Friday, September 01, 2006

The Weather, Revisited

A little over a month ago, I commented on this year's Atlantic hurricane season falling far short of what was advertised. Last year, we were repeatedly told that Global Warming was to blame for the record hurricane season, and that this year we were in for more of the same.

After anther quiet month and Ernesto's failure to regain hurricane status before hitting Florida, the good folks at Colorado State have revised their predictions, and now say that we can expect a below average Atlantic hurricane season this year. If I remember last year's Talking Heads correctly, the Colorado State crew was not among those hyping the alleged Global Warming connection, so they're not the ones with a whole lot of explaining to do.

But I would like to hear all those who were insisting that Global Warming would bring us an unrelenting hurricane apocalypse admit that they were just blowing hot air. Come on, admit it, guys. You don't know what the hell you're talking about.

Back when Ernesto was on the other side of Cuba, computer models had it anywhere from New Orleans to Greenland in a week. Here's what the computer models were saying four days ago:



Of course, a couple days before that, they all had it heading straight into the Gulf of Mexico:



Which is a long way from where it's going now:



Obviously, we couldn't get that level of precision without really good data and a very clear understanding of the processes involved. And if our understanding of the weather is such that we can devise computer models that can predict a storm's track over about a week with a margin of error of only a couple thousand miles, just imagine the precision involved in models that predict the weather a few decades down the road.

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4 Comments:

Anonymous Susan in St. Paul said...

So do you think the prediction of hurricane season going until November is still valid?

Friday, September 01, 2006 12:52:00 PM  
Blogger Jack said...

I think the hurricane season extending through November is as valid as summer extending into September. We may or may not have summery weather, but by definition (at least in the U.S.) summer goes on until the autumnal equinox. Same with hurricane season; it goes through November 30 whether there are any storms or not.

This year it looks like we're having a pretty normal season, which would mean that most of the serious activity would fall between mid-August and mid-October. I think that historically the odds are against a November hurricane, but I don't claim to have any special knowledge or predicting ability.

I just enjoy pointing it out when predictions of people who claim to have knowledge that they don't have prove wrong. Real scientists, like Bill Gray and the other folks at Colorado State make the best predictions they can, but they readily admit the limits of their knowledge. On the other hand, the Global Warming crowd tend to pretend to have a level of knowledge and understanding that they do not have.

Friday, September 01, 2006 1:27:00 PM  
Blogger Laurie said...

China is the one catching hell this season. That's weird.

Friday, September 01, 2006 11:52:00 PM  
Blogger Jack said...

Last year, Bill Gray pointed out that while we had one heck of a hurricane season in the atlantic, the Pacific and Indian Ocean had been pretty quiet. It all evens out over time.

Saturday, September 02, 2006 12:09:00 AM  

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