July 6 (Reuters) – Colorado State University meteorologists for the second time raised their estimate for tropical storms during this year’s Atlantic hurricane season, citing record warm sea surface temperatures.
The group had last month raised his perspective to a season and an almost normal number of thunderstorms. On Thursday, it increased its forecast to 18 named storms, producing nine hurricanes, four of which could become major storms with winds of at least 111 miles per hour (179 km/h).
“Most of the tropical and subtropical Atlantic now has record warm sea surface temperatures,” the Colorado State Tropical Climate Research and Meteorology Group said in its latest update. Those temperatures are “the primary reason for the increase in our forecast numbers,” CSU said.
The effect of El Nino, a weather phenomenon that suppresses Atlantic hurricane activity, was offset by very warm ocean waters this year.
“The high probability of a robust El Nino is why CSU’s hurricane forecast isn’t for every other business,” wrote CSU researcher Phil Klotzbach.
Warm waters fuel stronger storms by putting more steam into the air, which can produce heavier precipitation.
Average June sea surface temperatures in the North Atlantic were 0.91 degrees Celsius above the 1991-2020 average and half a degree warmer than the previous warmest Junethe European Union’s Copernicus climate change service, which tracks ocean and air temperatures, said Thursday.
The Atlantic storm season began on June 1 and ends on November 30.
CSU’s raised outlook is well above that of the U.S. National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, which forecasts a near-normal season with between 12 and 17 named storms, five to nine hurricanes, and one to four major hurricanes.
Reporting by Gary McWilliams; Editing by Marguerita Choy, David Holmes and Conor Humphries
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