'Calmer' 2012 hurricane season forecast

March 21, 2012 at 7:37 PM

FORT COLLINS, Colo., March 21 (UPI) -- The first forecast for the 2012 Atlantic hurricane season calls for a calmer-than-average period for the sometimes destructive storms, U.S. meteorologists say.

Scientists from Colorado State University said the six-month season that opens June 1 will have less activity than usual, USA Today reported Wednesday.

"A warming tropical Pacific and a cooling tropical Atlantic are leading us to think that the 2012 Atlantic hurricane season will have less activity" than average, meteorologists Philip Klotzbach and William Gray said in their online report.

An average Atlantic hurricane season will produce about six hurricanes.

"The tropical Atlantic has anomalously cooled over the past several months, and it appears that the chances of an El Nino event this summer and fall are relatively high," the forecasters said.

The El Nino phenomenon is a periodic warming of the tropical Pacific Ocean that tends to suppress hurricane activity in the Atlantic.

Colorado State will release a full, detailed forecast for the season in early April.

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