It’s that time of year again — the 2010 Hurricane Season officially kicks off on Tuesday, June 1, and forecasters are predicting more storm activity this summer than last.
Philip Klotzbach and William Gray of Colorado State University’s Tropical Meteorology Project, which has been issuing seasonal hurricane predictions for 27 years, are calling for about eight hurricanes, four of which are expected to be major hurricanes, of category four or higher. The meteorologists are calling for a total of 15 named storms for the hurricane season, which ends on November 30.
The forecasters issued their last report in April and will publish an updated forecast on Wednesday, June 2. The duo will publish their final update for the 2010 Hurricane Season in August.
The April predictions, however, already featured more storm forecasts than the group’s December report.
“We have increased our early April forecast from our forecast of early December due to the considerable warming in tropical Atlantic SSTs [sea surface temperatures] along with an anticipated weakening of the current moderate El Nino,” according to Klotzbach and Gray’s report, which can be viewed at http://hurricane.atmos.colostate.edu/Forecasts. “The predicted weakening of El
Nino conditions combined with a very strong anomalous warming of the tropical Atlantic are the primary reasons why we are increasing our forecast. We believe that these two features will lead to favorable dynamic and thermodynamic conditions for hurricane formation and intensification.”
The meteorologists refer to a sea surface temperature anomaly as the reason for the expected increase in hurricane activity for 2010.
“Conditions in the Atlantic are quite favorable for an active season,” according to the Tropical Meteorology Project report. “SST [sea surface temperatures] anomalies across the Main Development Region for March are near their highest levels on record. This pressure gradient pattern causes a reduction in the trade winds.”
“Reduced trade winds drive less upwelling and evaporation from the sea surface, typically resulting in a warming of SSTs,” according to the report. “Warmer Atlantic SSTs in the MDR [main development region] are associated with an active THC [Thermohaline Circulation], weaker tropospheric vertical wind shear, weaker trade winds, increased instability and lower-than-normal sea level pressures. All of these conditions are generally associated with much more active Atlantic basin hurricane seasons.”
The sea surface temperature anomalies could, however, dissipate by the start of or during this year’s hurricane season.
“The big question is whether or not this anomalous warming will persist through the upcoming hurricane season,” according to the Tropical Meteorology report. “We will be monitoring these conditions over the next couple of months.”
In addition to the CSU’s June and August updated forecasts, the group will issue two-week forecasts for Atlantic tropical cyclone activity during August and October. All of the forecasts are available at http://hurricane.atmos.colostate.edu/Forecasts.
2010 Hurricane Season Names