Klotzbach and Gray continue to expect a well above-average hurricane season

The last (and my favorite) of the major hurricane seasonal forecasts came out yesterday. Phil Klotzbach and Bill Gray from Colorado State are sticking with their April forecast. Rather anti-climactic, but perhaps it’s a measure of the confidence in the forecast. I didn’t have a chance to write up something in April, so I’ll do it now before normalcy, if it sets in, brings six weeks of inactivity.

http://hurricane.atmos.colostate.edu/Forecasts is used in most of the following. My comments are in italics.

Klotzbach & Gray New June Predictor regions

EXTENDED RANGE FORECAST OF ATLANTIC SEASONAL HURRICANE ACTIVITY AND LANDFALL STRIKE PROBABILITY FOR 2011

We continue to foresee well above-average activity for the 2011 Atlantic hurricane season. We are predicting the same levels of activity that were forecast in early April due to the combination of expected neutral ENSO conditions and very favorable atmospheric and oceanic conditions in the tropical Atlantic. We continue to anticipate an above-average probability of United States and Caribbean major hurricane landfall.

Note – in the table below, I changed K&G’s June numbers to the range that include ±1 standard deviation of their hindcast error and added a column with NOAA’s forecast.

Forecast Parameter and 1950-2000
Climatology (in parentheses)
Issue Date
8 December 2010
Issue Date
6 April 2011
Issue Date
1 June 2011
NOAA
Named Storms (NS) (9.6) 17 16 12.3 – 19.7 12-18
Named Storm Days (NSD) (49.1) 85 80 59.9 – 101.1
Hurricanes (H) (5.9) 9 9 6.9 – 11.1 6-10
Hurricane Days (HD) (24.5) 40 35 24.8 – 45.2
Major Hurricanes (MH) (2.3) 5 5 3.4 – 6.6 3-6
Major Hurricane Days (MHD) (5.0) 10 10 4.7 – 15.3
Accumulated Cyclone Energy (ACE) (96.1) 165 160 112 – 212
Net Tropical Cyclone Activity (NTC) (100%) 180 175 127 – 223

PROBABILITIES FOR AT LEAST ONE MAJOR (CATEGORY 3-4-5) HURRICANE LANDFALL ON EACH OF THE FOLLOWING COASTAL AREAS:

  1. Entire U.S. coastline – 72% (average for last century is 52%)
  2. U.S. East Coast Including Peninsula Florida – 48% (average for last century is 31%)
  3. Gulf Coast from the Florida Panhandle westward to Brownsville – 47% (average for
    last century is 30%)

PROBABILITY FOR AT LEAST ONE MAJOR (CATEGORY 3-4-5) HURRICANE TRACKING INTO THE CARIBBEAN (10-20°N, 60-88°W)

  1. 61% (average for last century is 42%)

Acknowledgment

This year’s forecasts are funded by private and personal funds. We thank the GeoGraphics Laboratory at Bridgewater State College (MA) for their assistance in developing the United States Landfalling Hurricane Probability Webpage (available online at http://www.e-transit.org/hurricane).

The forecast is a blend of a statistical analysis, a search for analog years with similarities to April-May conditions and the expected August-October conditions, and “qualitative adjustments for other factors not explicitly contained in any of these schemes.”

As they often do, the June forecast is based on a new June statistical model and uses just four predictors (the geographic ranges are in the image at the top):

Predictor 2011 Forecast Value
1) April-May SST (15-55°N, 15-35°W) (+) +0.3 SD
2) April-May 200 MB U (0-15°S, 150°E-20°W) (+) +1.6 SD
3) ECMWF 1 May SST Forecast for September Nino 3 (5°S-5°N, 90-150°W) (-) +0.3 SD
4) May SLP (20-40°N, 30-50°W) (-) -0.9 SD

Decoding key: SST: Sea Surface Temperature; SLP: Sea Level Pressure, SD: Standard deviation; 200 MB U: zonal wind at atmospheric pressure 200 mb, an altitude of about 40,000 feet.

Other notes:

ENSO

The moderate-to-strong La Niña conditions of this past winter have continued to weaken since early April. According to the Climate Prediction Center (CPC), SST anomalies in the central and eastern tropical Pacific have now warmed to the point where ENSO is in its neutral state. While the moderation of tropical Pacific SSTs have continued over the past couple of months, we do not expect to see a transition to El Niño conditions during the next several months.

Current Atlantic Basin Conditions

Conditions in the Atlantic remain favorable for an active season. May SSTs across the tropical Atlantic remain at above-average levels (Figure 17). The anomalously strong trades during the latter part of the winter that caused some anomalous cooling in the tropical Atlantic have now weakened (Figure 18). Sea level pressure anomalies during the month of May were also well below-average throughout the tropical Atlantic (Figure 19). Altogether, tropical Atlantic conditions currently reflect an environment conducive for an active hurricane season.

Forthcoming Updated Forecasts of 2011 Hurricane Activity

We will be issuing a final seasonal updates of our 2011 Atlantic basin hurricane forecast on Wednesday, 3 August. We will also be issuing two-week forecasts for Atlantic TC activity during the climatological peak of the season from August-October. A late-season forecast for the Caribbean will be issued in early October. A verification and discussion of all 2011 forecasts will be issued in late November 2011. All of these forecasts will be available on the web at: http://hurricane.atmos.colostate.edu/Forecasts.

I will likely report on the Aug. 3rd update, but will probably not cover the two-week forecasts. Last year, several were dominated by current activity, low or high.

About these ads

65 thoughts on “Klotzbach and Gray continue to expect a well above-average hurricane season

  1. Sadly anything close to prediction will be touted as confirmation of model. Anything above will also be used to promote agenda. This is a set up for false positives.

  2. Isn’t one of he more succesful indicators for Atlantic hurricane prediction 6 months out use dust levels in the subSaharen Sahel region? I thought I remembered reading about something like that.

  3. Probability that the probabilities can be proven wrong 0%. These thing will either will happen or not in which case the probabilities are 100% or 0%.

