March 26, 2007: Globally This Past Winter Was the Warmest on Record
With the El Niño conditions weakening, NOAA warned that sea surface temperatures were indicating a possible transition to a La Niña event, which involves cooler-than-normal sea surface temperatures in the central and east-central equatorial Pacific. This is bad news for this year's hurricane outlook, since La Niña events tend to result in a greater number of hurricanes in the Atlantic Ocean. In contrast, El Niño events create wind shear over the Atlantic Ocean, which inhibits hurricane formation. This cycle explains the low number of hurricanes in 2006, but suggests a greater number of Atlantic hurricanes this year. In fact, back in December, researchers at Colorado State University anticipated a weakening El Niño, and forecasted 14 named storms, seven hurricanes, and three major hurricanes for this year.
Publication date: 03/26/2007