The image above is a composite of fourteen polar satellite passes, or swaths, stitched together from September 8, 2013. The natural-color images were acquired by the Visible Infrared Imaging Radiometer Suite (VIIRS) on the Suomi National Polar-orbiting Partnership (Suomi NPP) satellite.
At the time of those near-midday passes, there were no hurricanes, cyclones, or tropical storms in the Atlantic, Pacific, or Indian Ocean basins—a relatively rare occurrence at the height of the hurricane/cyclone season in the northern hemisphere. There was plenty of cloud cover, of course, and smaller storm systems. In the eastern Pacific, remnants of tropical storm Lorena were breaking up near the Baja Peninsula. In the eastern Atlantic, the pieces of tropical depression #9 were starting to gather near the islands of Cape Verde; by the next day, tropical storm Humberto would form.
In its May and August 2013 outlooks, the National Hurricane Center forecasted a 70 percent chance of a “more active than normal” season, with 13 to 20 named storms and 7 to 11 hurricanes. A “normal” season typically produces 12 named storms, including 6 hurricanes. Through the second week of September (the midpoint of the Atlantic hurricane season), there have been nine named storms—keeping pace with predictions—but just one that reached hurricane strength.
The one hurricane, Humberto, was observed on September 11, 2013, by the Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer (MODIS) on NASA’s Terra satellite (image below). Humberto became a hurricane around 5 a.m. on September 11, just hours short of becoming the latest date for the first hurricane in a season. By September 13, Humberto had weakened to a tropical storm. Forecasts were calling for the northwest-moving storm to reach hurricane status again by September 19, when it will be in the middle of the Atlantic Ocean and well away from land.
- NASA (2013) Hurricanes/Tropical Cyclones. Accessed September 14, 2013.
- National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (2013, September 12) Does the August Lull in Atlantic Hurricane Activity Mean We Won't be Having an Active Season? Accessed September 14, 2013.
- Unisys Weather (2013) Hurricane/Tropical Data. Accessed September 14, 2013.
- The Weather Channel (2013, September 11) Hurricane Season Update: Humberto Falls Just Short of Hurricane Record. Accessed September 14, 2013.
- Weather Underground (2013, September 10) Hurricane Season is Half Over; Will It Remain Quiet? Accessed September 14, 2013.
- Weather Underground (2013, September 8) A Rare Tropical Cyclone-Free September 8 for Earth. Accessed September 14, 2013.
- Suomi NPP - VIIRS
NASA: Three Oceans. No Cyclones - 09.15.13
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