  4. I’m predicting 1 hurricane in the Atlantic.

    If get 5, I’ll contact the media and report we got 5 times as many hurricanes as expected. The end is near!

  5. My guess is we will have an active season. We have tropical Atlantic sea surface temperatures at or slightly below normal but we have air aloft that is much colder than normal. This will make for much more vigorous convection. What powers these storms is a difference in temperature. The greater the difference, the more powerful the storm. You can have warmer water or you can have colder air, as long as that difference in temperature is there, you will have powerful convection.

    Air temperatures above 25,000 feet are the coldest we have recorded since they have been measured by satellites. Warm, wet air will rise quickly in that cold air resulting it a stronger updraft which should get things spinning nicely.

  6. I am personally getting sick and tired of the snide comments written so far and some before, the scoffs at probability forecasting for tropical cyclones.

    Dr. Gray has made a career of being quite successful in forecasting the seasons.

    The eastern seaboard states (and this does not include the gulf coast states) of the USA contain 112 MILLION people, most of them in rather close proximity to the coast.

    Put another way, even though the Eastern Seaboard is only 11.8% percent of the area of the United States…it contains 37% of its total population.

    The largest mega-region in the USA, some 50 million people, includes New York City, one of the largest cities in the world, and one that could be quite vulnerable to the (indeed if rare) direct hit from a tropical cyclone.

    And I will not even begin to start talking about very densely populated South Florida…

    True, tropical cyclones don’t usually bring the instantaneous and apocalyptic destruction that say, tsunamis do (on a large scale) or that of an EF5 tornado (on a small scale.)

    But they can be extremely disruptive to commerce, destructive to infrastructure and property, not to mention a major, major threat to life and safety.

    In light of the fact that these beasts are the largest storms on earth…and have been responsible for catastrophically huge losses to life and property across the globe…

    …I am mystified why some individuals on here, cowardly hiding behind their little computer keyboards in their climate-controlled rooms and insulated from Nature’s dangers, would make light of hurricane forecasting, with cheap, uncalled-for, below-the-belt, class A bull****.

    Chris
    Norfolk, VA, USA

  7. Steve R says:
    June 2, 2011 at 7:12 pm (Edit)

    Isn’t one of the more successful indicators for Atlantic hurricane prediction 6 months out use dust levels in the subSaharen Sahel region?

    Yeah, and it’s had a major impact on some seasons. Dust both shades the ocean, slowing down SST warming, and warms the air around the dust, resulting in a more stable atmosphere suppressing the convection vital to a tropical storm.

    I don’t think there’s a good service that produces dust storm forecasts. It may be that with wind speeds around the planet weakening, there will be less dust for a while.

  8. crosspatch says:
    June 2, 2011 at 8:21 pm
    My guess is we will have an active season. We have tropical Atlantic sea surface temperatures at or slightly below normal but we have air aloft that is much colder than normal. This will make for much more vigorous convection. What powers these storms is a difference in temperature. The greater the difference, the more powerful the storm. You can have warmer water or you can have colder air, as long as that difference in temperature is there, you will have powerful convection.

    Air temperatures above 25,000 feet are the coldest we have recorded since they have been measured by satellites. Warm, wet air will rise quickly in that cold air resulting it a stronger updraft which should get things spinning nicely.

    ============================

    These are very, very good observations….and in line with Dr. Spencer’s remarks on his website as to the most violent tornadic cyclones being a product of so much cold air aloft.

    Chris
    Norfolk, VA, USA

  9. Whoops I see I mis-typed my screen name so it published a couple times wrong.

    The screen name is savethesharks.

    Name is Chris. Sorry about that.

  10. Mods one of my comments may have gone to spam because I typed in my screen name wrong.

    Sorry about the trouble of rescuing. I will pay more attention next time.

    Chris
    Norfolk, VA, USA

  11. svaethesharks says:
    June 2, 2011 at 8:37 pm

    I went to a lecture at the local university tonight. The speaker noted that scientists are often wrong but there is not anything wrong with that. What is wrong, is when they don’t learn anything from being wrong. The commenters here (and elsewhere) are mostly just having a bit of fun with the early-stage learning curve of hurricane prediction.

    Klotzbach and Gray deserve support for their efforts and openness and, my guess is, nearly everyone knows and understands this. Your points about the danger to densely populated areas are also well known. There has been no harm nor none intended from the comments – just a little bit of folks trying to write something that might seem a little witty at the end of a busy week. Right now, if I lived in the South I would go find a nice place to get some good barbeque and a beer. Where I now live the folks think searing a hot dog over charcoal is “barbeque.” Now that’s both mystifying and sad.

    What’s with svae?

  12. svaethesharks says:
    June 2, 2011 at 8:37 pm

    Chris,

    It doesn’t appear to me that anyone is diminishing the potential danger of these storms on land or sea. The issue is the integrity of the forecasts. Unfortunately there is an impression that these forecasts are announced intentionally at the high end in probabilities for the forecaster’s own reasons, rather than striving for likely, probable occurrences. Its not as if individual local areas are forecasted to be targeted. Instead everyone is put on the edge of fear. Maybe that’s good so people will be prepared if something happens. But how many times can one credibly say the sky is falling if it isn’t. At this point everyone is watching. Casting the weather is dicey. We’ll see.

    Perhaps, in the end, we are all deceived by weather. If the Norse had accurate future forecasts (akin to our great climate models), perhaps Greenland would never have been settled.

  13. Policyguy says:
    June 2, 2011 at 10:54 pm
    svaethesharks says:
    June 2, 2011 at 8:37 pm

    Chris,

    It doesn’t appear to me that anyone is diminishing the potential danger of these storms on land or sea. The issue is the integrity of the forecasts. Unfortunately there is an impression that these forecasts are announced intentionally at the high end in probabilities for the forecaster’s own reasons, rather than striving for likely, probable occurrences. Its not as if individual local areas are forecasted to be targeted. Instead everyone is put on the edge of fear. Maybe that’s good so people will be prepared if something happens. But how many times can one credibly say the sky is falling if it isn’t. At this point everyone is watching. Casting the weather is dicey. We’ll see.

