2017's Hurricane Season Was Predicted, But Intense (Photo)

2017's Hurricane Season Was Predicted, But Intense (Photo) Promo Image

If you feel this summer's hurricane season has been especially hectic, you're not alone. At least one hurricane scientist said the configuration of three separate hurricanes in the Atlantic, each with the potential to hit land, is "unparalleled."

"[Three] hurricanes threatening land simultaneously in the W Atlantic Basin. Never seen anything like this in the modern record," Eric Blake of the National Hurricane Center tweeted on Sept. 7, accompanied by a radar-captured photo of hurricanes Irma, Jose and Katia.

Individuals on Twitter were quick to point out the hurricane season of 2010, when hurricanes Igor, Julia and Karl swirled around the Atlantic.

"(Not so "unparalleled"... It pays to check these things out before posting stuff that will freak folks out even more needlessly)," quipped one Twitter user in response to Blake's tweet.

Blake responded: "No. Julia was nowhere near land. Never a threat. Irma likely to do 100x+more damage than Igor/Karl. Let's not just compare one image."

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Blake also claimed that the image several users had posted comparing the locations of the 2010 and 2017 storms were distorted. In reality, he said, Igor was on a path towards Canada.

The NHC has issued advisories for Irma, Jose and Katia in North America. No such advisory was issued for Julia in 2010, Quartz reports.

Though the 2017 hurricane season has seen three hurricanes in the Atlantic basin simultaneously, scientists caution that this season is not totally unforeseen. The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Association had predicted this season to be active, The New York Times reports.

Hurricane season typically peaks in June, July and August, when temperatures over the Atlantic ocean are warmest.

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While it is believed that climate change will exacerbate the severity of weather events, scientists say there is not much data to suggest hurricanes are getting worse because of climate change due to the limited amount of hurricanes that occur each year.

Dr. Gerry Bell, lead seasonal forecaster at the NOAA's Climate Prediction Center, told The New York Times that he does not take climate change into account when developing forecasts. Rather, he looks at trends over time.

"We've been in an active era since 1995," Bell said, noting that there were less hurricanes in 1971 to 1994 possibly because global temperatures were lower in general.

Some environmentalists feel a moral imperative to speak of climate change and warming temperatures when hurricanes like Harvey or Irma occur. However, other victims of hurricanes believe it is not respectful to speak about the causes of these disasters when people are still recovering.

One woman, Sarah Lankau, sent a message to Quartz in response to an article it published regarding the causes and potential lessons from Harvey. The article cited several examples of how the environment of Houston has changed over time -- citing loss of wetlands and development as having worsened Houston's flooding.

Lankau began her letter by praising Quartz's reporting, but asked the news outlet to not write what she calls "I told you so" articles on climate change in the immediate aftermath of the storm.

"...Please refrain from analyzing and quantifying our tragedy for likes and retweets at least until the sun comes out, the waters have receded, and we’ve found everyone we’ve lost," an excerpt of Lankau's message reads.

Sources: The New York Times, Eric Blake/Twitter, Quartz (2, 3) / Featured Image: Ana Rodriguez Carrington/Flickr / Embedded Images: NOAA via Yannick/Twitter, NASA Goddard Space Flight Center/Flickr

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