NOAA delays due to monkey business?

Yesterday I posted an announcement about this odd press release:

Think-Tank Says Trained Chimp Can Predict Hurricanes Better Than NOAA… And Puts it to the Test

Today, in a strange twist of timing, NOAA makes this press release about their hurricane announcement:

Contact:          Chris Vaccaro                                                


202-482-6090                                                  May 19, 2010

NOAA’s Atlantic hurricane outlook postponed

NOAA’s Atlantic hurricane outlook announcement originally scheduled for tomorrow is now scheduled to take place next Thursday in Washington, D.C.

A new media advisory with full details will be issued shortly.

– 30 –


Hmmm. Makes me wonder if the numbers the chimp came up with were the same as what NOAA came up with. NOAA sent this via email, which I’ve verified…

Received: from ([])

…but it hasn’t shown up in the press release archive yet. It will be interesting to see what they come up with in the delayed release and what the explanation will be (if any) on why the delay occurred.

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May 19, 2010 9:50 am

Where can we find past forecasts/real numbers ?

David Ball
May 19, 2010 9:50 am

Jane Goodal would be proud of her chimps accomplishments. I guess she raised ’em right. Wouldn’t the world be a better place if we engaged in warfare the way chimpanzees do? Flinging feces and all. Bullets are much, much harder to clean off. Also their predictive capabilities appear to be astounding. 8^D

David Ball
May 19, 2010 9:51 am

The monkey’s predictive capabilities, not the bullets predictive capabilities, to clarify.

R. de Haan
May 19, 2010 10:02 am

Don’t underestimate the intelligence of a Chimp!

Don B
May 19, 2010 10:05 am

I wonder if James Lovelock was including NOAA when he said in this Guardian interview
“The great climate science centres around the world are more than well aware how weak their science is. If you talk to them privately they’re scared stiff of the fact that they don’t really know what the clouds and the aerosols are doing. They could be absolutely running the show. We haven’t got the physics worked out yet.”
And I thought the climate stuff was so simple a caveman, or a chimp, could do it.

May 19, 2010 10:10 am

Cold sea surface temperatures in the gulf area (BTW partially covered with oil) will make impossible for hurricanes to survive.

May 19, 2010 10:12 am

Obviously the chimp didn’t return the dice on time.

Zeke the Sneak
May 19, 2010 10:21 am

In the NOAA situtation room: “We have got to get a good prediction, just this once, but how?! Someone has got to pull a monkey out of a hat – I mean, rabbit!”

May 19, 2010 10:26 am

This chimp idea is a great idea!

May 19, 2010 10:28 am

Prediction is a fool’s game. It has a nasty habit of showing the world how little you know.
The problem for expert bodies is the groupthink and self flattery – maybe sometimes even arrogance. Outsiders can spot lack of capability before experts face up to their own shortcomings. Kinda like emperor’s new clothes.

Cassandra King
May 19, 2010 10:30 am

The release is innacurate I think, even an untrained chimp that died two weeks ago of dementia could make a better job of predictions than NOAA, in the UK we have the met office which has deteriorated into a sad joke and pathetic shadow of its former self staffed with ignorant, lazy and wholly incompetent political stooges.
If an organisation bases its predictions primarily on political considerations then mistakes are inevitable and cannot be avoided, if these political considerations are immune from amendement then the predictions will always degenerate from the innacurate to the stab in the dark.
In the days of the USSR national institutions would be so afraid of critisism and the feared camps that they would make up statistics and other officials so afraid to question high party officials would rubber stamp the figures and statistics, it got so bad that production figures and yields were wildly innacurate and bore no resemblance to reality.
Never in our wildest dreams did we think that the USSRs methods would survive and thrive in the land of the free.
We live in a time of lies and deceit and fraud, national institutions are being used to spread political lies as truth and political deceit as reality, a shame that will destroy them and us together and that destruction is nearer than any of us care to imagine.
Western civilisation depends trust, we trust those in positions of influence and power to tell us the truth regardless of how it may change entrenched beliefs and damage political reputations, once that implicit trust has died then there is no hope for any of us.

