There is a high chance El Niño will diminish storm development in the Atlantic - CSU

Scientists from Colorado State University’s Tropical Meteorology Project predict the 2012 hurricane season will have reduced activity compared with the 1981-2010 average.

It bases this forecast on the fact that the tropical Atlantic has cooled over the past few months and the chances of an El Niño event this summer and autumn are relatively high.

The combination of a warming tropical Pacific and a cooling tropical Atlantic are leading CSU scientists Philip Klotzbach and William Gray to predict that the 2012 Atlantic hurricane season will have less activity. 

However, they stress there is inherent uncertainty in seasonal tropical cyclone prediction. In addition, hurricanes can still make landfall in inactive seasons and do major damage (eg Alicia in 1983 and Andrew in 1992).

This is the 29th year in which the CSU Tropical Meteorology Project has made hurricane forecasts. The department will issue its first quantitative forecast on 4 April, which includes predictions for numbers of named storms, hurricanes and major hurricanes.