FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Contact: Chris Vaccaro 202-482-6093 August 5, 2010
NOAA Still Expects Active Atlantic Hurricane Season; La Niña Develops
The Atlantic Basin remains on track for an active hurricane season, according to the scheduled seasonal outlook update issued today by NOAA’s Climate Prediction Center, a division of the National Weather Service. With the season’s peak just around the corner – late August through October – the need for preparedness plans is essential.
NOAA also announced today that, as predicted last spring, La Niña has formed in the tropical Pacific Ocean. This favors lower wind shear over the Atlantic Basin, allowing storm clouds to grow and organize. Other climate factors pointing to an active hurricane season are warmer-than-average water in the tropical Atlantic and Caribbean, and the tropical multi-decadal signal, which since 1995 has brought favorable ocean and atmospheric conditions in unison, leading to more active seasons.
“August heralds the start of the most active phase of the Atlantic hurricane season and with the meteorological factors in place, now is the time for everyone living in hurricane prone areas to be prepared,” said Jane Lubchenco, Ph.D., under secretary of commerce for oceans and atmosphere and NOAA administrator.
Across the entire Atlantic Basin for the whole season – June 1 to November 30 – NOAA’s updated outlook is projecting, with a 70 percent probability, a total of (including Alex, Bonnie and Colin):
- 14 to 20 named storms (top winds of 39 mph or higher), including:
- 8 to 12 hurricanes (top winds of 74 mph or higher), of which:
- 4 to 6 could be major hurricanes (Category 3, 4 or 5; winds of at least 111 mph)
These ranges are still indicative of an active season, compared to the average of 11 named storms, six hurricanes and two major hurricanes; however, the upper bounds of the ranges have been lowered from the initial outlook in late May, which reflected the possibility of even more early season activity.
“All indications are for considerable activity during the next several months,” said Gerry Bell, Ph.D., lead seasonal hurricane forecaster at NOAA’s Climate Prediction Center. “As we’ve seen in past years, storms can come on quickly during the peak months of the season. There remains a high likelihood that the season could be very active, with the potential of being one of the more active on record.”
Be prepared for the hurricane season with important information available online at hurricanes.gov/prepare and at FEMA’s ready.gov.
NOAA’s mission is to understand and predict changes in the Earth’s environment, from the depths of the ocean to the surface of the sun, and to conserve and manage our coastal and marine resources. Visit us at http://www.noaa.gov or on Facebook at http://www.facebook.com/usnoaagov.
Ryan Maue adds some perspective to the hurricane season to date: is the Accumulated Cyclone Energy through August 5th a useful indicator of the total season activity? Not quite yet: for 1950-2009 historical Atlantic activity, the correlation is still low (r = 0.47) between the ACE through August 5th and the entire season. During the past 30-years (1980-2009) the correlation is (somewhat) better (r=0.63) but there are many seasons that have zero or very little activity at this point in August.
A reference bar graph whipped up from the HURDAT best-track archive of ACE shows the on average, only about 10% of the ACE is seen through August 5 (from 1950-2009).
Figure. North Atlantic tropical cyclone accumulated energy (ACE) for the entire season (black bars) and values through August 5 (lime green portion of bar).
So far with Alex, Bonnie, and Colin, we have ACE of about 8, a far cry from the 71 from the record 2005 season. With the seasonal forecasts from NOAA, Gray and Klotzbach at CSU, Accuweather’s Joe Bastardi, TSR, FSU COAPS, and the UK MetOffice ALL prognosticating well-above average activity, the Atlantic will need to start ramping up quickly. With this season, let’s hope the consensus forecast is wrong!