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Sea Surface Temperature Anomalies

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This slideshow compares sea surface temperatures during the 2005 hurricane season with recent conditions. The colors correspond to temperature anomalies, or departures from average, with bluish showing cooler-than-average water temperatures; and orange and red colors depicting warmer-than-average water temperatures.

Ocean temperatures are a key factor in hurricane formation, since hurricanes draw their energy from warm water. The box in the images corresponds to the “Main Development Region,” which is where most hurricanes in the North Atlantic form.

This animation shows that the Atlantic is warmer as we enter this hurricane season than it was in 2005, when a record 28 named tropical cyclones formed – including 15 hurricanes. Not surprisingly, the outlook for this season calls for above-average hurricane activity.

These maps will be updated each month throughout the 2010 hurricane season.