The 2012 Atlantic hurricane season will be an event in the annual cycle of tropical cyclone formation. The season will officially begin on June 1 and end on November 30, dates that conventionally delimit the period of each year when most tropical cyclones develop in the Atlantic basin. However, the formation of tropical cyclones is possible at any time.
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Forecasts of hurricane activity are issued before each hurricane season by noted hurricane experts Philip J. Klotzbach, William M. Gray, and their associates at Colorado State University; and separately by NOAA forecasters. CSU's December 2011 discussion was notable in that the forecasting team announced it would no longer attempt quantitative forecasting nearly six months out, noting "...forecasts of the last 20 years have not shown real-time forecast skill." They will, however, release a quantitative forecast for 2012 in April.
Klotzbach's team (formerly led by Gray) defined the average number of storms per season (1981 to 2010) as 12.1 tropical storms, 6.4 hurricanes, 2.7 major hurricanes (storms reaching at least Category 3 strength in the Saffir-Simpson Hurricane Scale) and ACE Index 96.1. NOAA defines a season as above-normal, near-normal or below-normal by a combination of the number of named storms, the number reaching hurricane strength, the number reaching major hurricane strength and ACE Index.
On December 7, 2011, Tropical Storm Risk (TSR), a public consortium consisting of experts on insurance, risk management and seasonal climate forecasting at University College London, issued an extended-range forecast predicting an above-average hurricane season. In its report, TSR noted that tropical cyclone activity could be about 49% above the 1950–2010 average, with 14.1 (±4.2) tropical storms, 6.7 (±3.0) hurricanes, and 3.3 (±1.6) major hurricanes anticipated, and a cumulative ACE index of 117 (±58). On December 21, 2011, Weather Services International (WSI) issued an extended-range forecast predicting a near average hurricane season. In its forecast, WSI noted that a cooler North Atlantic Oscillation not seen in a decade, combined with weakening La Niña, would result in a near average season with 12 named storms, 7 hurricanes, and 3 major hurricanes. They also predicted a near average probability of a hurricane landfall on the USA coastline, with a slightly elevated chance on the Gulf Coast and a slightly reduced chance along the East Coast. On April 4, 2012, Colorado State University (CSU) issued their updated forecast for the season, calling for a below-normal season due to an increased chance for the development of an El Niño during the season.
2012 Storm Names
The following names will be used for named storms that form in the North Atlantic in 2012. Retired names, if any, will be announced by the World Meteorological Organization in the spring of 2013. The names not retired from this list will be used again in the 2018 season. This is the same list used in the 2006 season.