Mann’s hurricane season predictions

Hockey team science wonk Dr. Michael Mann has released his hurricane predictions, just in time to pre-empt NOAA’s planned release of their forecast ,Thursday, May 19, 2011 – 11:30 a.m. ET.

ESSC Scientists make prediction for 2011 North Atlantic Hurricane Season

ESSC Scientist Michael Mann and researcher Michael Kozar have released their prediction for the 2011 North Atlantic hurricane season, which starts on June 1st.

The prediction is for 16.25 +/- 4.0 total named storms, which corresponds to between 12 and 20 storms with a best estimate of 16 named storms. This prediction was made using the statistical model of Sabbatelli and Mann (2007, see PDF here), including the corrections for the historical undercount of events (Mann et al., 2007, see PDF here).

The assumptions behind this forecast are (a) that the current warm sea surface temperture (SST) anomaly (0.90 C from NOAA’s Coral Reef Watch, see SST anomaly image here) in the Main Development Region (MDR) in the North Atlantic persists throughout the 2011 hurricane season and (b) near-neutral conditions in the tropical Pacific during boreal Fall/Winter 2011 (see ENSO predictions here) and climatological mean conditions for the North Atlantic Oscillation (NAO) in Fall/Winter 2011.

For the first year, Mann and Kozar are testing an alternative model that uses “relative” MDR SST (MDR SST with the average tropical mean SST subtracted) in place of MDR SST. This model predicts a substantially higher 18.86 +/- 4.3 (i.e. between 15 and 23 with a best estimate of 19) total named storms.

In 2007, Mann and Thomas Sabbatelli predicted the exact number of named storms (15) for that season (see 2007 prediction). Mann and Sabbatelli predicted 8 to 15 named storms in 2009, with a lower range of 6 to 13 in the event of a strong El Nino (NINO3 anomaly +1 C or greater, see 2009 prediction). The 2009 season was relatively quiet with 9 named storms partially due to the development of a strong El Nino. Last year, Mann and Kozar predicted between 19 and 28 named storms, with a best estimate of 23 storms (see 2010 prediction). The National Hurricane Center identified 19 named storms during the 2010 Atlantic Hurricane Season (1 June 2010 to 30 November 2010).

References:

Mann, M.E., Sabbatelli, T.A., Neu, U., Evidence for a Modest Undercount Bias in Early Historical Atlantic Tropical Cyclone Counts, Geophys. Res. Lett., 34, L22707, doi:10.1029/2007GL031781, 2007.

Sabbatelli, T.A., Mann, M.E., The Influence of Climate State Variables on Atlantic Tropical Cyclone Occurrence Rates, J. Geophys. Res., 112, D17114, doi: 10.1029/2007JD008385, 2007.

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We’ll see how it pans out. I’m sure when it is all over we’ll find some inverted sediments someplace.

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86 thoughts on “Mann’s hurricane season predictions

  1. “In 2007, Mann and Thomas Sabbatelli predicted the exact number of named storms (15) for that season (see 2007 prediction).”

    Sorry, but I’m not too impressed. The range is always about +- 4, so if every year say the number of named storms is going to be somewhere between 11-19, then you should get it “exact” about 10%+ of the time, just by throwing darts at a board. Obiously they didn’t get it exactly right in 2008, 2009, 2010 . . .

  2. I regret to say that if Mann’s name is on anything, I distrust it intensely, as I distrust this paper.
    The man is far too tainted to retain any respect or belief in his “findings”.
    As far as I am concerned he is to be ignored totally.

  3. yah, my prediction is …..let’s see……gasintas…..ciphering….multiply………figuring….

    got it!!! ….. 17 +/- 5……. yes, I know its very bold…..phhttt.

  4. I don’t think he’s doing a bad job. His low number is consistently close to the observed. His high number is just getting more ridiculous, in an effort to sell sensation to the media. On average he’s increasingly wrong, but has yet to be out of the ball park.

  5. WTF does Mann know about hurricanes? Is he using PC analysis? I guess mysterious codes can be used to crunch any kinds of numbers.

  6. Lets not get too negative here. Just because his main job is in the arts, producing works of historical fiction like the hockeystick, doesn’t mean the mann can’t also do a bit of science in his spare time. Everyone needs a hobby and I’d hate to see him completely wasting his scientific training.

