A warming of north Atlantic ocean sea surface temperatures in the past month suggests a heightened chance of an active U.S. hurricane season in 2016, causing The Weather Company to increase its forecast numbers by one.
The Weather Company, an IBM company and the largest private weather business, had previously forecast that the 2016 Atlantic tropical storm and hurricane season would see 14 named storms, 8 of which were forecast to become hurricanes and 3 major hurricanes.
In light of the observance of continued warming of the north Atlantic, the Weather Company has now increased those numbers by one, so it now forecasts 15 named storms, 9 hurricanes and 4 major hurricanes will form in 2016.
That’s a high forecast and alongside the other forecasters we track it continues to suggest that 2016 will be slightly above average in terms of activity. With 4 named tropical storms already under the 2016 season’s belt, 15 is certainly within reach for the full season given we are still in June.
Dr. Todd Crawford, Chief Meteorologist, The Weather Company, explained; “In the past month, we’ve continued to see warming North Atlantic Ocean temperatures.
“Forecasts from both our dynamical and statistical models have also trended more aggressively with time, so we’ve increased our storm numbers by one across the board.”
The Weather Company expect the second half of the Atlantic hurricane season to be the main driver of activity, which aligns with the forecasts for the transition of El Niño to La Niña to occur during the third or fourth-quarter of the year.
Additionally, the Weather Company sees the warmer SST’s along the U.S. shoreline raising the chances of storms forming closer to land, which can result in seemingly harmless tropical disturbances spinning up rapidly as they approach these pockets of warm ocean.
The rising forecast numbers should drive home the risk of an above average hurricane season, underscoring the need for insurance, reinsurance and ILS or catastrophe bond players to keep one eye on the tropics at all times as we pass through the season.
“While surface pressures are still quite high in the tropical Atlantic which would imply limited activity in the Main Development Region early in the season, we expect a really big back half of the season, along with the continuation of storms developing closer in towards the US,” Crawford explained.
With just three weeks passed in the 2016 Atlantic hurricane season there is a long way to go for investors in, or underwriters of, insurance, reinsurance, ILS or cat bonds. This forecaster is not the only one to increase its figures for the year and its possible others could too, given the active start to the season.
The Artemis average forecast, across those we track, is now 14.2 named storms, 7.5 hurricanes and 3.33 major hurricanes, an above average year.