It's a long time since the 2016 Atlantic hurricane season started way back in January as Hurricane Alex headed for Greenland.
Today we bring you news of Hurricane Matthew, who swept through the Lesser Antilles into the Caribbean Sea as a mere tropical storm but has now turned north and strengthened into a major hurricane. Matthew briefly reached category 5 status yesterday with sustained wind speeds of 160 miles per hour, but those winds have dropped down to a mere 150 mph this morning. Like Alex, Matthew has several claims to fame, most notably as the southernmost category 5 hurricane ever recorded in the Atlantic, at 13.3° north. Here's the current forecast from the National Hurricane Center:
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In an extremely early start to the 2016 Pacific Cyclone Season the Central Pacific Hurricane Center announced early this morning that Hurricane Pali had reached category 1 strength. They currently report that:
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Way back on May 9th we reported on an unusually early start to the 2015 Atlantic Hurricane Season. Things have been fairly quiet since then. There have been a few named tropical storms, one of which became Hurricane Danny on August 20th. Danny didn't pose much threat to life and limb, but another unusual tropical storm is about to change that. At 06:00 UTC this morning the National Hurricane Centre advised that:
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I stayed up late last night (UK time) to watch Barack Obama deliver his 2015 State of the Union address to the United States Congress. I was particularly interested to hear what he had to say about climate change. In the event he said the word "climate" four times. Apparently that's a new record.
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The United States National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA for short) has published an article on the stormy weather we experienced over the winter. They say that:
In the North Atlantic [there have been] an unusually high number of hurricane-force storms. Between October 25, 2013, when the first hurricane-force event of the season occurred, and March 8, when the most recent one to date occurred, 43 unique hurricane-force events have blasted their way across the North Atlantic. Thirty of them underwent rapid intensification. The most intense system occurred on December 24, 2013; pressure in the heart of the storm dropped to 929 hPa as the storm lurked north and northwest of the British Isles.
and show this chart of wind speed anomalies over the North Atlantic compared to the 1981-2010 average:
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The National Hurricane Center is one of the few US Government agencies still working normally during the current "shutdown". As they point out on their web site:
Due to the Federal Government shutdown, NOAA.gov and most associated web sites are unavailable. However, because the information this site provides is necessary to protect life and property, it will be updated and maintained during the Federal Government shutdown.
In a public advisory bulletin issued at 13:00 UTC yesterday the NHC reported that Tropical Storm Karen had formed. In their most recent bulletin about Karen at 09:00 UTC this morning they say about her that:
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Unfortunately my headline this evening is not from a fictional murder mystery written by Agatha Christie. It is from a science documentary. Let me lead you through it, chapter by chapter. If you're sitting comfortably then let us begin, back on February 10th.
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Since we first reported on Hurricane Sandy she slightly surprisingly left the north coast of Cuba as a category 2 hurricane, with maximum sustained winds of 105 mph. According to Associated Press she then:
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In the good old days I used to pore over atmospheric pressure charts kindly provided online by the likes of the European Centre for Medium-Range Weather Forecasts (ECMWF for short) before making a decision on exactly where and when to go surfing. Here's what they are revealing to me today:
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The United States' National Snow and Ice Data Center (NSIDC for short) has just issued a press release about the amount of ice in the Arctic at the moment. You may be wondering why on Earth that is relevant to you, but please bear with me as I endeavour to explain, with the help of a few videos. Here's the first one which shows summer 2012 in Sidmouth, a seaside town down here on the not so sunny south coast of Devon:
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