    Anyway, good on him for making a falsifiable prediction I say.

  7. And really was that not the same year they dropped then critira for naming the storms so really??? well done mike and as you see no last name or dr. in front!!!

  8. Hockey team science wonk Dr. Michael Mann has released his hurricane predictions, just …

    What is this?

    Is he claiming competency and skill in yet ANOTHER field?

    How is his ‘prediction’ any more accurate than a chimp’s or a dice toss?

    Is this anything more than a ‘limelight grab’?

    .

  9. “corresponds to between 12 and 20 storms” shouldn’t that be 13(12.25) and 20 (20.25) storms? 12 is outside the forecast.

  10. I predict there will be 20 +/- 20 named storms for the next 20 seasons … where do I pick up my Nobel?

    Count me with the underwhelmed.

  11. > “ESSC Scientist Michael Mann and researcher Michael Kozar have released their prediction for the 2011 North Atlantic hurricane season, ”
    Why should we care what Michael Mann makes up, being he is a person known for B.S. and deception?

    > ” The prediction is for 16.25 +/- 4.0 total named storms, which corresponds to between 12 and 20 storms ”
    Big deal, I predict there will be 365 days this coming year +/- 89 days…

  12. Why don’t they make it a little challenging? How about the number that make landfall… and where… and what intensity? Accurately making those predictions would separate the men from the Mann.

  13. Since he is soooo good with hockey sticks, I wish he’d give us a forecast for the outcome of the currently happening Stanley Cup playoffs.

    Then he could be taken “seriously”.

  14. Well, the folks in and around the mouth of the Mississippi and points north, are certainly hoping nothing comes ashore in the next couple months in the flooded areas. A big rain maker hitting the area could very well push the Big Muddy into a new channel to the west, which would be a devastating blow to the national economy.

  15. I thought hurricanes were just weather, not climate??

    And is just predicting how many there will be anything more than a parlour game? What does one do differently if its said to be 20 not 10? What decisions actually change?

  16. Mann wants to make predictions now? He’s changing his field of expertise from paleoclimatology to soothsaying? Well at least he’s moving into a “growth industry”.

  17. Just curious as to why the SST anomaly chart on which Mann relies is so different from that produced by UNISYS at its SST anomaly site. There appears to be a particularly serious divergence in the GOM. Can anyone help this novice understand what’s going on?

  18. Stephen Brown says: May 18, 2011 at 1:19 pm

    I regret to say that if Mann’s name is on anything, I distrust it intensely, as I distrust this paper.

    Distrust is that the right word?

    Does one distrust a clown?

  19. Well he’s usind a laundry tub to catch a tennis ball but I notice that his predictions have scored near the bottom of the range which may prvide a measure of the degree of over estimation he has on climate change, a hockey stick factor as it were. Therefore, using this guide, I predict 12 named storms for this season. I’m worried though that entering a cooling period, we may have storms like we did over 30 yrs ago.

  20. I guess the guy has to at least try and rehabilitate himself. Trouble for him seems to be that he is very unlucky with the odds. Even when he makes an educated guess he ends up wrong.

    Does anyone know what the two Joes are calling for?

  21. Yes, the Matrix background is perfect. Reality is what you engineer it to be. Right, Mr. Anderson?

  22. I know just about nothing about hurricanes but if 25 named storms is a lot and you get those during La Ninas and 9 is few during El Ninos, since ENSO is expected to be neutral, we should get about half way between. So my prediction is 16 named storms +/- 4.

    Hey that’s the same as his prediction. I wonder how much he got paid to make his.

  23. Scottish Sceptic says: “Does one distrust a clown?”

    I’ve been leery of clowns as far back as I can remember. There’s something creepy about them.

  24. This prediction was made using the statistical model
    =========================================
    No climate/weather involved here at all, at least they admit it.

    ..but with a 9 point spread, my parakeet could do better

  25. Even less confidence can be put in Mann’s_________ (fill in the blank)

  26. GregP says:
    May 18, 2011 at 1:53 pm
    “Why don’t they make it a little challenging? How about the number that make landfall… and where… and what intensity? Accurately making those predictions would separate the men from the Mann.”

