This year will be the most active tropical hurricane season for the Atlantic basin since 2012 due to slightly warmer water and a lack of El Niño, according to a forecast from the Weather Company, an IBM business.
The forecast projects a total of 14 named storms, of which eight will be hurricanes. Of those eight, three will be major hurricanes. The figures include Hurricane Alex, which hit in January 2016. Hurricane Alex made headlines earlier this year as the first Atlantic hurricane in January since 1955.
Atlantic hurricane season extends from June 1 through Nov. 30.
The forecast numbers for this tropical season are slightly higher than both the 1950-2015 “normals” of 12 named storms, 7 hurricanes and 3 major hurricanes, and are very close to the recent “active period” (1995-2015) “normals” of 15 named storms, 8 hurricanes and 3 major hurricanes.
“The long-term trends in Atlantic Ocean temperatures suggest that the years of hyperactive tropical seasons may be coming to an end for a while,” said Dr. Todd Crawford, Chief Meteorologist, The Weather Company. “Given this trend, along with the background El Niño conditions, the last three seasons have been relatively quiet.”
But speculation has been circulating among meteorologists that the 2016 hurricane forecast for the Atlantic Basin may be dependent on a cold body of water in the North Atlantic Ocean.
Meteorologists with AccuWeather are saying that this body of water could be the wild card in the upcoming Atlantic hurricane season as it is a large, anomalous area of colder-than-normal sea-surface temperature water.
Atlantic Hurricane expert Dan Kottlowski explains, “This blob of colder water started to show up a few years ago and has become larger and more persistent during the past couple of years.” Whether or not ocean currents draw cold water from this blob southward into tropical regions of the Atlantic could determine how active the season becomes.
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