Climate change set to double Atlantic hurricanes in 2020
August 18, 2020 - Amid predictions of an above-normal 2020 Atlantic hurricane season, Kyle has now surpassed Katrina as the earliest 11th named storm.
The latest Atlantic storm is the earliest date, since record keeping began in 1851, for a storm with a “K” name – storms are named alphabetically throughout the season, K being the 11th letter of the English alphabet.
So far in 2020, five storms have hit the United States, eclipsing the pace in 2005 when a record 27 named storms formed, including the devastating Hurricane Katrina that killed between 1,200 and 1,800 people and caused $125 billion of damage.
Although the storm season technically runs from June 1 to November 30 each year, observers know that the trouble really begins from around August 20 to September 30 – when the Main Development Region (the stretch of ocean from the Caribbean to Cabo Verde off the African coast) becomes supercharged.
As a result of climate change, global temperatures have risen by around 1°C. The warmer Atlantic Ocean combined with a decreased wind shear, is leading meteorologists to believe more storms are coming in 2020.
Earlier this month, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) increased its May prediction of 13-19 storms, to 19-25. Government forecasters have never called for 25 storms in a single season before – more than double the annual average of 12.