Conservative Think-Tank falsely conflates hurricane forecasting with climate change

Post by Dr. Ryan N. Maue

The National Center for Public Policy Research, a conservative “think-tank”, has again issued a press release asking if NOAA is Smarter than Fifth Graders (?) when forecasting the number of Atlantic tropical storms in 2011. However, in their lame satirical attempt at making serious points, they reveal how little they actually know about seasonal hurricane forecasting. Amy Ridenour, president of the outfit, falsely conflates seasonal hurricane forecasting with climate science methods relating human-caused global warming to changes in x, y, and z phenomena.

Ridenour and her Think-Tank should not mock the researchers who are legitimately trying to determine the ferocity of the upcoming hurricane season – as preparedness is the key to preventing loss of life. NOAA, including the National Weather Service and the many labs around the US including the Storm Prediction Center and National Hurricane Center perform admirably to warn the public of impending situations, and often explain the causes and implications of weather phenomena in professional manners.

If you read the NOAA Hurricane Outlook for 2011, you will find the scientific reasoning for the upcoming “above-normal” hurricane season. However, predicting the exact number of storms is indeed a crap-shoot, as many tropical cyclones develop from small-scale, seemingly opportunistic disturbances that are not necessarily characteristic of the prevailing large-scale climate.  Looking to the tropical Pacific for the current and upcoming El Nino Southern Oscillation phase is well-established in the scientific literature to be a statistically significant and useful predictor of Atlantic and Pacific seasonal tropical storm activity.

“Washington, D.C. – The same organization that challenged NOAA to bragging rights for the best hurricane forecast last year using a trained chimp armed only with a pair of dice and a craps table is challenging the agency again: This time by putting two fifth graders up against the multi-billion dollar federal agency.

“Forecasts are just that: forecasts. All that matters is what actually happens,” said Amy Ridenour, president of the National Center for Public Policy Research. “We should keep this in mind as we consider whether to regulate greenhouse gas emissions. Past forecasts of rising temperatures, sea levels, and droughts and other extreme weather events due to rising concentrations of carbon haven’t proven any more reliable that NOAA’s annual hurricane forecast. Until their reliability improves, it would be irresponsible to base policy on them.

I ask Ridenour to retract her conclusions based upon her false logic, and issue an apology to the specific forecasters at NOAA, who are not invested in global warming prognostications, but legitimate public service in providing expert assessments of hurricane risk in 2011.

Instead ask this question:  how much money has been spent on seasonal hurricane forecasting research instead of climate change modeling scenarios for the year 2100?  If you are going to mock someone, then make sure you have the right target.

Advertisements

104 thoughts on “Conservative Think-Tank falsely conflates hurricane forecasting with climate change

  1. The trouble with NOAA senior mgt being so activist about AGW is that it taints all NOAA products. Having said that the NCPPR needs to be more thorough in its research or they too will be producing products that no one values.

  2. I for one am not sure how forecasting either number or ferocity of storms, months in advance, is going to help unless you can also forecast where they will be at and at what time. You could have lots of storms and they all miss population centers – so the number of storms doesn’t necessarily translate to people impacted.

    Everyone should already know they are at risk if they live on the coast. People should have already planed for what they will do. For those people living with their heads in the sand, I am not sure that better storm season forecasting will be any more effective.

    Tornado warnings work because people can take action near the time of the event. They get projections of where the tornado will be and at what time. Knowing there is a 25% chance of more tornadoes this year is pretty useless to me.

    Don’t get me wrong, I am not against furthering scientific knowledge on weather forecasting, but I just do not see the immediate link to bettering people’s lives (or saving lives) by statistically forecasting how many storms there will be.

  3. Insurance, commodities, energy, agriculture, transportation, tourism, government, and others use the seasonal forecasts to assess and mitigate risk. The reason is $$$. For the amount of research dollars and manpower invested in the seasonal hurricane forecast, the economic impact is huge.

    Making decisions based upon sea-level forecasts in the year 2100 is likely nonsense, but knowing in advance that an active hurricane season that favors Gulf of Mexico storms is on the way — is very useful information.

  4. I really have to disagree with most of what you said. I have no problem with the NOAA studying how to predict hurricanes and refining their methods, but if they are not able to predict with more accuracy than just looking at past statistics would give you then there is no reason to base policy off of their predictions.

    Granted the think tank has shown this to be the case in a way that appeals to the media, but this does not mean they are wrong. And as for mocking who needs to be mocked, we do enough global warming bashing on this blog. It is good to know others are mocking those who may feel neglected by our narrow-mindedness.

  5. well fire all the actuaries, then, cuz we have the noaa ‘camping’ in the name of science

  6. From the NCPPR press release:

    “NOAA may have beaten our trained chimp, Dr. Hansimian, last year,” said David Ridenour, vice president of the National Center for Public Policy Research. “But he was really only our second banana. Let’s see how NOAA can do against opponents with opposable thumbs.”

    Actually, chimpanzees have opposable thumbs too…

  7. What is NOAA’s annual hurricane forecast accuracy. Since I have started paying attention (3ish years) they have been very bad. It would almost seem that the forcasts are an attempt to further the AGW advocate’s case. I think that this is what sparked Ridenour’s statment.

  8. The pioneering work of William Gray in identifying reliable indicators of annual hurricane activity are largely unknown to the general public. Dr. Gray’s work and his methods turned what used to be an activity that was rightfully compared to throwing darts or entrail reading into one with a reasonably successful record of accurately forecasting annual hurricane activity. Dr. Gray’s work deserves both recognition and commendation.

    Ms. Ridenour and the National Center for Public Policy Research are, obviously, unaware of the advances that have occurred in forecasting annual hurricane activity over the last twenty-odd years.

  9. Being a Democrat or Republican; liberal, independent, or conservative; black, yellow, or white; highly educated or barely educated–none of these make you a better scientist, logical thinker, or immune to propaganda, lazy conjecture, and the global warming cult. The AGW disease cuts across all demographics.

  10. Ryan,

    I agree with your basic points. Your last paragraph could also become a starting point for a list of issues on which research could bring some considerable benefits, in this sense: We should be doing X, rather than Y.
    One of the Xs would be energy storage, the lack of which makes wind and solar part of a problem and less of a solution (1). The cash-for-clunkers thing was poorly conceived and poorly done. Likewise, etting up charging stations along long distance routes at public expense makes no sense — exchangeable batteries (refueling in minutes) does. There could be a long list of such ideas.

    (1). By Ed Caryl on P. Gosselin’s site: http://notrickszone.com/2011/05/27/a-grid-manager%E2%80%99s-nightmare/

  11. However, predicting the exact number of storms is indeed a crap-shoot, ….

    What is the success rate of the NOAA is regarding storm prediction numbers?

    Do we have a comparison with private weather companies?

  12. If NOAA wants to be treated as credible and scientific, they must loudly, firmly and publicly disown the entire Carbon Crime. As long as they are going along with it, they deserve to be tainted by the stain of Wall Street Pseudoscience.

  13. Ryan: “Making decisions based upon sea-level forecasts in the year 2100 is likely nonsense, but knowing in advance that an active hurricane season that favors Gulf of Mexico storms is on the way — is very useful information.”

    So, Ryan, do you have a chart that plots predicted hurricanes against actual hurricanes. You seem to be trying to make a point that your work is important. I will agree that it can be if your predictions are accurate. If you can provide such a chart, maybe we can make an informed judgement.

    [ryanm: i am not saying anything about my work at all. i am only discussing the NOAA seasonal hurricane forecasts which are based on sound science.]

  14. I’m not saying I agree with the think tank but I suspect their thinking goes like this:

    If fifth graders perform better than the NOAA then the NOAA is either guessing or their tools / methods are inadequate. If I lived on the US coast I certainly would want further research into hurricane prediction (with the co2 element left out). ;>)

  15. All i know is from following the forecasts the last 3 years and the real amount of storms hitting the us coast that a chimpansee rolling dices with 80% security would have produced better numbers than NOAA . Last they arrived at some number by counting all possible low pressure activities that never came near to any coast in the middle of the ocean . Only the temperature of the surface-water is the driving force of all hurricanes . And what do you notice in the mid-atlantic ? That again this season the sea-surface temperatures are relatively falling , whilst the sst in the gulf is getting further and further off from the increased temperatures measured a couple of months of ago . Again this season a no-hit event , like i forecasted for the last season and which actually came true apart from a small mexican incident in the gulf , may again astonish our bewildered scientists .

  16. The satire was aimed against nonsense claims by leftist activists like Hansen that claim that hurricanes are going to increase because of global warming. Maybe you should direct you attention at the people who claim to be scientists and spread misinformation rather than going after people who find that sort political opportunism and obvious distortion of science obnoxious. If I were given a choice between something that Hansen predicted and a chimp, I would go with the chimp every time because the chimp is not driven by political agendas and bogus assumptions.

