Climate Prediction Center - Atlantic Hurricane Outlook (2024)

The 2022 Atlantic Hurricane Season Outlook is an official product of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) Climate Prediction Center (CPC). The outlook is produced in collaboration with hurricane experts from the National Hurricane Center (NHC) and the Hurricane Research Division (HRD). The Atlantic hurricane region includes the North Atlantic Ocean, Caribbean Sea, and Gulf of Mexico.

Interpretation of NOAA's Atlantic hurricane season outlook:

This outlook is a general guide to the expected overall activity during the upcoming hurricane season. It is not a seasonal hurricane landfall forecast, and it does not predict levels of activity for any particular location.

Preparedness:

Hurricane-related disasters can occur whether the season is active or relatively quiet. It only takes one hurricane (or tropical storm) to cause a disaster. It is crucial that residents, businesses, and government agencies of coastal and near-coastal regions prepare for every hurricane season regardless of this, or any other, seasonal outlook. The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), the National Hurricane Center (NHC), the Small Business Administration, and the American Red Cross all provide important hurricane preparedness information on their web sites.

NOAA does not make seasonal hurricane landfall predictions:
NOAA does not make seasonal hurricane landfall predictions. Hurricane landfalls are largely determined by the weather patterns in place as the hurricane approaches, and those patterns are only predictable when the storm is within several days of making landfall.

Nature of this outlook and the "likely" ranges of activity:
This outlook is probabilistic, meaning the stated "likely" ranges of activity have a certain likelihood of occurring. The seasonal activity is expected to fall within these ranges in 7 out of 10 seasons with similar climate conditions and uncertainties to those expected this year. They do not represent the total possible ranges of activity seen in past similar years.

This outlook is based on 1) predictions of large-scale climate factors known to influence seasonal hurricane activity, and 2) climate forecast models that directly predict seasonal hurricane activity. This outlook also takes into account uncertainties inherent in such climate outlooks.

Preparedness for tropical storm and hurricane landfalls:It only takes one storm hitting an area to cause a disaster, regardless of the overall activity for the season. Therefore, residents, businesses, and government agencies of coastal and near-coastal regions are urged to prepare every hurricane season regardless of this, or any other, seasonal outlook.

Sources of uncertainty in the seasonal outlooks:

  1. Predicting El Niño and La Niña events (also called the El Niño-Southern Oscillation, or ENSO) and their impacts on North Atlantic basin hurricane activity, is an ongoing scientific challenge facing scientists today. Such forecasts made during the spring generally have limited skill.

  2. Many combinations of named storms and hurricanes can occur for the same general set of climate conditions. For example, one cannot know with certainty whether a given climate signal will be associated with several shorter-lived storms or fewer longer-lived storms with greater intensity.

  3. Model predictions of sea-surface temperatures (SSTs), vertical wind shear, moisture, atmospheric stability, and other factors known to influence overall seasonal hurricane activity have limited skill this far in advance of the peak months (August-October) of the hurricane season.

  4. Shorter-term weather patterns that are unpredictable on seasonal time scales can sometimes develop and last for weeks or months, possibly affecting seasonal hurricane activity.

2022 Atlantic Hurricane Season Outlook Summary

a. Predicted Activity

NOAA’s outlook for the 2022 Atlantic Hurricane Season Outlook indicates that an above-normal season is most likely, with a possibility the season could be extremely (aka hyper-) active. The outlook calls for a 65% chance of an above-normal season, followed by a 25% chance of a near-normal season, and only a 10% chance of a below-normal season. See NOAA definitions of above-, near-, and below-normal seasons. The Atlantic hurricane region includes the North Atlantic Ocean, Caribbean Sea, and Gulf of Mexico.

The 2022 outlook calls for a 70% probability for each of the following ranges of activity:

  • 14-21 Named Storms
  • 6-10 Hurricanes
  • 3-6 Major Hurricanes
  • Accumulated Cyclone Energy (ACE) range of 115%-200% of the median

The seasonal activity is expected to fall within these ranges in 70% of seasons with similar climate conditions and uncertainties to those expected this year. These ranges do not represent the total possible ranges of activity seen in past similar years. These expected ranges are centered above the 1991-2020 seasonal averages of 14 named storms, 7 hurricanes, and 3 major hurricanes. Most of the predicted activity is likely to occur during the peak months (August-October, ASO) of the hurricane season. This season could extend the record of consecutive seasons with above-normal activity to seven consecutive seasons.

