Hurricane predictors from Colorado State University re-affirmed Thursday their earlier predictions that 17 tropical storms, 9 of which would strengthen in to hurricanes, will form during the 2007 hurricane season. The scientists also predicted that five of the nine anticipated hurricanes are expected to be intense ones with consistent winds of over 111 miles per hour.
According to a press release issued Thursday on Colorado State University’s website the scientists also included the disturbing figure of a 75% chance of a hurricane hitting the United States in the forecast. The chances of the hurricane hitting either the Atlantic or the Gulf of Mexico are near 50/50 with the Atlantic having a slightly higher probability of being impacted.
The 2007 hurricane season begins June 1st and will last until September 30th.
Lead author of the forecast, Phil Klotzbach, had this to say: “We expect an above-average hurricane season with ENSO conditions on the cool side, which will help increase the likelihood of major storm activity in the Atlantic. El Nino conditions during the summer and fall – similar to those that developed in 2006 – tend to decrease Atlantic hurricane activity by increasing vertical wind shear across the area where Atlantic tropical cyclones develop,” according to Colorado State’s press release.
The scientists expect that warm sea temperatures in the tropics and the Northern Atlantic coupled with a weak La Nina will combine to produce greater hurricane activity.
William Gray, a 24 year veteran of hurricane forecasting at Colorado State took care to note that he did not believe global warming was causing the increased hurricane activity.
According to Colorado State’s press release he stated: “We are in a new era for storms that is part of a natural cycle. We’ve had an upturn of major storms in the Atlantic since 1995. This active cycle is expected to continue for another decade or two at which time we should enter a quieter Atlantic major hurricane period like we experienced during the quarter century periods of 1970-1994 and 1901-1925. These changes in storm activity are not caused by human-induced global warming but by natural forces.”
Colorado State’s hurricane prediction team bases their predictions on the theory that past effects of global ocean temperatures, and weather patterns such as El Nino on hurricane activity can be used to predict future hurricane trends.
The prediction team plans to update its predictions on August 3rd, September 4th, and October 2nd. The forecast team also has the distinction of providing and maintaining the first publicly accessible site regarding the probable landfall sites of hurricanes.
Colorado State University