Quantcast

2018 Atlantic, Pacific Hurricane Season Most Active on Record

Hurricane Willa battered western Mexico with heavy rainfall, rough surf and strong winds. NASA-NOAA's Suomi NPP satellite

This hurricane season is the busiest we've ever seen—and we still have more than a month to go before it's over.

If you combine all the hurricanes and tropical storms that formed in both the Atlantic and eastern Pacific oceans this year, the 2018 hurricane season is the most active in recorded history, USA TODAY reported, citing Colorado State University meteorologist Phil Klotzbach.


To measure the activity of a hurricane season, meteorologists use the Accumulated Cyclone Energy (ACE) index which takes into account the combined number, strength and duration of tropical cyclones that formed. The average ACE for the Atlantic and eastern Pacific seasons together is 221 units of energy.

But this year? The combined Atlantic/Pacific ACE is 432, breaking the previous record of 371 set in 1992, according to Klotzbach.

This year's major storms included Florence and Michael in the Atlantic, as well as Lane, Rosa, Sergio and Willa in the Pacific. Hurricane season ends on Nov. 30.

It's been such an active season in the Pacific that we're even starting to run out of names. After Willa became the 23rd named storm, we only have three more names on the list—Xavier, Yolanda and Zeke—before we have to switch to letters of the Greek alphabet to name storms.

In the Atlantic, storm names only go to the letter "W" before reverting to Greek letters. The only time we had to do that was in 2005, NBC's Texas-based DFW noted. After Wilma, we named six more storms: Alpha, Beta, Gamma, Delta, Epsilon and Zeta.

What's more, Klotzbach said we've had more major hurricane days this year than ever before in the Pacific.

"The 2018 Northeast Pacific (to 180°) #hurricane season has generated a whopping 34.5 major (Category 3+) hurricane days to date—shattering the old seasonal record of 24 major hurricane days set in 2015," he tweeted on Tuesday.

The record hurricane season is driven by warmer-than-average ocean surface temperatures. They were warmer because of human-driven climate change.

"There is a pretty strong consensus [among scientists] that the frequency of the high category events like [Hurricane Michael,] in most parts of the world, should go up as a result of climate warming," Massachusetts Institute of Technology atmospheric science professor Kerry A. Emanuel told CNN.

Show Comments ()

EcoWatch Daily Newsletter

Offutt Air Force Base after flooding on March 17. U.S. Air Force / TSgt. Rachelle Blake

The historic flooding that devastated Nebraska last week has also submerged one third of an Air Force base, offering a further illustration of the threat posed to national security by climate change.

Read More Show Less
A regenerating stand of rainforest in northern Costa Rica. Matthew Fagan / CC BY-ND

By Matthew Fagan, Leighton Reid and Margaret Buck Holland

Tropical forests globally are being lost at a rate of 61,000 square miles a year. And despite conservation efforts, the global rate of loss is accelerating. In 2016 it reached a 15-year high, with 114,000 square miles cleared.

At the same time, many countries are pledging to restore large swaths of forests. The Bonn Challenge, a global initiative launched in 2011, calls for national commitments to restore 580,000 square miles of the world's deforested and degraded land by 2020. In 2014 the New York Declaration on Forests increased this goal to 1.35 million square miles, an area about twice the size of Alaska, by 2030.

Read More Show Less
Sponsored
Compassion Over Killing

By Cheryl Leahy

Do you think almond milk comes from a cow named Almond? Or that almonds lactate? The dairy industry thinks you do, and that's what it's telling the Food and Drug Administration (FDA).

For years, the dairy industry has been flexing its lobbying muscle, pressuring states and the federal government to restrict plant-based companies from using terms like "milk" on their labels, citing consumer confusion.

Read More Show Less

By Jeremy Deaton

A driver planning to make the trek from Denver to Salt Lake City can look forward to an eight-hour trip across some of the most beautiful parts of the country, long stretches with nary a town in sight. The fastest route would take her along I-80 through southern Wyoming. For 300 miles between Laramie and Evanston, she would see, according to a rough estimate, no fewer than 40 gas stations where she could fuel up her car. But if she were driving an electric vehicle, she would see just four charging stations where she could recharge her battery.

Read More Show Less
d3sign / Moment / Getty Images

By Kris Gunnars, BSc

Common sense should not be taken for granted when people are discussing nutrition.

Read More Show Less
Sponsored
A fire erupted Sunday at a petrochemical plant in Deer Park, Texas. NowThis News / YouTube screenshot

By Andrea Germanos

A petrochemical plant near Houston continued to burn for a second day on Monday, raising questions about the quality and safety of the air.

The Deer Park facility is owned by Intercontinental Terminals Company (ITC), which said the fire broke out at roughly 10:30 a.m. Sunday. Seven tanks are involved, the company said, and they contain naptha, xylene, "gas blend stocks" and "base oil."

"It's going to have to burn out at the tank," Ray Russell, communications officer for Channel Industries Mutual Aid, which is aiding the response effort, said at a news conference. It could take "probably two days" for that to happen, he added.

Read More Show Less
Poppy superbloom in Lake Elsinore, Calfornia on March 13. cultivar413 / CC BY 2.0

The hillsides dyed orange with poppies may look like something out of a dream, but for the Southern California town of Lake Elsinore, that dream quickly turned into a nightmare.

The town of 66,000 people was inundated with around 50,000 tourists coming to snap pictures of the golden poppies growing in Walker Canyon as part of a superbloom of wildfires caused by an unusually wet winter, BBC News reported. The visitors trampled flowers and caused hours of traffic, The Guardian reported.

Read More Show Less
The Humane Society of the United States uncovered a one-year pesticide test on 36 beagles contracted by Dow AgroSciences at a Michigan lab. The Humane Society of the United States / YouTube screenshot

A controversial pesticide test that would have resulted in the deaths of 36 beagles has been stopped, the Humane Society of the United States (HSUS) and the company behind the test announced Monday. The announcement comes less than a week after HSUS made the test public when it released the results of an investigation into animal testing at Charles River Laboratories in Michigan.

"We have immediately ended the study that was the subject of attention last week and will make every effort to rehome the animals that were part of the study," Corteva Agriscience, the agriculture division of DowDupont, said in a statement announcing its decision.

Read More Show Less