  17. Call it as you see it. And call out the politically driven lockers too. Good on you.

    40 shades

  18. Good for you, Dr. Maue. This kind of helpful self-criticism is what is needed in climate studies. However, your follow through is lacking. Will you be self-critical? Will you swear never to use the word ‘prediction’ unless you have some physical hypotheses which can explain the phenomenon that you claim to predict? That would mean that no one in climate science can use the word. Will you agree that neither NOAA nor anyone else can do better than look at old charts and graphs and extrapolate from them? Notice that extrapolation does not fall into the realm of science.

    You are quite willing to accept my requests as regards landfall for individual hurricanes, so what is it exactly that you claim to understand scientifically? Does the average citizen care about this information that you can provide on good scientific grounds?

    Global Warming hysteria was launched in part because meteorologists and other “weathermen” have hyped themselves as having a scientific understanding of various phenomena when they have no such thing. To wrestle AGW hysteria to the floor, we must squeeze our weather forecasters (not predictors) until there is not one drop of illusion remaining in them.

  19. Ryan Maue says:
    May 27, 2011 at 11:58 am

    “Insurance, commodities, energy, agriculture, transportation, tourism, government, and others use the seasonal forecasts to assess and mitigate risk. The reason is $$$. For the amount of research dollars and manpower invested in the seasonal hurricane forecast, the economic impact is huge.”

    But it is a drop in the bucket compared to the amount of money that pours into lotteries. Worse reasoning I cannot imagine.

    “Making decisions based upon sea-level forecasts in the year 2100 is likely nonsense, but knowing in advance that an active hurricane season that favors Gulf of Mexico storms is on the way — is very useful information.”

    To whom? To the residents of Florida? No. Now, having predictions of landfall at particular time and places would be of immense value, but you cannot do that. To investors? Well, sure, but they pay for this information. They would not rely on NOAA if NOAA gave door prizes.

  20. Can anyone point me to demonstrated benefits of accurate hurricane season predictions? Since the predictions are in a very real sense vague, meaning they can’t predict the when or where, they provide very little benefit. It’s not like cities or governments must prepare in some unusual way if the predictions calls for a slightly more active season versus a slightly less active season.

    I really don’t see much benefit from these predictions.

    People that live in areas susceptible to hurricanes must be prepared during the hurricane season regardless of whether it’s a busy or quiet hurricane season.

  21. “If I were given a choice between something that Hansen predicted and a chimp, I would go with the chimp every time because the chimp is not driven by political agendas and bogus assumptions.”

    NOAA’s seasonal hurricane forecasts aren’t based upon political agendas and bogus assumptions. Neither are Gray and Klotzbach from CSU or any other outfit that puts out forecasts. These forecasts have nothing to do with climate change — that’s the point of my posting.

  22. What you’re seeing is the damage done to climate science by Mann, East Anglia, politicians and the rest of CAGW mafia. Congratulations to Dr. Maue for trying to bring science back into good repute.

  23. NOAA’s seasonal hurricane forecasts aren’t based upon political agendas and bogus assumptions.

    Don’t piss on my leg and try to tell me it’s raining.

    You stand to lose nothing by these laughably meaningless assertions. Make a solid, unqualified prediction & ifwhen you’re wrong, quit the prediction business and go wash dishes somewhere. Otherwise you’re just another quacksalver defending his ointment business.

  24. Ryan M.,

    I do think there are some responsible scientists in NOAA…but in the meantime the success rate of the organization and the usefullness of their (LONG-RANGE) forecasts are another thing alltogether.

    I mean, their prediction is basically worthless…it has such a high spread that a monkey shooting at a dart-board is almost as useful. And I have noticed that after predicting weather patterns in 6 months times for only 3 years almost now, I do much better then they do. Why is this? I shouldn’t be doing better then people who have done this as a carear, for me its just a hobby.

    Same with the hurricane prediction. I make a small window of a prediction. If I am wrong, I admit it afterwards and learn from what I did wrong.

    Granted its not just the NOAA that gives such a large window for their prediction…but I kind of wonder what is the point of this in the first place.

    That being said, the NOAA does provide other services which I rather enjoy and use quite a bit. I have no issues with the job of immediate forecasting that they do, they seem to do that as good as one would expect…the weather after all in the short-term tends to be very difficult as we all know.

    But for their hurricane predictions? I would rather take the monkey in the dartboard if it was mission critical.

  25. Ryan,

    you are right that many folks use hurricane forecasts for business reasons … what you don’t seem to appreciate is that NOBODY would use the NOAA forecast … nobody that is trying to make money that is …

    The NOAA brand is sullied I don’t care what division you work for … is it guilt by association … why yes it is …

    but then after some time has passed if you still work at NOAA and they still have the Climategate crew onboard then guess what … You have chosen to associate with the guilty … either way, cry me a river and clean up your shop …

  26. I agree with Bill Jamison. Money spent on predicting hurricanes is money wasted. Instead, it should be spent on hurricane preparedness.

  27. Sorry Ryan. I cannot trust the NOAA.

    “As the funding agency and a contributor of scientific expertise for this study, NOAA commends the members of the Committee on America’s Climate Choices for their diligent work over the last three years and their valuable contributions to this monumental effort.

    This final report, from the nation’s most esteemed scientific body, is another independent, peer reviewed scientific report that adds to the growing body of scientific information telling us that climate change is occurring and poses significant risks to America’s economy, communities and natural resources.

    This report not only re-affirms the broad international scientific consensus about the causes and consequences of climate change, but makes clear that comprehensive, sustained efforts must begin today to deal with those consequences. As the report states, the question is no longer if the climate is changing, but rather what are the options for dealing with it. Specifically, what are the tools and information that communities need to 1) understand the risks, 2) prepare for and deal with impact already occurring and 3) understand what actions they can take to limit future emissions and the magnitude of future impacts.”

    Blah blah blah …

    http://www.noaanews.noaa.gov/stories2011/20110518_americaclimatechoice.html

  28. “If you read the NOAA Hurricane Outlook for 2011, you will find the scientific reasoning for the upcoming “above-normal” hurricane season. However, predicting the exact number of storms is indeed a crap-shoot”
    “Insurance, commodities, energy, agriculture, transportation, tourism, government, and others use the seasonal forecasts to assess and mitigate risk. The reason is $$$. For the amount of research dollars and manpower invested in the seasonal hurricane forecast, the economic impact is huge.”
    =============================================
    Sorry Ryan, I fail to see the connection.

    NOAA does not make predictions about landfall, and the list you made does not give a rats rear about fish storms.

    NOAA predicting an above average season, then giving numbers/guesses that fall well within a “normal” season is nothing more than CYA, smoke and mirrors and hysterics.

    “”6 to 10 could become hurricanes””” or could not, that’s like saying a 50% chance of rain. 6 is well within “normal”, not “above normal” but it’s not even a forecast, it’s a “could”

    “”3 to 6 major hurricanes “”, so which is it? normal? or above normal?

    Again, unless NOAA stops naming every two clouds that get within talking distance, narrows the cone of death from New York to Rio…….what exactly is NOAA forecasting?

  29. Conversations like this should motivate all of us to ask what science is. My response is that science is sets of reasonably confirmed physical hypotheses which permit explanation and prediction of the phenomena in question. No reasonably confirmed physical hypotheses, no science and certainly no predictions.

    People who are disappointed by my little definition should learn to be proud of their hunches and proud that they do not confuse their hunches with science.

  30. [ryanm: i am not saying anything about my work at all. i am only discussing the NOAA seasonal hurricane forecasts which are based on sound science.]

    Ryan M:

    Don’t use small case for “I” it makes you look very “affected”. ALWAYS take the time to use proper spelling, grammer, and punctuation. (Also, it can make you look lazy, which I’m sure you are not.)

    [ryanm: this is a blog — and this is my “in-line” commenting style. and by the way, grammer is not spelled with an “e”]

  31. BravoZulu says:
    May 27, 2011 at 1:06 pm

    The satire was aimed against nonsense claims by leftist activists like Hansen that claim that hurricanes are going to increase because of global warming.

    Some papers appear to show an increase in hurricane frequency during cold periods and a decrease during warmer periods. Maybe I’m living in denial. ;O)
    http://www.co2science.org/subject/h/summaries/hurratlancent.php

  32. Ryan I think I see the point you are trying to make. Your forecasts are useful because they are used by lots of other agencies in their budgeting, planning and preparing.

    I think that you do not like it when your data is being interpretted and twisted by people like Al Gore for political purposes. ie Human caused Global Warming/Climate Change/Climate Disruption by CO2.(But I would like to hear you say it).

    I also think that The National Center for Public Policy Research do not like it when your data is being interpretted and twisted by people like Al Gore/Newspapers/Scientists for political purposes.

    You later say “These forecasts have nothing to do with climate change…”.

    Have you ever called out a newspaper, scientist, blogger or politician for using your data in this way? If you haven’t why not?

    You have called out the NCPPR so lets see where you called out other people for connecting a large hurricane season to Human caused Global Warming/Climate Change/Climate disruption.

