Axios is reporting an unusually slow hurricane season for this year that has not happened in quite a long time. However, while tropical storm Danielle recently achieved hurricane status, it is the first named hurricane since July and is expected to stay off shore, The Washington Post observes the conditions of the Danielle’s arising are unusual:
Danielle is also the latest first hurricane to form in the Atlantic since 2013, said Phil Klotzbach, a tropical weather researcher at Colorado State University.
Another oddity in a weird Atlantic season: The storm gained strength unusually far north — near 40 degrees latitude — where hurricanes are rare. But it was record-warm ocean waters there that fueled the storm.
Michael Lowry, hurricane specialist for Miami TV affiliate WPLG, tweeted that the sea surface temperature near Danielle topped 80 degrees for first time on record. Tropical storms and hurricanes require such warm water to intensify.
However, when taking into account conditions in North Africa, the slow hurricane season is not unusual in the least:
A big part of the reason it has been so quiet has been Saharan dust moving off the coast of Africa, which has really been unfavorable for tropical storms and hurricanes to develop.
Dry Saharan dust essentially chokes off any thunderstorms that develop across the tropical Atlantic and that will not allow any tropical storms or hurricanes to develop (almost all tropical storms or hurricanes start as clusters of thunderstorms in the tropics).
As you look back through historical averages, we typically start to get into the peak of tropical storm and hurricane season from late August right through the month of September into October.
We have not seen a single named storm during the month of August – that is just the fifth time in recorded history that’s happened. The last time it happened was back in 1997, but we do expect activity to ramp up over the next several weeks as we have a couple of systems we’re keeping an eye on in the Atlantic.
Not surprisingly, the news media continues to point to human caused climate change as the reason for warmer oceans and Saharan dust. However, they fail to note a recent increase in solar activity that is more likely the reason for the reduced hurricane activity:
The sun continues to display a flurry of activity.
Space weather watchers observed a series of powerful solar flares between Saturday (Aug. 27) and Monday (Aug. 29), the most powerful of which registered as an M8-class flare and occurred on Monday at 7:07 a.m. EDT (1207 GMT), SpaceWeather.com reports(opens in new tab). M-class flares are typically described as “moderate,” but can still “cause brief radio blackouts at the poles and minor radiation storms that might endanger astronauts,” according to NASA(opens in new tab).
Scientists rank solar flares into five lettered categories, of which M is the fourth strongest. Within each category, higher numbers represent larger outbursts.