Conditions Ripe for Active Amazon Fire, Atlantic Hurricane Seasons


Rapid changes in atmospheric conditions or sea surface temperatures will influence rainfall patterns in 2020 and the potential for synchronized impacts from hurricanes and fires.

Warmer than average sea surface temperatures in the tropical North Atlantic Ocean so far in 2020 have set the stage for an active hurricane season and elevated the risk of fires in the southern Amazon, according to scientists at NASA and the University of California, Irvine.

Variations in ocean sea surface temperatures alter weather patterns around the world. In the case of the Atlantic Ocean, warmer surface waters near the equator draw moisture northward and away from the southern Amazon, favoring the development of hurricanes. As a result, the southern Amazon landscape becomes dry and flammable, making human-set fires used for agriculture and land clearing more prone to growing out of control and spreading.

The National Oceanographic and Atmospheric Administration is responsible for operational hurricane forecasting and monitoring in the United States. NASA’s role as a research agency is to develop new types of observational capabilities and analytical tools to learn about the fundamental processes that drive hurricanes and the connections between hurricanes and regional rainfall variability to incorporate data that capture those mechanisms in forecasts.

Continue reading at NASA Goddard Space Flight Center

Image via NASA Goddard Space Flight Center