How do Meteorologists Predict Hurricanes

Hurricanes are difficult to predict. Like tornadoes, the potential for the storm may be there, but there is no guarantee that the storm will actually develop. Unlike, the tornado, however, once the conditions are there, and a tropical storm has formed, there is more chance that it will turn into a hurricane.

Atmospheric conditions and the temperature of the water contribute to whether or not there will be a rash of hurricanes in any one season, however, predicting them for the coming year has proved to be complicated. There have been times when all conditions were met, and an unusually high number of hurricanes were predicted, when in actuality, few materialized. On the other hand, they can also catch meteorologists off guard, developing suddenly under conditions that shouldn’t have been indicators.

While predicting any storm is not an exact science, the use of radar, and other monitoring devises has certainly increased the odds of being accurate.

Some scientists claim that hurricanes can actually be predicted year to year by the appearance of El Nino. El Nino is a condition between the atmosphere and the temperature of the oceans, that produces warmer waters. This is a naturally occurring event, repeating itself about once every 3 to 7 years. Some claim that in El Nino years, hurricanes are less frequent than in non El Nino years. It is a fact that warming waters in the Pacific due to El Nino do seem to reduce the number of hurricanes in the Atlantic.

Obviously, if a tropical storm develops from a depression in the ocean, it can be observed and watched for further development. In some cases, these do turn into hurricanes, and today, they can be spotted and tracked for days before making landfall anywhere. This ability to predict the intensity and position of the storm is a vast improvement over the guess work in the past that left many people unprepared for the storm.

Fewer meteorologists are attempting to predict the number and intensity of hurricanes season to season. There are a great many factors involved, and predictions can not be scientifically substantiated.

While those advocates of the global warming theory believe that additional warming of the ocean will result in ever increasing outbreaks of hurricanes in the coming years, there is still no evidence that hurricanes occur from anything other than the normal course of events and possibly factors such as El Nino.