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Hurricanes MIA – Tropical cyclone activity at 30-year low

Tuesday, November 3rd, 2009 4:50pm MDT
Tropical cyclone activity continues to decline despite beliefs that it would increase as a result of global warming.  (NOAA)

Tropical cyclone activity continues to decline despite beliefs that it would increase as a result of global warming. (NOAA)

For the third year in a row, tropical cyclone activity sits near a 30 year low and the 2009 Atlantic hurricane season is showing low levels not seen since 1997. Researchers at Florida State University said that despite what has appeared to be an active season in the Pacific, continual declines in activity are being realized across the globe.

A year ago researcher Ryan Maue documented ‘a remarkable downward trend’ and that trend has continued to flirt with historic lows. Using a measurement called the Accumulated Cyclone Energy index (ACE), Maue said that “2009 as a whole is still well behind normal climatology.”

The ACE index is the standard for measuring tropical cyclone activity. It combines the frequency, duration and intensity of the storms into a numerical index that can be used for historical comparisons.

Through October 2009, the global ACE index for the year sits at 525 – well below the norm of 769. Similarly, if looked at separately both the northern and southern hemisphere activity show well below average numbers. Breaking it down further by basins, the North Atlantic, Western Pacific, Eastern Pacific and North Indian basins are seeing below average ACE as well.

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