The South Florida Sun Sentinel cites study of Atlantic Hurricane Season from experts at Colorado University.
It’s very early and things could change, but storm experts at Colorado State University are already looking ahead to the 2019 Atlantic hurricane season.
In a report issued earlier this month, they’re tentatively anticipating a lower probability of the heavy storm activity that characterized the past three years. The 2016, 2017 and 2018 hurricane seasons were marked by an onslaught of catastrophic storms including Matthew, Harvey, Irma, Maria, Florence and Michael.
Storm experts Phil Klotzbach and Michael Bell assessed five possible scenarios for 2019, based on climate factors like the possibility of an El Niño emerging and sea surface temperatures in the Atlantic.
El Niño is typically associated with fewer Atlantic hurricanes.
“Most models predict that a weak to moderate El Niño will develop over the next few months,” the Klotzbach-Bell outlook says. “There is considerable uncertainty as to whether any El Niño does develop [and if it] will persist through next year’s hurricane season.”
An average Atlantic hurricane season brings 12 named storms, six hurricanes and three major hurricanes.
The five scenarios use a metric called Accumulated Cyclone Energy, or ACE, which is essentially a measurement of the total tropical activity in a season. Here are Klotzbach and Bell’s five scenarios and their likelihood of occurring:
--14 to 17 named storms, 9 to 11 hurricanes and 4 to 5 major hurricanes (ACE total of 170). Probability: 10 percent.
--12 to 15 named storms, 6 to 8 hurricanes and 2 to 3 major hurricanes (ACE total of 130). Probability: 25 percent.
--8 to 11 named storms, 3 to 5 hurricanes, 1 to 2 major hurricanes (ACE total of 80). Probability: 20 percent.
--Slightly different climate factors but the same range of storms as #3: 8 to 11 named storms, 3 to 5 hurricanes, 1 to 2 major hurricanes (ACE total of 80). Probability: 30 percent.
--5 to 7 named storms, 2 to 3 hurricanes, with between 0 and 1 major hurricane (ACE total of 50). Probability: 15 percent.
Klotzbach and Bell cautioned against putting too much stock into the outlook, though, citing the “considerable uncertainty” of predicting Atlantic hurricane activity “at such a long forecast lead time.”
The Colorado State University researchers say they will issue an updated and more comprehensive seasonal outlook for 2019 on April 4.