    What Mann and Mann’s best friend are doing is not prediction and should not be honored with the predicate “…is a prediction.” They don’t have physical hypotheses that specify the conditions for storm formation and that can be rigorously formulated so that conditions for falsification can be deduced from them. What Mann calls prediction is no different in principle from “predicting” whether the coin in your hand will land heads or tails when flipped. Specifically, all he is doing is looking at old charts, old statistics, memories about last year, and such materials. Those materials can produce HUNCHES, but they cannot produce predictions.

    Genuine scientists should not allow these people to get away with misusing a perfectly good scientific term such as “prediction.” Mann and his kind have dragged science’s name through the mud enough already.

    By the way, aside from this question of Mann, why is it that scientists forecast the number of hurricanes in the NA rather than the number that will make landfall in the USA? After all, we in the USA are paying for the service so why is it not designed to meet our needs? Commercial shipping uses its own private forecasters.

  27. Why give this buffoon any respectability by even mentioning his work here? UVA still has not released ANY data to Chris Horner even though they got $4000 just to look for the data requested.

  28. So you can miss the answer by 25% and still be considered correct. I wish all my math teachers had seen it that way.

  29. So Michael Mann is now a hurricane and meteorology specialist?
    I thought his expertise was sap.

  30. Where are his 2008 predictions when Ike and Gustav (among others) hit the Gulf Coast and Texas? He doesn’t seem to give any specifics as to intensity of the storms (as NOAA attempts to do). Not to mention the fact that NOAA has already issued their preliminary predictions in the beginning of April for about the same number of storms as this guy with a few hitting the US this time around. (I check since hurricane damage to power lines is something that my husband watches so he can go fix them.)

  31. take the historic average add a healthy margin of error and there is your result .
    No need to study ‘climate science’ at all. Now how wants to give me odds on that if there more than this number this will confirm climate doom, In Mann’s eyes, and less then this number means nothing ?

  32. Jeff Carlson says: May 18, 2011 at 2:02 pm

    Is Mann actually trained in hurricane forecasting ? Or is he just dabbling ?

    Can they forecast Hurricanes? Don’t make me laugh. It’s all spin!
    (and sometime they even get the direction right!)

  33. And yet he can predict a temperature rise within 2 degrees. Mann, are you getting soft?

  34. O, that photograph, that photograph again! It really does make a statement.

    Once a pose is struck let no Mann put asunder.

  35. I gather that hurricanes are part of his job re-training program? Building upon his ‘core competency’ statistical skills?

    His reputation proceeds him. Check his work, Judith….. ;-D

  36. Seems Dr. Mann’s forecasts in the past have been accurate, as was the hockey stick which has since been supported by numerous other reconstructions. The wonk’s science has been solid.

  37. I don’t actually believe any of these predictions. Given that the range of Hurricanes is from 0-20 and given that it is unlikely to be less than 4, or greater than 18 a wild guess is not likely to be far off. Has anyone actually checked the record of those making predictions and compared it to purely randomly picking a number between 4 and 18? Also mid-season changes to predictions don’t count.
    I don’t think that named storms should count. The last several years we have seen NOAA inflate the number of named storms.
    For the record my prediction for a very quite year after the Karina year was more accurate the experts. I based it on my wild guess theory. That and unlike Mann I know there are other factors besides Sea Surface temperatures.

  38. Hockey team science wonk Dr. Michael Mann has released his hurricane predictions, just in time to pre-empt NOAA’s planned release of their forecast ,Thursday, May 19, 2011 – 11:30 a.m. ET.

    When NOAA started their forecast, they timed it to preempt Bill Gray’s hurricane forecast. (The Klotzbach/Gray forecast will be out June 1.)

    All pretty silly, since hurricane season always starts with a bunch of hype and then typically nothing happens for the next six weeks. They’ll have an update on Aug 3.

    That’s a pretty terse forcast. Klotzbach/Gray will have lots of information backing up the forecast.

  39. I live in Florida. I listen to what the people in Colorado think. Then I listen to what the people in New York think. Then I listen to what people in Bum F***, Egypt, think. Then I shake my ample belly, look at what the AMO, ENSO and such are doing. Then I say to myslelf: “Self: It’s time to buy a small generator. This year in Florida is going to be a lot like what happened to Australia. Big North-South differences in temperature, really big hurricanes.” If I have a choice of places to vacation until November, it’ll be Montana.

