NASA releases time-lapse of record-breaking 2020 Atlantic Hurricane Season

Author: Team Writer: Derrick Shaw
Published: Updated:
nasa time lapse
Credit: NASA via CBS MIAMI

The 2020 Atlantic hurricane season was one for the record books, and NASA’s recently-released time-lapse video captured just how insane it was.

By the end of the record-breaking 2020 season, there were 30 named storms, finishing with Category 5 Hurricane Iota.

Thirteen of those storms became hurricanes, including six major hurricanes. Twelve of them made landfall in the U.S.

The nearly four-and-a-half minute time-lapse video captured all that activity via NASA’s Integrated Multi-satellitE Retrievals for GPM, or IMERG for short.

NASA’s Scientific Visualization Studio, the team behind the project, explained that IMERG gathers large amounts of data in near-real time to help “researchers better understand Earth’s water cycle and extreme weather events, with applications for disaster management, tracking disease, resource management, energy production and food security.”

According to NOAA, Hurricanes Zeta, Delta, Sally, Laura, Isaias and Hanna caused an estimated $38.6 billion in damage and resulted in 74 deaths. If you factor in Tropical Storm Eta, that’s another $1.5 billion in damages and 12 additional deaths.

Beyond just hurricanes, NASA said NOAA data showed the U.S. suffered the most billion-dollar disasters in a single year since record-keeping began 40 years ago.

And it doesn’t seem like this will slow down anytime soon – if at all.

Brian McNoldy, a senior research associate at the University of Miami Rosenstiel School of Marine & Atmospheric Science, shared a graphic on Twitter explaining there’s been a jump in the average number of named storms.

“When we mention the average number of named storms, hurricanes, & major hurricanes, we’re typically referring to a recent 30-year ‘climate normal.’ We’ve been using 1981-2010, but now we have 1991-2020, and the counts have increased by 12-19%,” he wrote. “Climate normals are updated each decade to keep up with a changing climate. What was normal 50 years ago isn’t normal now.”

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