UK to track Atlantic hurricane season from deep ocean

Image copyright Reuters Image caption The purpose of the Atlantic hurricane season, from 30 June to 30 November, is to prepare coastal regions for severe weather events like hurricanes

An early warning system for Atlantic hurricanes, running alongside the Met Office’s UV index, has been launched by the UK Government.

During the first hurricane season in 1979, only one storm struck the British Isles. The UK later lost three subsequent seasons, which were not forecast correctly.

The purpose of the Atlantic hurricane season, from 30 June to 30 November, is to prepare coastal regions for severe weather events like hurricanes.

Ocean seabed temperature will have a major impact on how powerful a storm reaches towards the UK.

Image copyright PA Image caption Scientists will monitor seafloor temperature to see how a hurricane will develop

“The European Seabed Heat Index (ESHI) helps scientists predict the strength of storms like hurricanes and typhoons and it’s what will be relied upon to inform our weather warning systems,” said Professor Valerie Crowe from the UK’s Centre for Ocean and Atmospheric Sciences, based at Plymouth University.

“Ocean temperatures are vital for creating high pressure systems which produce stronger hurricanes and typhoons.

“We will also be using satellites like the GOES-17, and the most powerful NOAA-Nuclear X-ray Telescope, SPOTT-1, to track hurricanes in real time.”

Another crucial factor to be taken into account is what happens offshore in the Arctic.

“In 2015, the hurricane season was forecast to be low in the Atlantic but the Arctic was predicting an unusually long season,” said Professor Jonathan Buckland from the Met Office and British Antarctic Survey.

“So what people can learn from that is to expect the polar predictions to coincide and so they need to take that into account.”

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