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An above average activity expected for the 2020 hurricane season

Colorado State University hurricane researchers are predicting an above-average Atlantic hurricane season in 2020, citing the likely absence of El Niņo as a primary factor. Tropical and subtropical Atlantic sea surface temperatures are currently warmer than their long-term average values and are consequently also considered a factor favoring an active 2020 Atlantic hurricane season.

The tropical Pacific currently has warm neutral ENSO (El Niņo-Southern Oscillation) conditions; that is, the waters are slightly warmer than normal in the eastern and central tropical Pacific. CSU currently anticipates that these waters are likely to cool relative to their long-term averages over the next several months. Consequently, they do not anticipate El Niņo for the peak of the Atlantic hurricane season. El Niņo tends to increase upper-level westerly winds across the Caribbean into the tropical Atlantic, tearing apart hurricanes as they try to form.

The tropical Atlantic is somewhat warmer than normal right now. Warmer-than-normal sea surface temperatures in the tropical Atlantic provide more fuel for tropical cyclone formation and intensification. They are also associated with a more unstable atmosphere as well as moister air, both of which favor organized thunderstorm activity that is necessary for hurricane development.




Forecast Parameter and 1981-2010

Average (in parentheses)

Issue Date 2 April 2020

Named Storms (NS) (12.1)


Hurricanes (H) (6.4)


Major Hurricanes (MH) (2.7)



By: CSU University Communications Staff