Wednesday, November 26, 2008

NOAA has a press release out this morning about the 2008 hurricane season -- it was more active than usual:
...a season that produced a record number of consecutive storms to strike the United States and ranks as one of the more active seasons in the 64 years since comprehensive records began....

The storms included [16 named storms], eight hurricanes, five of which were major hurricanes at Category 3 strength or higher. An average season has 11 named storms, six hurricanes and two major hurricanes.

“This year’s hurricane season continues the current active hurricane era and is the tenth season to produce above-normal activity in the past 14 years,” said Gerry Bell, Ph.D., lead seasonal hurricane forecaster at NOAA's Climate Prediction Center.

Bell attributes this year’s above-normal season to conditions that include:

  • An ongoing multi-decadal signal. This combination of ocean and atmospheric conditions has spawned increased hurricane activity since 1995.
  • Lingering La Niña effects. Although the La Niña that began in the Fall of 2007 ended in June, its influence of light wind shear lingered.
  • Warmer tropical Atlantic Ocean temperatures. On average, the tropical Atlantic was about 1.0 degree Fahrenheit above normal during the peak of the season.

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