Analysis: Atlantic hurricane season is growing longer

Source(s): Washington Post, the
Photo by Cyclonebiskit and NASA, Public Domain

Photo by Cyclonebiskit and NASA, Public Domain

By Ryan Truchelut

Just after noon on Thanksgiving Day, as the Lions and Vikings were kicking off in Detroit and tens of millions of political arguments were kicking off in America’s dining rooms, Hurricane Otto was making landfall in Central America.

Costa Rica and Nicaragua are continuing to recover from this destructive storm, but Otto’s unusual track and intensity are reigniting a debate among meteorologists about whether the Atlantic hurricane season, officially spanning June 1-Nov. 30, is lengthening.


However, there is an intriguing and statistically significant trend for very early season activity at a rate of about half a day to a day earlier per year, which is highlighted in red. This means all else being equal, we might expect the first 5 percent of a hurricane season threshold in the Atlantic to be reached about 20 days earlier in 2016 relative to 1979, or approximately July 20 instead of Aug. 10.

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