I posted this in another forum, and like Kevin, I don't know if anyone will get to read it. I'm not gonna retype it, so I'll just paste it here. I did a fair bit of research, which I think some on this site will really appreciate. The Mets and others with much more knowledge than I might find it boring. But, here goes, anyway: 2004 Predictions:
OK. Seeing how quiet it is on this board, I have done some research for the 2004 Cane Season, and in the process of doing this research, I've also learned quite a few things. I'll highlight some of this research below:
El Nino Southern Oscillation (ENSO) : ENSO is one of the most crucial factors that should be taken into consideration when forecasting Atlantic tropical cyclone activity. ENSO comes in 2 phases: El Nino & La Nina. El Ninos and La Ninas influence Atlantic basin tropical activity in many ways, and with a lot of variance depending on how strong the El Nino or La Nina is. In general, an El Nino usually correlates with stronger shear, more stable air, and a weaker Intertropical Convergence Zone (ICTZ) Thus, Atlantic Activity is usually reduced. A LaNina causes just the opposite.
Another tool used for monitoring the ENSO is the Southern Oscillation Index (SOI). The SOI monitors changes in sea level pressure between Tahiti and Darwin, Australia. Positive values of the SOI are usually indicative of La Nina Conditions. Negative SOI usually indicate El Nino. The SOI has been steadily falling since July. The current ENSO conditions are borderline between neutral and weak El Nino. However, if sea surface temperatures continue to warm over the next several weeks, El Nino may be declared present by the Climate Prediction Center (CPC).
The 2004 ENSO forecast is chiefly based on climatology. Climatology can often provide seasonal forecasters with clues when long range forecals models are considered unreliable. Based on the current thinking that warm ENSO conditions will become present shortly, researchers have selected all years since 1950 in which El Nino conditions were first classified during the October-November-December period. The years that qualified were 1951, 1968, 1976 and 1977. All four El Nino episodes dissipated before the beginning of the following hurricase season with the exception of 1968, in which weak El Nino conditions persisted throughout 1969.
With a gradual decline in SOI values, warming of the equatorial Pacific SSTAs and subsurface equatorial Pacific temperatures, we're likely heading into a weak El Nino event.
The Atlantic Thermohaline Circulation (ATC) has been generally positive since 1995. This is one of the main reasons why we've seen a recent upswing in Atlantic Basin hurricane activity. A warm ATC results in lower shear, lower sea pressure anomalies, and most importantly, warmer Atlantic SSTAs.
The researchers have come to the conclusion that the 2004 Atlantic hurricane season should be another above average one. A neutral ENSO, as forecasted, coupled with a strong ATC can support an above average season. Even if we were to see weak El Nino conditions during the summer, it still wouldn't significantly inhibit inactivity.
Whew....that's a mouthful. With all that being said, I will agree that 2004 will be slightly above average. I'll hazard an "early" guess (subject to change by moi): 14/8/3. While I do not wish it to happen, I'm fearful the CONUS is due for a Cat III or above. I'll also agree with Ed for a Bahama storm, and I hope he's right about the West GOM.
OK, that's my piece for now. We've got a good six months until the "official" season begins, but as we saw in '03, Ana pays no attention to the seasons.
Let the games begin