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Hurricane season 2021 – Quiet end after an active start

The 2021 hurricane season has ended for the Atlantic Basin with 21 named storms. The hurricane season in the Atlantic runs from June 1 to November 30. NOAA’s Climate Prediction Center predicted this year would be an above-average season, which was correct. Their prediction on May 20 was that 13 to 20 named storms would develop, six to 10 of them being hurricanes and three to five being major hurricanes.

Hurricane season 2021 – Quiet end after an active start
Atlantic hurricane season 2021 in numbers

This season was the third most active on record in terms of named storms. It was the sixth consecutive season of above-par Atlantic hurricanes and it was the first time that two consecutive seasons have exhausted the list of 21 names. Of the 21 storms that formed this year, eight made landfall along the US coast; four hurricanes and four tropical storms. One thing to note is that five storms this year have intensified rapidly, four of which will later become major hurricanes.

Tropical systems are collapsing

Of the 21 named storms this season, there were 14 tropical storms; Ana, Bill, Claudette, Danny, Fred, Julian, Kate, Mindy, Odette, Peter, Rose, Teresa, Wanda and Victor. For the seventh consecutive season, a tropical system has formed before the official start of the season. It was Tropical Storm Ana on May 22. A total of seven hurricanes have formed this season, four of them being major hurricanes. We see an average of seven hurricanes and three major hurricanes each season.

Hurricane Elsa was the first hurricane to form on July 1. It is the first storm with the fifth name to form during the Atlantic hurricane season, surpassing the previous record by five days. The strongest hurricane to form this year was Sam, which was a Category 4 hurricane with maximum winds of 155 mph. The most memorable storm to hit the coastal region of the United States was Ida. Ida quickly escalated into a Category 4 hurricane in the Gulf of Mexico before making landfall in Louisiana. It is the most destructive and intense tropical system to affect the state since Hurricane Katrina. It also produced catastrophic flooding in the northeast.

What could have influenced a more active season?

Although this season ended quietly with no system forming in November, the first half of the season has started actively. Matthew Rosencrans, one of the leading seasonal hurricane forecasters at the NOAA Climate Prediction Center, said that “climatic factors, which include La Nina, are above normal sea surface temperatures earlier in the season. and above-average monsoon rainfall in West Africa was the main contributor to this above-average rainfall. hurricane season. ”

La Niña conditions are developing for this winter

This year is not the only active season we have seen in the Atlantic Basin. Some scientists attribute the intensification of hurricane activity in recent years to the warm phase of the Multidecadal Atlantic Oscillation which began in 1995. The Multidecadal Atlantic Oscillation, AMO, can be described as a series of long-lasting changes in sea surface temperatures of the North Atlantic Ocean. AMO is believed to be driven by a combination of internal climate variability and changes over time in small airborne particles, often called aerosols, over the North Atlantic. However, according to NOAA, the relative contributions of internal variability and aerosols to the observed multidecadal Atlantic Oscillation remain uncertain.

The 2022 hurricane season will begin on June 1, and the NOAA Climate Prediction Center plans to release its initial outlook for the season in May.


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