  33. Conservatives are no better than Liberals when it comes to scientific ignorance. Ryan, the problem is that NOAA is predicting a target number with an uncertainty. This leads the general public to assume that they are absolutely sure of themselves (the public doesn’t understand the range they just see numbers). If they want respect, get out of the crystal ball game. Just call it lower, higher or about average because of x. Don’t make it seem more accurate than it really is. When they start acting professional and not like carny shills then they will get respect. If they want to play numbers then do it in the office. Not any worse than betting on the NCAA tournament.

  34. It’s interesting to note that the Met Office abandoned its seasonal forecasts (predictions?) when it was clear to everyone that they were actually doing more harm than good. The harm being ungritted, icy roads, excess cold weather deaths and businesses stocked with thin jumpers and spring gear. ;O)

  35. Small clarification:
    The Met Office continues to offer its seasonal forecasts to gullible institutions and businesses.

  36. As was said earlier, I think this was pushback aimed at NOAA based on their bogus manmade global warming / carbon dioxide scam. They have befouled their own nest (and in the case of Hansen keep on doing it). It will be a long time before the public trusts anything out of them at any level. You have no idea how damaging this all has been to federally funded science – perhaps rightly so. Cheers –

  37. Dr. Maue writes: “NOAA’s seasonal hurricane forecasts aren’t based upon political agendas and bogus assumptions. Neither are Gray and Klotzbach from CSU or any other outfit that puts out forecasts. ”

    Maybe you could call it not “political”, but there most definitely have been forecasts that have been used that have very little to do with science and everything to do with making money off of… some might say bilking… consumers.

    The RMS forecasts (as recounted here) sure seems to have been an unholy collision between greed and climate alarmism. So, I wouldn’t be so quick to exonerate “any other outfit.”

  38. Baby, meet bathwater.

    Insurers and re-insurers set up their cash-flows to anticipate the size of the upcoming seasonal claims. Ballpark figures work for them and allow the forecasters to include enough factors to come up with a reasonable estimate.

    From what I have seen, there is no real CAGW flavor to the NOAA hurricane analysts. In fact, being meteorlologists, they tend to be realists and very skeptical of the CO2 scenario as a driver of anything more than hype.

    The motives of the attackers may be valid, but their target should be justified. Take on the NASA GISS nitwits as they are deserving of wrath and scorn. No global warming prediction has panned out, disaster wise. Hurricane prognostication, OTOH has helped to raise awareness of disaster mitigation and emergency management.

    hold them to a higher standard but accept their limitations as well.

  39. Past forecasts of rising temperatures, sea levels, and droughts and other extreme weather events due to rising concentrations of carbon haven’t proven any more reliable [than] NOAA’s annual hurricane forecast. Until their reliability improves, it would be irresponsible to base policy on them.“ –Amy Ridenour, president of the National Center for Public Policy Research.

    Their? Who is “they?” that is the question. The way I read this, NOAA’s annual hurricane forecast is held up as a minimal level of performance to surpass before betting the entire economy of the US on global warming prevention. Is the statement ambiguous? Yes, if you understand “policy” (of some sort or other) to be based on hurricane forecasts. The quote is a syntax failure, not a scientific one. A clarification is most certainly called for. An apology? Wouldn’t hurt.

  40. Ryan: [i am only discussing the NOAA seasonal hurricane forecasts which are based on sound science.]

    If the forcasts are based on sound science then they should produce sound results. So let’s see a chart comparing forcasts and results for the last 20 years.

  41. Rich Horton says: “…The RMS forecasts…[seem] to have been an unholy collision between greed and climate alarmism.”

    RMS = Rhesus Monkey Statisticians?

  42. PJB says:
    May 27, 2011 at 4:56 pm
    Baby, meet bathwater.

    “The motives of the attackers may be valid, but their target should be justified. Take on the NASA GISS nitwits as they are deserving of wrath and scorn. No global warming prediction has panned out, disaster wise.”

    To be honest and to avoid defamation of science, they have to switch from ‘prediction’ to ‘hunch.” All they have are hunches. I can read some old graphs and extrapolate just as well as they, but I will not call it science.

  43. Ryan Maue says:

    Insurance, commodities, energy, agriculture, transportation, tourism, government, and others use the seasonal forecasts to assess and mitigate risk.

    Please tell me what value this provides. Will my insurance premiums decrease if a less than normal prediction is made? Do farmers plant more or less crops depending on these predictions? Are the airlines canceling flights as a result of these predictions? Are the power companies stockpiling more line equipment? As with the MET office, the UK govt. bought their warm predictions the past couple of winters and was totally unprepared. Mitigate risk … what?

    On a likely determinable downside, perhaps some tourists may view these predictions (and possibly believe them) and adjust their travel plans away from the coastal areas.

    These predictions are not worthwhile, but just a publicly funded game to try to justify maintaining their employment and status quo. I could argue extensively the downside to relying on such a prediction yet could not find a place to start to argue the upside. Thank you for your post but I’m not buying your argument.

  44. Something like Gresham’s law in economics (bad money drives out good money) applied to science.

    When the bad science of AGW drives out the good science and gets all the funding and headlines then all science is painted with the hue of AGW science. As a result, all science gets mocked, as is happening here.

    The recent active tornado season was forecast well in advance of it happening. It didn’t help the citizens of Alabama or Joplin; we’ve still got a long way to go in that department. But good work and slow progress keeps being made (no thanks to Mr. Roker, as you noted in your earlier piece on the tornado events).

    The same is happening here. Let’s not mock serious work which is still, even after all these years, in its infancy. And let’s not lump serious, honest efforts at forecasts with the AGW tainted efforts of others. Perhaps Ridenour and the NCPPR should sharpen their focus and distinguish between the honest science and those AGW proponents cashing in on what’s left of the reputation of real science.

  45. Two small points to be made here:

    1) WUWT needs more of this kind of thing. What one might call ‘pseudo-sceptics’ are just as capable of putting out propaganda as the ‘warmists’, and should be ridiculed for it just as much here on WUWT – which stands for good sense and rational debate.

    2) Dr Maue, I challenge you to prove your claims. Not that I think for a second that they’re false – I possess greater knowledge of your work than is presented in this post. But it’s not good form to present things this way. It would be better if you provide some links to your – general, plural ‘you’ – work so people can judge for themselves how accurate and useful you have been.

  46. Ryan, there’s no convincing some people that there are individuals who are trying to do genuine science and advance our knowledge of the world forward , even in the climate business.

    Although the quality of current predictions of the intensity of the next hurricane season could be better, I have been impressed by the great improvement in the shorter term predictions of hurricane behaviors by the same people once those hurricanes have formed.

    I am deeply dismayed by the relatively large group in this thread who seem to be unable to distinguish between the science activists and the real scientists who do not have an agenda to push at us. The press release by Ms. Ridenour could be classified as displaying the same lack of understanding. Their comments do not reflect well on those trying to deal with AGW believers in a genuinely scientific manner.

    [ryanm: you get the point of my posting — we went through this 5-years ago over at Steve’s site. :-)

  47. It seems Ms Ridenour has long been familiar with the global warming debate.

    From Wiki:

    Environmentalists also claimed articles by Ridenour skeptical of the global warming theory were written only because NCPPR received support from ExxonMobil. Ridenour, writing on her blog, countered that her writing on the issue began in 1992, predating by many years her institution’s receipt of any funding from fossil fuel industries. She also claimed that total fossil fuel funding of NCPPR in 2004 amounted to six-tenths of one percent of her organization’s total funding.

    Seems she’s been flipped. There’s probably more to this than meets the eye. Just about every NGO you could name has been co-opted by activists and big money trusts. Conservatives are not immune to corruption. For someone who is presumably computer literate enough to do a search, Ridenoour’s bizarre assertion needs more explaining.

  48. “The video isn’t being released to question the professionalism or dedication of NOAA experts, but to remind Americans that forecasts based on science that is still evolving is unreliable and shouldn’t be used to determine public policy.”

    Sound like Dr. Ryan N. Maue is the one who is off base here.

  49. Roman M says:
    “I am deeply dismayed by the relatively large group in this thread who seem to be unable to distinguish between the science activists and the real scientists who do not have an agenda to push at us.”

    The differences aren’t significant in the real world or larger picture. Billions or even maybe trillions of dollars are backing the alarmist global warming will increase hurricane devastation party line. Until real scientists are willing to respond to rants from Hansen as nothing more than something from a typical unscientific doomsday cult, they shouldn’t be taken seriously. I see the difference very clearly. I also see the apparent unwillingness to address the cause of the satire which is the doomsday predictions by activists like Hansen.

    Don’t think that I am suggesting that you take that position that increased forcing might not lead to increased hurricanes. I would hate to see you lose your house because you didn’t correlate increased hurricanes to increased forcing from CO2. You might even be persecuted as a denier if you stooped that low.

