The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) Climate Prediction Center has predicted that 2022 will be the seventh consecutive above-average hurricane season.
NOAA’s outlook for the 2022 Atlantic hurricane season, which extends from June 1 to November 30, predicts a 65% chance of an above-normal season, a 25% chance of a near-normal season and a 10% chance of a below-normal season. For the 2022 hurricane season, NOAA is forecasting a likely range of 14 to 21 named storms (winds of 39mph or higher), of which six to 10 could become hurricanes (winds of 74mph or higher), including three to six major hurricanes (category 3, 4 or 5, with winds of 111mph or higher). NOAA provides these ranges with 70% confidence.
The increased activity anticipated this hurricane season has been attributed to several climate factors, including the ongoing La Niña that is likely to persist throughout the hurricane season, warmer-than-average sea surface temperatures in the Atlantic Ocean and Caribbean Sea, weaker tropical Atlantic trade winds and an enhanced West African monsoon. An enhanced West African monsoon supports stronger African Easterly Waves, which seed many of the strongest and longest-lived hurricanes during most seasons. The way in which climate change impacts the strength and frequency of tropical cyclones is a continuous area of study for NOAA scientists.
To improve the understanding and prediction of how hurricanes intensify, NOAA’s Atlantic Oceanographic and Meteorological Lab and Pacific Marine Environmental Lab will operate five Saildrone uncrewed surface vehicles during the peak of the 2022 hurricane season and coordinate for the first time with uncrewed ocean gliders, small aircraft drone systems and NOAA Hurricane Hunter aircraft to measure the ocean, atmosphere and areas where they meet.
Alongside this, the Hurricane Weather Research and Forecast Modeling System and Hurricanes in a Multi-scale Ocean-coupled Non-hydrostatic model have been transitioned to the newest version of the Weather and Climate Operational Supercomputing System to enable uninterrupted operational forecasts.
The Excessive Rainfall Outlook (ERO) has also been experimentally extended from three to five days of lead time, giving more notice of rainfall-related flash flooding risks from tropical storms and hurricanes. The ERO forecasts and maps the probability of intense rainfall that could lead to flash flooding within 25 miles of a given point.
In June, NOAA will also enhance an experimental graphic that depicts the Peak Storm Surge Forecast when storm surge watches or warnings are in effect. Upgrades include an updated disclaimer and color-coding that illustrates the peak storm surge inundation forecast at the coast. This tool is currently only available in the Atlantic basin.
Rick Spinrad, NOAA administrator, said, “As we reflect on another potentially busy hurricane season, past storms – such as Superstorm Sandy, which devastated the New York metro area 10 years ago – remind us that the impact of one storm can be felt for years. Since Sandy, NOAA’s forecasting accuracy has continued to improve, allowing us to better predict the impacts of major hurricanes to lives and livelihoods.”
Deanne Criswell, Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) administrator, said, “Hurricane Ida spanned nine states, demonstrating that anyone can be in the direct path of a hurricane and in danger from the remnants of a storm system. It’s important for everyone to understand their risk and take proactive steps to get ready now by visiting Ready.gov and Listo.gov for preparedness tips, and by downloading the FEMA app to make sure you are receiving emergency alerts in real time.”
Gina Raimondo, US Secretary of Commerce, said, “Early preparation and understanding your risk is key to being hurricane resilient and climate ready. Throughout the hurricane season, NOAA experts will work around the clock to provide early and accurate forecasts and warnings that communities in the path of storms can depend on to stay informed.”