World Meteorological Day 2021: The ocean, our climate and weather

By Scott Holeman, Media Relations Director, Triple-I

The ocean, our climate and weather is the theme of this year’s World Meteorological Day (March 23). Triple-I non-resident scholar and Colorado State University Research Scientist Dr. Phil Klotzbach helps us monitor hurricane activity throughout the year. He says Atlantic hurricane seasons have become much more active since 1995.

2020 was a record hurricane season, producing 30 storms, 13 hurricanes and six continental United States landfalling hurricanes. Klotzbach explains that when ocean water is warmer than normal, it provides more fuel for hurricanes and tends to make the atmosphere more unstable. “The warmer water temps we’ve seen in the last 25 years are likely due to natural variability of the ocean, as well as a human-induced component driven by increases in carbon dioxide,” says Klotzbach.

Technology is improving the ability to forecast, track and measure individual hurricanes. Klotzbach says this knowledge also helps build models to forecast future hurricane seasons. “There are signals in the ocean-atmosphere system that give us clues as to how the hurricane season this coming year is going to behave,” he says.

Klotzbach and CSU’s Department of Atmospheric Science are scheduled to deliver their first hurricane seasonal forecast for 2021 on April 8. Triple-I will share those details on all of our communications platforms.