NOAA predicts an active Atlantic hurricane season: 15 named storms, 8 hurricanes

By: Dr. Jeff Masters , 4:08 PM GMT on May 19, 2011

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The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) issued its 2011 Atlantic hurricane season forecast today. NOAA forecasts a very active and possibly hyperactive season. They give a 65% chance of an above-normal season, a 25% chance of a near-normal season, and just a 10% chance of a below-normal season. NOAA predicts a 70% chance that there will be 12 - 18 named storms, 6 – 10 hurricanes, and 3 - 6 major hurricanes, with an Accumulated Cyclone Energy (ACE) 105% - 200% of the median. If we take the midpoint of these numbers, NOAA is calling for 15 named storms, 8 hurricanes, 4.5 major hurricanes, and an ACE index 152% of normal. A season with an ACE index over 165% is considered "hyperactive." An average season has 10 – 11 named storms, 6 hurricanes, and 2 intense hurricanes. Hurricane seasons during 1995-2010 have averaged about 15 named storms, 8 hurricanes, and 4 major hurricanes, with an ACE index 151% of the median. NOAA classifies 11 of the 16 seasons since 1995 as above normal, with eight being hyperactive. Only five seasons since 1995 have not been above normal, which include four El Niño years (1997, 2002, 2006, and 2009), and the 2007 season.

The forecasters cited the following main factors that will influence the coming season:

1) Above-average sea surface temperatures (SSTs) are expected in the hurricane Main Development Region (MDR), from the Caribbean to the coast of Africa between between 10°N and 20°N. SSTs in the MDR during April were about 0.5°C above average, the 14th warmest April SSTs in the past 100 years. This is far below last year's record 1.4°C anomaly, but still plenty warm enough to help drive above-average Atlantic hurricane activity. Long-range computer forecast models are predicting a continuation of these above-average SSTs through the peak part of hurricane season.

2) We are in an active period of hurricane activity that began in 1995, thanks to a natural decades-long cycle in hurricane activity called the Atlantic Multidecadal Oscillation (AMO): "During 1995-2010, some key aspects of the tropical multi-decadal signal within the MDR have included warmer than average SSTs, reduced vertical wind shear and weaker easterly trade winds, below-average sea-level pressure, and a configuration of the African easterly jet that is more conducive to hurricane development from tropical waves moving off the African coast. Many of these atmospheric features typically become evident during late April and May, as the atmosphere across the tropical Atlantic and Africa begins to transition into its summertime monsoon state."

3) An El Niño event is not expected this year: "Another climate factor known to significantly impact Atlantic hurricane activity is the El Niño-Southern Oscillation (ENSO.) The three phases of ENSO are El Niño, La Niña, and ENSO-Neutral. El Niño events tend to suppress Atlantic hurricane activity, while La Niña events tend to enhance it (Gray 1984). Currently, the 2010-11 La Niña episode is dissipating. Based on observations and ENSO forecast models, ENSO-Neutral conditions are likely during the 2011 Atlantic hurricane season."

4) NOAA is increasingly using output from ultra-long range runs of the computer forecast models we rely on to make day-to-day weather forecasts, for their seasonal hurricane forecasts: "The outlook also takes into account dynamical model predictions from the NOAA Climate Forecast System (CFS), the European Centre for Medium Range Weather Forecasting (ECMWF), the United Kingdom Meteorology (UKMET) office, and the EUROpean Seasonal to Inter-annual Prediction (EUROSIP) ensemble. These models are indicating a high likelihood of an above normal season."

How accurate are the NOAA seasonal hurricane forecasts?
A talk presented by NHC's Eric Blake at the 2010 29th Annual AMS Conference on Hurricanes and Tropical Meteorology studied the accuracy of NOAA's late May seasonal Atlantic hurricane forecasts, using the mid-point of the range given for the number of named storms, hurricanes, intense hurricanes, and ACE index. Over the past twelve years, a forecast made using climatology was in error, on average, by 3.6 named storms, 2.5 hurricanes, and 1.7 intense hurricanes. NOAA's May forecast was not significantly better than climatology for these quantities, with average errors of 3.5 named storms, 2.3 hurricanes, and 1.4 intense hurricanes. Only NOAA's May ACE forecast was significantly better than climatology, averaging 58 ACE units off, compared to the 74 for climatology. Using another way to measure skill, the Mean Squared Error, May NOAA forecasts for named storms, hurricanes, and intense hurricanes had a skill of between 5% and 21% over a climatology forecast (Figure 2). Not surprisingly, NOAA's August forecasts were much better than the May forecasts, and did significantly better than a climatology forecast.


