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The 2019 Atlantic Hurricane Season

December 11, 2019

By Paul Homewood

The Atlantic hurricane season has now officially ended, so let’s check the numbers.



There have been six hurricanes in total, including three major ones, Dorian, Humberto and Lorenzo. Coincidentally both numbers are the same as the average since 1950.

According to NOAA’s Hurricane Research Division, many hurricanes were missed in the earlier decades. Systematic aircraft reconnaissance began in 1944, but this only covered half of the Atlantic basin, until daily satellite monitoring started in 1966.


There has only been one US landfalling hurricane this year, Dorian which clipped Cape Hatteras as a weak Cat 1.




Despite four major hurricanes in the previous two years, the period since 2005 remains notable for its relative lack of major hurricanes.


Globally, 12-month running averages indicate nothing out of the ordinary, either for all hurricanes or major ones:



  1. December 11, 2019 6:50 pm

    Reblogged this on Climate-

  2. MrGrimNasty permalink
    December 11, 2019 7:59 pm

    The year of the first politically categorized storm!

    Really the numbers should be reduced by 1 minor hurricane.

  3. mikewaite permalink
    December 11, 2019 8:03 pm

    Is there a hint of an AMO signal in those Atlantic Hurricane charts?

  4. The Old Bloke permalink
    December 11, 2019 8:28 pm

    I’m not being funny, but are the wind speeds of the Hurricanes, now measured at 10,000 feet or at ground level?

    • December 11, 2019 9:39 pm

      Supposedly ground level, but nowadays satellites and aircraft estimate “ground level” speeds

    • Tyler permalink
      December 12, 2019 12:28 pm

      In 2012, some dude from NOAA did a study that talks about that. They looked at the 10 most recent cat 5 storms (as of 2012) and stated that probably 8 of them would not have been cat 5 prior to 1944. The highest measured land speed for Dorian was ~140 but it had an estimated intensity of 185. With a 40 mph difference it is possible to have a cat 4 hurricane today that is not even classified as a hurricane prior to 1944…which is also stated in the study.

  5. MrGrimNasty permalink
    December 11, 2019 8:41 pm

    Sad passing of the greatest BBC natural historian the BBC should have had.

    • Paul Reynolds permalink
      December 11, 2019 10:00 pm

      What a bunch of hypocrites. By his own admission the ghastly BBC lost interest in him after his dismissal of the global warming fairy tale. And other broadcasters too. Appalling.

      • Mack permalink
        December 11, 2019 11:32 pm

        Well said Mr Grim and Paul. As he often said, claims of modern ‘man made global warming’ were ‘poppycock’. Polite but accurate. A gentle man as well as a true gentleman and a fount of knowledge on the subject who put his principles above his career prospects. He’ll be having a quiet drink now with a certain Mr Booker and a few other learned scallywags in the Skeptics Bar upon high giggling at the insanity of our betters.

    • Gerry, England permalink
      December 12, 2019 1:56 pm

      What a great man. Principled unlike Sir David Attenbollox – what an irony if he has ever won an award for factual TV after his lies about polar bears, walrus and Beluga whales. I don;t know if we have anyone to replace the likes of David Bellamy and others such as Magnus Pike for example. Johnny Ball has been sent to Coventry for having principles too. David Bellamy spent time as a laboratory assistant at a technical college in Ewell that I studied at for a while.

  6. December 11, 2019 9:36 pm

    How were Atlantic Hurricanes monitored pre- 1970s compared to today.

    • December 11, 2019 9:36 pm

      oh ok it’s in the article, I’ll read it next time!!!

  7. December 11, 2019 11:01 pm

    Wonder how the 1780 season would have looked on the charts?

    Chris Landsea put this out a number of years back:

    • dave permalink
      December 12, 2019 11:30 am

      The North Indian Basin was more active than usual. But, other areas were less active.

      Swings and roundabouts. No long term trend.

  8. December 12, 2019 3:48 am

    Reblogged this on Climate Collections.

  9. December 12, 2019 12:34 pm

    A separate analysis of landfalling hurricanes shows similar pattern.

    • December 12, 2019 8:21 pm


      Even in an alarmist’s most alarming case, they would not suggest that hurricane numbers would be directly related to CO2 concentrations. The radiative effect of CO2 is logarithmic so you could potentially plot that. However, you could then be accused of not allowing for the time lag in reaching the final temperature at the particular concentration.

      Personally I have no doubt that there is no relationship at all between increasing CO2 concentrations and hurricanes, landfalls or otherwise, but we have to “bend over backwards” as Feynman would say, to put the best case for the opposition.

      • December 12, 2019 8:31 pm

        Well, Feynman’s advice would be sound, except the alarmists are demanding we bend over forwards.

      • December 12, 2019 8:33 pm

        For example,

  10. It doesn't add up... permalink
    December 12, 2019 12:37 pm

    As I have remarked previously, the way to detect trends in hurricane numbers is to look at reasonably long run moving averages that can show up changes in the parameter that characterises a Poisson distribution.

  11. Ivan permalink
    December 12, 2019 4:02 pm

    Accumulated Cyclone Energy is the preferred measure of activity, avoids having to think about Poisson distributions.
    And there are the other storm basins, including the southern hemisphere basins in the other half of the year. The Atlantic is heavily focused upon because it affects a certain vocal nation.
    The Western Pacific, the most active basin in the long run, has had less typhoon activity than average in 2019. But in terms of damage, it has been the costliest yet. A lot depends what actually gets hit, which is very random.
    There was a nice study recently showing that aggregate natural disaster damage, although growing in monetary terms, as a proportion of global GDP it was on a clear long term falling trend.

    • December 12, 2019 4:33 pm

      Ivan, indeed global storm activity is much more than the US Atlantic region. However, the graph below of Japan typhoons show also little correlation with rising CO2.

      The US focus is useful, not just because the US is vocal, but because landfalling hurricanes there have been not only observed but measured since the 19th century, thus providing a long time record for context. That is the significance of the ISAAC dataset.

    • December 12, 2019 6:01 pm

      The problem with ACE is that hurricanes in the past could meander around the ocean without being monitored. It is only since the 1970s that we have had anything like full satellite monitoring.

      As ACE is a factor of time, it is underestimated prior to 1970s

  12. Steven Fraser permalink
    December 12, 2019 5:02 pm

    @Paul: A question: On the chart ‘Continental US Landfalling Hurricanes’ Cat 3 or over, the rightmost bar goes to 2, but the preceeding chart of all Continental Hurricanes’ shows (and your text mentions) just 1. Am I misunderstanding the charts?

    • December 12, 2019 6:03 pm

      It’s not very clear, but the “two” applies to 2018, with zero for 2019

      • Steven Fraser permalink
        December 13, 2019 4:17 pm

        Ah! Much appreciated.

  13. December 14, 2019 1:11 pm

    Yet another issue is the north atlantic bias in the climate science of tropical cyclones.

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