    =====================

    Oh really???

    Go back and revisit some of the snide, milktoast, climate-controlled, comments.

    For people in Sendai Japan and Joplin MO….. the sky DEFINITELY FELL..

    http://www.dispatch.com/live/content/national_world/stories/2011/05/23/tornado_video.html?sid=101

    Maybe you could make your assessement after that.

    Chris
    Norfolk, VA, USA

  14. “”Ric Werme says:
    June 2, 2011 at 9:26 pm
    – – –
    Dust both shades the ocean, slowing down SST warming, and warms the air around the dust, resulting in a more stable atmosphere suppressing the convection vital to a tropical storm.“”

    My bold. Is this not what happens in a warming world? Would the good Dr Gray be basing his forecast on a cooling world?

  15. Hurricane or no hurricane, if Houston Texas doesn’t get rain soon, I will be forced to conclude that there is no Republican God.

  16. Of course it does not really matter, all these warmists want is death and destruction by weather. That instantly becomes climate in the minds of these charlatans. One bad hurricane is all they pray for.

  17. I would look at a couple of other indicators:

    1. Atlantic trade wind anomalies
    2. Strength and location of the Bermuda High

    1 and 2 are related. The stronger the Bermuda High, the stronger the trade winds. Strong trades mean a lot of sheer and storms get ripped apart. The location is important because if the high is to the East, storms will go into the Gulf. If it is to the West, the Atlantic seaboard is at risk. Tell me the sea surface temps, temps aloft, location and strength of the Bermuda High, and I will tell you what the hurricane season will be.

    A weak high means more storms, strong high means less (greater pressure gradient making for strong trades which cool the ocean surface).

  18. “if the high is to the East, storms will go into the Gulf. If it is to the West, the Atlantic seaboard is at risk.”

    That logic is backwards. High to the East means Atlantic seaboard and vice versa. Sorry.

  19. I have no problem with hurricane forecasting, except for the ignorant, worthless, global warming based predicitions.

  20. I don’t care about their forecast, but how do their past forecasts stack up against reality?

    Rather like our UK Met. Office and their forecast of a bar-b-cue summer, which was a wash out, and last winter was to be mild but turned out to be the coldest for many years, I have taken all meteorological forecasts for longer than 3 days with a very large pinch of salt.

  21. I don’t know what the hurricane season is going to be like. However, after well over 30 years of ‘man-made’ global warming we have this:

    May 16, 2011
    “It has been 975 days since any hurricane made landfall in the US. The longest hurricane free period since before the Civil War.”

    SEPTEMBER 1, 2005 : former Energy Dept. official Joseph Romm. “Katrina is the shape of things to come.“

    http://www.businessweek.com/

    http://stevengoddard.wordpress.com/2011/05/16/975-days/

    Geophysical Research Letters (in revision)
    R.N. Maue (Florida State University)
    Abstract:
    In the five years since 2006, Northern Hemisphere and overall global tropical cyclone (TC) accumulated cyclone energy (ACE) has decreased dramatically to the lowest levels in at least 30-years. Here we examine the strikingly large global interannual variability of TC ACE during the past 40-years and shed light on the large-scale climate mechanisms responsible for the recent historical downturn in TC activity. Much of the variability in global TC ACE is explained by the concomitant changes or evolution in the character of the El Nino Southern Oscillation (ENSO) and Pacific Decadal Oscillation (PDO). In the context of the Pacific climate variability and its effect on global TC activity, our results suggest that the ongoing period of heightened North Atlantic hurricane activity is related to decreases in storm activity elsewhere.

    See also Hurricane Intensity

    I want to ask Al Gore: What is global warming supposed to do to hurricanes?

  22. After well over 30 years of ‘man-made’ global warming we have this:

    Climate control of the global tropical storm days (1965–2008)
    Wang et al.
    The tropical storm days have a consistent global record over the past 44 years (1965–2008), which provides an alternative metric for integrated information about genesis, track, and lifespan………………..However, the global total number of storm days shows no trend and only an unexpected large amplitude fluctuation driven by El Niño-Southern Oscillation and PDO. The rising temperature of about 0.5°C in the tropics so far has not yet affected the global tropical storm days.

    Al Gore and the other igNobel prize winners should now step up to the plate and tell us what global warming is supposed to do to hurricanes?

  23. I am in Florida. The hurricane season for the last few years has been very quiet, please check the insurance industry’s profits for conformation. Our local weather people on TV love to play up the dangers of the hurricane season and have appeared petulant for the last few years as there have been no “killer-storms” to send a weather-babe out into for “gripping” footage.

    Like most important natural events, the CAGW alarmists/activist crowd will attempt to use any hurricane to trumpet their religion (it is certainly not science) and scare the populace. Since we moved here in ’59 we have seen cycles of hurricane activity as well as cycles of hot/cold winters. Funny how “scientists” have forgotten that cycles are important in climate analysis. Perhaps they can only do linear equations on their computers?

  24. C. DISCUSSION
    In a global warming or global cooling world, the atmosphere’s upper air temperatures
    will warm or cool in unison with the SSTs. Vertical lapse rates will not be significantly
    altered. We have no plausible physical reasons for believing that Atlantic hurricane
    frequency or intensity will change significantly if global ocean temperatures were to
    continue to rise. For instance, in the quarter-century period from 1945-1969 when the
    globe was undergoing a weak cooling trend, the Atlantic basin experienced 80 major (Cat
    3-4-5) hurricanes and 201 major hurricane days. By contrast, in a similar 25-year period
    from 1970-1994 when the globe was undergoing a general warming trend, there were
    only 38 Atlantic major hurricanes (48% as many) and 63 major hurricane days (31% as
    many) (Figure 26). Atlantic SSTs and hurricane activity do not follow global mean
    temperature trends.

    http://hurricane.atmos.colostate.edu/Forecasts/2011/june2011/jun2011.pdf

  25. Richard 111 questioned whether Dr Gray is looking at a cooler world.

    I support the proposition that it will be an intense hurricane season.

