>Hurricane Breeding Grounds SST Anomalies at the Start of the 2009 Season

>There are many factors that contribute to the seasonal numbers and intensities of Atlantic hurricanes. One of those factors is Sea Surface Temperature (SST) in the hurricane breeding grounds. The recent significant drop in North Atlantic SST Anomalies made me wonder about the SST anomalies of those hurricane breeding grounds. So I plotted the SST anomalies of the Tropical North Atlantic, the Eastern Tropical North Atlantic, the Caribbean, and the Gulf of Mexico. Refer to Figure 1 for the approximate locations. The coordinates I used are listed on the graphs. All of the areas show significant drops in SST anomalies over the past few years and months. What will the impact be on the 2009 hurricane season? We’ll discover that over the next few months.
http://i43.tinypic.com/35me1hc.png
Figure 1

The Tropical North Atlantic (Figure 2) and Eastern Tropical North Atlantic (Figure 3) SST Anomalies both show a sharp decline over the last year, and both bottomed out within the past few months.
http://i40.tinypic.com/dxn4z.png
Figure 2
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http://i44.tinypic.com/35ibn6p.png
Figure 3
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Keying on the smoothed data, Caribbean SST anomalies (Figure 4) have been dropping since 2007.
http://i40.tinypic.com/nzovw9.jpg
Figure 4
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And SST anomalies for the Gulf of Mexico (Figure 5) dropped during 2008.
http://i44.tinypic.com/nmcnk2.png
Figure 5
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And to put those anomalies into perspective, Figure 6 is a comparative graph of Average Annual Hurricane Season (June through November) SSTs (not anomalies) of the four areas briefly discussed in this post.
http://i43.tinypic.com/2exsx7r.png
Figure 6

SOURCE

IO.v2 SST and SST anomaly data is available through the NOAA NOMADS website:
http://nomad3.ncep.noaa.gov/cgi-bin/pdisp_sst.sh?lite=

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About Bob Tisdale

Research interest: the long-term aftereffects of El Niño and La Nina events on global sea surface temperature and ocean heat content. Author of the ebook Who Turned on the Heat? and regular contributor at WattsUpWithThat.
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