Buckle Up For Yet another Wild Atlantic Hurricane Season This Year

Buckle Up For Yet another Wild Atlantic Hurricane Season This Year

People, be ready for a robust hurricane season in the North Atlantic in 2022. According to a recent estimate from Colorado State University, this year will see at least 19 named storms and nine hurricanes, four of which are expected to be “significant.” This year’s forecasted storm count is much higher than the yearly average of 14.4 storms from 1991 through 2020, and far above the annual average of 7.2 hurricanes.

The scientists noted in the update, “We estimate an above-average likelihood for significant storms making landfall throughout the continental United States coastline and in the Caribbean.” The Atlantic hurricane season is the time of year when hurricanes and storms are most prevalent in the North Atlantic Ocean. It officially runs from June to November, with activity peaking in September. Some hurricanes have the potential to make landfall in the Caribbean and southern US coastal states including Florida, Louisiana, Texas, North Carolina, and South Carolina, causing widespread destruction.

There are a few causes for the high number of storms at this time, but the primary one is the differential in temperature between land and sea surface temperatures that builds up in the late summer. The El Nio Southern Oscillation, a climatic cycle that depicts temperature oscillations between the ocean and atmosphere in the east-central Pacific Ocean, also has an impact on hurricane seasons. This has far-reaching repercussions for the climate and weather of the entire globe.

El Nio is a warm phase, when the Pacific’s hottest surface waters lie off the coast of northwestern South America, whereas La Nia is the cold phase when sea surface temperatures in the east-central Pacific are below normal. El Nio contributes to hurricane activity strengthening in the central and eastern Pacific basins while suppressing it in the Atlantic basin. However, because a big El Nio is unlikely in 2022, storm activity in the Atlantic will be largely unaffected.

The outlook for this year follows a streak of extremely active Atlantic hurricane seasons. Last year’s hurricane season was “above normal,” but 2020 witnessed the most active Atlantic hurricane season on record, with 31 tropical or subtropical storms, 30 of which were named. The World Meteorological Organization creates six annual rotating lists of 21 names in alphabetical order (avoiding some letters like Q and U) that are used to name storms. Agatha, Blas, Celia, Darby, Estelle, Frank, Georgette, Howard, Ivette, Javier, Kay, Lester, Madeline, Newton, Orlene, Paine, Roslyn, Seymour, Tina, Virgil, Winifred, Xavier, Yolanda, and Zeke, according to the National Hurricane Center.

You may recall that the alphabetical list of names for hurricanes in 2020 was exhausted, prompting officials to use the Greek alphabet to name storms Alpha, Beta, Gamma, Delta, Epsilon, Zeta, Eta, and Theta. Fortunately, the hurricane season in 2022 isn’t expected to be as turbulent as in recent years, but it’s also not expected to be calm.