Wednesday, August 23, 2006

2006 Atlantic hurricane season

Link: Steve McIntyre offers a newer look at statistics of the 2006 hurricane season. I also have a newer article about the weak 2006 hurricane season.

If you compare the predictions about the 2006 Atlantic hurricane season with reality as of August 23rd, 2006, you will see an incredible example of a breathtaking bias in the media - a good toy model of the media's manipulation with the climate in general.

Let us start with the predictions.

In March 2006, USA Today (and Reuters) told their readers that the "2006 hurricane season could be worse than the 2005". To "prove" their point, they quoted a United Nations bureaucrat:
  • "We have reason to fear that 2006 could be as bad as 2005," Jan Egeland, the undersecretary general for humanitarian affairs who coordinates U.N. emergency relief, told Reuters last week.

This is apparently what they call scientific evidence. The same prediction has been repeated in virtually all media you can imagine. For example, you could read it in the Insurance Journal. Some predictions relied on experts, namely Dr. William Gray from Colorado. For example, he said:

  • "Information obtained through November 2005 indicates that the 2006 Atlantic hurricane season will be much more active than the average 1950-2000 season. We estimate that 2006 will have about 9 hurricanes (average is 5.9), 17 named storms (average is 9.6), 85 named storm days (average is 49.1), 45 hurricane days (average is 24.5), 5 intense (Category 3-4-5) hurricanes (average is 2.3) and 13 intense hurricane days (average is 5.0)."
Trust me that there has been a lot of this stuff - BBC, CNN, MSNBC, New Scientist, NPR - together with theories that the hurricanes are caused by global warming and all this propaganda we have seen millions of times. Finally, we can get to the actual data:

By August 23rd, 2005, we had seen 12 storms. They started with the letters A,B,C,D,E,F,G,H,I,10,J,K. Five of them have been hurricanes. Emily and Katrina were category 5 hurricanes and Dennis was a category 4 hurricane - still a strong major hurricane.




By August 23rd, 2006, we have seen 4 storms: Alberto, Beryl, Chris, Debby. Neither of them has been a hurricane - not even a small hurricane. Debby is the first one that at least has a chance to become a minimal hurricane on Sunday or so - but be sure that it won't become one. 2006 is not only milder than 2005 but also than 2004, 2003, and most other years. Right now, in the middle of the season, 2006 is below the average.

December 2006 update: Indeed, it seems that the number of tropical storms (9) as well as hurricanes (5) as well as (minimal) major hurricanes (2) will stay below the average of 1950-2000. The season officially ended at the end of November. The absence of any tropical storms from the early October can be partially explained by a new El Nino.

The first tropical storm that will become a hurricane, Ernesto, will only form 4 days after this posting is completed. It will be downgraded back to a tropical storm in a day.

So far, the predictions for the storms in 2006 have been wrong more than three-fold. The hurricane predictions have so far been infinitely wrong. Let me now assume that the rest of the hurricane season won't change the situation qualitatively. What happens when it is almost obvious that the doomsaying predictions will be dramatically falsified? Well, no one will tell you that the alarmist predictions were just a piece of crap. The USA Today won't publish any errata. And no one, except for The Reference Frame, will propose that something should be changed about the hurricane science because of this dramatic failure.

William Gray and Philip Klotzbach started with a modest reduction of their prediction for this year at the beginning of August. But they still predicted an above-the-average season. Instead of 9 hurricanes, they now predict 7 hurricanes while the actual number so far is zero. Why didn't they just say that their prediction was wrong so that they could lower the prediction to a realistic number of 4-5 hurricanes instead of 7 hurricanes? Isn't scientific dishonesty a part of the answer?

Note added later: On September 1st, 7 will be indeed lowered to 5.

Note that William Gray is one of the good guys - a kind of "skeptic" who is himself under a severe attack of the groupthink of his colleagues. Despite his strangely slow correction of his radical prediction, he at least realizes that the hurricane variation is caused predominantly by natural factors - unlike people like James Elsner...

What does everyone do if it turns out that 2006 is going to be not only below the average but clearly below the average?

Your guess is correct: nothing will happen at all. It is OK to scare people. It is OK to fill newspapers with a lot of nonsense and junk science as long as it is politically correct. No corrective measures are necessary, except for corrections of politically incorrect scientific conclusions that simply can't be tolerated. As far as the climate goes, we don't live in a scientific world in which falsified predictions would have some consequences. We're not learning anything from the errors.

And remember that it has only been a few months since these predictions that will probably be wrong. After a few months, no one cares. Most predictions that the climate scientists are producing talk about years like 2050. These charlatans are safe: permanently safe.

Every person with common sense could predict that 2006 won't be as bad as 2005 simply because the hurricanes are random phenomena, and because 2005 was far worse than the average, it is almost guaranteed that 2006 would be much milder. Even if there were some correlation between natural climate trends (or even the human activity) on one side and the hurricanes on the other side, it is completely clear that these effects are negligible in comparison with the annual fluctuations.

The only exceptions - people who are not quite able to think like this - are the scientists who are actually paid for such predictions. They have already told us so much nonsense about the so-called "global warming" and all of its hypothetical consequences that they have started to believe this crap themselves. Of course that the real jerks are the politicians and the journalists-activists who are primarily responsible for misleading the public; but it couldn't work if the scientists did not invest their credentials into this dirty game. Many of the scientists are effectively employed as intellectual prostitutes indirectly paid by the far left charlatans.

Until the "experts" are fired or otherwise punished when their predictions fail so miserably - which can only happen if there is some real competition in their field - the world of the hurricane predictions won't have a chance to become a scientific world. And that's the memo.

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