May 19, 2010 10:39 am

Last year I predicted zero hurricanes hitting the US and told everybody I knew in Florida it is due to the 2 year solar minimum. My last year’s prediction was 100% accurate. This year I’m being a little more cautious in my hurricane prediction. I predict zero to two minimal hurricanes hitting the US in 2010. I’m even going naked on hurricane insurance for my home. I’ll put up the hurricane shutters if one of those minimal hurricanes comes close to my home in SW Florida but will probably not have to do that this year.
Sunspot number: 0
Updated 18 May 2010
Spotless Days
Current Stretch: 10 days
2010 total: 31 days (22%)
2009 total: 260 days (71%)
Since 2004: 799 days
Typical Solar Min: 486 days

May 19, 2010 10:43 am

Weather forecasting for your government should be outsourced.

Scott B
May 19, 2010 10:45 am

I believe what your looking for is here:
NOAA’s May and Aug Seasonal Outlooks back to 1999. There’s not a good page I can find with verification statistics. It might be embeded in the seasonal climate summaries on the same page.
Overall, I’m not down as much as most here on these predictions. Yes, there is little skill in these forecasts at the moment and an argument could probably be made that they shouldn’t be operational. Still, they don’t hurt anyone. The only way to potentially gain skill in the 3-6 month range is to use our best knowledge of the factors that do or do not favor hurricane formation and make a prediction. Then see where things went wrong after the season and use that knowledge to improve. It might turn out that it’s simply not possible, but I think it is worth a try.

jack mosevich
May 19, 2010 10:45 am

Its not just NOAA worried about a chimp: chimp in Russia picks stocks:

May 19, 2010 10:49 am

A Walk Down “Hurricane Alley”?

Steve Oregon
May 19, 2010 10:52 am

Knowing how Jane Lubchenco operates I have little doubt that the reason is the evolving politicization of the outlook announcement.
In Oregon Jane learned long ago to politicize and manipulate everything.
So I suspect that when released, the “outlook” will be some generalized and open ended version that’s heavily overshadowed by an alarming concern for the effect of a hurricane on the oil slick.
The hurricane announcement will be more of an activist’s flier on the vast harm from anticipated AGW generated hurricanes pushing the oil into marshes and estuaries.
Leaving the “outlook” (not projection, prediction or forecast) of hurricane numbers and strength of little import.

May 19, 2010 10:53 am

Chimps are far better than us on short term memory…

May 19, 2010 10:57 am

the lottery numbers for saturday will be 1,3,19,20,21,22

May 19, 2010 11:02 am

How big a grant did the Chimp get?

R Shearer
May 19, 2010 11:05 am

They’re out recruiting (orangutans perhaps?).

May 19, 2010 11:27 am

Their chimp died at the last minute, right before the final throw.
If you look at the last 5 years …

D. King
May 19, 2010 11:37 am

Look, we’re talking about “Trained Chimp”s.
That takes time…..Period! (“next Thursday”)

Reed Coray
May 19, 2010 11:37 am

Regarding the chimp memory video. If I put a suit on a chimp, can I take him to Vegas as a “Rainman” standin?

May 19, 2010 11:37 am

A note on the chimp short term memory… I think in the memory test above, the fact that we give meaning to the numbers would apparently hinder our ability to remember as quickly as a chimp. For the chimp, numbers are just drawings that he learned to push in a certain order. I would think, given the same time that a human with no knowledge of numbers would do better.

May 19, 2010 11:41 am

David Ball: “Wouldn’t the world be a better place if we engaged in warfare the way chimpanzees do? Flinging feces and all.”
Chimpanzees commit murder, infanticide, and tribal warfare, just as humans do. However, the chimps are dominated by their modest intelligence coupled with feral urges and rudimentary tribal mores. It makes for brutal rivalries, dictatorships, and purges. Human mores, philosophy, and theology strive to raise human behavior above such, with some varied successes.
To answer your question:
No. The world would not be a better place if we acted more like chimps. At the risk of insulting all simians, we already have far too many humans acting like our more base relatives now.

May 19, 2010 11:49 am

Perhaps they’re taking the advice I would have given them:
Best to keep your mouth shut and let the world think you a fool than to open it and remove all doubt.

May 19, 2010 11:50 am

way off base here, but is there any possibility that the oil spreading in the gulf could actually dampen hurricanes?
if not, then there could be way worse enviromental damage if the surge flows are particulary strong this season…

John in NZ
May 19, 2010 11:50 am

“NOAA’s Atlantic hurricane outlook announcement originally scheduled for tomorrow is now scheduled to take place next Thursday in Washington, D.C.”
It seems NOAA can’t even successfully predict when they are going to make an announcement.

