It’s pretty early to know exactly what’s going to happen for the 2019 hurricane season, but there are early models and climate predictions that can help determine what we can expect. There are two climate patterns that we can look at to help us make an educated observation about the 2019 season. They are the:
- ENSO – El Niño-Southern Oscillation. This is a climate pattern that revolves around the temperature of the water in the Central and Pacific oceans. The ENSO has multiple phases:
- La Niña – This is the cooling of the ocean’s surface, which equates to increased rainfall in places like Indonesia, but decreased rainfall over the central and eastern tropical part of the Pacific.
- El Niño – This is an increase in surface level temperatures in the central and eastern tropical areas of the Pacific. It means less rainfall in Indonesia, but more rain over the central and eastern areas. The warmer the temperatures, the stronger the El Niño.
- Neutral – This is when the temperatures are close to average. There are some instances where the ocean can appear as though it’s in La Niña or El Niño temperatures, but the atmosphere doesn’t respond.
- AMO – Atlantic Multi-Decadal Oscillation. This is a climate pattern that affects the sea surface temperature of the northern part of the Atlantic Ocean. It’s similar to ENSO, but affects a different part of the ocean.
Colorado State University has published one of the more comprehensive predictive papers on the 2019 hurricane season and what to expect. Obviously, anything that is published at this time is speculative, but through climatological data, inferences can be made on what to expect. This study shows 5 possible scenarios for 2019. They are:
- AMO becomes very strong in 2019 and no El Niño occurs (resulting in a seasonal average Accumulated Cyclone Energy (ACE) activity of ~ 170) – 10% chance.
- AMO is above average and no El Niño occurs (ACE ~ 130) – 25% chance.
- AMO is above average and El Niño develops (ACE ~ 80) – 20% chance.
- AMO is below average and no El Niño occurs (ACE ~ 80) – 30% chance.
- AMO is below average and El Niño develops (ACE ~ 50) – 15% chance.
The ACE factors above stand for Accumulated Cyclone Energy. Typically, seasons with the above-listed ACE values have tropical cyclone activity as follows:
- 170 ACE – 14-17 named storms, 9-11 hurricanes, 4-5 major hurricanes
- 120 ACE – 12-15 named storms, 6-8 hurricanes, 2-3 major hurricanes
- 80 ACE – 8-11 named storms, 3-5 hurricanes, 1-2 major hurricanes
- 50 ACE – 5-7 named storms, 2-3 hurricanes, 0-1 major hurricane
The five above scenarios give us a decent idea of what we can expect moving into 2019, but the highest percentage scenario, number 4, is a great sign. If this scenario ends up becoming reality, it means that we should have a lighter hurricane season compared to the last couple of years. Everyone at Stan’s is hoping for this to be the case.
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