  50. Its got me beat why you just don’t admit you can’t do it.The information you provide is useless.There is no pattern.Be prepared?I’m guessing that anybody who lives in the path of a hurricane will be prepared,it doesn’t need money spent to tell a person or government to be prepared.
    My advice to people,be prepared for the worst case scenario every year.Can I have some money now?

  51. BenfromMO says on May 27, 2011 at 2:18 pm

    But for their hurricane predictions? I would rather take the monkey in the dartboard if it was mission critical.

    This ‘prediction’ might better be called the over/under number for the ‘betting line’ …

    Give me three, four … ‘x’ number of parameters identified with some relative scaling factor that leads these scientific organizations to forecast a low, medium or a ‘high’ hurricane season (perhaps in relation to last year?).

    Specific numbers don’t really mean much; Identify the factors (graphically?) and maybe I’d a have a bit more insight …

    .

  52. RomanM says:
    May 27, 2011 at 6:26 pm

    “Although the quality of current predictions of the intensity of the next hurricane season could be better, I have been impressed by the great improvement in the shorter term predictions of hurricane behaviors by the same people once those hurricanes have formed.”

    What makes a statement a prediction? Let’s try an example: “The Sun will explode just after dawn tomorrow, Eastern Daylight Time.” It is about the future. Does that make it a prediction? How about “Some unicorn will violate a virgin at dawn tomorrow.” Is that a prediction? There are no unicorns you know.

    In addition, there are no natural regularities that contribute to the behavior of hurricanes and whose characteristics have been specified in a set of physical hypotheses that are rigorously formulated and that have been reasonably well confirmed. Given that no one has described such natural regularities, how could someone make predictions about them?

    [Ryan: your final paragraph is nonsense.]

  53. The real damage from Climate Change is the sludge thrown into the research pool by the AGW activists. It has infected every aspect of weather forecasting and reporting, even though it is oft stated that Weather is not Climate (except when it is used to prove Global Warming).
    I’m sad to say that good forecasters are dragged down by all this.
    Today, the public at large is both weary and wary, due to the immense amount of disinformation. So, it should come as no surprise that rejection levels are very high, even in conservative think tanks.
    I can see where they are coming from.
    Judy Curry was right when she intimated that we’d have to start over. It’s going to take a lot of time.

    [ryanm: agree completely. If we cannot separate weather from climate, no matter your ideological bent, then the science suffers.]

  54. Well said, Ryan.

    There are political agendas and equivocation in both camps in this debate. The National Center for Public Policy Research here is belittling the NOAA as a whole, equivocating hurricane forecasting with AGW promotion when the two are in fact unconnected.

    In doing so, the Center is no better than Joe Romm. And their arguments here are as contemptible as Joe’s.

  55. I agree 1000%

    It is a crying shame that these scientific philistines completely throw the baby out with the bathwater.

    Yeah….OK we all know about the NOAA party line on so-called ‘ocean acidification’ or the NASA party line thanks to James Hansen.

    But regardless, these are still VITAL organizations who have contributed life-saving and quantum leaps of technology..thanks to the many, many bright and talented minds who are doing the business of science there.

    For shame on this so-called “think tank”.

    They need to choose their battles. And not create ones where battles should not be.

    BTW…could somebody help me tackle the whining, self-important village idiot “comedian” in the video and give him a humiliating public wedgy? (With gloved hands, of course.)

    Chris
    Norfolk, VA, USA

  56. Dr Maue,
    I understand your frustration with the video presented, having watched it prior to this posting. While your predictions may not have a political AGW slant, it is plainly obvious the the perception is that it does. Personally, I have seen less shrilling within NOAA for blaming everything on Global Warming. This is encouraging, since it shows true science being applied within the organization. However, this has not always been true, and one only has to look at the prediction for the year after Catrina as an example. The prediction for the following year was for destruction of epic proportions in which the coasts would be scoured free of all life. I know I exaggerate, but not by much. Each successive year gave a prediction similar to the last, with the same results, minimal activity.

    While the prognostication teams had what they thought were good, science based reasoning for the predictions, the effect was “If we predict it, it will eventually happen”, but it never occurred. So most of the public is left with asking why prediction was the same thing over and over again even though it isn’t working, and are left with one explanation; by political edict, global warming is occurring, and we are required to call for more hurricanes no mater what. For if we say there will be fewer, then global warming can’t be the cause of both higher and lower seasonal hurricane counts. It is sad that the hard work of individuals can be tainted this way, but when you have “Scientists” claiming that everything from Aardvark sinus infections to Zebra stripe patterns being affected by Global Warming, what can you expect?

    [Ryan: you are wrong. After Katrina in 2005, scientists working at the National Hurricane Center, including Chris Landsea and Gerry Bell (at CPC), chalked the hyperactive seasons of 1995-2005 to the warm phase of the Atlantic Multidecadal Oscillation (AMO), not global warming. Their predictions for the subsequent seasons were based on the AMO, sea-surface temperatures in the Atlantic, and the evolution of the El Nino Southern Oscillation (ENSO) in the Pacific. The current scientific consensus among serious tropical cyclone researchers across the field is this: Global Warming has NOT yet had a “detectable” effect on North Atlantic hurricane activity. It is an open question as to how AGW will manifest itself in terms of hurricane intensity and/or frequency — Knutson et al. (2010) Nature Geoscience.]

  57. eyesonu says:
    May 27, 2011 at 5:53 pm

    These predictions are not worthwhile, but just a publicly funded game to try to justify maintaining their employment and status quo. I could argue extensively the downside to relying on such a prediction yet could not find a place to start to argue the upside. Thank you for your post but I’m not buying your argument.

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

    Thank you for your comments…but you are making no sense whatsoever.

    You obviously are painting with a broad….a VERY BROAD brush.

    That is a no-no…if you want to “argue the downside” or the upside, for that matter.

    Chris
    Norfolk, VA, USA

  58. Noelene says:
    May 27, 2011 at 7:32 pm
    Its got me beat why you just don’t admit you can’t do it.The information you provide is useless.There is no pattern.Be prepared?I’m guessing that anybody who lives in the path of a hurricane will be prepared,it doesn’t need money spent to tell a person or government to be prepared.
    My advice to people,be prepared for the worst case scenario every year.

    Can I have some money now?

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

    No, you may not.

    Your ‘study’ is a broad-brush, and very simplistic version of…hmm…lemme see here…what the devil do they call that?….oh yes….common sense.

    But scientifically, it is worthless. DUH. The Boy Scouts motto. OK….we get it.

    But….NO money [and justifiably so].

    Chris
    Norfolk, VA, USA

  59. Smokey says:
    May 27, 2011 at 2:18 pm
    I agree with Bill Jamison. Money spent on predicting hurricanes is money wasted. Instead, it should be spent on hurricane preparedness.

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

    That is a simplistic overstatement.

    DAMN so many broad brushes here.

    It needs to be BOTH: Money spent on predicting hurricanes AND on hurricane preparedness!

    What the hell is up with this either-or, black or white type of nonsense?

    Have you guys forgotten (yoo too, Smokey!) to look at things more finely?

    It is not either or….in this case at least, it is BOTH. Again…..DUH. :-)

    Chris
    Norfolk, VA, USA

  60. I am not sure what is in the air tonight, but some of the normally reasonable commenters on here, have gone of the deep end in an apparent REACTION to the political overstepping of NOAA and NASA in recent years.

    Yeah yeah I recognize those excesses too, and I condemn them….but that still does not negate the good they have done.

    All of that notwithstanding, Ryan’s post and his points still makes complete sense…at least to those who are not just giving an emo, predisposed, prejudiced, and reactive response to a politically sore problem

    Again….I warn you…don’t throw the baby out with the bathwater.

    When it comes to this, our logic needs to have the razor-sharp and pin-point accuracy of a surgeon….as opposed to the massive, indiscriminate bluntness of a bulldozer.

    Geez.

    Chris
    Norfolk, VA, USA

  61. I believe that I was not clear in my message. At no point did I state that the forecast team was negligent in the issued product ( I re-read my post just to make sure). My point was the perception of the product. When you have a movie with a smoke stack showing the spiral of a hurricane being taken as fact, and statements from within the NOAA hierarchy agreeing with that thought process, the results that you are seeing are to be expected. In 2006, Katrina (sorry spell check messed me up) and other incidents were being used to try to force the global warming perception on the world. At that time virtually everything was being blamed on “Global Warming”. Numbers watch has a list of 859 things blamed on “Global Warming”, many of which are mutually exclusive. You cannot expect a blown forecast to be perceived any other way, especially given the current state of affairs with the Climate Science community.

    While I know and appreciate the work this team is doing, the perception is still there in the back of many people’s minds, one more thing blamed on “Global Warming”. What I do not know is how long it will take to repair this damage, for you see, long term forecasts to an average person looks just like the climate scientists predictions of snowless winters, New York being flooded by sea level rise, or Katrina like hurricanes and even “Hypercanes” (a History Channel show). And, when they see forecast after forecast that does not meet what they experience, the confidence in those products decrease.

