Calm Skies over three Oceans

We live on a dynamic, restless planet. On any given day, there is usually a cyclone, tropical depression, or extra-tropical storm brewing somewhere on the Earth. But for a brief moment this week, the skies over all the oceans were relatively calm. Image © NASA Earth Observatory image by Jesse Allen, using VIIRS data from the Suomi National Polar-orbiting Partnership.

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.

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