Once again forecasts for tropical storm and hurricane season activity in the Atlantic basin in 2016 are on the rise, with the Colorado State University (CSU) forecaster Philip J. Klotzbach increasing his forecast slightly.
Klotzbach has added one tropical storm to his forecast, so taking it from 14 named tropical storms to now 15, which he predicts will form during the 2016 Atlantic hurricane season, with still 6 of them becoming hurricanes and 2 intense hurricanes of Category 3 or greater.
Klotzbach is just the latest in a string of recognised hurricane forecast teams to have upped their predictions for the 2016 Atlantic season.
He provides the following outlook for the 2016 Atlantic hurricane season:
We continue to foresee a near-average 2016 Atlantic hurricane season. ENSO is currently neutral and the potential for a transition to weak La Niña conditions by the peak of the Atlantic hurricane season is possible. While most of the tropical Atlantic and subtropical Atlantic is slightly warmer than normal, the far North Atlantic remains cold, potentially indicative of a negative phase of the Atlantic Multi-Decadal Oscillation. We anticipate a near-average probability for major hurricanes making landfall along the United States coastline and in the Caribbean.
The two primary factors that we think may lead to an average season are the potential development of a weak La Niña and cooler-than-normal far North Atlantic SSTs. La Niña tend to favor an environment more favorable for Atlantic hurricane formation, while cool far North Atlantic SSTs may force higher-than-normal pressures and stronger trades in the tropical Atlantic for the peak of the hurricane season.
The average prediction for the 2016 season across the group of hurricane forecasters we track has been steadily rising with each update. Including the increase in named storms from Colorado State, the Artemis average forecast for the 2016 hurricane season now stands at 14.4 named storms, with 7.6 becoming hurricanes and 3.3 severe hurricanes.
Of course, for the insurance, reinsurance, catastrophe bond and insurance-linked securities (ILS) sectors it is not the number of storms that matter, rather how impactful they are.
There continues to be considerable uncertainty associated with the state of ENSO and just how much a developing La Niña might factor into the 2016 Atlantic hurricane season, a key issue for insurance, reinsurance and ILS or cat bond interests to watch as the year progresses.
La Niña is associated with greater development of tropical storms and hurricanes and the latest forecasts suggest that weak La Niña conditions may be in place by the peak of the 2016 Atlantic hurricane season, which is one of the factors causing forecasters to increase their predictions through this year.
Overall, hurricane forecasts continue to call for a largely average Atlantic tropical storm season from here on, and landfall probability forecasts are also around the average. But for insurance, reinsurance and ILS interests 2016 perhaps contains a little less certainty, with the climatic conditions over the coming weeks set to change as the ENSO phase development continues.
Significant volumes of reinsurance, ILS and catastrophe bond capital is at risk due to hurricanes striking the U.S. Keep up to date with our 2016 Atlantic Hurricane Season page.