Figure 1. Mean absolute error for the May and August NOAA seasonal hurricane forecasts (1999 - 2009 for May, 1998 - 2009 for August), and for forecasts made using climatology from the past five years. A forecast made using climatology was in error, on average, by 3.6 named storms, 2.5 hurricanes, and 1.7 intense hurricanes. NOAA's May forecast was not significantly better than climatology for these quantities, with average errors of 3.5 named storms, 2.3 hurricanes, and 1.4 intense hurricanes. Only NOAA's May ACE forecast was significantly better than climatology, averaging 58 ACE units off, compared to the 74 for climatology. Image credit: Verification of 12 years of NOAA seasonal hurricane forecasts, National Hurricane Center.

How do NOAA's seasonal hurricane forecasts compare to CSU and TSR?
Two other major seasonal hurricane forecasts will be released over the next two weeks. On June 1, Phil Klotzbach and Bill Gray of Colorado State University (CSU) issue their forecast, and the British firm Tropical Storm Risk (TSR) will issue their outlook on May 24. A three-way comparison of the forecast accuracy of the three groups' forecast (Figure 2) reveals that all three organizations enjoy some success at making accurate seasonal forecasts, with NOAA and CSU making the best late May/early June forecasts overall. While the skill of these forecasts is low, they are useful for businesses such as the insurance industry.


Figure 2. Comparison of the percent improvement over climatology for May and August seasonal hurricane forecasts for the Atlantic from NOAA, CSU and TSR from 1999-2009 (May) and 1998-2009 (August). using the Mean Squared Error. Image credit: Verification of 12 years of NOAA seasonal hurricane forecasts, National Hurricane Center.

Jeff Masters

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Quoting USAprimeCreditPeggy:
Red Bull, with Spam.


♪♪ Spam spam spam spam, lovely spam, wonderful spam... ♪♪

I'm down on the plains for work right now... wishing I was up in the foothills on my x-country skis...

What it looks like on the plains:



What it looks like in the foothills:




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Quoting DestinJeff:
I wonder if NOAA numbers considered the Reed Theorem, where every invest gets named.


LOL. But he gets everything right though. Haven't you seen all of his proof?
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...It is the summer of my smiles - flee from me Keepers of the Gloom.
Speak to me only with your eyes. It is to you I give this tune.
Ain't so hard to recognize - These things are clear to all from
time to time....
Member Since: July 3, 2005 Posts: 426 Comments: 128630
Quoting aquak9:
mr mixon- it's almost 2pm- if you're not awake yet, coffee ain't gonna help


But it's only 11:55pm here in the Mountain Time Zone. :) And with this grey, foggy, drizzly weather we're having it might as well be 6am as far as my body is concerned. *yawn*
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mr mixon- it's almost 2pm- if you're not awake yet, coffee ain't gonna help
Member Since: August 13, 2005 Posts: 166 Comments: 26045
.
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We ca dance if we wanna,,
Member Since: July 3, 2005 Posts: 426 Comments: 128630
Quoting jeffs713:
MrMixon- Actually, Grothar did... he said golb wen, which is "New Blog" spelled backwards.


Ha! I saw that post but it went completely over my head. Like I said... time for more coffee.
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Quoting aquak9:
Reposted from last blog because *ahem* nobody announced there was a NEW BLOG and I was playing there all by myself for 40 minutes before I figured out y'all were over here... :P

we did that on purpose


I see how it is... and I even put on deodorant today. Hmpf.

Rain on the plains and snow in the foothills and mountains of Colorado today. We had about 4 inches of snow on the ground this morning in Nederland. Due to all the rain and snow we've gotten over the past 7 days, Boulder Creek is approaching "bank full" and snowmelt in the high country is just getting started. I heard reports of a funnel cloud yesterday just southeast of my office (I believe it was associated with the vaguely hook-echoish thing I pointed out on the blog yesterday).

Overcast with drizzle at the moment... I think I'll have another cup of coffee...
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MrMixon- Actually, Grothar did... he said golb wen, which is "New Blog" spelled backwards.
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Quoting Patrap:
Taz,,def,,post #666 Saturday,8pm CDT,6pm PDT


Hey,,where everyone go,,93L is her!!


LOL
Thank you Pat...that honestly made my day.
Member Since: September 10, 2010 Posts: 3 Comments: 409
Reposted from last blog because *ahem* nobody announced there was a NEW BLOG and I was playing there all by myself for 40 minutes before I figured out y'all were over here... :P

we did that on purpose
Member Since: August 13, 2005 Posts: 166 Comments: 26045
Reposted from last blog because *ahem* nobody announced there was a NEW BLOG and I was playing there all by myself for 40 minutes before I figured out y'all were over here... :P


I doubt anyone on this blog is genuinely concerned about the predicted doomsday this Saturday. But I'm providing this info anyway for your edu-tainment.

