Colorado State University hurricane researchers have decreased their forecast from their early April prediction and now call for a near-average Atlantic hurricane season. The primary reason for this decrease is anomalous cooling in the tropical Atlantic.
The weak La Niña that occurred this past winter has dissipated, and there is the potential that a weak El Niño could develop by the peak of the Atlantic hurricane season (August-October). However, the forecast team believes that neutral ENSO (El Niño-Southern Oscillation) conditions are the most likely scenario for this year’s season. El Niño tends to increase upper-level westerly winds across the Caribbean into the tropical Atlantic, tearing apart hurricanes as they try to form.
The tropical Atlantic has anomalously cooled over the past two months and is now colder than normal. In addition to providing less fuel for tropical cyclone formation and intensification, cooler tropical Atlantic sea surface temperatures are associated with a more stable atmosphere as well as drier air, both of which suppress organized thunderstorm activity necessary for hurricane development. The far North Atlantic also remains colder than normal, potentially indicative of a negative phase of the Atlantic Multi-decadal Oscillation.
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