According to the Canadian Hurricane Center, one or two storms can be expected to directly affect Canadian territory every year, with another two or three threatening offshore waters. The Center predicted that 2012 would be an average year for Eastern Canada. So far the Center’s predictions are on track for realization.
The Hurricane Center of the US National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) projected between 9 to 15 storms for the year, with as many as three becoming major hurricanes. The NOAA does not attempt to predict in a given season how many of these storms will come ashore, causing damage and disruption inland.
On Monday evening we watched CBC National News, which showed the impact of a tropical revolving storm drenching Nova Scotia. This storm caused severe flooding in Truro, a town in central Nova Scotia. Other parts of of the Province experienced rainfalls in a 24 hour period that almost matched the average rainfall for the month of September. The next day the remnants of this storm hit Newfoundland’s West Coast, while Hurricane Leslie, downgraded to a tropical revolving storm, battered Newfoundland’s East Coast. The TV weather reporter closed with the sensible advice “Remember, the hurricane season is not over”.
The recent average (1995-2005) activity in the North Atlantic basin during the hurricane season is 13 named storms, 7.7 hurricanes and 3.6 major hurricanes. This activities represent an increase over the average of the preceding 25 years (1970-1994) of 8.6 named storms, 5 hurricanes and 1.5 major hurricanes. (Figures taken from the NOAA Website).
Referring to hurricane seasons, the head of the Canadian Hurricane Center spoke of active and quiet periods, or “natural cycles in temperature and even storminess”. So the increase in the past decade can be attributed to “natural variability” and not to climate change. The NOAA also recognizes that Atlantic hurricane seasons exhibit prolonged periods lasting decades of generally above-normal or below-normal activity.
As President Obama said, these extreme weather events are not a joke. Climate change brought about by global warming is a contributing cause to these events, although the immediate causes are more weather related. Hurricanes, droughts, floods and fires: read our comments in previous blogs to understand the connection between these disasters and global warming.
Spring in January?