    What is the solution? Given the current atmosphere where whenever a significant weather event occurs some researcher claims “Global Warming”, it will be difficult. A possible start may be to provide with your prediction some of the reasoning, obviously simplified, to show that your are looking at the current and projected conditions of the oceans in your forecast. Provide data that shows how well your prognostications have been, and how you plan on improving them. Don’t demand a retraction form the NCPP, but use the spotlight to show what you are doing is real science, and not some random number generation system as they contend. You will not get a retraction, and sound much like the East Anglia researchers in want to silence the critics. While you may be right in your complaints, what has preceded your assertion has limited your available responses and their effectiveness. People take notice when a person retires and that now they can speak the truth since nothing can be done to them. This is why good science needs to be protected and the charlatans exposed. Yet many times in climate science just the opposite happens.

    Lastly, I do question the usefulness of a product that has such a wide range of prediction. Some of the criticism that this prediction’s error bands include the climatic normal levels of hurricane occurrence has some validity. This is the perception thing again, and while from your vantage point this is valid, from another perspective it would seem to be of little use. It is a difficult line to tow, and I wouldn’t want your job. However, you cannot ignore the perspective of the general public, valid or not. You see it in this blog, in politics, coffee houses, and in opinion polls, very few people trust the long term weather prediction establishment, be it climatological, or meteorological. And that is the sad state of affairs.

  62. savethesharks says:

    “That is a simplistic overstatement.”

    Hey, I am master of the simplistic overstatement.☺ I’m a black and white kinda guy, too – no post-normal science for me. I wear my heart on my sleeve.

    You may be right, and I might be wrong. But I still don’t see much value in predicting the number of hurricanes. They’re going to happen, whether there are 15 or 19 in any given year. And with hurricanes there is plenty of warning, so the important thing is being prepared. Just my 2¢.

  63. Very useful post Dr Maue and the comments have been illuminating – if not just for the range of views from a reasonably well-informed readership.

    The take-away for me is that this is a good example of the impact of agenda-driven climate scientists to actual scientists working in the field. Entire organizations and scientific fields of endeavor get painted with the same brush by both the uninformed AND well-informed.

  64. Dear Dr. Maue,

    Now you see the skeptic camp followers just as confused as the general public (GP). The GP hears ‘officialdom’ parroting ‘hurricanes are increasing due to global warming’ over-and-over. So now when NOAA’s National Hurricane Center issues a forecast for a ‘more active hurricane season’ they confuse this with the political AGW message from ‘officialdom’.

    It just goes to show that most people, even those who agree with our view on AGW, aren’t listening very closely and have the same kind of critical thinking issues.

    [RyanM: ditto, I think a cleansing is needed on the right…]

  65. LearDog says:
    May 28, 2011 at 6:40 am

    “The take-away for me is that this is a good example of the impact of agenda-driven climate scientists to actual scientists working in the field. Entire organizations and scientific fields of endeavor get painted with the same brush by both the uninformed AND well-informed.”

    Well said, Sir. Meteorologists and all others in that vaguely defined field have two motivations to make it clear to the public that they do not practice science and do not make scientific predictions. One motivation is self-interest. If they continue to suggest that they practice science then they have joined the liars such as Phil Jones. Another motivation is self-respect. If you believe that you are a scientist rather than a propagandist, entertainer, or “weatherman” then you will be quick to display your understanding of science. The bottom line in understanding science is clear as a bell: no physical hypotheses which can be used to explain and predict the phenomena in question means no science. There is no science of hurricane formation or landfall, whether we are talking about a particular hurricane or a North Atlantic hurricane season. There are a lot of good hunches based on meticulously collected historical records, but there is no science. Grow a bit of humility, folks.

  66. Theo Goodwin says:
    May 27, 2011 at 8:21 pm

    “In addition, there are no natural regularities that contribute to the behavior of hurricanes and whose characteristics have been specified in a set of physical hypotheses that are rigorously formulated and that have been reasonably well confirmed. Given that no one has described such natural regularities, how could someone make predictions about them?”

    “[Ryan: your final paragraph is nonsense.]”

    What a fine debater you are. Is this the quality of all your work?

    Obviously, the paragraph is nonsense to you. You believe that extrapolating from old charts is science. (Extrapolation is what we do on the Sea Ice Page here at WUWT. None of us have ever claimed it to be science.) I have quite politely put down a challenge. If you have physical hypotheses that can be used to explain and predict hurricane behavior in the North Atlantic this season then, for God’s sake, publish them here. What you have are meticulously developed hunches based on extrapolations from historical data. Those hunches are not unimportant and are not to be sniffed at. But they are not science. No physical hypotheses, no science.

    [Ryan: there are literally hundreds of papers on North Atlantic hurricane activity. Your paragraph is still nonsense b/c scientists have indeed identified natural mechanisms, which are obviously beyond your grasp, at the moment.]

  67. Post by Dr. Ryan N. Maue
    “you will find the scientific reasoning for the upcoming “above-normal” hurricane season.”
    ====================================================
    “above-normal” from what Ryan?
    Define normal.

    Every indication is that hurricanes are decreasing.

    [ryanm: we are in an active period since 1995 in the North Atlantic — normal would be the average of the past 15-years — 11-14 storms and 4-6 hurricanes.]

  68. All govt funded science is currently suspect in my world and as others have said get over it. The overreach of CAWG will be playing out for sometime to come. And in this case the baby does not appear to very useful to we who pay the bill. I recognise that research of hurricanes is necessary but the estimate of #s/ year is of what utility?
    Chris Landsea has my respect because he acted. What have you done other than bellyache about how your specialty is percieved? You did not foresee this reaction when/if you read the CRU emails or the IPCC FAR? What is science? is now an international discussion brought on by these and other absuses of our trust and of course serious scientists will suffer most in this process. So scientists police yourselves or face the consequences, some of which are occurring here. And it may already be too little too late, for the perception of dishonesty runs deep.

  69. There is another reason for claiming that hurricane forecasts are not science. No matter what the outcome of the hurricane season, no matter how large the divergence between forecast and fact, the people making the forecasts cannot identify one statement in their belief system that they will reject. If the facts and false predictions do not provide reason enough to reject some element of belief, then surely we must all agree that the forecasters are not practicing science.

    In genuine science, scientists can set forth several scenarios regarding their predictions and they can tell you which of their beliefs would be rejected for each scenario. No one in climate science, meteorology, or whatever one wants to include in that hugely amorphous field can do any such thing at this time. The fact that genuine science can set forth such scenarios shows the power of its critical component. No hypothesis is ever put forward without serious criticism accompanying it. The Climategaters and their heirs, all of existing government funded climate “science,” have shown conclusively that they do not have this instinct for criticism and self-criticism that has always been at the heart of science.

  70. This article smacks of liberal spin. My recommendation to the newly minted Ph.D. are: 1. When you attack someone who is engaged in satire and you know it’s satire it makes you look stupid if not completely confirming it. 2. When you clearly misrepresent what they say, you engage in false accusation. The press release clearly states: “The video isn’t being released to question the professionalism or dedication of NOAA experts, but to remind Americans that forecasts based on science that is still evolving is unreliable and shouldn’t be used to determine public policy. ”

    [RyanM: liberal spin, lol — you should read all of my posts on WUWT before labeling me as such.]

    The green behind the ears “doctor” is spinning the article to attack conservatives in general. In fact, had the “doctor” done his research and fully comprehended the two links he provided he would have noticed the following: ““NOAA’s forecasts have been wrong not because of a lack of dedication or competence of its forecast team, but because climate science is really still its infancy,” said Amy Ridenour, president of The National Center for Public Policy Research. “We should remember this as we consider whether to adopt economically-ruinous caps on energy. If we can’t rely on 6-month forecasts, how can rely on forecasts of what rising carbon concentrations will do to our climate 25, 50 or even 100 years out?” Explain to me why an apology is needed other than by Mr. Maue to the WUWT readers.

    It appears that Mr. Maue doesn’t understand the phrase “falsely conflates”. The term is widely used by liberal AGW activists to accuse people of lying. The proper description is “incorrectly conflates”. The author’s disdain for AGW critics is obvious.

    Mr. Maue believes that there are numerous “professional manners” with which to conduct oneself if you’re a NOAA scientist. Interesting point and accurate based on what I’ve observed at NOAA websites. Congratulations, Mr. Maue, you got something right.

    Mr. Maue also doesn’t understand that when NOAA puts out a prediction of 7-9 hurricanes and 15 occur (2005) or a prediction of 8-10 and only 5 appear (2006) that a certain amount of “mocking” is appropriate. ( There’s a reason that the folks in Pennsylvania put the responsibility for the Ground Hog’s day spring prognostication on the shoulders of “Punxsutawney Phil”. ) The huge hurricane prognostication “FAIL”s should have served as a prod to get NOAA to work on their product. Clearly their models were wrong and they didn’t fully understand the system. The good news is that Mother Nature, in the span of two years, gave them a lower and higher end excursion with respect to their prediction to help NOAA refine their models.