May 19, 2010 11:52 am

Oh dear!
I hope the globull warmers dont read this;
Sure am looking forward to reading about it in the Grauniad too;

Mike McMillan
May 19, 2010 11:53 am

Currently checking the chimp’s immigration status.
Don Easterbrook is predicting two decades of cooling, then resuming the same 30 year half cycle we’ve been tossing around here for years.

Mark Wagner
May 19, 2010 11:54 am

I’m betting that next week’s announcement in Washington is somehow going to be tied to either the EPA’s greenhouse gas regulations or the Tax & Ration bill.
stay tuned

May 19, 2010 11:56 am

Very odd, NOAA’s schedule in the past has been to lead the Klotzbach/Gray forecast by a couple days which deflects attention from that one. Their new date is one day after Klotzbach/Gray release.

May 19, 2010 12:00 pm

Michael says:
May 19, 2010 at 10:39 am

Last year I predicted zero hurricanes hitting the US and told everybody I knew in Florida it is due to the 2 year solar minimum. My last year’s prediction was 100% accurate.

Are you referring to the forecast count (zero) or the forecast reason (2 year solar minimum). I explain the weak season as due to the El Nino producing wind shear, and that prevented a lot of tropical storm development.
How much data do you have demonstrating a link between solar minima and Florida hurricanes?

May 19, 2010 12:00 pm

David Ball says:
May 19, 2010 at 9:50 am
Wouldn’t the world be a better place if we engaged in warfare the way chimpanzees do? Flinging feces and all. Bullets are much, much harder to clean off.
Sorry Dave, you have a very quaint idea of how chimps fight. See:
Also, to all of you who believe that chimps have better short-term memories than grad students, don’t believe it. The chimps are professionals. That’s how they get their treats or currency. If I spent a few years in a cage where my only tasty food was earned via the memorization game, I’d beat the hell out of the chimps.

May 19, 2010 12:01 pm

What can you say…it get’s weirder……and……weirder….

May 19, 2010 12:06 pm

A human with no knowledge of numbers is a Democrat

May 19, 2010 12:11 pm

Is it allowed to ask and is it possible to get an answer to the question, who and what is Steve(n) Goddard, please ?
Has he do do with these publications ?
Reason for my question is, that often it’s referred to Steve(n), but a lot of alarmists and AGWists claim he doesn’t exist or it’s a fake name and he has nothing to do withclimate research as actually it’s dicussed here in a German Blogg.
Thanks !!

May 19, 2010 12:13 pm

NOAA’s forecasts are a joke anyway. Here is the forecast from last year.

50% chance of a near-normal season…The outlook also indicates a 25% chance of an above-normal season and a 25% chance of a below-normal season…Based on these scenarios, we estimate a 70% probability for each of the following seasonal ranges:
9-14 Named Storms,
4-7 Hurricanes
1-3 Major Hurricanes,

As is happens, in 2009 there were 9 named storms, 3 hurricanes, of which 2 were major hurricanes, so the forecast is arguably accurate, within the enormous range they give themselves. Heck, all they have to do is predict a 66% of an average season, a 16% of an above-average season, and a 16% chance of a below average season, and they will be 100% accurate every time.

May 19, 2010 12:17 pm

Don B
But the science is settled………
Didn’t they tell you?

Power Grab
May 19, 2010 12:18 pm

Let’s see…they’ve just started talking about the big asphalt volcanoes in the Pacific, right? California isn’t known for its hurricanes. What if the big oil leak in the Gulf of Mexico finally solidifies and forms an asphalt shield which causes the Atlantic hurricanes to stifle when they get to that part of the world? Assuming we sue BP to death, would they come back and demand their money back if it was found that an asphalt blanket on the floor of the Gulf kept damage from hurricanes down?

Harold Ambler
May 19, 2010 12:32 pm
John Galt
May 19, 2010 12:58 pm

If you chained a thousand monkeys to a thousand workstations, how long would it take them to create an accurate Atlantic hurricane forecast?

May 19, 2010 1:00 pm

@ Krishna Gans
I don’t know for sure, but I wouldn’t be surprised if it was indeed the same Steve Goddard in your list of publications. He seems to be a pretty bright fellow. Most of us here haven’t ever met face to face, so we don’t really know if we are who we say we are. All of the posts here could be from the same person with a multi-personality disorder. :-). Steve certainly contributes many posts here. You should stick around, I’m sure he’ll be either posting an article or watching the threads at some point today.