The North Atlantic hurricane season officially runs from June 1st through November 30th. This outlook will be updated in early August to coincide with the onset of the peak months of the season (ASO).

b. Reasoning behind the outlook

This 2022 seasonal hurricane outlook reflects the expectation of either non-competing or reinforcing climate factors during August-October (ASO), and these factors historically produce Atlantic hurricane seasons with above-normal activity. The main climate factors for this outlook are:

  1. The set of conditions that have produced the ongoing high-activity era for Atlantic hurricanes which began in 1995 are likely to continue in 2022. These conditions include warmer sea-surface temperatures (SSTs) and weaker trade winds in the Atlantic hurricane Main Development Region (MDR), along with weaker vertical wind shear and an enhanced West African monsoon. The MDR spans the tropical North Atlantic Ocean and Caribbean Sea (Goldenberg and Shapiro 1996).
  2. The most recent forecast from the NOAA Climate Prediction Center indicates La Niña conditions are likely through the hurricane season. The odds are highest for La Niña (58%), followed by ENSO-neutral (38%), and a very low chance of an El Niño event (4%). During a high-activity era, ENSO-neutral is typically associated with above-average levels of activity. La Niña tends to reinforce those high-activity era conditions and further increases the likelihood of an above-normal season with activity near the upper ends of the predicted ranges.

DISCUSSION

1. Expected 2022 activity

NOAA's outlook for the 2022 Atlantic Hurricane Season indicates that an above-normal season is most likely (65% chance), with the possibility of it being extremely (aka hyper-) active. The outlook also includes a 25% chance of a near-normal season, and only 10% chance of a below-normal season.

The 2022 North Atlantic hurricane season is predicted to produce (with 70% probability for each range) 14-21 named storms, of which 6-10 are expected to become hurricanes, and 3-6 of those are expected to become major hurricanes. These ranges are centered above the 1991-2020 period averages of about 14 named storms, 7 hurricanes, and 3 major hurricanes. The 2022 North Atlantic hurricane season could further extend the record streak of consecutive above-normal seasons to seven. Since the current Atlantic high-activity era began in 1995, 19 of 27 (about 70%) seasons have been above normal and only 4 (15%) have been below normal based on the 1951-2020 climatology.

An important measure of the total seasonal activity is NOAA’s Accumulated Cyclone Energy (ACE) index, which accounts for the combined intensity and duration of all named storms and hurricanes during the year. This 2022 outlook indicates a 70% chance that the seasonal ACE range will be 115%-200% of the median. According to NOAA’s hurricane season classifications, an ACE value between 75.4% and 130% of the 1951-2020 median reflects a near-normal season. Values above (below) this range reflect an above-normal (below-normal) season. The 2022 predicted ACE range extends well above the thresholds for an above-normal season (130% of median) and into the range for an extremely (aka hyper-) active season (≥165% of median).

Predictions of the location, number, timing, and intensity of hurricane landfalls are ultimately related to the daily weather patterns which determine storm genesis locations and steering patterns. These patterns are not predictable weeks or months in advance. As a result, it is not possible to reliably predict the number or intensity of landfalling hurricanes in a seasonal outlook, or whether a given locality will be impacted by a tropical storm or hurricane this season.

2. Science behind the Outlook

NOAA’s North Atlantic Hurricane Season Outlooks are based on predictions of the main climate factors and their associated conditions known to influence seasonal Atlantic hurricane activity. These predictions are based on extensive monitoring, analysis, research activities, a suite of statistical prediction tools, and dynamical models. The dynamical model predictions come from the NOAA Climate Forecast System (CFS), NOAA Geophysical Fluid Dynamics Lab (GFDL) HiFLOR-S and SPEAR-MED models, the North American Multi-Model Ensemble (NMME), the United Kingdom Met Office (UKMET) GloSea6 model, and the European Centre for Medium-Range Weather Forecasting (ECMWF) Seas5 model. ENSO forecasts are also provided from the NMME dynamical models contained in the suite of Niño 3.4 SST forecasts, which is compiled by NOAA’s CPC.

NOAA’s 2022 North Atlantic hurricane season outlook reflects the expectation of either non-competing or reinforcing climate factors during August-October (ASO), as follows:

  1. The underlying climate factor again this season is the continuation of the high-activity era for Atlantic hurricanes, which began in 1995 in association with a transition to the warm phase of the Atlantic Multidecadal Variability (AMV), (Goldenberg et al. 2001, Bell and Chelliah 2006, Klotzbach and Gray 2008). The recently observed and predicted atmospheric conditions for ASO 2022 reflect the warm AMV phase, and include weaker trade winds and warmer SSTs across much of the MDR, a more conducive African easterly jet, weaker vertical wind shear, and an enhanced West African monsoon. When the oceanic and atmospheric conditions are considered as a whole, the variability is being more commonly referred to as Atlantic Multidecadal Variability (AMV) in recent literature.

