Despite predicting an extremely active hurricane season for this year, climatologists have been astounded by a virtually unprecedented lack of hurricanes. So far this season, which began on June 1st and runs to November 30, a total of eight tropical storms have developed, and typically the first hurricanes have formed by 10th August each year, but we are now halfway through the season without a single storm reaching hurricane status. This could become the latest start to the season since satellites began to record storm activity in 1967.
Previously, the latest start to the season occurred on September 11th 2002 with the birth of Hurricane Gustav; we now have until 8am Wednesday EDT (1200 GMT) before that record is superseded, though during the last few hours Tropical Storm Humberto has strengthened and is forecast to reach hurricane status by Tuesday evening. Humberto formed near the Cape Verde Islands and is not thought to pose any risk to the US coastline, though it has given the small island chain a battering with winds of up to 60mph.
It is thought that pockets of dry, dusty air and winds have prevented the storms from escalating, but Bryan Norcross, the former South Florida weathercaster and current hurricane expert for The Weather Channel, commented 'It's very unusual. Why this is happening is the subject of a lot of conversation, and not much clarity'.
Despite the slow start to the season we should not become complacent, as The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s latest forecast for the 2013 Atlantic hurricane season still suggests a 70% chance of above-average activity and lots more storms to come.
The weird weather has not just been confined to this side of the Pond - across the Atlantic in Cornwall, a freak snow storm left residents speechless.
Cornwall, which is at the southerly-most tip of the British Isles, would typically be enjoying mild temperatures of at least 17C (63F) at this time of year and rarely sees snow even in winter, but the picturesque county was treated to a freak hail storm last Friday. The hail was so profuse that it settled like snow, and also resulted in some severe flooding - knee high flood water poured into one cafe and patrons had to be evacuated. One eye-witness reported that he had been sweltering in 30C (86F) temperatures in London the previous day, yet had returned home to find enough ice and snow to go sledding!
The US this year has also been no stranger to extremes of flooding and drought, and the annual monsoon in India was far more intense than normal, resulting in widespread flooding. At the same time, record-breaking cold weather has gripped Peru during the Austral Winter.
Can we blame global warming for these extremes or anomalies in the world's weather?
According to a report leaked to the UN Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), the Earth is actually cooling, and not warming up at all. On the basis of this, scientists suggest that there has been a 'pause' in global warming, and predict that the world can expect a period of cooler temperatures that could continue until the middle of this century, contradicting previous forecasts of increased temperatures. The report does not explain why this is happening, however, and the IPCC still maintains that they have 95% certainty that the original period of global warming was caused by human greenhouse gas emission. One probable explanation is advanced in Unknowncountry.com's Climate Watch section: solar energy is declining, and we could be in for a protracted period of 'quiet sun.' The last time this happened, the result was the Little Ice Age, which extended from 1350 to 1850, a period of 500 years.
Less extreme and generally cooler temperatures may be good news for those perennially affected by hurricanes, as typically more severe storms arise as a result of warmer weather heating ocean waters, but if, on the flipside, we can expect freak snowstorms in summer then the future looks equally uncertain if 'global cooling' occurs. The only thing we can be certain of, it seems, is that the weather is not becoming more predictable, and we should expect the unexpected.
Despite the fact that the global warming models are no longer correct, the big media is devoted to them, so you'll see little about this story there. To keep getting the TRUTH, support Unknowncountry with a subscription. Click here to find out more.