  26. svaethesharks says: June 2, 2011 at 8:37 pm

    I am personally getting sick and tired of the snide comments written so far and some before, the scoffs at probability forecasting for tropical cyclones.

    I’m afraid these days anyone working on the climate is damned by association. The simple fact is that if climategate had resulted in appropriate punishments and not “vindication”, then after a few week celebrating, us sceptics wouldn’t have had a leg to stand on … the subject had shown that it didn’t tolerate that kind of behaviour and therefore we could trust the rest of them.

    The fact that everyone in this subject (and many of the scientific elite) seemed quite happy to tolerate those who “hide the decline”, buddy-review, thwart FOI requests, means that we rightly have begun to believe that everyone behaves that way.

  27. savetheshark – you need to chill some. the historical inaccuracy of the hurricane forecasts simply invites ridicule. i appreciate william gray and his skills and that he hasn’t bought into AGW, but let’s face it, they always forecast a more active than normal year and it hasn’t been happening over the past 6 years. i love the ocean and always dreamed of living at the beach growing up, but knowing hurricanes happen, i chose to stay inland a few hundred miles to stay out of the main path of destruction. it was and remains a deliberate choice. anyone who lives on the coast knows (or at least should) the risks involved and prepare accordingly. that they don’t is sad, but the price to pay for being foolish. it makes sense for the government to launch a spring campaign to remind coastal residents of the need to prepare for hurricane season. it even makes sense to use our forecasting technologies and skills to project conditions that might make the year more or less active than usual. but this trying to predict actual numbers of storms and their strengths is just non-sense. we’ve had 6 years of doomsday predictions and nada. that’s actually far more dangerous in that it undermines credibility and causes people to dismiss warnings to prepare. this could be the year it changes and we see a bunch of whoppers hit the US. have new homes built since 2005 been constructed with proper specs to better handle these storms? i hope so. andrew proved to be so destructive because roofs we’re properly anchors and were flying off compromising the integrity of the structures. i pray we don’t find ourselves similarly lax in preparedness the next time we’re tested.

  28. Chris
    June 2, 2011 at 11:48 pm

    Neither Sendai nor Joplin were hurricanes. Oh, I know the more hysterical alarmists draw a supposed connection through cAGW, but it is they who are full of your bull****. Keep drinking the Kool-aid, and don’t forget your meds.

    Oh, BTW, I think you mean milquetoast. q.v.

  29. Denier … your callous attack on Chris is uncalled for! He is right in what he says … these probabilities are all about peoples safety!!! What is science supposed to do … sit back and ignore everything because we do not fully understand the systems. If humans followed that approach we would all be living in the stone age!

  30. In line 3 — “anti-climatic” or “anti-climactic”? Are you saying the forecast opposes average weather?

    [Ric> Oops. Fixed. Hmm, I suppose there would be no point in having a forecast if it always predicted the past average.]

  31. Richard111 says:
    June 2, 2011 at 11:49 pm (Edit)

    Ric Werme says:
    June 2, 2011 at 9:26 pm
    – – –
    “Dust both shades the ocean, slowing down SST warming, and warms the air around the dust, resulting in a more stable atmosphere suppressing the convection vital to a tropical storm.”

    My bold. Is this not what happens in a warming world? Would the good Dr Gray be basing his forecast on a cooling world?

    Not in Gray’s concept of a warming world, Fernando posted Gray’s first order approximation of a warming world above, i.e. everything warms, but nothing else changes. (Which strikes me as a little odd as rising SSTs will evaporate a lot more water and enhance convection when the vapor condenses.)

    More dust implies both dry ground and strong winds.

    The Sahara is greening – see http://news.nationalgeographic.com/news/2009/07/090731-green-sahara.html

    I don’t know about Saharan winds, but globally wind speed is either going up http://www.ohioverticals.com/blogs/akron_law_cafe/2011/04/australian-scientists-find-substantial-increase-in-global-wind-speed/ or going down http://www.nature.com/news/2010/101017/full/news.2010.543.html

    Dust storms haven’t been a big issue in the last couple of years.

  32. I hate to say it, but all these long range predictions are a tempest in a tea kettle. As long as we keep our surveillance, monitoring and warning networks up to track short term (7 -14 days) development to give people enough warning to evacuate, we have accomplished our public policy responsibilities. These long range predictions are just a part of the “bread and circuses” act to distract people. Weather is a fundamentally chaotic system. Conditions could be ripe for 100 hurricanes to form, but they all could track up the middle of the Atlantic and the only people who would care are the sailors. Or one could form 100 miles off shore, develop quickly and demolish a populated area. Hurricane forecasting is never going to be an exact science, there are just too many unknowns on the initial conditions. It may have some utility in emergency supply budgeting, but even that is suspect. BUT, Hurricane surveillance and monitoring will always save lives.

  33. jamadan says:
    June 3, 2011 at 4:08 am (Edit)

    savetheshark – you need to chill some. the historical inaccuracy of the hurricane forecasts simply invites ridicule. i appreciate william gray and his skills and that he hasn’t bought into AGW, but let’s face it, they always forecast a more active than normal year and it hasn’t been happening over the past 6 years.

    The last page of K&G’s forecast lists the verification for the last 5 years. Looking at Net Tropical Cyclone Activity (100% is normal), the year, June forecast, and observed are:

    2006: 195, 85 (that may have been a year El Niño developed mid-season)
    2007: 185, 99
    2008: 160, 162
    2009: 90, 69
    2010: 195, 196

    Yes, a couple years were way over forecast, but if you read their postmortems I don’t see how you can imply they deliberately overpredicted the seasons. Those are the most interesting seasons, it’s been interesting watching them learn from those. I’ll grant you they lucked out not overpredicting 2008 and 2010.

    Since 1995, we have had a positive AMO, and that greatly increases the chance for an active season – of course people will be predicting more active than average (not normal!) seasons. It pretty much requires something like an El Niño to make for a sub-average season, e.g. 2009, where they did not predict a more active than average season.

