More Caribbean hurricanes likely this year

Storms_2009 Colorado State University weather forecasters have issued a revised and worrisome outlook for the 2010 hurricane season.

Philip J. Klotzbach and William M. Gray attributed their concerns to an unusually warming of the Atlantic Ocean's sea surface and a confident view that El Nino will weaken.

The researchers estimate that 2010 will have eight hurricanes, above the the average of 5.9 between 1950 and 2000. 

The probability of at least one major storm (category 3,4 or 5) tracking into the Caribbean is 58%, compared to an average of 42%.  There is a three-out-of-four chance the Caribbean will experience a Category 1 or 2 storm.

Gray and Klotzbach anticipated comments from people blaming global warming or climate change.  Such speculation is not valid, they said. "It has been tempting for many who do not have a strong background in hurricane knowledge to jump on this recent 15-year increase in major hurricane activity as strong evidence of a human influence on hurricanes," they wrote. There was a similar level of storm activity between 1950 and 1964. "These conditions occurred even though atmospheric CO2 amounts were lower in the earlier period," the researchers said.

The six month hurricane season begins June 1.

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