A bit more than two weeks into the 2016 Northern Hemisphere summer we have three-named storms active over the larger Pacific Ocean basin, plus one tropical wave moving westward in the middle of hurricane alley in the Atlantic.
Hurricane BLAS and AGATHA, now a tropical depression, are moving westward some 2000 kilometers east of the Big Island in Hawaii, while category 5 typhoon NEPARTAK, now weakening somewhat, is approaching landfall on the east coast of Taiwan over in the West Pacific on this Thursday 7 July 2016.
Tropical cyclone activity so far in 2016 in the northern hemisphere has been somewhat subdued in terms of actual cyclogenesis when compared to recent years. As of today, Thursday 7 July 2016, there have been 11 named tropical cyclones worldwide in the northern hemisphere compared to 19 during the same period in 2015. Three of the 2016 storms have only been generated over the past couple of days. The only basin that is a bit more active so far in 2016 versus 2015 is the northern Atlantic, which actually saw its first name tropical cyclone, Alex, in January of this year, which ended up winding over the central North Atlantic and eventually impacting Greenland.In my opinion, most of this change in tropical cyclone activity so far in 2016 may be attributed to the current neutral El Niño conditions over the central to eastern Pacific near the equator, after a strong ENSO (El Niño Southern Oscillation) anomaly in 2015 and earlier this year. Sea-surface temperatures (SST) at the equator are somewhat cooler than average in the central-to-eastern Pacific Ocean. Conditions are looking favorable for the development of La Niña during this 2016 summer in the Northern Hemisphere, perhaps by the fall and the 2016-2017 winter.
There were a total of sixty-six named tropical cyclones plus eleven tropical depressions in the Northern Hemisphere during 2015. Only time will tell how many named storms we will have in 2016, and which basin will see above or below average seasons this year.
Historically La Niña years have brought increased cyclogenesis over the northern Atlantic basin, and the forecast from the National Hurricane Center and others that have issued predictions calls for a somewhat above average 2016 Atlantic Hurricane season.
All interest in and around the Atlantic basin should pay attention, remain alert, be prepared, and mitigate!