BATON ROUGE, La. (BRPROUD) – Two LSU professors have developed a study that can help better predict how many hurricanes could hit the Gulf of Mexico in one season. 

Each year the National Hurricane Center releases a prediction of how busy the hurricane season will be for the whole North Atlantic Basin. However, Dr. Paul Miller at LSU found that the Gulf of Mexico is a little different from the Atlantic as a whole.

“The seasonality of hurricane season in the Gulf of Mexico kind of starts a little earlier and as we’ve seen from Ida, even Nicholas earlier this week, they can escalate very, very quickly,” Dr. Miller said.

He also said storms that form in the Gulf almost always hit land, unlike some storms in the ocean that may spin out without any impact. They found some of the usual forecasting methods don’t always accurately portray the unique attributes of the Gulf.

Miller and co-author Jill Trepanier, LSU Department of Geography & Anthropology associate professor, reviewed model records kept by the National Center for Environmental Prediction. They started with the year 2012 to look for trends that could reveal ways to predict storms in the Gulf.  

“What we developed was a system where we go about 6km above the ground, about 20,000ft and we would look at the temperature at that level,” Dr. Miller said. “We noticed this relationship that the warmer that temperature was, the more we saw more storms in the Gulf of Mexico.”

Now that the study has been released, they hope to use it with the state as well as the National Hurricane Center to help better prepare for storms and also help with offshore gas and oil operations.

“The more we can improve that lead time and anticipate the amount of tropical cyclone activity we will see on a seasonal scale can help us prepare for some of those rapidly developing events,” Dr. Miller said.

He also said the system isn’t that complex so it would be easy to make a forecast every hurricane season. You can read the study here.