2006 was predicted by the climatologists who believe in Global Warming, and by the climatologists who don’t believe in Global Warming, to be a humdinger of a year for storms, as “Global Warming of the oceans” spawned more vigorous and more numerous storms, or simply as the regular climatic cycle ticked round to a period of greater storm activity.
But, as the Tampa Tribune observes, all those predictions failed to pan out.
It was not the hurricane season we expected, thank you.
With cataclysmic predictions that hurricanes would swarm from the tropics like termites, no one thought 2006 would be the most tranquil season in a decade.
Barring a last-second surprise from the tropics, the season will end Thursday with nine named storms, and only five of those hurricanes. This year is the first season since 1997 that only one storm nudged its way into the Gulf of Mexico.
Still, Florida was hit by two tropical storms, Alberto and Ernesto. But after the pummeling of the previous two years, the storms barely registered on the public’s radar.
So what happened? Lots.
Storms were starved for fuel after ingesting masses of dry Saharan dust and air over the Atlantic Ocean. Scientists say the storm-snuffing dust was more abundant than usual this year.
In the season’s peak, storms were curving right like errant field goals. High pressure that normally hunkers near Bermuda shifted far eastward, and five storms rode the clockwise winds away from Florida.
Finally, a rapidly growing El Nino, a warming of water over the tropical Pacific Ocean, shifted winds high in the atmosphere southward. The winds left developing storms disheveled and unable to become organized.
As they say about the stock market: Past results are no indication of future performance.
Take off the bedsheet, and come down from the roof, Al! The world isn’t ending after all.