After last year’s record-breaking hurricane season, forecasters are expecting another overactive season.
Colorado State University (CSU) released its 2021 Atlantic hurricane season forecast on Thursday morning and is predicting another above-average season this year.
CSU is calling for 17 named storms, 8 hurricanes and 4 major hurricanes (Category 3 or higher).
Each of these numbers is above the typical season average of 12 named storms, 6 hurricanes, and 3 major hurricanes.
However, seasonal averages are in the process of being updated, according to Ken Graham, director of the National Hurricane Center (NHC).
“We will have those new averages going into the season. In fact, over the next couple of weeks we are going to release that information,” Graham says.
CSU is one of many academic institutions, government agencies and private forecasting companies putting out seasonal projections.
Even though the official forecast from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) won’t come until the end of May, there is already a strong consensus that the Atlantic is headed for yet another active season.
Factors that increase hurricane activity
There is considerable warmth across much of the eastern Atlantic where the ocean’s surface temperature is 1-3 degrees Celsius above normal for early April.
“The primary reasons why we’re going above average is the low likelihood of a significant El Niño event and the relative warmth in the tropical (Atlantic) but especially the subtropical eastern Atlantic,” said Phil Klotzbach, a research scientist at CSU.
Sea surface temperatures are one of the ingredients needed to fuel hurricanes, so it makes sense that there would be a correlation between those temperatures and an active season.