EarthSat predicts summer in U.S. to be coolest since 2004

LOS ANGELES (Reuters) - MDA EarthSat Energy Weather said on Tuesday this summer will be the coolest in the United States since 2004, and 8 percent cooler than last year.

A surfer cuts a turn on a wave while riding after sunset near Solana Beach, California June 27, 2007. REUTERS/Mike Blake

“Regionally, the summer outlook is favored to be hottest in the interior West and the coolest for the Midwest, Northeast, and Mid-Atlantic,” said EarthSat. “The emerging dryness in many parts of southern to western Texas is a concern for early season strong heat (especially May-June). Dryness in the Southeast is expected to decrease in the coming months, creating less of a concern for major summer heat there.”

For forecasting purposes, EarthSat calls summer June to August.

Measured in daily averages for temperature weighted for high density population areas -- to better measure air-conditioning that increases energy consumption -- this summer nationwide will be 8 percent cooler than last year and 3 percent cooler than the 10-year average but 4 percent higher than the 30-year normal, EarthSat said.

A weakening La Nina has been pegged to the cooler summer by forecasters including some polled by EarthSat. A La Nina is a period of below-normal water temperatures in the Pacific Ocean near the equator.

Last week, the U.S. National Oceanographic and Atmospheric Administration said the Pacific La Nina was weakening but still active and expected to continue through at least mid-July. It could continue well into the second half of 2008, about half of the forecasters contributing to the government expect, NOAA said.

NOAA’s Climate Prediction Center said current equatorial Pacific temperatures are about 1 degree Celsius below normal, compared with 1 to 4 degrees below normal in mid-December.

La Nina is also cited as a reason for predictions of a stronger-than-normal Atlantic tropical season this year.

EarthSat predicted fewer strong hurricanes than did Colorado State University forecasters Bill Gray and Phil Klotzbach because EarthSat expects cooler Atlantic water temperatures that some forecasters.

EarthSat director Matt Rogers said EarthSat predicts three intense storms (compared to Gray’s prediction of four), six hurricanes (compared to eight), and a total of 13 named tropical storms or hurricanes (compared to 15).

In 2007, there were 15 named tropical storms and six developed into hurricanes.

The prediction of a cooler summer matches forecasts of some other meteorologists. Earlier this month, predicted near-normal temperatures overall this summer, which would make it cooler than last year.

Reporting by Bernie Woodall; Editing by Braden Reddall