So I'm no scientist by any stretch of the means, but I was wondering if anyone has read anything linking the desertification of the Sahara to more hurricane killing dust in the atmosphere. I know Saharan dust can kill hurricanes and it seems to be that as the Sahara grows, there will be more dust in the atmosphere, making it harder for hurricanes to develop.
A very active Atlantic hurricane season is on tap for 2010, according to the seasonal hurricane forecast issued today, August 4, by Dr. Phil Klotzbach and Dr. Bill Gray of Colorado State University (CSU). The CSU team continues to call for 18 named storms, 10 hurricanes, 5 intense hurricanes, and an Accumulated Cyclone Energy (ACE) index 185% of average. These are the same numbers as their June 2 forecast. Between 1950 - 2000, the average season had 10 named storms, 6 hurricanes, and 2 intense hurricanes. But since 1995, the beginning of an active hurricane period in the Atlantic, we've averaged 14 named storms, 8 hurricanes, and 4 intense hurricanes per year. The new forecast continues to call for a much above-average chance of a major hurricane hitting the U.S., both along the East Coast (50% chance, 31% chance is average) and the Gulf Coast (49% chance, 30% chance is average). The risk of a major hurricane in the Caribbean is also high, at 64% (42% is average.)
The forecasters cited four main reasons for an active season:
1) Moderate La Niņa conditions should be present during the most active portion of this year's hurricane season (August - October). This should lead to reduced levels of vertical wind shear compared with what was witnessed in 2009.
2) Current SST anomalies are running at near-record warm levels. These very warm waters are associated with dynamic and thermodynamic factors that are very conducive for an active Atlantic hurricane season.
3) Very low sea level pressures prevailed during June and July over the tropical Atlantic. Weaker high pressure typically results in weaker trade winds that are commonly associated with more active hurricane seasons.
4) We are in the midst of a multi-decadal era of major hurricane activity, which began in 1995. Major hurricanes cause 80 - 85 percent of normalized hurricane damage.