The Atlantic is frying, but so far hurricanes are dying. What’s going on?

Don briefly reached hurricane status in July 2023.

Enlarge / Don briefly reached hurricane status in July 2023. (credit: NOAA)

As July came to a close, the Atlantic Ocean was absolutely sizzling, particularly in areas where hurricanes commonly form.

In the “main development region,” a stretch of tropical water between Africa and the Caribbean Sea where most major Atlantic hurricanes develop, the sea surface temperature averaged 82.4° Fahrenheit, a full degree above any previous July.

This kind of temperature, at least partly fueled by a changing climate, has only rarely been seen in past hurricane seasons—and then only during September or early October, when temperatures in the tropical Atlantic typically reach their peak.

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