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NOAA Seasonal Hurricane Forecasts

Principal Investigator:
Gerry Bell - Climate Prediction Center
Collaborating Scientists:
Chris Landsea - Hurricane Reasearch Division
Stan Goldenberg - Hurricane Research Division
Richard Pasch - OAR
Eric Blake - OAR
Muthuvel Chelliah - Climate Prediction Center
Kingtse Mo - Climate Prediction Center

2005 NOAA Seasonal Forecast

Objective: To develop, produce and verify seasonal hurricane forecasts for the Atlantic basin

Method: NOAA - through a partnership of meteorologists from the Climate Prediction Center, the OAR and the Hurricane Research Division - issue seasonal hurricane forecasts for the Atlantic basin (i.e. the North Atlantic Ocean, the Gulf of Mexico and the Caribbean Sea). These have been released since 1998 for an early August prediction and since 1999 for a mid May forecast.

NOAA's seasonal hurricane forecasts take the form of the probabilities of an active/near normal/quiet seasons occuring along with ranges of likely activity, rather than a discrete numerical prediction. Seasons are classified by a simple combination of their frequency, intensity and duration - called Accumulated Cyclone Energy (ACE). The forecasts are based upon diagnostic and predictive tools (analog years and regression techniques) with a subjective blend of the actual forecasters own interpretation and insight. Specific climate features identified for influencing seasonal hurricane activity in the Atlantic are the El Nino-Southern Oscillation, the global mode (a multidecadal signal in the upper tropospheric circulation of the tropics and subtropics), and Atlantic sea surface temperatures. Increases in skill in these forecasts are to be strived for through better objective aids as well as a more complete understanding of the seasonal climate influences on Atlantic hurricane activity.

These outlooks are not designed to compete with hurricane outlooks issued by groups outside NOAA. We gratefully acknowledge the pioneering research of Dr. William Gray and others, which have significantly increased scientific understanding of the links between various climate factors (particularly the El Ni?o/La Ni?a cycle) and the atmospheric circulation features that affect Atlantic hurricane activity. We also acknowledge the leading role that Dr. Gray and colleagues at the Colorado State University have played in developing and providing seasonal forecasts of Atlantic basin hurricane activity.

Power Point presentation of verification methods.


  • August 1998
    First NOAA prediction of seasonal hurricane activity.
  • May 1999
    First mid-May seasonal hurricane forecast by the NOAA team.
  • October 2000
    Awarded a U.S. Department of Commerce Bronze Medal "for issuing the accurate and first official physically-based Atlantic seasonal hurricane outlooks for the 1998/1999 seasons, based upon new research" to forecast team: Lixion Avila (NOAA/National Hurricane Center), Gerry Bell (NOAA/Climate Prediction Center), Muthuvel Chelliah (NOAA/Climate Prediction Center), Wilbur Chen (NOAA/Climate Prediction Center), Stan Goldenberg, Chris Landsea, Kingtse Mo (NOAA/Climate Prediction Center) and Richard Pasch (NOAA/OAR).
  • All issued predictions are available on a web archive.


Landsea, C.W., G.D. Bell, W.M. Gray, and S.B. Goldenberg, 1998: The extremely active 1995 Atlantic hurricane season: Environmental conditions and verification of seasonal forecasts. Mon. Wea. Rev., 126, 1174-1193.

Bove, M. C., J. B. Elsner, C. W. Landsea,, X. Niu and J. J. O'Brien, 1998: Effect of El Nino on U.S. landfalling hurricanes, revisited. Bull. Amer. Meteor. Soc., 79, 2477-2482.

Bell, G. D., M. S. Halpert, C. F. Ropelewski, V. E. Kousky, A. V. Douglas, R. S. Schnell, and M. E. Gelman, 1999: Climate assessment for 1998. Bull. Amer. Meteor. Soc., 80, S1-S48.

Pielke, Jr., R. A., and Landsea, C.W., 1999: "La Ni?a, El Ni?o, and Atlantic Hurricane Damages in the United States" , Bull. Amer. Meteor. Soc., 80, 2027-2033.

Bell, G. D., M. S. Halpert, R. C. Schnell, R. W. Higgins, J. Lawrimore, V. E. Kousky, R. Tinker, W. Thiaw, M. Chelliah, and A. Artusa, 2000: Climate Assessment for 1999. Bull. Amer. Meteor. Soc., 81, S1-S50.

Landsea, C. W., 2000: "El Ni?o-Southern Oscillation and the seasonal predictability of tropical cyclones". El Ni?o and the Southern Oscillation : Multiscale Variability and Global and Regional Impacts, edited by H. F. Diaz and V. Markgraf. pp. 149-181.

Lawrimore, J. H., M. S. Halpert, G. D. Bell, M. J. Menne, B. Lyon, R. C. Scnell, K. L. Gleason, D. R. Easterling, W. Thiaw, W. J. Wright, R. R. Heim, Jr., D. A. Robinson, and L. Alexander, 2001: Climate assessment for 2000. Bull. Amer. Meteor. Soc., 82, S1-S55.

Waple, A. M., J. H. Lawrimore, M. S. Halpert, G. D. Bell, W. Higgins, B. Lyon, M. J. Menne, K. L. Gleason, R. C. Schnell, J. R. Christy, W. Thiaw, W. J. Wright, M. J. Salinger, L. Alexander, R. S. Stone, and S. J. Camargo, 2002: Climate assessment for 2001. Bull. Amer. Meteor. Soc., 83, S1-S62.

Bell, G. D. 2003: Atlantic Hurricane Season Bull. Amer. Meteor. Soc., 84, S19-S26.

Bell,G. D., S. Goldenberg, C. Landsea, E. Blake, M.Chelliah, K. Mo, R. Pasch, 2004: The 2003 North Atlantic Hurricane Season; A Climate Perspective. Bull. Amer. Meteor. Soc., 85, S20-S24.

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Last modified: 12/7/2004

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