Experts Call for Another Active Hurricane Season

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2011 Hurricane Names

  • Arlene
  • Bret
  • Cindy
  • Don
  • Emily
  • Franklin
  • Gert
  • Harvey
  • Irene
  • Jose
  • Katia
  • Lee
  • Maria
  • Nate
  • Ophelia
  • Philippe
  • Rina
  • Sean
  • Tammy
  • Vince
  • Whitney

The 2011 hurricane season is just around corner — the season officially starts on June 1 — and experts are calling for an active one.

Bill Gray and Phil Klotzbach of Colorado State University’s Tropical Meteorology Project released their latest predictions for the 2011 hurricane season in April and the data warns of another above-average season.

“We estimate that 2011 will have about nine hurricanes (average is 5.9), 16 named storms (average is 9.6), 80 named storm days (average is 49.1), 35 hurricane days (average is 24.5), five major (Category 3-4-5) hurricanes (average is 2.3) and 10 major hurricane days (average is 5.0),” according to the Extended Range Forecast of Atlantic Seasonal Hurricane Activity and Landfall Strike Probability for 2011.
Meteorologists with CSU’s Tropical Meteorology Project have been issuing predictions for 27 years and use 29 years of data to make their predictions.

“We believe that seasonal forecasts must be based on methods that show significant hindcast skill in application to long periods of prior data,” according to the report. “It is only through hindcast skill that one can demonstrate that seasonal forecast skill is possible. This is a valid methodology provided that the atmosphere continues to behave in the future as it has in the past.”

The scientists also predict the probability of landfall along the U.S. coastline and the Caribbean. While the report does not include data for the U.S. Virgin Islands, landfall probability for Puerto Rico is spelled out.

“For the island of Puerto Rico, the probability of a named storm, hurricane and major hurricane tracking within 50 miles of the island this year is 50 percent, 26 percent, and 8 percent, respectively,” according to the report.

The report also includes data which dispels the notion that global warming is to blame to for increased hurricane activity.

“Some researchers have tried to link the rising CO2 levels with SST [sea surface temperature] increases during the late 20th century and say that this has brought on higher levels of hurricane intensity,” according to the report. “These speculations that hurricane intensity has increased due to CO2 increases have been given much media attention; however, we believe that they are not valid, given current observational data. “It has been tempting for many who do not have a strong background of hurricane information to jump on this recent increase in major hurricane activity as strong evidence of a human influence on hurricanes.”

“It should be noted, however, that the last 16-year active major hurricane period of 1995-2010 has not been more active than the earlier 16-year period of 1949-1964 when the Atlantic Ocean circulation conditions were similar to what has been observed during the last 16 years,” according to Gray and Klotzbach’s report. “These earlier active conditions occurred even though atmospheric CO2 amounts were lower during the earlier period. Although global surface temperatures increased during the late 20th century, there is no reliable data to indicate increased hurricane frequency or intensity in any of the globe’s other tropical cyclone basins since 1972.”

Gray and Klotzbach will issue their next forecasts for the 2011 hurricane season on Wednesday, June 1, and August 1. From August through October, the meteorologists will issue two-week forecasts. A verification and discussion of all 2011 forecasts will be issued in late November. All of these forecasts are available at http://hurricane.atmos.colostate.edu/forecasts.