MIAMI – British weather forecasters, making their first public attempt to predict the Atlantic hurricane season, say it may be a little quieter than their American counterparts expect.
It is most likely that 10 tropical storms will form from July to November, the British government forecasters said Tuesday. An expected cooling trend in Atlantic Ocean surface waters favors fewer tropical storms than in recent years, the British meteorologists said in their first-ever hurricane season forecast.
There is a 70 percent chance that the number of tropical storms will be in the range of seven to 13, according to the British.
In May, U.S. government forecasters predicted 13 to 17 tropical storms in the season that runs from June 1 to Nov. 30. Colorado State University researcher William Gray predicted 17 named storms. The Atlantic season has already had two named storms, Andrea and Barry.
The U.K.'s Met Office, a weather tracking agency within the British Ministry of Defense, has been using computer models for years to make forecasts for individual hurricanes, and the U.S. National Hurricane Center uses the office's data. This is the first time, however, that the Met Office has publicly released predictions for a whole season.
Matt Huddleston at the Met Office said its numbers are based on a "brand new forecasting system" using a global climate model.
The Met Office ran but did not make public their model in the 2005 and 2006 seasons. They correctly predicted the change from the active 2005 season to the below-normal 2006 season, the Met Office said.
The British scientists did not predict a number of hurricanes that would form or how many would become strong, as American forecasters do.
U.S. government scientists have said they expect seven to 10 tropical storms to become hurricanes and three to five of them in the strong category. Gray predicted nine hurricanes, five of them intense.
The U.S. government and Gray will update their seasonal predictions in August.