Thursday 24 September, 2020

University researchers predict 4 major hurricanes for 2020

Researchers from Colorado State University (CSU) are predicting four major hurricanes between Categories 3 and 5 for the 2020 Atlantic Hurricane season.

The forecast matches that of meteorologists from AccuWeather who predicted an above-normal season with about two to four major hurricanes.

The Colorado team predicted that overall there will be eight hurricanes for the season.

"Information obtained through March 2020 indicates that the 2020 Atlantic hurricane season will have activity above the 1981-2010 average," the researchers noted, forecasting 16 named storms.

El Niño/La Niña conditions, the periodic warming/cooling of the equatorial eastern and central Pacific Ocean, may play a role in the forecast as it can shift weather patterns over a period of months

The team said current warm neutral ENSO (El Niño-Southern Oscillation) conditions appear likely to transition to cool neutral ENSO or potentially even weak La Niña conditions by this summer/fall. Sea surface temperatures averaged across the tropical Atlantic are somewhat above normal, however.

Philip Klotzbach, a meteorologist at CSU who was one of the leads on the report that came out on Thursday, explained on Twitter that one of the reasons for the above-average seasonal hurricane forecast from CSU is due to the likely lack of El Nino this summer/fall. El Nino generally increases vertical wind shear in the Atlantic, tearing apart hurricanes," he said.

The CSU outlook is based on more than 30 years of statistical factors combined with data from seasons exhibiting similar features of sea-level pressure and sea-surface temperatures in the Atlantic and Eastern Pacific oceans.

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