FORT COLLINS, Colo. – The experts at Colorado State University expect the 2022 Atlantic Basin hurricane season to be another one for the record books, with tropical cyclone activity expected to be well above average.
Phil Klotzbach, lead author of the forecast, released the information live from the National Tropical Weather Conference in Texas on Thursday morning.
The CSU forecast calls for 19 named storms, nine of which could become hurricanes with winds of at least 74 mph. Experts say out of the hurricanes, four of them could be major (Category 3 or higher) with winds of at least 115 mph.
"We think the odds of El Niño are quite low. The Atlantic is looking reasonably conducive," Klotzbach told FOX Weather.
Klotzbach says that of the various forecasts for El Niño or La Niña, there is a cool-neutral condition to slight La Niña, much like the last hurricane season.
Along with the climate patterns, he and his team use 70 years of historical data, including sea-surface temperatures, sea-level pressure and wind shear – the change in wind speed and/or direction with height – to create these forecasts.
When looking at the Atlantic Ocean waters, the consensus of the long-range forecasts is for water temperatures to be near average in the region where most strong hurricanes develop, known as the Main Development Region, but warmer than average to the north and close to the U.S. coast.
Because of this, Klotzbach believes this hurricane season will be slightly more active than average.
But what would diminish hurricane activity is wind shear, and it's believed that the upper-level winds will be a bit more aggressive.
The Atlantic Basin has never experienced what could become the seventh back-to-back hurricane season with more activity than average.
An average season sees 14 named storms with only seven becoming hurricanes.
The Atlantic Basin hurricane season will kick off on June 1 and end on Nov. 30.
About the CSU seasonal forecast
This is the 39th year Colorado State University released a forecast for the tropical weather season.
"It all got started with Dr. Bill Gray, who basically was the first one anywhere to do these season hurricane predictions for the Atlantic," Klotzbach says.
The Colorado State team was founded by the late Dr. William Gray, who led the program for decades.
"He made fundamental contributions to all sorts of tropical meteorology," Klotzbach says about Gray. "He was like Wikipedia before there was Wikipedia. He was kind of an online encyclopedia."
Gray was able to associate the amount of hurricane activity with climate patterns.
Because of his discovery of the correlation, the program as well as his forecasts became world-renowned. Now, nearly 40 years later, Klotzbach and the CSU tropical weather and climate research team continue the legacy and issue the forecast annually.