May 19, 2010 1:03 pm

cheetah says:
May 19, 2010 at 10:57 am
the lottery numbers for saturday will be 1,3,19,20,21,22
(Robt notes that cheetah very cleverly did not say which lottery. Nor which Saturday of which year those numbers may be selected…..)

May 19, 2010 1:18 pm

@James Sexton
Thanks for the first hint here. What I’m curious about is, that he seems to write under 2 pseudos, Steve and Steven…..

May 19, 2010 1:22 pm

Their only way out is to name any shower (even those in bathrooms) as a hurricane. Kind of the latest sunspots counting.

May 19, 2010 1:26 pm

Krishna Gans says:
May 19, 2010 at 1:18 pm
@James Sexton
Thanks for the first hint here. What I’m curious about is, that he seems to write under 2 pseudos, Steve and Steven…..
I’m certain if you catch him here, you’ll have the opportunity to ask him. Perhaps it depends on his mood. In some circles, people call me Jim, others James. Steve seems very forthcoming so I’m sure he’ll tell you as soon as you can make contact.

Robert of Ottawa
May 19, 2010 1:29 pm

Joe Bastardi is talking of a heavy hurricane season

May 19, 2010 1:29 pm

Al’s AGW Report: Not monkey business.
“unexpected heavy snowfall”.
“British mountaineers die in Pyrenees
Two British mountaineers were killed in the Spanish Pyrenees today. The two men died during unexpected heavy snowfall near the town of Sallent de Gállego in Huesca, eastern Spain.”
“They had been passing through an area which is usually free of snow in the summer”.

May 19, 2010 1:34 pm

RobT, the lottery and date in question will be easily recognised when those numbers are declared as the winning ones. Did I also mention that there will be another ice age?

May 19, 2010 2:19 pm

I have spent a goodly number of hours reviewing all the books and writings on philosophy that exist in my library. I could not find any reasonable justification for the end, however noble, justifying the means. I was reminded, this is a world view well articulated by Machiavelli in The Prince, although he never quite states it as such and it is a much older concept. His work is less philosophical then political. To paraphrase: if the Prince is to maintain his position or strengthen it then… what ever it takes to do so is justified, since the Prince’s desired outcome is defined as the greater good.
Need we say more to understand? I think not. What we do about world views like this, which are endemic in all political systems, I sadly have no advice to offer.

May 19, 2010 2:29 pm

Robert of Ottawa says:
May 19, 2010 at 1:29 pm
> Joe Bastardi is talking of a heavy hurricane season
No surprise. Given the demise of El Nino and the warm water in the Eastern Atlantic, the Cape Verde storms may get off to and early and strong start. (Normally they start in August or so. Early storms often form well west, as in the Caribbean and Gulf of Mexico.)
Read Klotzbach & Gray on the 2nd, I’m sure they’ll have a lot to say about those predictors.
Keep an eye on the Saharan dust. That can heat the atmosphere and shade the water, and has reduced development of Cape Verde storms in past seasons.

Tom in Florida
May 19, 2010 2:36 pm

Never give your gun to the monkey!

David Ball
May 19, 2010 3:22 pm

James says:
May 19, 2010 at 11:41 am
JDN says:
May 19, 2010 at 12:00 pm
Guys, calm down. I was only joking. I remember when Jane Goodal spoke in Winnipeg a couple of decades ago. My father spoke before her. I remember laughing because she was convinced that chimps did not engage in warfare. That they were inherently peaceful creatures. BZZZZZZT. Wrong. They will always try to dominate the group, by any means necessary. Ask the woman whose face got ripped off by a “pet” chimp. Nice “pet”. By the way I said “conduct warfare like chimanzees do”, not “live like champanzees do”. So ease up off my back there, wouldja fellas.

May 19, 2010 3:23 pm

Instead of using dices to predict the hurricanes, the people at NOAA have a much more powerful tool… “THE GLOBAL WARMING WHEEL”… where they replace the temperature deviation numbers by hurricane numbers… spin the wheel Bob!

May 19, 2010 3:28 pm

They are seeking “consensus” to go hi or low on the chimp.
This really is a no(aa?) win situation for them.

