This data visualization shows sea surface temperatures in the Atlantic on June 1, 2017, the first day of the 2017 Atlantic Hurricane Season. The yellow-orange areas indicate water temperatures of 26.5°C (80°F) and higher. This temperature threshold is significant, for according to NOAA's Hurricane Research Division, tropical cyclones require ocean temperatures of at least 80°F (26.5°C) for their formation and growth. In addition, this warm water needs to be present through a relatively deep layer (~150 ft, 50 m) of the ocean. This 80°F value is tied to the instability of the atmosphere in the tropical and subtropical latitudes. Above this temperature deep convection can occur, but below this value the atmosphere is too stable and little to no thunderstorm activity can be found.
For more information on the 2017 Atlantic Hurricane Season, go to www.noaa.gov.