With the 2010 Atlantic hurricane season closed, itÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s already time to look ahead to next yearÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s hurricane season.
Forecasters at the Colorado State UniversityÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s (CSU) Tropical Meteorology Project and London-based consortium Tropical Storm Risk (TSR) have just released their extended range forecasts for the 2011 season.
Both are forecasting that another above-average or very active season is likely.
The team at CSU is predicting 17 named storms, with 9 hurricanes and 5 major hurricanes (Category 3-4-5). They are also calling for above-average chance that a major hurricane will make U.S. and Caribbean landfall.
Similarly, TSR is forecasting 15.6 named storms, 8.4 hurricanes and 4.0 intense hurricanes. TSR says there is 66 percent chance that activity in 2011 will be in the top one-third of years historically.
Now for the caveats. Both teams acknowledge that this far out their forecast skill is low.
It is clear that the skill of the extended range hurricane forecasts issued in early December, while positive, is low. Skill climbs slowly as the hurricane season approaches. Moderate skill levels are achieved in early June and good skill levels in early August.Ã¢â‚¬
CSU also comments:
Everyone should realize that it is impossible to precisely predict next seasonÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s hurricane activity at such an extended rangeÃ¢â‚¬ ¦we advise the readers to use these forecasts with caution.Ã¢â‚¬
Dr. Jeff MastersÃ¢â‚¬â„¢ Wunderblog hasÃ‚ further analysis of the December forecasts.
Check back for our coverage ofÃ‚ next year’sÃ‚ forecasts as hurricane season gets closer.
Check out I.I.I. hurricane facts and stats.