    As others have stated, preparedness is not the key to saving lives with respect to hurricanes. Early detection and accurate predictive movement of hurricanes are the key to saving lives.

    It’s truly sad that this disaster of an attack will become part of your permanent record, Dr. Maue. If you perform your research in the same manner you prepared this public attack, you’ll end up being deservedly mocked. You’re engaging in activism and you’re an idiot for doing so at this point in your career. Your work product is forever tainted based on your inherent bias. You have, however, succeeded in demonstrating your shoddy approach to public attacks and successfully demonstrated your lack of wisdom. We “sanitation engineers” use the following to describe this type of article: Fail. I’d vote a negative star if that were available.

    [RyanM: Several commenters understood the point of my posting, which is obviously still beyond your comprehension. You can attack my credentials and ridicule my research, but honestly, you don’t know what you are talking about.]

  71. An apology, Dr. Maue? For warning the public? Better we should apologize if we HAD NOT used all the tools at hand, given the immense cost to the economy and to liberty of taking climate alarmist scientists and their allies at face value, just because, as the media constantly tells us, they are “scientists.”

    I do agree with most of the commenters.

    Corrupt science has cost us billions and will continue to do so as long as scientists continue to place money, fame, power and/or a political ideology that promotes government control over individual liberty over accuracy and the search for truth.

    The tough lesson is that those in the front lines of protecting the public from the economic harm done by corrupt scientists and their exploitive business and political handmaidens (sometimes one and the same) cannot overcome the corrupt climate change-related machine (among others) without communications tools more attractive to the public than policy papers abandoned in obscure websites.

    Humor videos are just one of these tools.

    Making fun of Al Gore is another. Have you never…?

    Heck, we all have. Turns out, even Tipper does.

    And as for the notion that predicting weather and predicting climate are different, well, duh! But at the end of the day to the average person just trying to make ends meet in an atmosphere (pun intended) in which gas prices are higher and job creation imperiled by greenhouse gas reduction strategies and regulations, with more coming with or without Congressional approval, it is a distinction WITH NO DIFFERENCE.

    Our videos are not being submitted anywhere for, ahem, peer review.

    Bottom line: BOTH weather and climate sciences are in their infancies in the sense that neither one is presently capable of making reliable predictions, yet BOTH are continuously being exploited in means that enrich some with fame, money or power while the public unnecessarily suffers.

    And although I believe we are winning this particular battle, after decades of sustained effort, the war itself may yet be lost.

    Yes, I am aware that some scientists have ethics even in the face of great temptation and some even have both ethics and the courage to speak out. It is regrettable that the absolutely necessary message to the public and lawmakers DO NOT BLINDLY TRUST THE MESSAGE OF EVERYONE WITH A PHD when it comes to the enactment of law necessarily tars the relatively few scientists who have stood up for truth, sometimes at tremendous personal cost.

    But we must also remember that those who stood up for truth will be among the first to benefit directly, even personally, if the corruption can be cast out. So let’s win at that, shall we?

    In the meantime, Dr. Maue, I suggest a thicker skin. If science is to regain its reputation, and the public protected, scientists must be able to handle the criticism of genuine peer-review, much less the comparatively mild criticism of a satire video merely making the incontestable point that climate science is still in its infancy, and suggesting to the public that it keep this fact in mind when faced with policy choices.

    P.S. Might as well cover these three points to get them over with. 1) We do know that chimps have opposable thumbs. We just thought the line was funny. 2) We do know the hurricane in the opening of last year’s chimp video was spinning in the wrong direction. Satire, you know.

    [RyanM: since your IP confirms your identity — I will respond to your comment in a followup post.]

  72. For me, as a common lay-person who comes here to learn a few things now and then, … if weather forecasters can not get their 7 day “weather” forecast right, then how can scientists know what will happen 6 months from now? If we can’t get 6 months down pat, let alone 7 days, then how the heck can we know what will happen 100 years from now? Let alone 250.

    They say the sun will explode in 4 quadratrillion googleflop years. Ok, I’ll buy that. They say that there will be 10-20 hurricanes in the Atlantic this season. Ummmm.. well, ummm. Will there be hurricanes? Yeah. Sure. Aren’t there almost always hurricanes? And, isn’t the “prediction” a 50/50 shot anyway?

    I too see the futility of making hurricane predictions 6 months out. Wait till about 2 months out when you start seeing the on-the-ground data. That to a common man might make a bit more sense.

    As for this being science, from every scientific literature I have read, there are error bars and confidence percentages. How confident are these 10-20 hurricane predictions? Are those numbers within 5, 10, 50% of confidence? It would make more sense if you gave us a value, say 15, and then gave us your confidence in those numbers. And in that confidence, we would know how accurate your predictions have been in the past.

    For example, “We predict that there will be 35 hurricanes (10%), 5 major or severe (20%) and 4 of the 35 hurricanes will make landfall somewhere (35%), sometime, at some point.”

    That, we might be able to grasp and understand… and forgive.

    [Ryan: the seasonal forecast does exactly that, gives a range, and a level of certainty]

  73. Amy Ridenour says:
    May 28, 2011 at 12:24 pm

    Are you married? I would just love to hear you say those words, or similar words, daily.

    Thanks for having backbone and thanks for recognizing that there are criteria for good science. We must squeeze everyone who has advocated AGW or given a pass to AGW, especially through their own self-promotion, until the last drop of illusion has been squeezed from them. It is going to hurt like hell but it is necessary for the good of science, of the USA, and the world.

  74. jorgekafkazar,

    Thanx for the correction. I was abbreviating; I did mean Wankapedia.

    And my apologies to Ms Ridenour. When I first scanned the article I assumed she was proposing that hurricanes resulted from human activity. On reading the article more thoroughly I realize I was wrong.

    *Sheesh!* Twice in one thread! No doubt both of my regular readers are as astounded as I am.

  75. Amy Ridenour thinks that weather sciences are incapable of making reliable predictions? She has no credibility when she makes this statement. Numerical Weather Prediction has shown great skill at 5-days for global weather forecasts. Come on, you can’t just shoot from the hip with these nonsensical statements — you make such an easy target for the left to shoot at.

    “Bottom line: BOTH weather and climate sciences are in their infancies in the sense that neither one is presently capable of making reliable predictions, yet BOTH are continuously being exploited in means that enrich some with fame, money or power while the public unnecessarily suffers.”

  76. Ryan Maue says:
    May 28, 2011 at 3:44 pm
    “Amy Ridenour thinks that weather sciences are incapable of making reliable predictions? She has no credibility when she makes this statement.”

    Sir, you are the one who has no credibility. You have been given every opportunity to produce the physical hypotheses that are used to make the predictions that you uphold. You refuse to produce them. You are behaving exactly like a Phil Jones. If you have the hypotheses and the confirming data, put them out and let’s have the debate. If you do not understand that scientists have the duty to supply the confirming predictions that support the hypotheses that they (claim to) have then you are clueless about science and scientific method.

  77. Smokey says: “…*Sheesh!* Twice in one thread! No doubt both of my regular readers are as astounded as I am.”

    Yes, I’ve just managed to get my jaw back into place, Smokey.

  78. Theo Goodwin says:
    May 28, 2011 at 9:00 am
    “[Ryan: there are literally hundreds of papers on North Atlantic hurricane activity. Your paragraph is still nonsense b/c scientists have indeed identified natural mechanisms, which are obviously beyond your grasp, at the moment.]”

    This is a debate. Engage in it or not. Do not assign homework. Assigning homework is the same as refraining from debate. (I almost wrote “quitting the debate,” but since you have been too fearful to join it, I can hardly say that you quit.) If you know of natural mechanisms which enable you to predict the behavior of individual hurricanes or the “hurricane environment” of the North Atlantic for the coming season, then present some of them and defend them.

    The only thing that is beyond my grasp at this point is why you show up on this forum to defend “hurricane science” and present not one hypothesis from your so-called science. Unlike all other websites dealing with climate, on WUWT there is no free lunch, no free passes, no Al Gorish self-celebration. If you show up here to defend climate science, present your physical hypotheses and the evidence that shows them to be reasonably well confirmed. And expect to be examined fully. To a real scientist, one who has the instincts of a scientist, the very idea of such an encounter is exhilirating. Why does it depress you to the level of non-activity?

  79. savethesharks says:
    May 27, 2011 at 11:35 pm
    “When it comes to this, our logic needs to have the razor-sharp and pin-point accuracy of a surgeon….as opposed to the massive, indiscriminate bluntness of a bulldozer.”

    A surgeon cannot apply the scalpel if there is no patient. Ryan showed up, said Ridenour is an idiot, NOAA “hurricane science” is great, and then receded into the background. He left us surgeons with no patient. He has to make a scientific claim and defend it if he wants to support the position that NOAA “hurricane science” is genuine science. He adamantly refuses to do so. Analyze that behavior by Ryan, would you please?

