What's an invest, anyway? We explain and break down the weather forecaster's term

The 2023 hurricane season is well underway, and some terms used by forecasters could use a little explanation.

2023 hurricane season: See the list of names for the Atlantic hurricane season

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Tropical conditions 8 a.m. June 16, 2023.

Here’s what forecasters are talking about when they designate or use the term invest.

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What is an invest?

An invest — which is short for investigation — is a system that an organization such as the National Hurricane Center is interested in collecting specialized data and/or running models, according to the National Weather Service.

The designation of a system as an invest does not mean it will develop into a tropical cyclone.

Invest numbers added to tropical weather outlooks in 2023

For the first time in 2023, the National Hurricane Center will add invest designations to its tropical outlooks.

Forecasters often keep an eye on systems that show a potential for development, well before they become named storms.

While invest designations have been used for years by forecasters, the actual invest designation has not been included in the tropical outlooks.

NHC changes in 2023: National Hurricane Center changes in 2023 include forecast extending out 7 days

What do invest letters and numbers stand for?

Invest identification names are a way to distinguish areas of disturbed weather that have the potential for tropical cyclone formation, according to the Hurricane Center.

Invests are assigned a letter and a number. The letter designates whether the system is in the Atlantic or Pacific, with L used for Atlantic and E for the Pacific.

The Atlantic basin covers the tropical Atlantic, Caribbean Sea and Gulf of Mexico.

The location designation is preceded by two numbers, which signify how many systems have been named for the season. Numbers start with 90 and go up to 99 before repeating.

As of June 16, the next invest of the season would be Invest 92L, which signifies it will be the third system in the Atlantic basin.

An unnamed subtropical storm in January was the first storm of the season, followed by Tropical Storm Arlene on June 2.

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Why do forecasters use invest designations?

The naming system helps forecasters keep track of systems they want more detailed information on and what’s out there, according to Track the Tropics.

When there are several systems out there, the designations also help identify which system they are referring to.

NOAA 2023 forecast: NOAA predicts ‘near normal’ hurricane season with 12-17 named storms and 5-9 hurricanes

What is a tropical wave?

A tropical wave, also known as an easterly wave, is an elongated area of relatively low pressure that moves from east to west across the tropics. To the west of the system, there is often good weather. To the east, though, cloudiness and heavy rain are often found.

Tropical waves can lead to the formation of a tropical cyclone, according to NOAA.

This article originally appeared on Palm Beach Post: What’s an invest, anyway? We explain and break down the weather forecaster’s term

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