WSI Corporation issued their first look at the 2008 Atlantic tropical season on December 18. The 2008 forecast calls for 14 named storms, 7 hurricanes, and 3 intense hurricanes (category 3 or greater). These forecast numbers are all larger than the 1950-2007 averages of 9.7 named storms, 5.9 hurricanes, and 2.3 intense hurricanes.
The expectations for an active 2008 season arise from (1) the expected continuation of warmer-than-normal Atlantic Ocean temperature anomalies into next summer and fall and (2) the likelihood of a favorable or neutral wind shear environment on the heels of the current La Nina event.
The 2008 WSI forecast comes on the heels of a very successful 2007 forecast. The May 15 preseason forecast values of 15 named storms, 8 hurricanes, and 4 intense hurricanes were slightly larger than the final observed values of 15/6/2, but the forecast fared better than the other well-publicized tropical forecasts. The August 14 update reduced the forecast numbers to 14/6/3, a correct prediction of a reduced risk of hurricanes relative to the May forecast.
According to WSI seasonal forecaster Dr. Todd Crawford, "Since 1995, most tropical seasons have been more active than the long-term averages, due to warmer Atlantic Ocean temperatures. We do not see any reason why this active regime will not continue in 2008. The current La Nina event, which will likely decay this spring, should leave behind a wind shear environment that is favorable for the development of tropical systems in the summer and fall of 2008."
WSI has been providing industry-leading seasonal forecasts for energy traders since 2000. The next full seasonal forecast package, which will include forecasts for late winter temperatures in both the US and Europe, will be issued to clients on January 15 and to the press on January 22. The next update on the 2008 tropical season will be issued to clients on April 15 and to the press on April 22.
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