Ongoing La Niña and higher Atlantic temperatures set the stage for busy season ahead
Forecasters at NOAA’s Climate Prediction Center are predicting above-average hurricane activity this year — which would make it the seventh consecutive above-normal hurricane season.
For the 2022 hurricane season, NOAA is forecasting a likely range of 14 to 21 named storms (winds of 39 mph or higher), of which six to 10 could become hurricanes (winds of 74 mph or higher), including three to six major hurricanes (category 3, 4 or 5; with winds of 111 mph or higher). NOAA provides these ranges with a 70% confidence.
The increased activity anticipated this hurricane season is attributed to several climate factors, including the ongoing La Niña that is likely to persist throughout the hurricane season, warmer-than-average sea surface temperatures in the Atlantic Ocean and Caribbean Sea, weaker tropical Atlantic trade winds and an enhanced west African monsoon.
An enhanced west African monsoon supports stronger African Easterly Waves, which seed many of the strongest and longest lived hurricanes during most seasons. The way in which climate change impacts the strength and frequency of tropical cyclones is a continuous area of study for NOAA scientists.
“As we reflect on another potentially busy hurricane season, past storms — such as Superstorm Sandy, which devastated the New York metro area ten years ago — remind us that the impact of one storm can be felt for years,” said NOAA administrator Rick Spinrad. “Since Sandy, NOAA’s forecasting accuracy has continued to improve, allowing us to better predict the impacts of major hurricanes to lives and livelihoods.”
“Hurricane Ida spanned nine states, demonstrating that anyone can be in the direct path of a hurricane and in danger from the remnants of a storm system,” added FEMA administrator Deanne Criswell.
NOAA’s Climate Prediction Center will update the 2022 Atlantic seasonal outlook in early August, just before the historical peak of the season.