Hello and welcome to my official prediction for this year's (2012) Atlantic hurricane season. This is where I make my statements on the factors leading to my final prediction. Once I make these predictions, we'll have to wait until the end of the season to find out if my predictions were close enough.
Current El Nino/La Nina Anomalies
2012 began on the heels of a strong 2 year La Nina that produced the two seasons that both went into the record books as the third most active Atlantic hurricane seasons by producing 19 named storms each. The Oceanic Nino Index (ONI) peaked at -1.5 towards the end of the 2010 Atlantic hurricane season . However, since then the ONI has been increasing, which would mean that the waters in the Pacific are heating up. As a result, the La Nina episode officially ended on May 3, 2012, in a diagnostic discussion issued by theClimate Prediction Center . As such the end of La Nina marked the return of ENSO-Neutral. The general consensus from this year's SST anomaly forecast models predict that the SSTs in the Atlantic and Pacific will remain in ENSO-Neutral throughout the hurricane season, leaning towards El Nino. I predict that this year should remain, as the models say, ENSO-Neutral but leaning towards warmer SSTs in the Pacific.
Tropical Cyclone Heat Potential
Currently most of the TCHP at the start of the season is centered around the Western and Central portions of the Caribbean Sea, which is normal for this time of year, and the maximum TCHP is at around 90-100. While TCHP values are lower than they were last year at the start of the season , they are higher and cover a larger area than in 2009 , which was a strong El Nino and one this year's Colorado State University forecast's analogous years.
Sea Surface Temperatures
For the start of the year, the SST anomalies in the Atlantic are varied. The GoM is slightly warmer than usual, but is climatologically near average. The Caribbean is generally average, with the excpetion of a few places that are slightly below average. In the Central Atlantic where the A/B high is, temperatures are below average. Temperatures in the Bermuda area are above average.
The Bermuda High
The Bermuda High is currently positioned in a location further south than usual. The large giant, normally responsible for the movements of tropical systems that form far east like Cape-Verde type hurricanes. The high was notable during the 2010-2011 stint because since it was positioned further east, it helped steer most storms out away from the US. During this time most storms made landfall in Mexico and Central America. This year, while the high may change position, it normally stays in place by July, and a southerly and westerly postion may mean more strikes into the Gulf of Mexico and the East Coast.
Activity So Far This Year
Before the season started, we had seen 2 named storms already in the Atlantic basin, both in May. Both of them formed close to the East Coast, in the waters near Georgia and South Carolina. This was due in part that the polar jet stream was shifted further north. Dr. Jeff Masters believes that this caused a hole in the relatively strong wind sheared May. That hole was centered where the 2 storms had formed. While Alberto remained relatively weak and dissipated quickly, Bret was more stronger and was the strongest pre-season storm to make landfall on the United States.
Current Computer Models
While no notable computer models are suggesting the formation of a tropical system in the next several days, the GFS suggests that a tropicals system may form in the western Caribbean Sea sometime between June 14-17. While this should not be taken seriously, given the fact that the guidance is very far out and the resolution is low at that time, we'll need to wait until other forecasts show guidance to this system.
Below are other notable forecasts issued by meteorological organizations
CSU - 13/5/2; ACE = 80 (analouge years: 2009; 2001; 1968; 1953)
FSU - 13/7 ACE = 122
TSR - 13 (12.7)/6 (5.7)/3 (2.7); ACE = 98
NOAA - 9-15/4-8/1-3 ACE = 102
UKMO - 10; ACE = 90
CUBA - 10/5
TWC - 11/6/2
WSI - 12/7/3
FSU - 13/7; ACE = 122
CSU Analogue Years
For their latest forecast, Colorado State University meteorologists Philip J. Klotzbach and William M. Gray chose 4 years that they felt were good analogue years - years that most resembled the factors that went into their final predictions. Those years were 2009, 2001, 1968, and 1953. Below are the storm numbers from those seasons:
2009 - 9/3/2
2001 - 15/9/4
1968 - 8/5/0
1953 - 14/6/4
Atlantic Basin Official Forecast for 2012
Overall: 130% above average1
Average (1950-2000): 10/6/2
Total Storms: 15 (1 depression)
Named Storms: 14 (above average: 145%)
Hurricanes: 6 (average: 100%)
Major Hurricanes: 3 (above average: 130%)
ACE = ~110
The strongest storm of the season would occur sometime in August with maximum sustained winds of 140 mph (120 kt) and a minimum pressure of 942 mbar. There will be a 100% chance of a named storm striking the US, a 65% chance of a hurricane striking the US, and a 15% chance of a major hurricane striking the US.
|May||2/0/0 (already occured)||0|
1:The overall seasonal activity for the year. Assuming that named storms are worth 1 point, hurricanes 2, and major hurricanes 4, we can decide the overall seasonal activity for the year. Depressions are worth nothing.
† - The average is taken from statistics from 1966-2009
*A named storm in June or November occurs once every other year
**A hurricane in June occurs once every 5 years
***A major hurricane in November occurs once every decade