It’s hard to believe but here we are! Meteorological summer begins June 1 and will end on August 31. Meteorological seasons are divided using the Gregorian calendar, used by most of the world, making it easier for meteorological observing and forecasting to compare seasonal and monthly statistics.
In meteorology, the seasons are defined as:
- Spring – March, April, May
- Summer – June, July, Aug.
- Autumn – Sept., Oct., Nov.
- Winter – Dec., Jan., Feb.
The astronomical calendar determines the seasons due to the 23.5 degrees of tilt of the earth’s rotational axis in relation to its orbit around the sun. Both equinoxes and solstices are related to the earth’s orbit around the sun. In the northern hemisphere, the summer solstice (June 20 to 22, depending on the year) marks the start of astronomical summer, the point at which the northern hemisphere is pointing directly toward the sun. This means longer days, shorter nights and more solar radiation reaching the northern hemisphere, compared to the southern hemisphere. This year, summer officially arrives on June 21, at 5:14 a.m.
The summer outlook from the Climate Prediction Center is for above-average temperatures. Those A/C bills could look like a second mortgage! The CPC says there are too many variables in play to make a prediction for rainfall. Thus, we have equal chances of seeing above- or below-average precipitation. That being said, I think we could have well above average rainfall. Why? A greater number of tropical storms and hurricanes.
After an active 2021 Atlantic hurricane season, Colorado State University (CSU) predicts that the 2022 Atlantic hurricane season will again be “above-average” with major hurricanes making landfall. The university team projects nine hurricanes, four of which are predicted to be major hurricanes. My friend and colleague Phil Klotzbach is responsible for the seasonal Atlantic hurricane forecasts and is usually very accurate. In June, tropical systems are most likely to form in the Gulf of Mexico. We have considerable ocean cooling right now in the eastern equatorial Pacific Ocean. This is called La Nina. El Niño is just the opposite. During an El Nino year, we have a lot of wind shear, making it difficult for tropical systems to “spin up.”
The La Nina this summer is the major reason for the “above average” hurricane season. When El Niño is present in the Pacific, its wind shear force can literally break down hurricanes as they form in the Caribbean and Atlantic. Here are the names that will be given to this year’s storms: Alex, Bonnie, Colin, Danielle, Earl, Fiona, Gaston, Hermine, Ian, Julia, Karl, Lisa, Martin, Nicole, Owen, Paula, Richard, Shary, Tobias, Virginie, and Walter.