  80. Ryan Maue says:
    May 27, 2011 at 2:52 pm
    Roy UK, I have no idea what you are talking about.

    I understood what Roy was saying. Comments like the above and you come across as a smart alec.

  81. [restored comment] Smokey says: [May 27, 2011 at 6:47 pm] “It seems Ms Ridenour has long been familiar with the global warming debate. From Wiki: [yatta-yatta]…”

    “A wiki is a Web site that allows users to add and update content on the site using their own Web browser. This is made possible by Wiki software that runs on the Web server. Wikis end up being created mainly by a collaborative effort of the site visitors…” –http://www.techterms.com/definition/wiki

    I believe you meant Wankapedia, Smokey. Wiki is a generic term. : )

    Jorge

    [The comment above was inadvertently deleted by me earlier in the day. Now maybe Smokey’s reply at 3:20 above makes sense. ~dbs, mod.]

  82. Theo,

    I am indeed married, but as it is to the guy who wrote all of last year’s video script and most of this year’s, you can come visit, and hear words like those from both of us.

    Amy

  83. Theo Goodwin says:
    May 28, 2011 at 5:57 pm
    savethesharks says:
    May 27, 2011 at 11:35 pm
    “When it comes to this, our logic needs to have the razor-sharp and pin-point accuracy of a surgeon….as opposed to the massive, indiscriminate bluntness of a bulldozer.”

    A surgeon cannot apply the scalpel if there is no patient. Ryan showed up, said Ridenour is an idiot, NOAA “hurricane science” is great, and then receded into the background. He left us surgeons with no patient. He has to make a scientific claim and defend it if he wants to support the position that NOAA “hurricane science” is genuine science. He adamantly refuses to do so. Analyze that behavior by Ryan, would you please?

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

    NO.

    I will analyze yours.

    In more accurate terms, to carry on your metaphor, you are being a complete logic bulldozer (its called sophistry), but with no true bulldozer…and no property to bulldoze.

    Chris
    Norfolk, VA, USA

  84. Theo Goodwin says:
    May 28, 2011 at 5:52 pm
    Theo Goodwin says:
    May 28, 2011 at 9:00 am
    “[Ryan: there are literally hundreds of papers on North Atlantic hurricane activity. Your paragraph is still nonsense b/c scientists have indeed identified natural mechanisms, which are obviously beyond your grasp, at the moment.]”

    This is a debate. Engage in it or not. Do not assign homework. Assigning homework is the same as refraining from debate. (I almost wrote “quitting the debate,” but since you have been too fearful to join it, I can hardly say that you quit.) If you know of natural mechanisms which enable you to predict the behavior of individual hurricanes or the “hurricane environment” of the North Atlantic for the coming season, then present some of them and defend them.

    The only thing that is beyond my grasp at this point is why you show up on this forum to defend “hurricane science” and present not one hypothesis from your so-called science. Unlike all other websites dealing with climate, on WUWT there is no free lunch, no free passes, no Al Gorish self-celebration. If you show up here to defend climate science, present your physical hypotheses and the evidence that shows them to be reasonably well confirmed. And expect to be examined fully. To a real scientist, one who has the instincts of a scientist, the very idea of such an encounter is exhilirating. Why does it depress you to the level of non-activity

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

    What in the hell is this guy talking about?

    Not sure. One thing is for sure, Theo, you are spending WAY too much time behind the little fortress of your laptop making potshots.

    Take a walk….enjoy the fresh air and the real world….maybe have a nice meal at an italian restaurant of your choice….spend a few moments meditating…do a few rounds at the punching bag….whatever.

    You need to get out in the real world. Breathe.

    Chris
    Norfolk, VA, USA

  85. Chris in Norfolk — it seems Theo, Roy, Amy all think I am some sort of global warming alarmist without any knowledge of hurricane activity.

    FSU Climatologist Cites Noted Tropical Cyclone Expert El Rushbo
    October 8, 2010

    BEGIN TRANSCRIPT

    RUSH: Dr. Ryan Maue is a scientist, a climatologist, a good guy at Florida State University. He monitors cyclone activity for the official record. “Dr. Ryan N. Maue’s 2010 Global Tropical Cyclone Activity Update — Current Year-to-Date analysis of Northern Hemisphere and Global Tropical Cyclone Accumulated Cyclone Energy (ACE) AND Power Dissipation Index (PDI) has fallen even further than during the previous 3 years.” The bottom line here is, “The global activity is at 33-year lows and at a historical record low where typhoons form in the Western Pacific.” I’m reading from the web page here. There’s a very simple, easy-to-understand chart, and you can see that we are in a 33-year low. I mean the tropical cyclone activity, typhoons, hurricanes, all that in the northern hemisphere, western Pacific, Caribbean, Atlantic, 33-year low.

    And it says here right in this post: “Also see additional blog posting with recognition given to Rush Limbaugh’s tropical cyclone knowledge.” They have repeated my hurricane forecast for this year, or they’ve linked to it at RushLimbaugh.com and have acknowledged my tropical cyclone knowledge. Koko will link to this at RushLimbaugh.com. Just search Dr. Ryan Maue, Florida State University, and you’ll find this. Somebody needs to call Gore. We’ve got a genuine hoax and a fraud being perpetrated out there. In all seriousness now, we’ve got this fraudulent movie, a fraudulent book, look at how many people believe all of this calamitous apocryphal stuff that’s going to happen because of global warming and hurricanes and we’re at a 33-year low for global tropical cyclone activity.

  86. Indeed, Ryan.

    Ignorance is bliss.

    I am pretty confident none of them (like me) could muster up to the advanced physics required for a PHD in hurricane forecasting and meteorology…so, I suppose…it is easier for them to just lash out in a so-called political debate (or attempt thereto).

    As a registered republican who has always voted my party in presidential elections…I still have GREAT angst voting for any of them.

    Right….left….they all seem to be scientific philistines.

    That is why I will listen to the scientists first….the politicians last.

    (And yes, James Hansen, you have officially disqualified yourself as a scientist, so your informed opinion has no weight.)

    Chris
    Norfolk, VA, USA

  87. Ryan Replies: [RyanM: Several commenters understood the point of my posting, which is obviously still beyond your comprehension. You can attack my credentials and ridicule my research, but honestly, you don’t know what you are talking about.]

    Mr. Maue, you have no reply to the fact that you misled the readers? WUWT? The point of your post was well understood, I can assure you of that. You asked for an apology to specific forecasters because crap shoot results from these hard working scientists shouldn’t be mocked. You failed in your support of any arguments that you made. You also failed to counter any argument that I made. Your post makes no mention of the fact that both press releases clearly state the purpose of the exercise was not to impune the hard work of the individual scientist at NOAA. How did you miss that?? A simple understanding of this fact fully destroys the purpose of your post. Lastly, the quoted statement you bolded in your post clearly shows how you missed the boat.

    “Past forecasts of rising temperatures, sea levels, and droughts and other extreme weather events due to rising concentrations of carbon haven’t proven any more reliable than NOAA’s annual hurricane forecast. Until their reliability improves, it would be irresponsible to base policy on them.“

    You ask for an apology to NOAA scientists based on “their”. It’s blatently obvious that in using”their” in the previous sentence, Ms. Ridenour was refering to the forecasts for rising temperatures, sea levels, and other AGW prognostications. If there were any doubt, surely you would have contacted Ms. Ridenour for clarification. But you didn’t. FAIL.

    You, sir, in these documented and repeated failures, have made a mockery of your own work and your degree. It wasn’t me who did that.

    [RyanM: i’ll prepare a follow-up post where i put Ms. Ridenour’s response and your challenges into context. Her whole satirical video and press release is in poor taste, mocking the wrong people, and doing a disservice to those seriously interested in advancing a sensible climate/energy policy. Again, the scientists that work at NOAA, both at NHC and the CPC that provide input into the seasonal hurricane forecasts are not connected to or invested in the current climate change debate. To conflate the two is unacceptable, and I will point it out every time. There is legitimate non-AGW climate science that deserves funding — something you should educate yourself about — perhaps by visiting Roger Pielke Sr.’s blog]

  88. Ryan Maue says:
    May 28, 2011 at 8:47 pm
    “Chris in Norfolk — it seems Theo, Roy, Amy all think I am some sort of global warming alarmist without any knowledge of hurricane activity.”

    Nope. My complaint is that you do not want to discuss hurricane science yet you are on this forum to protect NOAA from the claim that their so-called predictions are not genuine science. That is typical Warmista behavior. If we could get Warmista to discuss their “science” candidly everyone would see that it is in its infancy.

    Also, you use the Fallacy of Appeal to Authority. You want us to assume that you have the science and that we can take for granted the truth of everything you say. Such arguments are the last retreat of scoundrels. And, if you or anyone doubt that you are using an Appeal to Authority, just look at the post I am replying to. You got Rush to testify for you? What are you, a teenager?

    Son, if you are going to come here to defend NOAA’s hurricane science, then do it. Lay out some hypotheses and the evidence for them. But do not defend them by appealing to Authority.

