Ed explains: Why are we having a more active hurricane season?

It's been an active hurricane season, Ed explains why (WPDE)

Harvey, Irma, Jose, Katia, Lee, and now Maria, are all household names and all were major hurricanes this year, leading many people to ask, "Why so many hurricanes this year?"

ABC 15's Chief Meteorologist Ed Piotrowski says there are three factors that explain why we've had such an active year.

"Our water temperatures are warmer than normal, our wind shear is lower than normal, and we've got a tremendous amount of moisture across the entire Atlantic Ocean. All leading to many tropical storms and hurricanes," he explained.

There's also a reason why some hurricane seasons are more active than others.

"Lower than water temperatures and a lot more wind shear, your tropical storm and hurricane numbers are much reduced. In a season like this when we've got a lot of warm water and no wind shear, you get many storms forming," he said.

Related: ABC15's Hurricane Center

If someone told you it's because of climate change, they might need to double check that, he said.

"We don't believe that climate change has anything to do with the number of storms that actually form. In fact, a lot of the long range climate models would suggest that if the globe is warming, and the waters are getting warmer, we would have increasing wind shear that would actually reduce the number of storms that form".

He said no one year can be pinned on climate change because there are many different variables in the atmosphere that determine how many storms develop. It's called natural variability. The experts over at the National Weather Service predicted this would be a busy hurricane year, so how'd they do it?

"Water temperatures were already above normal and were going to stay above normal which is fuel for hurricanes, and number two because we were approaching La Niña, that meant normal wind shear that allowed tropical storms and hurricanes to grow without any disruption," he says.

He said another way the national weather service is able to figure out what a hurricane season is suppose to be like looking at the conditions during previous hurricane seasons.

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