Forecasters at Colorado State University have upgraded their tropical storm forecast for the 2023 hurricane season for the second time, citing record high sea surface temperatures.
Last month, the group had revised its forecast upwards, counting on a season and a number of storms close to normal. On Thursday, July 6, it raised its forecast to 18 named storms, producing nine hurricanes, four of which could become major storms with winds of at least 111 miles per hour (179 km/h).
"Most of the tropical and subtropical regions of the Atlantic are currently experiencing record high sea surface temperatures," Colorado State's Tropical Meteorology and Climate Research Group said in its latest update. These temperatures are “the main reason for the increase in our forecast”.
The effect of El Niño, a weather phenomenon that suppresses hurricane activity in the Atlantic, was offset this year by very warm ocean waters.
Warmer waters fuel more energetic storms by blowing more steam into the air, which can produce more intense precipitation.
“At the beginning of May, we recorded an explosion in the average temperature of 1,3 degrees at the surface of the oceans. A water of 30 degrees at the level of the Arc Antilles, this is what we usually record in August, ”explains Olivier Tisserant, weather specialist for the Arc Antilles.
Direct consequence of this early warming: since June 1, 2023, three major systems (storms or hurricanes) have already been recorded in the North Atlantic. A rarity at this time of year. _AF
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