After one of the most intense hurricane seasons in the last decade (Irma and Harvey have cost the US more than Katrina, US $ 290,000 million, and María cost Puerto Rico between US $40 and $85 billion), the Atlantic Ocean could repeat this bitter scenario in 2018 if the “La Niña” phenomenon, which seems likely, strengthens itself in the coming months and persists until the summer.
There is a 55 to 65% chance that La Niña appears , according to the forecasts published last week by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration of the United States (NOAA).
La Niña is one of the two phases of the El Niño Southern Oscillation (ENSO), in which surface water temperatures near the equatorial Pacific change, affecting the climate from the Pacific to the Atlantic.
Both phases intensify hurricanes in one ocean and weaken them in the other. La Niña conditions tend to enhance this activity in the Atlantic and reduce it in the central and eastern Pacific, while El Niño does the opposite (its strong winds can even neutralize hurricanes in formation or some already circulating).
La Niña conditions generally last around 9 to 12 months, and some cycles can persist for up to 2 years, during which new seasons of severe hurricanes can be anticipated.
The next update of NOAA’s La Niña will be on February 8 and could weaken into the spring, it is not a fact that this will generate such severe hurricanes, although the possibility is high.