The 2012 Atlantic Hurricane season begins - 6/1/2012
Good afternoon and welcome to my tropical weather update for Friday, June 1st, 2012. Tropical Depression Beryl has lost all tropical characteristics and is no longer a threat, but did come ashore as an extremely impressive 70mph tropical storm. It's extremely impressive as in the fact no other system has made landfall in the USA before June at that intensity, and more so that it was the 2nd named storm of the year. Anyways, today marks the first day of the Atlantic Hurricane season and I will be discussing my thoughts on what to expect this season.
CSU's analogue years.
The CSU team in Colorado has picked a set of analogue years for the 2012 Atlantic Hurricane season, they include 2009, 2001, 1968, and 1953, an interesting blend of inactive and active years. Analogue years are basically years that have similar ENSO setups and patterns in the Atlantic that might contribute/not contribute to an active hurricane season. The CSU has also for the June 1st, 2012 predictions to go with 13 named storms, 5 hurricanes and 2 majors, which is slightly above average. 2009 however appears to have been selected based solely on ENSO which I personally do not agree with 100%.
The majority of the models have come to agreement that we will be seeing a weak-moderate El Nino this year, the question will be when it will appear. Often when El Nino's develop the atmosphere tends to lag, such as years like this with a cold PDO, the atmosphere will still tend to act like we're in a La Nina state, which might help to pad numbers out. However, El Nino years regardless will cause increased shear over the Atlantic, in more specific possibly the Eastern Atlantic, knocking down the number of Cape Verde storms we will see.
(figure 1. ENSO anomalies for the Pacific reveal a developing El Nino)
A/B high and Atlantic setup
The A/B high looks to be in a dangerous position this year. While the pattern will probably change, generally speaking the high will lock in place by mid-late June for the season. The A/B high is much farther south that usual and will cause tropical waves that come off the coast to be forced more westward, including more than likely hurricanes as well. The pattern is reminiscent of previous dangerous hurricane seasons that had hurricanes go into the Caribbean. However, I will not go as far to assume that they will.
SST and TCHP in the Atlantic.
Currently the TCHP (Tropical Cyclone Heat Potential) and SST's (Sea Surface Temperatures) in the Caribbean and Gulf of Mexico is far above average, and gives storms more availability to tap into the warm waters and really strengthen. This could prove to be a huge problem this year, and where we will see most of our storms. If shear is low in the Caribbean and in the Gulf of Mexico we might see powerful storms develop in the Caribbean.
(figure 2. Current TCHP in the Atlantic)
(figure 3. TCHP on May 31st, 2009, our most recent analogue year.)
(figure 4. SST's currently in the Atlantic)
(figure 5. SST's in 2009, our most recent analogue year)
Summary and final season predictions.
Based on all the factors combine, I believe we will see a less active Atlantic Hurricane season than in 2011 and 2010 but a potentially more deadly one. The main problem this year will as the El Nino develops, more shear will develop over the Eastern Atlantic - that will cause tropical waves to not intensify as quickly and wait until they reach the Eastern or Western Caribbean to develop or the Gulf of Mexico, where Sea Surface temperatures are far above average. However, because a lot of our named storms develop off the Cape Verde islands, that will knock down the seasonal totals.
CybrTed's June and final predictions.
12 named storms.
3 major hurricanes.