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Climate change is affecting Atlantic hurricane seasons, pushing them to start earlier in the year

Since 1979, Atlantic hurricane season has been occurring about 5 days earlier per decade.



Despite the fact that this season has been relatively quiet thus far, a study published on Tuesday reveals that, since 1979, the start of the Atlantic hurricane season has been occurring around five days earlier per decade.

The hurricane season traditionally begins on June 1.

The study also discovered that, since 1900, the first named storm to make landfall in the United States has been trending earlier by almost two days per decade.

According to the study, this tendency toward earlier onset is probably related to springtime warmth brought on by climate change in the western Atlantic Ocean, which has also showed an increasing trend over time.

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Unlikely shifts are only a “chance.”

The study’s principal author, Ryan Truchelut, head of the private forecasting company Weather Tiger, told USA TODAY that “these shifts are unlikely to have been caused by coincidence or differences in observing technology alone.” These changes are occurring as a result of a late spring environment that is more conducive to tropical cyclone formation in the western Atlantic, Gulf of Mexico, and western Caribbean.

Hurricanes and tropical storms are examples of tropical cyclones.

He claimed that rather than other climatic variables like shear or humidity, increased ocean temperatures in this location were the primary cause of the changes in the environment.

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Seasonal highs occur in August, September, and October.

According to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, an average Atlantic season produces seven hurricanes, with August, September, and October seeing the highest numbers. The season’s official start date is June 1 and it lasts until November 30 according to 1965-era guidelines.

According to NOAA, “preseason” storms developed in May of each year between 2015 and 2021. Even though these recent May storms have generally been benign, some haven’t: The World Meteorological Organization reports that since 2012, late-May storms have caused at least 20 fatalities and damage to the tune of $200 million. One of these systems made landfall as a tropical storm with a wind speed of 60 knots (70 mph).


It frequently poses the deadliest and most destructive threat to a cyclone.

According to Truchelut, a NOAA panel is currently considering whether to move the start of the current season up due to this trend, which may soon change the way the North Atlantic hurricane season is currently defined.

What is the relationship to global warming?

In support of his assertion that there is a link to global warming, Truchelut cited the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, which stated that it is “highly likely” that human-caused climate change is to blame for the rising sea surface temperatures in the tropical oceans.

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He said that this pattern is likely to persist: For the foreseeable future, it is reasonable to predict that the initial Atlantic tropical storm formation rate will continue to shift earlier.

The work was released in the peer-reviewed Nature Communications publication from the United Kingdom.

Originally published on USA TODAY, this article says: Has the Atlantic hurricane season started early this year? Yes, according to a study, and climate change