  2. The most recent NOAA ENSO probability forecast indicates a 58% chance that La Niña conditions will continue through the hurricane season, and a 38% chance that ENSO-neutral conditions could be in place during the peak months (ASO) of the season. La Niña conditions were present during the peak of the hurricanes seasons in 2020 and 2021. Three consecutive years with La Niña during ASO is uncommon and represents a very small portion of the overall record. Only about 29% (2 of 7) of past instances where ASO met the oceanic threshold for La Niña in two consecutive years had a following (third) year that also met the criteria. The rarity of the three consecutive years does reduce the ability to analyze analogous years, and increases the uncertainty compared to simply using the dynamical models, which maintains La Niña throughout the remainder of 2022.

a. La Niña favored

La Niña represents one phase of the climate phenomenon known as ENSO (El Niño-Southern Oscillation). The three phases of ENSO are El Niño, La Niña, and ENSO-Neutral. El Niño tends to suppress Atlantic hurricane activity, while La Niña tends to enhance it (Gray 1984; Goldenberg and Shapiro 1996). These impacts can be strongly modulated by conditions associated with a low- or high-activity era.

La Niña conditions are present at this time. As of May 16, 2022, the latest monthly SSTs were below average across the central and eastern equatorial Pacific, and the SST index for the Niño 3.4 region is -1.1ºC. The weekly Niño 3.4 index has been below -0.5°C since October 2021. The Niño 3.4 index has varied from -1.2°C to -0.7°C in the past few months, but has not shown any significant trends away from the La Niña range. The wind and outgoing longwave radiation (OLR) patterns over the central Pacific are also reflecting a continuation of atmospheric response to La Niña. The oceanic and atmospheric patterns are much more representative of a firmly established La Niña at this point of the calendar than they were at the same point in 2021.

Looking forward, model-predicted SST anomalies in the Niño 3.4 region generally indicate La Niña (Niño 3.4 index less than -0.5°C) conditions throughout the hurricane season. The NMME dynamical model average (dashed black line) indicates La Niña through the summer and autumn of 2022, with only one modeling system indicating ENSO-neutral, but still on the cold side. In addition to the NMME, NOAA’s CFS is predicting La Niña. The NMME based predictions for the SSTs in the Niño3.4 region range from about -0.3°C to -1.5°C in August, with the most likely outcomes resulting in a moderate strength La Niña during the peak months of the North Atlantic Hurricane Season.

The official NOAA ENSO outlook from May of 2022 indicates about a 58% chance of La Niña during the peak months (ASO) of the hurricane season, followed by a 38% chance of ENSO-neutral and only a 4% chance of El Niño.

In addition to the similarities in the ENSO outlook, the CFS and NMME both predict slightly below-normal vertical wind shear over the Main Development Region. The CFS has a mixed pattern of predicted shear anomalies, but the MDR spatial average is below normal. The shear predicted this year is similar to, but slightly weaker than, what was predicted last year. A moderate or strong La Niña would reinforce the high-activity era conditions, further increasing the likelihood of an above-normal (or even extremely active) season, and resulting in low shear values. This would potentially result in a season with activity near the upper end of the forecast ranges.

Therefore, the current hurricane season outlook reflects the expectation that the La Niña conditions will not compete with, and would likely reinforce the ongoing set of conditions associated with the current high-activity era for Atlantic hurricanes (discussed below).

b. Predicted Conditions within the MDR

SSTs are currently near average across the MDR, with an area-averaged anomaly during April of +0.02°C. SSTs in the MDR are currently slightly warmer than last year at this same point in the calendar. For the MDR as a whole, both the CFS and NMME models predict slightly above-average SSTs during ASO. The differences between MDR SSTs and the global tropics is another predictor favoring an above normal season, and has been linked to some hyper-active years (Blake et al 2018). Among the NMME models, the predicted values of MDR SST anomalies range from +0.08°C to +1.2, with the multi-model, spatial average being +0.17°C. The outlook for SSTs in the MDR is cooler than last year’s prediction. While models tend to have only modest skill in predicting the strength of the Atlantic SST anomalies this far in advance, these model predictions are consistent with the ongoing warm phase of the AMV. SSTs across the North Atlantic basin, the region considered by Atlantic Multidecadal Oscillation (AMO) SST index are above normal and predicted to stay above normal at least through ASO.

