Sunday, September 16, 2012

Hurricane Season Running Above Normal; Atlantic Not Obeying El Nino

The 2012 Atlantic Hurricane Season is entering its second half, and already we are above normal for total named storms.

The average number of named storms averages out to roughly 11 storms, encompassing tropical storms, hurricanes, and major hurricanes. The number of hurricanes overall stands at 6, while annually, major hurricanes strike about 2 times. This year, statistics show that we have had 15 total storms and 14 named storms (there was one unnamed tropical depression). It is only September, and we have passed the 1966-2009 annual total storm count. The number of hurricanes we have had this year is also above normal, with 8 recorded hurricanes thus far. It has been proven to be an active season. But not many expected this. In a way, this could be the Renegade Hurricane Season of 2012. But what made this season so unexpected?

The hot topic of El Nino (excuse the pun) is to blame. In an El Nino, which is defined as the warming of waters in the Equatorial Pacific Ocean, atmospheric winds in the Atlantic turn unfavorable for tropical cyclone development. The lowest number of named storms in the Atlantic actually result from an El Nino. However, as was explained above, this year is not the case. This could very well be the result of the lack of recognition of the El Nino, as was explained in a previous post.

Because this season has been so odd, the confidence of a long range forecast on the rest of the hurricane season is drastically reduced. However, if I were to take an estimate on what may happen, I have a feeling that this unusual activity will continue. Areas of possible development in the Gulf of Mexico and Caribbean at the time of publishing (uncommon for September tropical development) points to this as well.


No comments: