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Planet Earth

Sea Surface Temperature Outlook for the Atlantic in 2007 (Courtesy of Jeff Masters)

The IntersectionBy Chris MooneyMarch 8, 2007 2:00 AM

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Yesterday, I blogged about the latest forecast of Atlantic seasonal hurricane activity. Tropical Storm Risk is predicting a pretty bad year. Hurricane expert Jeff Masters, though, isn't quite as pessimistic. Looking at the sea-surface temperatures this year and comparing them to the SSTs in February of 2005--just before the hurricane season that shattered all records--Masters finds that

...SST were about 0.5 ºC warmer in February 2005 vs. February 2007 in the region we care about--the hurricane Main Development Region (MDR) between 10 ºN and 20 ºN extending from Africa to the Central American coast.

Based upon this, Masters issues a kind of forecast of his own:

The best guess right now is that SSTs will be above normal this hurricane season, but nothing like observed in 2005. Based on this expectation, plus the demise of El Nino, and the fact we are in an active hurricane period that began in 1995, I am expecting a hurricane season perhaps 50% above average in number of storms and intense storms--but not a repeat of 2005.

TSR, recall, had predicted 75 percent above average. Needless to say, so far no one that I'm aware of is predicting below average....

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