    Please read the .pdf.

    I consider that people who ridicule K&G’s efforts have little understanding or appreciation of science. OTOH, I’m have this twisted viewpoint that I don’t criticized goofs by professional sports players unless I think I could have done better.

  34. The business of predicting hurricanes is quite humorous. Chris, it doesn’t matter if 6 billion people lived on the east coast of the US. A hurricane prediction in June does no one any good in August. Hee hee. What people really want to know and need to know is, do I have one of these things barreling down on me. And if so, how fast is it coming and in what direction is it aimed.

  35. I’m still trying to figure out how the Japanese Tsunami has anything to do with this thread, beyond a gratuitous display of horrible disaster. The Japanese were blind-sided. People in Hurricane Alley will not be. And while predictions are perhaps over the top because of a certain randomness that we humans cannot account for, once under way, an hurricane can be avoided by getting out of the way. Comparing a tectonic event to a weather event is basically silly, except for one clear point: both events happen, and there is diddly-squat we can do can do to prevent that fact. At least hurricanes give us a bit of warning.

  36. I normally wouldn’t comment on typos, but surely you meant anticlimactic, rather than anti-climatic in the lead paragraph. I usually hear this mistake by sports commentators, where it has nothing to do with climate.

    [Ric: Feel free to point out my typos, but did you have to use a sports commentator comparison? :-) Fixed (well, I should've taken out the '-' too, but didn't.]

  37. @Jon
    Ah, diddums.
    ‘Heat’, ‘stay’ & ‘kitchen’ come to mind for Chris.
    As do ‘pot’, ‘black’ & ‘kettle’ for you.
    Control yourself (or have you skipped your meds too?).
    If we followed the advice given by the scaremongers, we should all be living in the stone age.

  38. …. except Al Gore, James Cameron and a few other members of the elite (Schnellhuber,et al)

  39. What people need to know in order to keep themselves safe has nothing to do with someone’s best guess as to how many hurricanes there will be this year. What they need to know is:

    Am I going to be hit?
    If so, on what day?
    How big will it be?

    Such forecasts can be usefull in helping insurance companies know how much money they will need to set aside to pay claims over the next few months. Beyond that, they are mostly a curiosity.

  40. Steve R
    June 2, 2011 at 7:12 pm

    Isn’t one of the more succesful indicators for Atlantic hurricane prediction 6 months out use dust levels in the subSaharen Sahel region? I thought I remembered reading about something like that.

    ###

    I have also heard of a relationship but without reference to causal direction. One thing I do know, is that Sahel dust is a major factor in coral bleaching on this side of the Atlantic.

  41. “The Sahara is greening”

    That will probably reverse now. It had been greening during the great climate shift that started in 1976 but now that we seem to be back into the pre-1976 pattern, it will probably dry out again along the edges and begin to expand.

    Generally speaking the Sahara gets wetter when the climate gets warmer. When the climate cools, the Sahara gets dry. During the Holocene climate optimum, the Sahara was apparently much wetter than it is now.

  42. The forecast is meaningless hype generated by someone who needs to feel good about their occupation. It will save not one life.

    Spend the green on moving people off the coast so the rest of us are not paying for their repairs and losses year after year, decade after decade, century after century.

  43. P.S. As you see, I am not hiding behind a keyboard with a false identity as asserted by some critics who feel the need to dress down those who see the comedy in such forecasting.

  44. Savethesharks,

    I hate to say it, but the snark is called for. I am sorry, but if the other side of this argument is going to go to another level, there is nothing we can do but fight them at that level as well. I hate doing that as much as the next person, but when did honor win a war?

    “We have before us an ordeal of the most grievous kind. We have before us many, many long months of struggle and of suffering. You ask, what is our policy? I will say: It is to wage war, by sea, land, and air, with all our might and with all the strength that God can give us; to wage war against a monstrous tyranny never surpassed in the dark, lamentable catalogue of human crime. That is our policy. You ask, what is our aim? I can answer in one word: It is victory, victory at all costs, victory in spite of all terror, victory, however long and hard the road may be”

    And of course the famous part of the speach:

    “We shall fight on the beaches, we shall fight on the landing grounds, we shall fight in the fields and in the streets, we shall fight in the hills”

    As you can see the famous Winston Churchill there instilled the thoughts that this war has no honor on either side. Sure, the honor might have been there to start, but it was stripped away by the horrors and attrocities already committed by A. Hitler. We shall fight them at every level, whether it be the lowest beachhead as in the case of flinging mud, or we shall fight them on the highest hill, but no mistake if you do not fight any battle without honor, you will be a honorable corpse and so will your cause.

    The warmists have been very successful over the last couple of years since climate-gate by flinging mud. If we do not do the same, we will lose simply because we refuse to defend certain parts of the country because we state that it is not honorable.

    There is no honor in defeat though. Sure, we will fight some people who do a great job as scientists, we will poke fun at them, we will above all else irritate just like the warmists who do the same to true scientists who have no trouble telling the truth but then are derided, harrassed and otherwise called names.

    If we do not fight the battle at any level they choose, we lose. If we do not take the battle to them, we lose. If we continue to defend scientists who may or may not have an agenda behind their science, what are we but helpless bystanders looking at the sky and WISHING FOR THE BEST. Sorry, that does nothing.

    There is no honor in defeat. There is also no honor in defending someone who could very likely be suffering from observer bias as a scientist and could very well be putting out predictions with a false sense of security that AGW is real and that the climate never changes naturally. What are we to do as sceptics after so long has passed since climagate and still the warmists are given money by our respective Governments and people still talk about such brain-dead schemes as carbon trading and cap and trade?

