The 2013 Hurricane Season In The Atlantic
October 23, 2013

The 2013 Hurricane Season In The Atlantic

The 2013 Atlantic Hurricane season still has a few weeks left in the season, however if we look at this past year, we can see a lot of things that have come into play making this a very unusual season.

First, when seasonal forecasts were issued, there were some high numbers on the chart, here at I issued numbers as well in my own Seasonal Outlook, so be sure to check those out.

Now, let’s take a look at a few things that did have a key role in this year’s tropical development. First, the water temperatures over the Gulf of Mexico and also the Southern Atlantic, were plenty warm, however the upper atmosphere played a key role in the lack of strengthening storms. The upper level pattern over the Gulf of Mexico persisted in a strong upper level wind flow. This was a key in why storms couldn’t stay together for long periods of time. The most recent example was Karen, which developed near the Yucatan Peninsula. Once Karen got into the Northern Gulf, it was hampered and destroyed due to the very strong winds aloft, which are not favorable for tropical development.

The second key piece that came into play was the long periods of dust being pushed off the coast of Africa. These waves of dust quickly dried the atmosphere, not allowing for sufficient moisture to fill in the region, and putting a damper on tropical development as well.

A third thing that I am making note of is the Arctic Sea ice. The reason that I bring this up is that I believe the larger extent of the sea ice forced the Bermuda high to stay a tad bit further south this year, which in turn locked the northeast flow to be stronger over Africa. This helped in generating more of these dust storms, also additional ice, and would lead to why the stronger winds were further south earlier over the Gulf of Mexico as well. These two conditions make me believe that a shift in our climate cycle, to a cooler climate cycle, could have had an impact on the outcome of this year’s tropical season over the Atlantic.

So when you put all of this together, you can see how challenging the season was — not only for weather forecasters, but also the tropical systems as well.

The remainder of the season should be very limited in nature, as these upper level winds and colder air are already starting to make that push southward, which could pretty much put a cover on the remainder of the tropical season.

Image Credit: Thinkstock

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