  89. savethesharks says:
    May 28, 2011 at 8:11 pm

    You cannot understand what I am talking about. It is science.

  90. Latitude says:
    May 28, 2011 at 9:18 am

    > Every indication is that hurricanes are decreasing.

    That’s globally, and much of my realization of that comes from Ryan. (And hence, technically not hurricanes, but tropical storms – hurricanes are primarily a North Atlantic phenomenon. Only those that cross Central America or form in the southern hemisphere, well, I don’t know if those are hurricanes or not….) We are still in the warm AMO regime which is one of the keys to having more active than average hurricane seasons (i.e. North Atlantic tropical storms).

    Other factors, e.g. a developing El Nino or Saharan dust, can also cut way into Atlantic tropical storm production.

  91. One last comment, Mr. Maue. I didn’t label you as a liberal. I said the post smacked of liberal spin. As in: this is the kind of crap I would expect of whiney liberal AGW proponent. Rest assured that had I wanted to call you a liberal (not that there’s anything wrong with that), I would have done so using direct address.

  92. One of the themes in this thread seems to be that “hurricane predictions are always wrong, therefore it’s stupid to pay attention to them and even more stupid to pay for them.”

    Fine, if you don’t need them, don’t use them. I like them, but I guess I don’t really need them myself. When Bill Gray et al started with their predictions, I first thought this was a completely stupid thing to do as hurricanes have far too much random input. However, as I learned more about their procedures, I began to appreciate their work.

    Years where their predictions were way off were the most interesting, there are a lot of things where you can learn more from mistakes than successes, and Gray was refreshingly open about blown forecasts and what they learned from them.

    From them I learned a lot about the linkage between El Nino and Atlantic wind shear, the impact of Saharan dust over the ocean, and the relation of the AMO to periods of high and low hurricane risk.

    Here in New Hampshire, I testified to the Governor’s Task Force on Climate Change that their recommendation for better shutters on sea coast buildings was my first item critiqued in http://wermenh.com/climate/gccptf.html . “I will not be surprised if we find ourselves one week away from a repeat of 1938 and the realization that, like New Orleans and Galveston, we aren’t prepared either.”

    In my not-so-humble-opinion, hurricane prediction is a relatively new field, and I’m thankful that so much is done in the open (as opposed to UEA’s climate research). The improvements in seasonal and track forecasts over the last couple of decades is remarkable – to me, if not the Ridenours.

    Personally, I’m a heck of a lot more interested in the next CSU forecast (June 1) than figuring out why the Ridenours think the folks at the NHC and CSU have a fifth grade education. Of course, I’d really like to know why this round of a positive AMO hasn’t produced New England storms like 1938, Carol, and Donna. Frankly, I won’t be looking to chimpanzees, fifth graders, or publicity hounds for the answer for that.

    But yeah, I’m 60+ miles from the New Hampshire coast. Even if we have a repeat of the 1938 storm it won’t be a big deal here unless the ground is already saturated. Sort of like how the Blizzard of 1978 wouldn’t have been a much important storm if it started four hours earlier and schools and businesses hadn’t opened. So hurricane seasons typically won’t have a big impact on me. I make no excuses for being interested in science or watching the developments in tropical storm prediction.

  93. Rob Z says:
    May 28, 2011 at 9:44 pm
    One last comment, Mr. Maue. I didn’t label you as a liberal. I said the post smacked of liberal spin. As in: this is the kind of crap I would expect of whiney liberal AGW proponent. Rest assured that had I wanted to call you a liberal (not that there’s anything wrong with that), I would have done so using direct address.

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

    You moron. Its Dr. Maue to you.

    Or does your little pea brain allow you the conceptualization of such?

    Chris
    Norfolk, VA, USA

  94. Theo Goodwin says:
    May 27, 2011 at 1:14 pm

    Will you be self-critical? Will you swear never to use the word ‘prediction’ unless you have some physical hypotheses which can explain the phenomenon that you claim to predict?

    I just thought I’d go back and look at your contributions to this thread. How much do you know about hurricane (i.e. Atlantic) forecasting?

    That would mean that no one in climate science can use the word. Will you agree that neither NOAA nor anyone else can do better than look at old charts and graphs and extrapolate from them? Notice that extrapolation does not fall into the realm of science.

    When you say extrapolation, are you including searching for analog years? That’s something many forecasters do, and do so by looking at particular areas, e.g. ENSO state and east Atlantic SSTs. These analogs provide an important early look at what a season may hold. ENSO predictions aren’t very good yet, so we can get surprised by an El Nino forming mid-season or by Saharan dust fouling up the atmospheric temperature profile.

    My personal thoughts on the upcoming season is that we’ll have a double dip La Nina and that the greening of the Sahara and weak solar input will mean little Saharan dust. Hence, an active season. That’s not science – I’ve measured nothing, I can’t attach numbers to anything. But hey, neither can the chimp. Joe Bastardi, by looking at analogs, thinks New England has a better chance of a strike than in recent years. He can put numbers on the warm south and cool north that match his analogs. The cool New England spring is different than his analogs. Take him (and his well studied biases) more seriously than me.

  95. I am down on NOAA’s smug CAGW bias but I’m okay with forecasts with a short term. These forecasters let it hang out there to be right or wrong. There is no readjusting the goal posts as is unabashedly practiced by CAGW folks. A wrong forecast may lead to an autopsy that spots a confounding factor and leads to improvements in future forecasts. They seem to have the equatorial and G of Mex SSTs identified as factors and the status of ENSO. There is obviously something more and maybe they will spot something – the best chance to do so is when you are wrong.

  96. Both Dr Maue and many of his critics are overreacting.

    Theo Goodwin says:
    May 27, 2011 at 2:24 pm

    Conversations like this should motivate all of us to ask what science is. My response is that science is sets of reasonably confirmed physical hypotheses which permit explanation and prediction of the phenomena in question. No reasonably confirmed physical hypotheses, no science and certainly no predictions.

    NOAA’s hurricane predictions are indeed based on physical hypotheses — the hypothesis being that hurricane activity is determined, in part, by SSTs, the states of ocean currents, and prevailing wind patterns, which in turn determine how much energy is available for potential hurricanes. That hypothesis is probably not the complete explanation for hurricanes, and as a result predictions based on them will not be very precise or even terribly reliable. But that only indicates that the science is immature, not that it is “not science.” Moreover, the demand the NOAA be able to predict the origins and paths of hurricanes before they have formed is unreasonable. Weather is complex adaptive system, semi-chaotic, and the behavior of such systems is impossible to predict (in detail) in principle, except in the very short term. It will never be possible to predict a particular August storm, its strength and path, in April. So give the NOAA hurricane guys a break; let them try to work out the mechanisms more completely.

    On the other hand, Dr Maue writes,

    I ask Ridenour to retract her conclusions based upon her false logic, and issue an apology to the specific forecasters at NOAA, who are not invested in global warming prognostications, but legitimate public service in providing expert assessments of hurricane risk in 2011.

    Dr Maue needs to freshen up his sense of humor. There is no “false logic” in Ridenour’s spoof; she is pointing out that NOAA’s hurricane forecasts have a poor track record, as do most of the predictions of the AGW zealots, some of whom dwell within that same agency. She does not accuse the hurricane forecasters of AGW alarmism.

    Probably what NOAA should do is keep its hurricane forecasts “in house” until it can narrow the error bars and improve its predictive accuracy. At present its forecasts are next to worthless and thus are bound to draw ridicule.

  97. Ric Werme says:
    May 28, 2011 at 10:31 pm
    Theo Goodwin says:
    May 27, 2011 at 1:14 pm

    Will you be self-critical? Will you swear never to use the word ‘prediction’ unless you have some physical hypotheses which can explain the phenomenon that you claim to predict?

    That would mean that no one in climate science can use the word. Will you agree that neither NOAA nor anyone else can do better than look at old charts and graphs and extrapolate from them? Notice that extrapolation does not fall into the realm of science.

    “When you say extrapolation, are you including searching for analog years? That’s something many forecasters do, and do so by looking at particular areas, e.g. ENSO state and east Atlantic SSTs.”

    Thanks for your valuable contributions. I wished you had chimed in earlier. All that meteorologists or NOAA folks can do is look at their information on earlier years and hope to find similarities to what seems to be developing in the present. Some folks did this nicely this year when they saw the conditions of 1974 emerging again this year, and their warnings about tornadoes in the US were helpful. However, such comparisons involve reasoning by analogy only, namely, that 1974 “is similar to” what is emerging now. They have no definition of “is similar to” that can be expressed in scientific terms; that is, none that can be expressed as physical hypotheses that have explanatory and predictive power. I do not want to throw NOAA out with the bath water. But if we (of all people, we) permit them to call this science then we are enabling every Al Gore who comes along. What NOAA has is very interesting and somewhat useful pre-science. To call it anything else is to act irresponsibly toward all non-scientists who might read or hear our words.

Comments are closed.