May 19, 2010 3:55 pm

To myself, and I’m sure others, it’s quite simple why NOAA’s and other organization’s predictions are suffering.
Any input into their prediction algorithm that remotely deviates from the exact physics lying behind the weather and climate will greatly dilute any ability to extrapolate in the correct direction and slope.
And boy ‘o boy, have they ever had a major input dose that hinges not on realistic physics but instead of political agenda and beliefs which has no real tie to the science behind, it has even sifted into and tainted their imbedded equations. Their predications are thus doomed.
Albert Einstein and Richard Feynman were both correct; in so many words, a true scientist must always remain a skeptic. They should take heed.

DJ Meredith
May 19, 2010 3:55 pm

Considering that, what, some $20Bil was spent on climate research and related science between TAR and AR4… and the error bars got BIGGER….???
That monkey’s a bargain!!!

Charlie A
May 19, 2010 3:58 pm

I wonder if someone leaked the NOAA prediction number to The National Center for Public Policy Research. Then all they would have to do is keep filming the chimp until he picked the same forecast as the impending NOAA forecast.
That would be a truly dirty trick, but also rather amusing.

May 19, 2010 4:11 pm

Actually they’re just plenty confused what with they hired a shrimp.
People really have to learn to speak in a loud and clear voice with a perfect pitch.

May 19, 2010 4:13 pm

David Ball and other chimp behaviour common taters: a good read aboot our chimp ancestors is Nicholas Wade’s ‘Before the Dawn‘.
Couldn’t walk down the street after reading that, without seeing some of the very behaviours described….

Charles Wilson
May 19, 2010 4:45 pm

Do I have the Summary right ?
1. Sunspots say few (Michael)
2. Post El-Nino Hotspot off West Africa (Verde) says LOTS (Bastardi)
3. — Generally Nino OR Nina break up the Storms = few, BUT:
3b. … a post a week ago about El Nino fading fast — or not– said West-more El Ninos are El Nino Modoki & give LOTS of hurricanes — like 2005
4. A Verde Hotspot CAN mean lots BUT sometimes Sahara Sandstorms crop up
& kill it = translated: =Yes ! & NO ! also.
No wonder NOAA wants to hide in a corner.

Gail Combs
May 19, 2010 6:16 pm

Krishna Gans says:
May 19, 2010 at 12:11 pm
Is it allowed to ask and is it possible to get an answer to the question, who and what is Steve(n) Goddard, please ?
Steve Goddard says:
February 3, 2010 at 9:22 am
I also have a geology degree and worked for many years as a geologist. Likewise, I don’t know any geologists who are concerned about catastrophic global warming.

Don V
May 19, 2010 9:25 pm

Someone may have said it before but I think the NOAA delay is because their first prediction exactly matched the chimps hi/lo numbers! or worse than that their numbers were 5 – 10! HA HA HA HA. In the big gamble, if the prediction is correct, the chimp wins – he predicted first. If the prediction is incorrect, we all get to say, NOAA spent all that money to be just as wrong as a chimp rolling dice! Doh! They can’t win. Even if they stick with their wider range, they still have egg on their face! Anyone can predict higher AND lower than a chimp rolling dice! The only way they can win is to predict tighter range of higher or lower numbers!

kadaka (KD Knoebel)
May 19, 2010 10:46 pm

Krishna Gans said on May 19, 2010 at 1:18 pm:

@James Sexton
Thanks for the first hint here. What I’m curious about is, that he seems to write under 2 pseudos, Steve and Steven…..

It’s worse than we thought.
In this recent article he mentions researching volcanoes for the US Government in 1980, indicating he has a geology degree. Well, Amazon has a book listed, “A Guide to Information Sources in the Geographical Sciences (Hardcover)” by Stephen Goddard, publishing date June 1983. Could this be the same person, and he has since modified his first name to what people were likely calling him anyway, he just Anglicized it slightly?
(Gee, hope no one embarrasses themselves by saying “But that’s a geography book, not geology!” Do people think geologists don’t know about geography?)

May 20, 2010 12:43 am

The chimp has probably been “adjusted”.

May 20, 2010 12:11 pm

I’m sure that if we just gave some carbon credits to a bunch of chimps, they could do a lot of monkey-business buying and selling these pieces of paper between themselves.
And the tax-payers would’nt get hurt.
Regarding models, prediction, and climate;

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