    Yes, you are correct that maybe some scientist as in this case might not deserve the derision. But that happens when you are fighting a war for the future of our society. Like it or not, we are all fighting a war. We are fighting against various things, some of us are fighting tooth and nail against energy restrictions and taxes. Some of us are fighting a war for the truth in the science. Some of us are fighting a war against the philosophy that has caused this rot in all of the aforementioned to occur. It does not matter in the end which war we are fighting, make no mistake we are all fighting it. And in war, there is nothing you can do about collateral damage except try your best to minimize it. In this case, the best bet is to show that the said scientist is not making predictions based on glandiose delusions of human-caused climate change. Then prove that this scientist actually realize the truth. Until you show that this scientist is not biased the other way, we must assume that the rot has reached her too.

    I also respect work that has been done, but I notice as in the charts above that all the predictions call for a “large hurricane season” with “stronger hurricanes” and “more likely to hit the US.”

    That has been the similar prediction as the last 5 years with minor changing to words. Its like they have not even noticed changes in stuff such as ENSO, ocean temperatures, Arctic O., and solar effects.

    But I will say this, whether we like it or not, the best predictor of all is that the US is more likely to get hit this hurricane season since the hurricanes tend to track towards the US in a second year la nina situation. In addition, we typically see stronger hurricanes. The number of hurricanes is the one number which has no statistical significance, and by just saying we will “see more hurricanes” they are not doing science but making a guess.

    I made a guess too. Although I would change it if it was possible due to a weakening la nina, I stuck to it even though I realize it is probably low by a hurricane or two. 8-10 this year was my original educated “guess”. But we will probably see 2-3 hit the US and the odds are good that one of em can be a monster. I expect 1-2 monsters this year.

    So yes, this year is going to be an exceptional year for hurricanes, but we will not see as many smaller ones, most are going to be on the larger side.

    The one catch to all of this is the presence of the arctic O. being so strong. I have not see how this effects hurricane generation, and I would hazzard to guess that the pulses might do some strange things as far as that goes. But we shall see.

    Live and learn.

    Short term prediction of weather is VERY important for our country. Long term predictions is rather pointless for a vast majority of people in the country. If we could accuratly peg a certain week as being good or bad, that would help with vacationing and other such issues, but in the end trends and “a hot summer” are nothing that the common man cares about. Farmers and insurance companies yes. Normal people, no.

  45. G & K are doing science. The scientific method requires the issuance of a prediction. If folks had listened to Gray’s predictions in the late 80s and early 90s, it could have saved this country billions of dollars, but they did not. Instead, due to his vocal stance on the ‘unscientific-ness’ of the AGW crisis, all of his requests for government funding of his tropical climate research were terminated. He had to look elsewhere for the modest funds needed to continue his research, well the likes of Mann and Hansen continued to ride the government funded gravy train.

    The bottom line is that G & K are doing legitimate climate research that is already useful for insurance companies and other large entities in making seasonal plans, while not costing the U.S. tax payer a dime. As they refine their methods, the forecast will become more useful. That is one of the benefits of good science.

    Meanwhile, the AGW crowd continues to feed at the government trough and has yet to make one prediction that has verified and proved useful to anyone! Most of their ‘predictions’ are proving to be costly for no reason; the opposite of useful.

    So cut G & K some slack. They are the type of climate scientists we want and need!

  46. savethesharks says:
    June 2, 2011 at 8:37 pm

    I am personally getting sick and tired of the snide comments written so far and some before, the scoffs at probability forecasting for tropical cyclones.

    It is not the predictions, but the predictability of such predictions that is the problem. When was the last hurricane forecast by Dr. Gray that included the words “lower than normal”? What makes the problem worse is that insurance companies use such predictions to justify rate increases. Without a doubt, Dr. Gray puts much work into his reports, which is to be commended. But what trust can we give him when we already know what the report will say next year?

    Regarding Dr. Gray, I have always wondered why someone who does his research at a place that cannot experience a hurricane directly is an expert on hurricanes. There is a difference between book knowledge and experience. This reminds me of Isaac Cline, the meteorologist who in Galveston when the city took a direct hit in 1900. Isaac Cline was born and raised in Tennessee, which never gets hurricanes. He was an excellent meteorologist. In 1899, he was assigned to Galveston. In 1900, he received a wire from Cuba warning that a hurricane was coming toward Texas. Isaac Cline had no experience with hurricanes so he relied on his book knowledge and ignored the warning until it was too late. But the Cubans, with much hurricane experience, were right.

    Dr. Gray, like Isaac Cline, is an excellent meteorologist. But there is no substitute for experience. What personal experience does Dr. Gray have with hurricanes? I don’t know. I am not suggesting that Dr. Gray is like Isaac Cline. I just used Isaac Cline to illustrate the difference between knowledge and experience when it comes to hurricanes. I am also saying that if Dr. Gray lived and studied at a place that was hurricane prone he would do a better job only because he would have real world experience that cannot be learned from studying. There is a difference from seeing Jim Cantori of the Weather Channel parading around America blaming this hurricane on humans on TV then actually being in a hurricane personally.

  47. Wade says:
    June 3, 2011 at 10:00 am

    It is not the predictions, but the predictability of such predictions that is the problem. When was the last hurricane forecast by Dr. Gray that included the words “lower than normal”?

    I don’t have time now to check the words in the forecast, but in 2009 Klotzbach and Gray forecast 90% of average. See my note above from 6:19 am. That season wound up with only 69% of average. Of course, several forecasts before the positive AMO arrived in 1995 had forecasts for below average activity.

  48. @Jon
    Hardly.
    But if that’s the level at which you prefer to engage, I’m sure my grandson would oblige.

  49. Ric Werme says:
    June 3, 2011 at 6:19 am
    Yes, a couple years were way over forecast,
    ========================================================
    Ric, you only gave examples of the past five years…..
    ..and four of the past five were over forecast, three way over forecast

    With the new equipment the hurricane forecasters are using – naming any two clouds within sight of each other, or any cloud that has circulation if for only 10 minutes – there is no more “normal” or “average” any more.

  50. I thought the Sahel dust served as nucleation sites helping to start the thunderstorms that eventually give birth to Atlantic hurricanes.

