Tuesday, November 24, 2020

Of course it’s the AMO. Or is it just 2020?

Source: cited article from NOAA

As if a global pandemic (still raging) isn’t enough, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) today officially proclaimed 2020 as record-breaking in terms of severe weather events in the US and Atlantic.  NOAA notes that, “in total, the 2020 season produced 30 named storms (top winds of 39 mph or greater), of which 13 became hurricanes (top winds of 74 mph or greater), including six major hurricanes (top winds of 111 mph or greater). This is the most storms on record, surpassing the 28 from 2005, and the second-highest number of hurricanes on record.”  This as the hurricane season comes to a close early next week.

NOAA’s report continues by trying to explain the phenomenon that may be behind the serious storms that plagued the Caribbean and East Coast of the US this year:

This is the fifth consecutive year with an above-normal Atlantic hurricane season, with 18 above-normal seasons out of the past 26. This increased hurricane activity is attributed to the warm phase of the Atlantic Multi-Decadal Oscillation (AMO) — which began in 1995 — and has favored more, stronger, and longer-lasting storms since that time. Such active eras for Atlantic hurricanes have historically lasted about 25 to 40 years. An average season has 12 named storms, six hurricanes, and three major hurricanes.

No matter the reason for the increase in storms and frequency, the attention to planning and preparedness to help mitigate the impacts of these storms should also increase. That goes without saying—particularly since NOAA is already commenting on winter storms across the US for the upcoming Thanksgiving holiday weekend.  2020 just keeps on giving.


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