Met Office predicts quieter tropical storm season

Evacuation sign backed by a stormy sky

This year's Atlantic tropical storm season may see a marked change from last year, with far fewer storms predicted in the Met Office forecast.

This year's Atlantic tropical storm season may see a marked change from last year, with far fewer storms predicted in the Met Office forecast.

The 2012 season, which runs from June to November, is likely to see 7 to 13 tropical storms - with a most likely value of 10.

This is less than the 1980-2010 average of 12 storms and marks a change from the past two years, which have both been particularly active with 19 storms each.

The Accumulated Cyclone Energy (ACE) index - which measures the number of storms and their combined strength - is also likely to be slightly lower than average this year, with a most likely value of 90 compared to the 1980-2010 average of 104.

There is a relatively wide range in the ACE index for 2012, with a 70% chance that the number will be between 28 and 152. This is partly due to the current uncertainty in the evolution of the El Niño/La Niña cycle over the next few months.

Joanne Camp, climate scientist at the Met Office, said: "El Niño conditions in the Pacific can hinder the development of tropical storms in the Atlantic, so how this develops will be important for the storm season ahead - particularly from August onwards, which is normally the most active time for tropical storms."

The tropical storm forecast is produced using the Met Office's seasonal prediction system called GloSea4. The model has better representation of the complex physical processes that cause tropical storms and hurricanes to form, thus improving the accuracy of the forecast. The forecast also uses information from the seasonal prediction system of the European Centre for Medium-Range Weather Forecasts (ECMWF).

The Met Office provides a detailed forecast analysis of the Atlantic tropical storm season through our Climate Services for Reinsurance. For further information please email consulting@metoffice.gov.uk or contact our 24-hour customer centre.

The Met Office's StormTracker provides real-time information on tropical storms and their projected tracks, as well as comprehensive historical information on past storms. It is available in a free version or those wanting more in-depth information for fully informed decision-making can access an advanced version.

Regular updates and information on the Atlantic tropical storm season are also available through the Met Office's dedicated Twitter feed via @metofficestorms

2012 tropical storm forecast
Met Office climate scientist Joanne Camp explains the Met Office's 2012 tropical storm forecast.

2012 tropical storm forecast (transcript) 2012 tropical storm forecast (transcript) (PDF, 88 kB)

Contact information

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Last updated: 24 May 2012