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Wednesday, June 07, 2006

Initial Conditions for the 2006 Atlantic Hurricane Season

Image from May 30th, 2005

Image from May 30th, 2006

June 1st marked the first official day of hurricane season in the Atlantic Ocean. In 2006, conditions in the Atlantic were “hurricane friendly,” said NASA scientist David Adamec, and not quite as extreme as they had been at the opening of the 2005 hurricane season. Hurricanes need both warm sea surface temperatures and calm winds to develop. Warm water provides both heat and humidity needed for storm formation. Strong winds would tear a developing storm apart, while calm winds allow a hurricane to build. In late May 2006, sea surface temperatures were warmer than normal, and winds were calm.

These images contrast sea surface temperatures on May 30, 2006, top, and May 30, 2005, bottom, as measured by the Advanced Microwave Scanning Radiometer-EOS (AMSR-E) on NASA’s Aqua satellite. Red colors show regions where waters were warmer than the twelve-year average (1985-1997), while blue indicates cooler-than-average temperatures. White indicates average temperatures.

Responsible NASA Official: David Herring