United States on Pace for Quietest Hurricane Decade

Published November 2, 2013

As the 2013 hurricane season comes to a close, the United States is on pace for its quietest hurricane decade in recorded history. With just over a month to go in the 2013 hurricane season, no hurricanes had struck the United States this year. If no hurricanes strike the United States during the last—and usually quiet—weeks of the hurricane season, which ends November 30, this will be the second time in four years no hurricanes struck the United States.

Ongoing Trend
Only three hurricanes struck the United States between 2010 and 2013. Four years into the 2010s, the United States is on pace for merely seven hurricane strikes this decade. The lowest number of hurricanes to strike the United States in a full decade occurred during the 1970s, when 12 hurricanes struck.

The scarcity of 2013 hurricane activity extended beyond the United States. This year tied an all-time record for the latest date at which a hurricane formed anywhere in the Atlantic basin.

Major hurricanes, registering Category 3 or higher, are becoming particularly rare. It has now been eight years since a Category 3 or higher hurricane struck the United States. The previous record for longest previous time period without a such a hurricane was six years, two months.

Only 28 major hurricanes struck the United States during the past 50 years, versus 44 major strikes during the preceding 50 years.

Warming Reduces Storm Forces
“Al Gore and others assert rising global average temperatures will cause more frequent and extreme weather events. This is improbable,” said Tom Harris, executive director of the International Climate Science Coalition. “If the world warms due to increasing greenhouse gas emissions, temperatures at high latitudes are forecast to rise the most, reducing the difference between Arctic and tropical temperatures. Since this differential drives weather, we should see weaker mid-latitude cyclones. This logically results in less extreme weather, not more.”

Harris pointed out the real-world climate evidence confirms the expected decline in hurricanes and extreme weather events as the planet modestly warms.

“In fact we are already near a 30-year low in worldwide accumulated cyclone energy, something that was not supposed to be happening if the alarming forecasts of government-funded climate models were correct,” said Harris.

James M. Taylor ([email protected]) is managing editor of Environment & Climate News.