The Atlantic hurricane season: a lesson in how we are warmer and more volatile than ever

Markets were split on forecasts of a below-normal or normal hurricane season but not on our choice to start a project calling for a maximum seasonal number of storms of 17 or even 11.

Atlantic hurricane season is often a tough one to call. We’ve had so many weather events surprise us during the last few years that it is difficult to pick strong trends. In terms of where the season will end up, the risks are on the weak side, particularly in El Niño areas. Even stronger El Niño conditions in the winter and early spring will bring less wind shear and probably strong rain and wind fronts. Temperatures in the Atlantic can still be unusually warm from a number of different factors. The intense hurricane season that just ended was greatly impacted by a very active El Niño, and the early season of 2018 wasn’t very strong either.

However, climate change will make this season less likely, giving us more and stronger storms over the long run. The experts at the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration predict a near-normal season with 10 to 16 named storms, with five to nine developing into hurricanes. That includes three to six major hurricanes, with size and strength of hurricanes determined by the maximum sustained winds.

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