  51. John F. Hultquist says:
    June 2, 2011 at 10:20 pm

    “I went to a lecture at the local university tonight. The speaker noted that scientists are often wrong but there is not anything wrong with that. What is wrong, is when they don’t learn anything from being wrong. The commenters here (and elsewhere) are mostly just having a bit of fun with the early-stage learning curve of hurricane prediction.”

    Very Well Said, Sir. If these so-called “hurricane season predictions” are to be treated as predictions then what is one to do with them. I can imagine some things as follows:

    1. Do not hold a sailboat regata of 1,000,000 or more sailboats during August or September in the area southwest of the Dominican Republic.

    2. Do not plan a family reunion that would draw more than 10,000 people during August or September in the area of Homestead, Florida. However, if you are willing to move a few miles to the northwest, you will be perfectly safe in Sebring.

    3. If you are starting a new cruise line that travels from the Dominican Republic to West Africa, do not schedule the maiden voyage for August or September.

    I think you get the idea. Really, can someone tell me how these so-called “hurricane predictions” are more useful than what I suggest above?

  52. crosspatch: Enhanced CO2 is probably playing a role in the Sahara greening. CO2 helps plants use water more efficiently, which all other things being equal would allow them to survive in dryer climates.

  53. Averages and even “normals” are misleading. In many cases one should probably use the median, not the “average” when figuring for things like rainfall amounts or number of hurricanes. That should put you in a ballpark range. Averages tend to be completely useless, particularly on things that have a large standard deviation. A median is often better.

  54. Latitude says:
    June 3, 2011 at 11:29 am

    Ric Werme says:
    June 3, 2011 at 6:19 am

    >Yes, a couple years were way over forecast,
    ========================================================
    Ric, you only gave examples of the past five years…..
    ..and four of the past five were over forecast, three way over forecast

    Given the size of the standard deviation of the current state of the art, predicting 90% of average in 2009 and getting 69% isn’t too bad. The current statistical approach applied as a hindcast predicts 75%.

    The five examples are all they list in the end of the forecast, I didn’t have time to dig up more. What I should have done anyway is quote from their table of hindcasts using the new forecasting scheme. Note, though, the data I did quote was the final forecast, made up from the statistical computation, the analog years, and their “qualitative” (seat of the pants?) numbers.

    Here’s the table how well the new scheme does. For all years, “climatology” is 100 – as in 100% of the 1950-2000 average of NTC – Net Tropical Cyclone Activity.

    Hindcasts of 2011 statistical forecast scheme.

    Note how much NTC varies from year to year, and note the big change in 1995 when the AMO switched. Not all years are better forecast, for example, the 2010 scheme predicted 195%, very close to the 196% observed.

  55. Sorry but I’m with savetheshark. Some of the comments at the start were particularly brainless and quite nasty – just empty sarcasm. People with nothing constructive and intelligent to say shouldn’t be mouthing off and putting down a guy trying to do his best at a very difficult job.

    Some people seem to come here purely in order to make negative comments about CAGW. I can understand the urge to vent sometimes. But in this case I suspect many did not even read the article beyond a quick glance to see that it was about hurricanes so that they could theme their vitriolic and sarcastic `witty’ comments appropriately.

    I don’t want all skeptics to be associated by proximity with this kind of mindless negativity. Anthony often posts information simply because it interests him. The articles are not simply topic headings along the lines of “what we are going to moan about today”, which is how some seem to be treating them.

  56. Ian H says:
    June 3, 2011 at 7:18 pm

    My goal in posting here is to explain and defend scientific method. My posts have been intended to challenge the idea that “hurricane forecasts” are sufficiently rigorously formulated that they are deserving of the word ‘prediction’ or the word ‘science’. If we are going to call this science, then isn’t everything that is based on meticulous research to be counted as science? Obviously, these “hurricane forecasts” are not falsifiable and that is for a very specific reason. There are no hypotheses used in the forecasts that must be rejected as falsified if this season has no hurricanes at all. Now, my claim might be false, all you have to do is show and explain the falsifiable hypothesis. In plain speech, how do these forecasters challenge themselves when they make a forecast? How can they be wrong?

  57. Theo Goodwin says:
    June 4, 2011 at 8:22 am (Edit)

    Obviously, these “hurricane forecasts” are not falsifiable and that is for a very specific reason. There are no hypotheses used in the forecasts that must be rejected as falsified if this season has no hurricanes at all. Now, my claim might be false, all you have to do is show and explain the falsifiable hypothesis. In plain speech, how do these forecasters challenge themselves when they make a forecast? How can they be wrong?

    In 2006 the June forecast was for NTC of 195, the observed was 85, several standard deviations away from their usual performance. In “Met speak,” the forecast did not verify. One of the hypotheses behind the forecasts is that El Nino depresses NTC.

    In http://hurricane.atmos.colostate.edu/Forecasts/2006/nov2006/ they report:

    Our 2006 seasonal hurricane forecast was not successful. We anticipated a well above-average season, and the season had activity at slightly below-average levels. We did catch this downward trend beginning with our early August update We attribute a large portion of this forecast over-prediction to a late-developing El Niño and increased mid-level dryness in the tropical Atlantic.

    One of the extraordinary features of the 2006 Atlantic basin hurricane season has been the rapid onset of El Niño conditions in the tropical Pacific. The warming of the eastern and central Pacific during August through October 2006 has been truly remarkable. Only 1997 witnessed a larger temperature increase in Nino 3 anomalies from June-July to August-September than did the 2006 season. But, in 1997, June-July Nino 3 anomalies (2.1°C) were already well above average while 2006 June-July anomalies (0.1°C) were not. This was by far the largest percentage warming of SST anomalies between June-July and August-September in the tropical Pacific for a year that had El Niño conditions in August-September. For this comparison, we define El Niño years as those with Nino 3 temperatures that averaged greater than or equal to 0.5°C from August-September.

    While the prediction summary was for 195%, the hypothesis remains El Nino will suppress NTC, and hence the hypothesis survived that test. Whatever hypotheses go into El Nino predictions may not have.