Here are the predicted doomsdays just for 2011:

Date ---------------- Source
April 6, 2011 -------- Marilyn Agee
May 21, 2011 -------- Electronic Bible Fellowship
May 29, 2011 -------- Marilyn Agee
October 21, 2011 ------ Electronic Bible Fellowship(among others)


There have been multiple predicted doomsdays every year since at least the 1990s. From the 1970s through the 90s there was at least one doomsday prediction nearly every year. As you look back in time before the 1970s the predictions are less and less frequent, but there are doomsday predictions dating all the way back to the time when Jesus was alive (and probably many before that).

Here's a great source for info about doomsday predictions:

From the Ontario Consultants on Religious Tolerance
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Taz,,def,,post #666 Saturday,8pm CDT,6pm PDT


Hey,,where everyone go,,93L is her!!
Member Since: July 3, 2005 Posts: 426 Comments: 128630
timezone, timezone- it'll be someone in cally to make the last post- yep, probably taz
Member Since: August 13, 2005 Posts: 166 Comments: 26045
I wonder who will have the last post when the apocolypse hits?
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29. clwstmchasr

On vacation with Rasta maybe?


ACK!
Member Since: July 3, 2005 Posts: 426 Comments: 128630
SURFACE CURRENT SAT JSL 48 h FORECAST
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Quoting aquak9:
whee the heck are all these lurkers/old posters coming from??

have ya'll been looking at the born-on dates on some of these folks?


I know. I'm beginning to feel like a kid in here.
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whee the heck are all these lurkers/old posters coming from??

have ya'll been looking at the born-on dates on some of these folks?
Member Since: August 13, 2005 Posts: 166 Comments: 26045
Quoting USAprimeCreditPeggy:
Sorry about the "P", Pcoladan.


brb
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Quoting USAprimeCreditPeggy:
I was counting on 16. The 16th letter in the alphabet is P. Not fair.
Sadly for you, the P storm in 2011 is Philippe. Here's to hoping Peggy never comes up in the rotation.
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Quoting USAprimeCreditPeggy:
"Parkay"

Butter!!!


I can't believe it's not. :|
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MODIS True Color images for 05/18/2011




Morganza View,Atchafalaya
Member Since: July 3, 2005 Posts: 426 Comments: 128630
You can beat everyone over the head with this material, and they still will not be ready, when a hurricane shows up....
From Tropical Florida
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yeah,yeah,,12-14,4-9,3-6,Blah,yak,blah.


Where and when and How Big?

When they get to dat point,,I'll give it some credence, till then it's all chest thumping to me.


Prepare today and be ahead of the call when it comes.

Food fer thought.


..We dont like Spam
Member Since: July 3, 2005 Posts: 426 Comments: 128630
Quoting Patrap:
Prepare now,,and avoid the grief and Rush later.

Hurricane Preparation 2011



Yep. Going to change the oil in my generator this weekend, stock up on fuel and Stabil, and hit the Warehouse Food Store(tm) at the end of the month.
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As our friend Patrap has been saying always and I agree,Regardless of the numbers,preparation should be the priority for those who live in hurricane alley,as the important thing is not how many storms will form,but where those that do so will go.

Member Since: April 29, 2009 Posts: 75 Comments: 14308
Rebroadcast going on now Hurricane Hollow

NOAA's 2011 Hurricane Season Outlook May 19, 2011

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The guy who said 16 is still in a huff that 91L wasn't named.
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Quoting USAprimeCreditPeggy:
I was counting on 16. The 16th letter in the alphabet is P. Not fair.


Why did you have to say the letter P. brb
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<
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Quoting USAprimeCreditPeggy:
NOAA is calling for 15 named storms,

Yesterday it was 16 named storms. What happened overnight?


-1
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Quoting USAprimeCreditPeggy:
NOAA is calling for 15 named storms,

Yesterday it was 16 named storms. What happened overnight?
uh... a different agency weighed in on the numbers, is what happened overnight.
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Spam, Pineapple, and brown sugar! mmmmmm!

Thanks Dr. Masters for forwarding the various agencies and group's forecasts, and providing accessible analysis.

Thanks blog community for the smiles and additional info. I have little to contribute, but consume often (the blog that is, not the spam).

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If you stock up on spam, your for sure going to need TP.
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Jeff co-founded the Weather Underground in 1995 while working on his Ph.D. He flew with the NOAA Hurricane Hunters from 1986-1990.