Should hurricane season be longer? LSU climatologist among those considering a change

BATON ROUGE – Hurricane season runs June 1 through November 30, but a Louisiana climatologist and LSU professor Barry Keim are among researchers who believe the season should last longer.

“Seven of the last eight years, we’ve had named storms form before hurricane season officially began on June 1. We technically had a named storm in January of 2023,” said Keim, a professor in the LSU Department of Geography & Anthropology.

A sea surface temperature of 80 degrees Fahrenheit is necessary to support the formation of a tropical storm or hurricane.

“Climate change is causing warmer sea surface temperatures for a longer period of time,” Keim said. “Warmer atmosphere and sea surface temperatures would result in a longer season because you’re over the 80-degree threshold to support a storm, so it makes logical sense that hurricane season would expand in both directions.”

The researchers include people from LSU, the University of New Hampshire, Colorado State University, and the Southern Climate Impact Planning Program, or SCIPP.

SCIPP is a collaborative research program between LSU, the University of Oklahoma, LSU, Texas Sea Grant at Texas A&M University, and Adaptation International that has helped communities in the southcentral U.S. plan for and mitigate the impacts of weather and climate since 2008.

Based on the findings, the LSU professor said the research shows a need to change the start of hurricane season.

“It makes sense to start thinking about hurricane season beginning before June 1 to help residents and emergency officials plan and prepare for storms,” Keim said. “We need to wrap our heads around that hurricanes are arriving earlier in the season.”

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