(WGNO) — Researchers at Colorado State University are forecasting another busy Atlantic hurricane season in 2022 and say it could rival the level of activity seen in 2021.
This is the seventh year in a row the annual outlook has called for above-average activity.
The 2022 outlook from CSU for calls for 19 named storms, 9 of which are predicted to become hurricanes. The forecast also predicts 4 of those hurricanes will strengthen into major hurricanes (which are rated Category 3 or higher).
The average hurricane season, using data from 1991 to 2020, has 14.4 named storms, 7.2 hurricanes, and 3.2 major hurricanes.
While the total number of named storms for 2022 is forecasted to be lower than 2021, the predicted amount of accumulated cyclone energy for the upcoming season is higher — indicating storms may be stronger or longer in duration.
“The team predicts that 2022 hurricane activity will be about 130% of the average season from 1991-2020,” the report says.
Looking back at last year, 2021’s hurricane activity was about 120% of the average season.
The research team says unusually warm sea surface temperatures and lack of El Nio are major factors in their outlook.
With an El Niño pattern, increased wind shear across the Atlantic basin tears apart small storms and leads to decreased tropical activity. That probably won’t be the case this year.
In fact, the opposite is more likely. The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) says there is a greater than 50 percent chance that La Niña will continue into the upcoming summer. La Niña typically leads to lower wind shear, which allows tropical cyclones to form more easily.