  40. Analog years help to indicate the approximate number of NS as well as the ENSO conditions. With a neutral state coming from a La Nina….expect more, bigger and closer to the US (regarding landfalls).

    OTOH, this is highly dependent on shear conditions and if the prevailing conditions in the MDR create shear (as is the case right now) then systems can just not get going, no matter what the SSTs are.

    Predictions are for the clairvoyant or very brave. Mother Nature laughs heartily.

  41. The number of named storms that will occur this year is an integer. There is not a large number of years named 2011. This is not like saying the average woman will have 2.7 children when there hundreds of millions of women where it is clear that the number refers to the number of births divided by the number of women. There is only one year named 2011. Just as a specific woman cannot have a fractional child, a specific year cannot have a fractional named storm.

    16.25 ???? He can’t even state a prediction in competent terms.

  42. Climategate 1060002347.txt first part only
    From: “Michael E. Mann” <mann@virginia.edu
    To: "Jim Salinger" <j.salinger@niwa.co.nz, Phil Jones <p.jones@uea.ac.uk, Barrie.Pittock@csiro.au, m.hulme@uea.ac.uk, "Neville Nicholls" <n.nicholls@bom.gov.au
    Mon, 04 Aug 2003
    Cc: n.nicholls@bom.gov.au, Peter.Whetton@csiro.au, Roger.Francey@csiro.au, David.Etheridge@csiro.au, Ian.Smith@csiro.au, Simon.Torok@csiro.au, Willem.Bouma@csiro.au, pachauri@teri.res.in, Greg.Ayers@csiro.au, Rick.Bailey@csiro.au, Graeme.Pearman@csiro.au, mmaccrac@comcast.net, tcrowley@duke.edu, rbradley@geo.umass.edu

    Mann writes " Dear Jim,
    Thanks for your continued interest and help w/ all this. It's nice to know that our friends
    down under are doing their best to fight the misinformation. It is true that the skeptics
    twist the truth clockwise rather than counterclockwise in the Southern Hemisphere?
    There was indeed a lot of activity last week. Hans Von Storch's resignation as chief editor
    of CR, which I think took a lot of guts, couldn't have come at a better time. It was on the
    night before before the notorious "James Inhofe", Chair of the Senate "Environment and
    Public Works Committee" attempted to provide a public stage for Willie Soon and David
    Legates to peddle their garbage (the Soon & Baliunas junk of course, but also the usual
    myths about the satellite record, 1940s-1970s cooling, "co2 is good for us" and "but water vapor is the primary greenhouse gas!").
    Fortunately, these two are clowns, neither remotely as sharp as Lindzen or as slick as
    Michaels, and it wasn't too difficult to deal with them. Suffice it to say, the event did
    *not* go the way Inhofe and the republicans had hoped. "

    This is NOT going to become the new language of Science – not – while many friends and me are physically and mentally able to combat it. Do note the number of people who have since come under investigation or are about to. Climategate does not reveal the answers that the Australian contingent gave, but I've not seen them writing to distance themselves from this position of rather nasty contempt.

  43. What is a quarter of a storm? That is prime evidence that he is just making things up. Fractions sound so much more scientific. But it does not make any sense.

  44. I predict 14 named storms. This is based upon a precise guess after a few beers. What will I win? This is a sweepstake right?

    I don’t really see the point of this no doubt well-funded work. So Mann can say , “see? I told you so”? Who does it help to look back retrospectively and say “yeah, I told you there would be X amount of storms, give or take a few”?

    They can’t predict the storm in time for it to make any difference for the people affected by the few that make landfall. It all seems kind of pointless really. The weather is whatever it will be. Best-guessing how severe it might be over a summer does not appear, to me, to serve any purpose.

  45. I like the Matrix comment, Hoser. Very apt.

    Mann and “statistical” in the same sentence is always good for a laugh even if it is something like “Mann does not seem to understand things of a statistical nature.”

    Mark

  46. I love predictions like this. You see, I make predictions such as this:

    8-10 tropical storms with more chance for them to hit the US and being high intensity.

    So I predicted 1-2 major storms with a slight chance of a third.

    If you don’t put in a small variance, your prediction means squat. This is especially true for Dr. Mann.

