In an “average” year, by today, August 21st between 1944 and 2005 and *average* of 1.5 hurricanes have formed. Likewise in an average year, 3 tropical storms have formed by August 20th. So far 2006 has had zero hurricanes and 3 tropical storms.

Therefore, compared with an average year 2006 is now below average in not only hurricanes formed, but tropical storms formed.

One reason? Cooler sea surface temperatures which are below (or just at) long-term averages depending upon the location of course. A paper to be published in next month’s Geophysical Research Letters, shows that between 2003 and 2005 *global* average upper ocean temperatures have *cooled* significantly. (for a PDF version of the draft paper, see http://www.pmel.noaa.gov/people/gjohnson/lyman_heat_v2.pdf. Please note that this is a very technical paper.)

In fact, the 3 years erased 20% of the warming that occured over 48 years! Yes, 3 years (2003, 2004, and 2005) have erased 20% of 48 years of warming, effectly removing nearly 10 years of sea surface temperature warming.

Will these facts make the major news outlets after last year’s hype?

Time will tell.

For more information:
Lyman, J. M., J. K. Willis, and G. C. Johnson. (In preparation). Recent cooling of the upper ocean. Geophysical Research Letters, http://www.pmel.noaa.gov/people/gjohnson/lyman_heat_v2.pdf [http://www.pmel.noaa.gov/people/gjohnson/publications.html]