Also consistent with the warm AMV phase, two inter-related atmospheric features are now present and are expected to persist through ASO 2022. The first is anomalous westerly winds at 700-hPa across the central and eastern tropical Atlantic. However, at this time, the anomalous winds are not as strong this year as last year. The second feature is an enhanced West African monsoon system. Intraseasonal oscillations (the Madden-Julian Oscillation) may have played a role in some early enhancement of upper-level divergence and rainfall totals, but should the monsoon stay enhanced as indicated in many of the model outlooks, these conditions are expected to contribute to an interrelated set of conditions during ASO within the MDR, all of which favor increased Atlantic hurricane activity. These interrelated features include 1) anomalously warm SSTs and decreased vertical wind shear, 2) an African Easterly Jet (AEJ) structure that allows for increased rotation of low-pressure cloud systems (also called African easterly waves) moving westward from Africa, and 3) the combination of increased moisture and decreased atmospheric stability. Because of these conditions, the enhanced African easterly waves can develop more easily into tropical storms and hurricanes, thus increasing the likelihood of above-normal activity this season.

c. Uncertainties

The main uncertainties in this seasonal hurricane outlook are whether La Niña conditions will continue and thus reinforce the high- activity era conditions, will the SSTs in the MDR follow the predictions and be above-normal for ASO, and will the vertical wind shear be as low as predicted. Continuing in La Niña conditions through ASO 2022 has become more likely in the last month, though predictions made for ASO at this time of year can have large uncertainties. SSTs in the MDR are slightly warmer, relative to normal, than at this same point last year, but exhibit a different spatial structure than was present last year, suggesting there are some differences in the overlying atmospheric circulation patterns. In 2021, the small area of SSTs in the MDR that were below normal did warm up, even reaching above-normal at some points. The model results suggest there is uncertainty if that will happen this year. In addition, the NMME model-predicted shear values are some of the lowest in the model hindcast (back to 1991) so while the current numbers support the outlook ranges, often forecasts of extreme values can have a higher level of uncertainty.


NOAA FORECASTERS

Climate Prediction Center

  • Matt Rosencrans, Physical Scientist; Matthew.Rosencrans{at}noaa.gov
  • Dr. Hui Wang, Physical Scientist; Hui.Wang{at}noaa.gov
  • Dr. Daniel Harnos, Meteorologist; Daniel.Harnos{at}noaa.gov

National Hurricane Center

  • Eric Blake, Senior Hurricane Specialist; Eric.S.Blake{at}noaa.gov
  • Dr. Chris Landsea, Branch Chief; Chris.Landsea{at}noaa.gov
  • Dr. Richard Pasch, Senior Hurricane Specialist; Richard.J.Pasch{at}noaa.gov

Hurricane Research Division

  • Stanley Goldenberg, Meteorologist; Stanley.Goldenberg{at}noaa.gov

REFERENCES

  • Bell, G. D., and M. Chelliah, 2006: Leading tropical modes associated with interannual and multi-decadal fluctuations in North Atlantic hurricane activity. J. Climate, 19, 590-612.

  • Blake, E. S., P. Klotzbach, and G. D. Bell, 2018: Climate factors causing the extremely active 2017 Atlantic hurricane season. Presented at AMS 33rd Conference on Hurricanes and Tropical Meteorology, April 2018.

  • Goldenberg, S. B., C. W. Landsea, A. M. Mestas-Nuñez, and W. M. Gray, 2001: The recent increase in Atlantic hurricane activity: Causes and implications. Science, 293, 474-479.

  • Goldenberg, S. B. and L. J. Shapiro, 1996: Physical mechanisms for the association of El Niño and West African rainfall with Atlantic major hurricane activity. J. Climate, 9, 1169-1187.

  • Gray, W. M., 1984: Atlantic seasonal hurricane frequency: Part I: El Niño and 30-mb quasi-bienniel oscillation influences. Mon. Wea. Rev., 112, 1649-1668.

  • Klotzbach, P.J., and W. M. Gray, 2008: Multi-decadal Variability in North Atlantic Tropical Cyclone Activity. J. Climate, 21, 3929 - 3935.

Climate Prediction Center - Atlantic Hurricane Outlook (2024)

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