    This will of course be my first year with the hurricane predictions…so we shall see. It is like shooting darts as some said unless you cut the variance down a bunch.

    Of course, a weakening la nina (that further weakens) would increase the number of storms slightly from the way I was looking at it. But this would probably have no effect on the number of major storms.

  47. sceptical says:

    “Seems Dr. Mann’s forecasts in the past have been accurate, as was the hockey stick which has since been supported by numerous other reconstructions. The wonk’s science has been solid.”

    Wow. What color is the sky on your planet, sceptical? Because you’re obviously living on an alien world. On Earth the UN/IPCC can no longer use Mann’s debunked hokey stick chart.

    To save myself more typing, go here to see Mann’s total deconstruction. Scroll down through the comments, and make up your own mind.

    One of the commentators linked to this page, which shows conclusively that Bradley [of Mann et al./MBH98] heavily plagiarized Fritts.

  48. Prediction of Hurricanes…such a pointless exercise. How come we don’t make such a big deal about the prediction of tornados? I am sure someone is being paid to predict those every year. I wonder if that person holds animosity towards those who predict hurricanes for their lack of publicity?…I bet the hurricane predictors get their names on the lists of all the hip restaurants while the tornado predictors have to stand outside in line. I predict that this will eventually come to a head and then we will have blood in the streets…well maybe not blood in the streets, but I expect some mean words to be exchanged on the internet.

  49. Eric Anderson says:
    May 18, 2011 at 1:08 pm

    “In 2007, Mann and Thomas Sabbatelli predicted the exact number of named storms (15) for that season (see 2007 prediction).”

    What makes this citation completely lame are:
    (1) They forgot to add the fudge factor +/- 4 storms – their “predicted” number (15) was a complete fluke, especially since…
    (2) 2007 was the year that NOAA decided to name a subtropical storm (!) – remember Andrea? No, I didn’t think so…
    (3) Anyone with dice or a deck of cards can guess the the number of “named” storms. What about forecasting the number of major hurricanes and landfalling hurricanes? It gets a little harder. (Remember last year? No landfalling hurricanes…)

    More information on the 2007 season here…

  50. The Mann Predicts (again)

    The Penn State Earth System Science Center’s (ESSC) news release
    doesn’t directly mention any gradual increase in the intensity of
    the “storms” other than they will qualify to be in the named
    catagory range.

    Within the release, here’s no indication of an increase in the number
    of named storms or their strength where global warming has played
    any acknowledged role.

    However, the Geophysical Research Letters paper of Mann,
    Sabbatelli, and Neu [2007] attempts to refute the work done in the
    Holland and Webster [2007] and Landsea et al [2004] and Landsea
    [2005, 2007] papers calculating the historic undercounting of Atlantic
    tropical cyclones back to 1900.

    See:

    http://www.meteo.psu.edu/~mann/shared/articles/MSN-GRL07.pdf

    In this paper we once again Mike Mann having a go at rewriting
    the past, saying that there wasn’t really an undercount going
    back in history, no matter how spotty or sparse the observations.
    Mann, Sabbatelli, and Neu [2007] picks a whole new statistical
    method
    to look at the storm count as opposed to that used by
    the more traditional researchers.

    They arrive at a possible undercount of one whole Atlantic
    tropical storm per year from 1900 through the pre-WWII decades.
    They use that estimate to “prove” that we’re getting numerically
    more and physically higher intensity storms now than in previous
    decades due to/as a byproduct of anthropogenic global warming.

    …much like the various attempts by “Team” players to minimize
    the temperature fluctuations during and after the Little Ice Age,
    which was part of the “handle” for their statistical hockey stick.

    Sadly, for Mann, the actual observations haven’t recently fit into
    the increases in Atlantic tropical storm counts or the jump in
    intensities his 2007 model suggests.

    His Atlantic tropical storm prognostications are now fraught with
    caveats dealing with the status of El Nino, ENSO, and the NAO.
    These outside factors have no proven connection to AGW… and
    are rhetorically useful if the predictions don’t match reality.

    He’s selling a used car with a 30 day error band warrantee.

  51. R. Shearer says:
    May 18, 2011 at 4:26 pm
    I worried about that last 1/4 of a hurricane.

    slp says:
    May 18, 2011 at 6:16 pm
    What is a quarter of a storm? That is prime evidence that he is just making things up. Fractions sound so much more scientific. But it does not make any sense.

