La Nina declared, likely leading to more Atlantic hurricanes

Tracking the Tropics

It’s official. La Nina is now present in the Pacific.

The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, NOAA, has found a plume of below-average sea surface temperatures extending from the central to eastern Pacific along the equator. This anomaly is described as a La Nina phase, the opposite of an El Nino in which warmer sea surface temperatures are found in the eastern Pacific.

This change has cascading impacts in North America as atmospheric circulations are changed due to this anomaly. The biggest of which is the reduction in wind shear in the Atlantic, leading to a greater likelihood of more hurricanes for the remainder of the season. This same pattern will likely lead to fewer storms in the western Pacific as wind shear, which often suppresses storm development, increases there.

La Nina also results in weaker trade winds and an overall less stable environment in the tropical Atlantic, which often leads to stronger hurricanes. With La Nina conditions present in August and likely to continue into winter, it is assured that this season will continue to be hyperactive with activity likely continuing even into the end of October.

NOAA states that this La Nina will likely continue into the winter, which will likely lead to a warmer and drier winter season for the southeast as the jet stream stays more northward.

Storm Team 2 Meteorologist David Dickson

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