Thursday, May 27, 2010

NOAA 2010 Atlantic Hurricane Season Outlook

Conditions During Peak Months (Credit: NOAA)

 2010 Atlantic Hurricane Prediction

Every May the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) Climate Prediction Center (CPC) issues a preliminary Atlantic hurricane season outlook.  An updated outlook is released in August, which is the beginning of the peak months of the season.    NOAA Press Release

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The outlook is produced in collaboration with scientists from the National Hurricane Center (NHC), and the Hurricane Research Division (HRD). The Atlantic hurricane region includes the North Atlantic Ocean, Caribbean Sea, and Gulf of Mexico.

Atlantic Hurricane Season
June 1 to November 30

For 2010, the outlook calls for a 85% chance of an above normal season, a 10% chance of a near normal season, and only a 5% chance of a below normal season.  An average Atlantic hurricane season features approximately 11 named storms (maximum sustained surface winds between 39-73 mph), with six of those becoming hurricanes (maximum sustained surface winds of at least 74 mph) and two becoming major hurricanes (maximum sustained surface winds exceeding 111 mph, categories 3-5 on the Saffir-Simpson hurricane scale).

Since 1995, we have been in an era of high activity with an average of  14.5 named storms, 8 hurricanes, and 4 major hurricanes with an average ACE index of 160% of the median.

Measuring total seasonal activity: The Accumulated Cyclone Energy (ACE) index

An important measure of the total overall seasonal activity is the NOAA Accumulated Cyclone Energy (ACE) index, which accounts for the intensity and duration of named storms and hurricanes during the season.  According to NOAA’s hurricane season classifications, an ACE value above 117% of the 1950-2000 median reflects an above-normal season. An ACE value above 175% of the median reflects an exceptionally active (or hyperactive) season.

NOAA estimates a 70% probability for each of the following ranges of activity this season:
  • 14-23 Named Storms
  • 8-14 Hurricanes
  • 3-7 Major Hurricanes
  • ACE range of 155% - 270% of the median
This outlook is general guide to the expected overall activity during the upcoming hurricane season. It is not a seasonal hurricane landfall forecast, and it does not predict levels of activity for any particular region.

Due to the ongoing oil crisis in the Gulf of Mexico, NOAA's outlook includes statistical data of tropical cyclone activity for this region. Historically, all above normal seasons have produced at least one named storm in the Gulf of Mexico, and 95% of those seasons have at least two named storms in the Gulf. Most of this activity (80%) occurs during August-October. However, 50% of above normal seasons have had at least one named storm in the region during June-July.

Three climate factors, all of which are conducive historically to increased tropical cyclone activity, were included in the model used to formulate this outlook. These climate factors are: 1) the tropical multi-decadal signal, which has contributed to the ongoing high-activity era for Atlantic hurricanes that began in 1995, 2) a continuation of exceptionally warm sea surface temperatures (SSTs) in the Main Development Region, and 3) either ENSO-neutral or La Niña conditions, with La Niña becoming increasingly likely.  (see ENSO forecast models)

As a service to my readers, we will monitor tropical storms and provide updates. Starting June 1st, we'll add the RSS feeds so that you'll be able to get up to the minute forecasts and advisories from NOAA. Cruise lines monitor tropical storms and may provide advisories of their own. Those will also be shared with you.

Related Links

NOAA Expects Busy Atlantic Hurricane Season
Above Average 2010 Hurricane Forecast  (Colorado State University)
Atlantic Hurricane Outlook & Seasonal Climate Summary Archive
Climate Prediction Center (CPC)
NOAA/ National Weather Service
WMO Severe Weather Info Centre
National Hurricane Center (NHC)
NWS Regional Offices and Centers
Hurricane Preparedness
Forecast Process
Realtime monitoring of tropical Atlantic conditions

More links and information about tropical storms and other weather conditions can be found in the Weather tab above.

Related Blog Posts

Above Average 2010 Hurricane Forecast
NOAA 2010 Atlantic Hurricane Season Outlook
NOAA 2010 Eastern Pacific Hurricane Season Outlook
NOAA 2010 Central Pacific Hurricane Prediction
Hurricane Hazards - Inland Flooding
Huricane Hazards - High Winds
Hurricane Hazards - Storm Surge
Hurricane Preparedness Week 2010
Travel With Protection Against Unexpected

Hurricane Preparedness Week  - May 23 - 29, 2010


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