its lifetime, and made landfall in Mexico as a borderline hurricane/TS. 

     

    Of note is that Ingrid, along with Manuel from the Eastern Pacific, created a disastrous rain event over Mexico itself, resulting in many deaths. A visible satellite image of the event can be seen below:

     

    Posted Image

     

    TS Jerry

     

    Jerry was another tropical storm that didn't last for long. The system developed on September 29 in the Central Atlantic. It moved northeastward without ever impacting land.

     

    TS Karen

     

    Karen was a tropical storm that summarized the Atlantic hurricane season in just one go. The cyclone developed on October 3 near the Yucatan Penninsula. It moved north-norhtwestward toward the US coast during its lifetime. The NOAA forecasted the system would reach the US coast near New Orleans as a 55-60 kt tropical storm. However, strong wind shear and very dry air prevented the system from reaching the coast as a tropical storm, and it dissipated a few hundred miles to the south of New Orleans.

     

    TS Lorenzo

     

    Lorenzo was once again a short-lived tropical storm that developed in the Central Atlantic on the 21st of October. The system moved eastward during its lifetime, dissipating without further notice.

     

    TS Melissa

     

    The final named storm of the season was Melissa. The storm developed in the Central Atlantic during the 18th of November. At the beginning, the system was classified as a subtropical storm while moving slowly northward. Later on, the storm turned into a fully-tropical storm, when its track bended more and more toward the east. The system turned extratropical soon thereafter due to cooler waters and interaction with the midlatitudes.

     

    For me, Melissa was a very interesting tropical storm. This was because models were split in two camps regarding the final outcome of the extratropical remnants of Melissa. Some models moved it east-southeastward, while others recurved it back toward the North. This difference resulted in different weather patterns over northwestern Europe. A track to the north would result in a block to form over Europe due to Warm Air Advection, resulting in cold, dry weather. A track more to the east of Melissa would cause more of a zonal pattern, with a low pressure dominated type of weather. Ultimately, it appeared that the last possibility was also the correct one.

     

    Unnamed subtropical storm

     

    There was also one unnamed subtropical storm which developed just outside the boundaries of the Atlantic hurricane season. It developed at the fifth of December near the Azores. From there, it moved slowly northward until dissipation.

     

     

    Below is a track history of all hurricanes and tropical storms of the 2013 Atlantic hurricane season, as from NASA:

     

    Posted Image

     

     

    Statistics about the hurricane season

     

    The Atlantic hurricane season produced 15 tropical cyclones, of which only 2 attained hurricane status. Of those, none acquired Major hurricane status, which ties with the record of the least major hurricanes developing during a Atlantic hurricane season.

     

    The total ACE value of the season was 30, while the average in the Atlantic basin is 93.2. The ACE is a measure for the intensity, frequency and lifetime of tropical systems. The values above give that this hurricane season had an ACE of only 32% of average.

     

    Pre-seasonal forecasts all argued for a pretty active hurricane season. Given what we know by now, they have been far off the mark. Below is a summary of how Philip Klotzbach and William Gray (two renowned long-range hurricane forecasters) look back to this hurricane season: 

     

     

    The majority of most inactive hurricane seasons are associated with El Nino years. That was not the case this year. There was no El Nino in 2013. There were a number of inhibiting tropical Atlantic parameters which unexpectedly occurred this season such as have been discussed earlier. These negative parameters were responsible for the low hurricane activity which resulted. But the more basic question is why did so many of these negative hurricane genesis parameters occur when most of our large-scale pre-season precursor climate signals appeared similar to those which occur before most of the previous active seasons?

     

    We believe that much of the explanation for the lack of activity this year was due to a significant weakening of our proxy of the Atlantic THC from April through June. Our THC proxy signals of April-June 2013 indicate that the Atlantic THC (from both W. ATL and E. ATL proxy signals) had the strongest drop and was the weakest overall of any year since 1950. We hypothesize that this very large springtime collapse of the THC set up broad-scale conditions that likely related to the unusually dry mid-level air, stronger-than-normal mid-level subsidence and stronger than expected vertical wind shear in the Atlantic MDR, Caribbean and Gulf of Mexico.

     

    The complete article (very interesting, though rather extensive) can be found below:

     

    http://typhoon.atmos.colostate.edu/forecasts/2013/nov2013/nov2013.pdfe 

     

    Another nice, shorter summary can be found in the link below:

     

    http://earthobservatory.nasa.gov/IOTD/view.php?id=82528

     

     

    Thanks all for contributing to this hurricane season! I'm looking forward to a 2014 Atlantic hurricane season full of excitement! Posted Image

     

    BTW: Additions or remarks are always welcome!

     

    Sources:

    http://www.wunderground.com/blog/JeffMasters/the-unusually-quiet-atlantic-hurricane-season-of-2013-ends

    http://www.nhc.noaa.gov/archive/2013/

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/2013_Atlantic_hurricane_season

    http://typhoon.atmos.colostate.edu/forecasts/2013/nov2013/nov2013.pdf

    http://earthobservatory.nasa.gov/IOTD/view.php?id=82528

    Edited by Vorticity0123
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