May 12, 2021

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The average number of storms and hurricanes in the Atlantic increases after new data considered by NOAA

The Climate Prediction Center of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA, in English) will use from next May the period 1991-2020 as the new 30-year range to determine and compare recent climatological data.

The change resulted in a new average cyclonic formation for the Atlantic hurricane season that now rises from 12 to 14 in named storms, and from six to seven the number of hurricanes that could form. However, the average number of force majeure hurricanes (category 3, 4 or 5) remains at three, so it did not change.

Previous averages for storms and hurricanes in the Atlantic were based on the period from 1981 to 2010. Each period is adjusted after every 10 years, so the new average would remain unchanged until at least 2031, if NOAA does not determines otherwise.

These numbers are used to determine when hurricane seasons are above, near, or below normal relative to the climate record.

“This update allows our meteorologists to forecast the hurricane season with the most relevant weather statistics taken into account,” said Michael Farrar, director of NOAA’s National Centers for Environmental Prediction, in written statements.

Graph showing the increase in storms and hurricanes. (NOAA)

“These products are essential to provide the public and local emergency managers with advance information to prepare for storms, and to accomplish NOAA’s mission of protecting life and property,” Farrar added.

According to the meteorological agency, The increase in storm and hurricane averages can be attributed not only to the general improvement in observation decks and satellite technology, but also to the warming of the ocean and the atmosphere that are influenced by climate change.

“These updated averages better reflect our collective experience over the past 10 years, which included some very active hurricane seasons,” said Matt Rosencrans, seasonal hurricane forecaster at NOAA’s Climate Prediction Center.

NOAA scientists have evaluated the impacts of climate change on tropical cyclones and determined that it can influence the intensity of storms. More research is needed to better understand and attribute the impacts of anthropogenic forcings and natural variability in tropical storm activity, ”added the expert.

As recent as yesterday the meteorologist of the National Weather Service (SNM) in San Juan, Fernanda Ramos Garces, asked the population to review their emergency plans and essential items before the start of the hurricane season.

“We still do not have information on how we are going to be expecting the hurricane season to develop, because our forecast comes out in May. There we would talk about whether the season will be normal or above normal. Regardless of other forecasts, the message is that we are prepared ”, emphasized Ramos Garces.

The meteorologist added that only a tropical system that passes near or over the island is enough to cause damage, so the population cannot lower their guard.

The hurricane season in the Atlantic begins from June 1 to November 30. However, the World Meteorological Organization and the National Hurricane Center (NHC) determined that As of May 15, the meteorological agency will begin issuing weather forecasts for low-pressure systems that have the probability of becoming a tropical cyclone.

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