Last week, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, or NOAA, released new data about the upcoming hurricane season, estimating a 60 percent chance of higher-than-usual hurricane activity in the Atlantic.

On Thursday, Heather Goldstone joined Boston Public Radio to talk about what that new data means in the context of the ongoing pandemic.

"It’s NOAA’s outlook as well as other privately generated outlooks… calling in this case, for an above average level of hurricane activity this Summer,” she said. “Of course nobody has a crystal ball, and one of the big questions, always, is ‘okay, well even if we have major hurricanes, will they hit land?’ And that’s something we can’t necessarily say."

Asked how disaster relief groups are preparing their response in the context of the COVID-19 pandemic, Goldstone said considerations are being made, but that for groups like FEMA and the Red Cross, there are no easy solutions.

"I think this is just, we’ve got two different threats,” she said. "I don’t know which one you call the threat and which one you call the multiplier, that in my mind seem very likely to collide, have already collided in cases, and create these difficult, if not impossible choices… about how to actually respond.”

She also noted that, in the case of both climate change and coronavirus, dismissal of science has only exacerbated the crises.

“Unfortunately, the really lost opportunity here goes back more than days or weeks. It goes back months to years in terms of listening to our scientific expertise and actually preparing and averting, to an extent, both of these crises.”

"I think that’s the real shame and the real missed opportunity there, and hopefully that’s the wake-up call that we will take out of this situation… that we do need to listen to that scientific expertise, and we do need to be taking strong action to avert the worst impacts of climate change that are still ahead,” she said.

Heather Goldstone is the Chief Communications Officer at the Woods Hole Research Center, and an expert in ocean science.