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Thursday, November 29, 2007

They Got It Wrong. Again.

2007 Hurricane Predictions Miss The Mark
Just before the season started on June 1, the nationally prominent Gray-Klotzbach team at Colorado State University predicted that 17 named storms would grow into nine hurricanes, five of which would be particularly intense, with winds above 110 mph.

A different team at the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration predicted 13 to 17 named storms, seven to 10 hurricanes and three to five intense hurricanes.

The actual results for the 2007 season: 14 named storms, five hurricanes, two intense hurricanes.

That turned a season predicted to be extremely active into one that was about average in number of storms and well below average in total intensity.

Even mid-season corrections issued by both teams in August -- somewhat akin to changing your prediction about a baseball game during the fifth inning -- proved wrong.

Their pre-season predictions in 2005 and 2006 were even worse.

But hey, that's no problem. If you don't have the data to support your belief...make it up!

Decisions To Name Storms Draw Concern
Some meteorologists, including former hurricane center director Neil Frank, say as many as six of this year's 14 named tropical systems might have failed in earlier decades to earn "named storm" status.

"They seem to be naming storms a lot more than they used to," said Frank, who directed the hurricane center from 1974 to 1987 and is now chief meteorologist for KHOU-TV. "This year, I would put at least four storms in a very questionable category, and maybe even six."

Most of the storms in question briefly had tropical storm-force winds of at least 39 mph. But their central pressure — another measure of intensity — suggested they actually remained depressions or were non-tropical systems.

Any inconsistencies in the naming of tropical storms and hurricanes have significance far beyond semantics.

The number of a season's named storms forms the foundation of historical records used to determine trends in hurricane activity. Insurance companies use these trends to set homeowners' rates. And such information is vital to scientists trying to determine whether global warming has had a measurable impact on hurricane activity.
Of course some of the inconsistency can be attributed to better satellite and tracking technology that allows scientists to find storms that may have been missed in earlier decades. Still, it raises interesting questions in this day and age when so many climatologists and meteorologists are desperate to "prove" that global warming is a man made disaster, or heck maybe just desperate to make themselves look busy so they can keep their jobs or big fat funding for their "research."

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