Today's Date: 01 July 2016
Last Updated: 11 January 2016 17:07:40 EST
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Fewer storms forecast

UK Met Office spot on in Ivan

A new tropical cyclone forecast product from the United Kingdom Met Office is predicting fewer named storms for the remainder of the 2007 hurricane season than other forecasters.

The UK Met Office predicts seven to 13 named storms from July through November, with 10 being the mostly likely number.

“This represents below normal activity relative to the 1990–2005 long–term average of 12.4 [tropical storms per year],” the forecast states.

The prediction is considerably lower than several other noted forecast products, which made predictions for the entire hurricane season. Already this year there have been two named storms in the Atlantic, Sub–tropical Storm Andrea, which occurred in May, and Tropical Storm Barry, which occurred earlier this month.

The American NOAA Climate Prediction Center forecasted 13 to 17 named storms and a hurricane season that had a 75 per cent chance of above normal activity; the Colorado State University team of Phil Klotzbach and William Gray predicted 17 named storms; and the UK’s Tropical Storm Risk predicted 15.7 tropical storms and an approximately 80 per cent chance of one of the top one–third of years in history in terms of tropical cyclone activity.

The UK Met Office forecast uses a dynamic seasonal prediction computer model of the global atmosphere–ocean system called GloSea.

The forecast states that studies have shown that GloSea and other European models have considerable skill predicting the number of tropical storms, for example successfully predicting the change from the exceptionally active season of 2005 to the below normal activity of the 2006 season.

Residents of Grand Cayman might recall that the UK Met Office’s predicted path of Hurricane Ivan in 2004 was the only one of the world’s major computer models that accurately predicted, days in advance, Ivan would not turn toward the north before reaching Grand Cayman as originally expected.

One of the main reasons the UK Met Office forecast is lower than previous forecasts deals with predicted sea surface temperature anomalies.

“This season, a cooling trend in SST is expected in the tropical North Atlantic, and this favours fewer tropical storms than seen in recent years,” the report states.

Jeffrey Masters, director of Meteorology for The Weather Underground, wrote in his blog that he had high hopes for the UK Met Office forecast because of its methodology based on sound science.

Regardless, Mr. Masters believes a better forecast of Atlantic basin tropical cyclone activity can be derived by averaging together the four major models into a consensus forecast.

“Consensus forecasts are difficult to beat,” he wrote, adding that the consensus of the four major models yields a prediction of 13 more names storms this year, for a total of 15 in 2007 when Andrea and Barry are added

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