Thursday, May 22, 2014

NOAA: 8-13 Storms Predicted for Near-to-Below Normal Atlantic Hurricane Season

From Property/Casualty 360:
The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) is predicting a near-normal to below-normal 2014 Atlantic hurricane season.

“The main driver of this year’s outlook is the anticipated development of El Niño this summer. El Niño causes stronger wind shear, which reduces the number and intensity of tropical storms and hurricanes,” says NOAA in a statement after announcing its prediction this morning in New York. “El Niño can also strengthen the trade winds and increase the atmospheric stability across the tropical Atlantic, making it more difficult for cloud systems coming off of Africa to intensify into tropical storms.”

In total, NOAA is calling for 8-13 tropical storms, compared to a 30-year average of 12; 3-6 hurricanes, compared to a 30-year average of six; and 1-2 major hurricanes, compared to a 30-year average of three. NOAA says there’s a 70% likelihood of it’s prediction for 8-13 storms.
The Atlantic has been in an era of high activity for hurricanes since 1995, Gerry Bell, lead seasonal hurricane forecaster with NOAA’s Climate Prediction Center says in the statement. NOAA says 12 of the last 20 years have seen above-normal seasons. But the impacts of El Niño, and cooler Atlantic Ocean temperatures than what has been seen in recent years are expected to counter the trend....MORE
1995 was the year the Atlantic Multidecadal Oscillation (AMO) went into its ~20 year warm phase.
The "high-activity" line is a bit deceptive now that any case of the summertime blues can be considered a tropical depression.

However, if you measure either strong (Cat 3 or above) or landfalling hurricanes, the decade since Katrina has been remarkably quiet and especially since 2008 when then-Senator Obama said at the end of  his Democratic nomination victory speech:
"...this was the moment when the rise of the oceans began to slow and our planet began to heal..."