The conditions are “ripe” for an active Atlantic hurricane and Amazon fire season in 2020, according to forecasts from NASA and University of California, Irvine scientists.
Researchers point to warmer than average sea surface temperatures in the North Atlantic Ocean as a sign of intensified hurricanes and fires to come, Amanda Kooser reports for CNET. “[W]armer surface waters near the equator draw moisture northward and away from the southern Amazon, favoring the development of hurricanes,” NASA explains in a statement. “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.”
Doug Morton, NASA scientist, says in a statement that the forecast for this year resembles predictions from 2005 and 2010. Those years, “warm Atlantic sea surface temperatures spawned a series of severe hurricanes and triggered record droughts across the southern Amazon that culminated in widespread Amazon forest fires,” says Morton.