    I wondered how long the comments would continue before the obvious would be noted. While I have trouble with ad hominem in ‘science’, it’s not hard to see how it develops in cases like this. This ‘prediction’ is grandstanding, pure and simple, and worse: that IS a smug and contemptuous expression…clear indication of the depth of corruption all this has sunk to. I’m sorry, but claptrap has become the standard. Mann’s ego is all we are seeing here, nothing of value whatsoever. 0.25 degree, 0.25 of a hurricane, 0.25 of a point for looking so smug. If only we could effectively ignore this stuff.

  52. If they haven figured out what the wind shear will be on the Atlantic, and how much dust will be carried from the Sahara, then they are just playing roulette.

    My prediction is there will be about the same number of hurricane of previous decades. ☺

  53. Statisticians: does a 25% +/- error mean anything here? If you took a 5-year running trend for the previous 30 years and simply took the previous years number and did a 25% error bar on it, would you be correct in a Mannly way?

    Isn’t such a prediction non-falsifiable? Again?

  54. Is this simply a schoolyard game, guessing how many in a season? This advances science in what way?

    Just asking but other than claiming a headline here and there it just throws more ridicule towards the “Models”!

  55. Eh, this grandly announcing forecasts which are actually just a summation of the historical statistics (mean +/- 1-sigma) is very tiresome. That they can’t even narrow the sigma with their grand models is the most telling part.

    It reminds me of a con-job shown on TV in NZ a few years ago. Some guy was selling a service wherein he would supply a calendar of days and times at which to conceive to get a baby of the desired sex. A couple would fill in a questionnaire detailing dates of various biological events relevant to them and other info and his secret model would generate the calendar. For this service he took a modest sum, I think something lile $200. He was even so confident in his model that he generously offered a money-back guarantee if a couple got a baby of the wrong sex. There were of course glowing testimonials from happy customers and even those who were happy to get their money back (after all, they still got a baby).

    Even a statistical moron can see why such a scheme was a gravy-train for this guy who needed to do no work to virtually ensure a return of $100 per client. These hurricane predictions are not much better, exploiting underlying unvarying statistics to make money/puff up a career at the expense of the rubes.

  56. So what!

    What does this numbers game prove apart from the fact that the producers need to get a life. Whatever the actual number of storms it will not prove climate change only the wide spread of natural variation within earth’s systems.

  57. My prediction: The median average +/- a bunch. Sounds simple and yet I beat the models every time ;-)

  58. I have just started a new modeling system to predict the number of named storms during the Atlantic Hurricane season. I call it the Puppy Piddle Pad Prediction Mode (PPPPM). I took a Puppy Piddle Pad, sectioned it off into squares, then filled those squares using a random number generator for between 1-30. Once the Puppy Piddles on the Pad, the bulls eye number will be the prediction and the number of squares the Piddle bleeds over onto will be the +/- range. I will compare these results to the other modeling groups and the actual number at the end of the season. I am confident that by next year the PPPPM will be the preferred and most accurate model for predicting the amount of named storms during the Atlantic Hurricane season.

  59. My prediction is for 6 named storms + or – 3 storms.

    I also predict that Michael Mann will claim to be absolutely accurate with his prediction, regardless of the number because of the wide error bars and even wider wiggle-room over how these storms become “named”

  60. To be sure of hitting the target, shoot first, and call whatever you hit the target.

  61. ” 16.25 +/- 4.0 ” named storms? Could someboidy PLEEAASE explain the concept of ‘cardinal numbers’ to these idiots? If they really mean “13 to 20″ they should say exactly that. There can be no such thing as “0.25 named storms”.
    Not that anybody’s listening…
    Since Katrina the only common factor to the forecasts of storms for the North Atlantic Hurricane season has been their wild inaccuracy.

  62. Mann’s making hurricane predictions?

    I wonder what data he had to turn upside down to get his numbers?

    That WOULD explain why there was no 2008 prediction – no-one would have believed a prediction of minus 15…

  63. This chart seems to indicate a significantly lower average:

    I’m pretty sure the chart contradicts my memory (didn’t we run out of names a few years back?), so I think I may be reading it wrong. Does anyone have a historical chart of numbers of hurricanes that might be a bit more clear?

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