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    We're Cranking Up Our FrankenStorm Factory Again: The 2013 Hurricane Season Is Going to Be Hell

    Written by

    Brian Merchant

    Senior Editor

    Image: NASA

    It's about that time. The lights are back on, and theres a plume of smoke pumping out of that dirty old Frankenstorm factory we all built. Storms' a-comin'.

    Hurricane season officially begins on June 1st, and climatologists and meteorologists are bracing for another "above normal" or "extremely active" season. Above normal because humans built that frankenstorm factory in the first place, when we loaded up the atmosphere and the oceans with carbon and methane and cranked up the greenhouse effect. Now government climate forecasters say we're in for another hell of a season these next few months.

    Last year, you'll recall, saw Hurricane Sandy transform into FrankenStorm Sandy, after the tropical storm collided with another system that had moved in from the Midwest. Scientists were unusually quick to direct some of the blame for the storm's unusual potency on climate change—warmer-than-average ocean temps helped fuel the storm's amphetamine fury, higher sea levels made deluge easy.

    It was a storm of storms, and it was the national headline. For a while there, we were all talking about global change. Even Republicans.

    But as we're wont to do, we soon moved on to other tragedies and curiosities, shootings and bombings and presidential politics, and we forgot that the Frankenstorm factory was just idling for the winter. 

    Now, in its annual forecast, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration said that the 2013 Atlantic hurricane season is predicted to bring 13-20 tropical storms. As many as 11 of those will turn into hurricanes. As many as 6 of those could become a Category 3 or more. That's a 110 mph+ storm, folks.

    NOAA chief Kathryn Sullivan told Reuters that "For the six-month hurricane season which will start June 1, NOAA predicts an above-normal and possibly an extremely active hurricane season."

    Reuters has more: "Speaking at NOAA's Climate Prediction Center, she said the hurricane season for the Atlantic Ocean, Caribbean Sea and Gulf of Mexico threatened "quite a lot of activity" due to a combination of several climate factors, including warmer-than-average temperatures in the tropical Atlantic and Caribbean."

    Alas. Warmer-than-average ocean temperatures are like Red Bull for storms. More energy, more anger. Just a key component of the frankenstorm factory, though, a fact of life. Oceans are warmer now, so are global average temps, and that warmer air holds more moisture. Stormier storms. It's bad news for East Coasters, some of whom still haven't finished repairs on the damage left by the last frankenstorm. Some of whom are still homeless. 

    Doesn't matter much to the new-and-improved-and-hotter-than-ever climate system though. It's hurricane season. Let's see what Frankenstorm factory cranks out this time.