    BTW, that year also provided a lot information about the role of Saharan dust.

    The tropical Atlantic was quite dry through most of the 2006 hurricane season. Figure 11 shows water vapor brightness temperatures, a measure of deep convection, across the tropical Atlantic during 2006. The tropical Atlantic (0-20°N, 20-60°W) has generally been much drier than average, as evidenced by the warmer-than-normal brightness temperatures that have been measured across the region throughout the year.

    One of the challenges from this year’s hurricane season is trying to figure out what was the likely cause of the dry air and subsidence that was observed in the tropical Atlantic throughout the season but especially in August. Changes in large-scale tropical atmospheric circulations associated with the development of warm ENSO conditions tend to favor subsidence over the western Caribbean, although they show very little signature over the tropical Atlantic (Bell and Chelliah 2006). Therefore, we are inclined to believe that a large part of this mid-tropospheric dryness in August was due to frequent outbreaks of African dust associated with more frequent incursions of the Saharan Air Layer (SAL) (Evan et al. 2006). The Saharan Air Layer is detrimental to hurricane activity for several reasons, including entrainment of dry air into tropical waves which weakens updrafts and inhibits intensification. In addition, the SAL is associated with strong low-level jets which increase vertical wind shear (Dunion and Velden 2004). Also, there tends to be a stronger temperature inversion associated with the SAL which inhibits the formation of deep convection.

    If you want, you can consider this part of the genesis of a new hypothesis governing Atlantic Tropical Storms. That’s one of the reasons I like the K & G forecasts, you just don’t get this sort of detail from any other seasonal forecast.

    You stated “In plain speech, how do these forecasters challenge themselves when they make a forecast? How can they be wrong?”

    Their forecast didn’t verify. (Their words “was not successful” – a euphemism for your “wrong.”) That by itself is a challenge (your word and theirs) to make a better forecast the next time.

  58. Ric Werme says:
    June 4, 2011 at 10:16 am
    Theo Goodwin says:
    June 4, 2011 at 8:22 am (Edit)

    Thank You for your very informative and very interesting response. My concern is to safeguard scientific method. From the information that you provide, I conclude that these forecasters were unable to make a prediction that would challenge one or more of their hypotheses by putting it up for falsification. So, their work remains at the level of pre-science. They have incredibly good hunches and they really should pursue experimental research into the dust from Africa and into the behavior of La Nina. Of course, those undertakings are very expensive and will not be made until some national governments commit to them.

    Consider the following:
    “Therefore, we are inclined to believe that a large part of this mid-tropospheric dryness in August was due to frequent outbreaks of African dust associated with more frequent incursions of the Saharan Air Layer (SAL) (Evan et al. 2006).”

    Notice two things. One, they were unable to predict this matter. In addition, they are not able to identify some one or few of their hypotheses for revision. Therefore, they are working on hunches. No doubt the hunches are extremely brilliant, but they are still hunches and should not be treated as physical hypotheses of science.

    Consider the following:
    “One of the extraordinary features of the 2006 Atlantic basin hurricane season has been the rapid onset of El Niño conditions in the tropical Pacific.”

    They were unable to predict this matter. And, as above, their system of hunches are not rigorously formulated so that they can identify one or a few as culprits and reject them. There is a bigger lesson here. These folks cannot predict the behavior of La Nina. I believe no one can. I believe no one has done the legwork necessary to identify and describe the natural processes that constitute the La Nina phenomenon. Until that is done in a rigorous way, there will be no prediction of La Nina onset or whatever.

    Describing phenomena such as La Nina in physical hypotheses is something that must be done before climate science can get off the ground. To think otherwise is just to fool ourselves about the extent of our knowledge about climate.

    Thanks again. I enjoyed your post.

  59. Jim Clarke says:
    June 3, 2011 at 9:45 am

    Thanks for pointing out the flak that Bill Gray has endured. Don’t forget who was vice president when Hansen was scooping up all the funding for his more-or-less useless climate models. It was Gore.

    The money would have been more wisely spent on the things Bill Gray was curious about. It would have given us real data, rather than a computer generated dream-land.

    One thing Gray wanted studied more was thermohaline circulation. To this day much of how it actually works remains a mystery. We have a general idea, but specific details remain unreserched. It apparently is not a steady flow, like a river or garden hose, but holds waves and/or pulses of some sort, which may-or-may-not influence the rate cold water upwells. Right now we have a good idea of how trade winds influence upwelling, but, if another factor also contributes to upwelling, then forecasts based only on trade winds will get messed up.

    The data Gray thirsted for would have increased our understanding of how the world actually works. Instead he was rudely and brutally told, “Stick to hurricanes, Bill.” (Hansen is the one who should have been told to stick something some place. )

    It is sad and ironic that Gray now gets the backlash Hansen has earned. It shows you the horrible effect pseudo-science has had on the public psyche.

  60. Caleb says:
    June 5, 2011 at 2:42 am

    “The money would have been more wisely spent on the things Bill Gray was curious about. It would have given us real data, rather than a computer generated dream-land.”

    Thanks for this interesting post. I am no critic of Gray. I believe that what he wants to reserach is what should be researched. Shut down the Hansens to feed the Grays.

    You write:
    “One thing Gray wanted studied more was thermohaline circulation. To this day much of how it actually works remains a mystery. We have a general idea, but specific details remain unreserched. It apparently is not a steady flow, like a river or garden hose, but holds waves and/or pulses of some sort, which may-or-may-not influence the rate cold water upwells. Right now we have a good idea of how trade winds influence upwelling, but, if another factor also contributes to upwelling, then forecasts based only on trade winds will get messed up.”

    Yes, let us fund this. This can produce genuine physical hypotheses. However, let us all recognize that all climate science is in its infancy and has not produced one physical hypotheses that goes beyond Arrhenius and that can be used to predict and explain climate phenomena. Forecasts of coming hurricane seasons illustrate clearly that more data must be collected and more phenomena must be understood if a science is going to emerge in the “nearish” future.

Comments are closed.