NCPA - National Center for Policy Analysis

Where Are Al Gore's Hurricanes?

August 11, 2010

Global tropical cyclone activity (comprised of hurricanes and tropical storms) continues to remain at its lowest level in at least 30 years, according to data from Florida State University.  For nearly two years now, global tropical cyclone activity has remained at its lowest level since at least 1979. 

According to Florida State hurricane researcher Ryan Maue, it is possible that current accumulated cyclone energy (ACE) is even lower than the extremely low tropical cyclone activity of 1979-1980. 

"Southern Hemisphere tropical cyclone data is spotty prior to the introduction of reliable satellite monitoring, thus the ACE represented at the beginning of the 1980s is likely underestimated due to missing data. Thus, it is possible that the current global collapse in TC (tropical cyclone) ACE is comparable to lows experienced prior to 30 years ago," observes Maue on the Florida State University Center for Ocean-Atmospheric Prediction Studies Website. 

According to Maue: 

  • Since Hurricane Katrina (August 2005) and the publication of high-profile papers in Nature and Science, global tropical cyclone ACE has collapsed in half.
  • While the Atlantic on average makes up about 10 percent of the global, yearly hurricane activity, the other 90 percent deserves attention and has been significantly depressed since 2007. 


  • Northern Hemisphere year-to-date ACE is nearing 50 percent below normal.
  • The Western North Pacific is at 17 percent of normal (of the past 30 year average). 

Source: James M. Taylor, "Where Are Gore's Hurricanes?" Heartland Institute, August 10, 2010. 


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