Due to rising heat along the equator in the Pacific Oceans, researchers at Colorado State University predict that this will be the quietest Atlantic hurricane season in five years.
Phil Klotzbach, lead author of the forecast, said there will be nine named storms, with winds of at least 39 miles (63 kilometers) per hour, are expected to develop this year, with three of them growing into hurricanes and one becoming a major storm.
The likely development of El Nino in the Pacific and cool sea surface temperatures in the tropical Atlantic are possible explanations for the low forecast. The formation of El Nino is important because warm waters in the equatorial Pacific trigger atmospheric changes that lead to more wind shear across the tropical Atlantic. Shear is when winds at different altitudes blow in multiple directions or speeds and have the potential to tear apart the structure of a budding tropical system, weakening or breaking it apart.
The Atlantic hurricane season is watched closely by many industries, like energy, commodity and insurance, because of the effect hurricanes have on lives, property and markets in the U.S., Mexico and the Caribbean. The Gulf of Mexico is home to about 6 percent of U.S. natural gas output, 23 percent of oil production and more than 45 percent of petroleum refining capacity. Florida, which has been struck by more tropical systems than any other state, is the second-largest producer of oranges behind Brazil.
The last time the Atlantic produced only nine named storms was 2009, which was also a year in which an El Nino formed, according to the National Hurricane Center in Miami. That was the least number of such storms since 1997, which had eight.
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