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Record ocean temperatures could lead to "explosive hurricane season," meteorologist says

How hotter oceans feed more severe hurricanes
How hotter oceans lead to more severe hurricanes 01:56

Rising air and ocean temperatures around the world could set the stage for an "explosive hurricane season," meteorologist Stephanie Abrams of The Weather Channel told "CBS Mornings" on Tuesday. 

In February, the average global sea surface temperature was the highest ever recorded, at 69.9 degrees. It's a trend that's picking up steam, especially in the Arctic, where temperatures are warming the fastest, causing the region to lose its ice. Researchers from the University of Colorado say that by the 2030s, the Arctic could have less than 400,000 square miles of ice coverage at times — just a quarter of today's coverage. 

Closer to home, ocean temperatures in the North Atlantic are much warmer than usual. In the North Atlantic basin, the current average temperature is slightly above 68 degrees, which is more typical of May. It's been the warmest start to the year on record. 

Water temperatures can have a significant impact, especially as hurricane season approaches. La Niña, when winds near the equator blow away from the Americas and cause colder water to rise to the surface, is also expected to develop during the upcoming hurricane season. The weather phenomenon results in less wind shear in the Atlantic Ocean, and typically makes for a more active hurricane season. 

"The combination of La Niña and record warmth in the Atlantic could make for an explosive hurricane season," Abrams told "CBS Mornings." 

Hurricane season in the Atlantic Ocean officially runs from June 1 to November 30, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration says. The season typically peaks in mid-September, with most activity occurring between mid-August and mid-October.  

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