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Bad prediction rising

29 May 2024 | OP ED Watch

To no one’s surprise, the usual alarmists were raising the usual alarm about this year’s hurricane season before it even started. And we were asking whether if it proved to be a false alarm they would even admit it, let alone apologize. It seems not. As of May 20 (h/t Roger Pielke Jr.) “The Northern Hemisphere has yet to have its first named storm (e.g., tropical storm or #hurricane) in 2024. This is the first time since 1983 that the Northern Hemisphere has gone this late in the calendar year without a named storm.” So guess what? Right: “The Atlantic hurricane season begins soon – hold on to your butts/ One reputable forecast team predicts 33 named storms. The Atlantic season formally begins on June 1, and based on current trends, the first named storm may not develop until the middle of the month or later. But make no mistake – when the light switches on later this summer, the season is likely to be a blockbuster. Why? Because the oceans are screaming at us.” No. They’re lapping at the shore. You’re the one screaming.

It must be. It shall be. That hurricanes have not been increasing lately, or indeed over the last century as far as we can tell, is of no moment. So Scientific Alarmism emails that “Earth is shifting into a La Niña period, which could ramp up this year’s North Atlantic hurricane season.” And of course:

“El Niño and La Niña are now happening on top of the effects of global warming. That can exacerbate temperatures, as the world saw in 2023, and precipitation can go off the charts. Since summer 2023, the world has had 10 straight months of record-breaking global temperatures. A lot of that warmth is coming from the oceans, which are still at record-high temperatures. La Niña should cool things a bit, but greenhouse gas emissions that drive global warming are still rising in the background. So while fluctuations between El Niño and La Niña can cause short-term temperature swings, the overall trend is toward a warming world.”

It’s a prediction-like object. But not an actual prediction because if it does not happen, they will not come back, admit it didn’t, and cast doubt on any of these cause-and-effect claims.

The same is true of the Canadian lite version. The Globe & Mail intones that:

“The Canadian Hurricane Centre is predicting an active storm season off the country’s East Coast this year, mainly due to record warm water temperatures in the Atlantic Ocean. In a briefing today, meteorologist Bob Robichaud says the water temperatures are also expected to be affected by La Nina, a cooling of surface water temperature in the Pacific Ocean that typically produces more storms in the Atlantic. Robichaud says the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration in the United States is calling for 17 to 25 named storms, with between eight and 13 of those becoming hurricanes and between four and seven becoming major hurricanes. He says Canadian waters typically see about 35 per cent of the storms that form in the Atlantic Basin, although in any given year that average can vary wildly. Robichaud says it’s still too early to say how many of the predicted storms could affect Atlantic Canadian communities.”

So there you don’t have it.

Likewise, Heatmap grouses that “Gasoline Prices Could Be Pretty Low This Summer — Except for One Thing/ It rhymes with ‘schmurricane schmeason.’” Cute. So inventories are high, prices are moderate and so forth (partly because to demonstrate his principled opposition to climate change, Joe Biden released a bunch of oil from his nation’s strategic reserve to lower prices for the July 4 weekend in an election year) but no fear, doom looms:

“About half of America’s refining capacity sits on the Gulf Coast, putting America’s fuel production squarely in the target zone of what could be an especially active hurricane season.”

Unless it’s not, as usual. Indeed Heatmap links to its own earlier piece on how there will be more hurricanes unless there aren’t so we link to our response which was indeed called “Unless it doesn’t”.

NOAA then did chime in with a hyped “The forecast for named storms, hurricanes and major hurricanes is the highest NOAA has ever issued for the May outlook”. What about the June outlook? But never mind. NBC reports that:

“NOAA predicts eight to 13 hurricanes and 17 to 25 named storms. Storms get names when their wind speeds reach 39 mph or higher. Given the near-record warmth in much of the Atlantic Ocean and a strong chance of La Niña conditions, forecasters said there is an 85% chance of an above-normal season along the Atlantic seaboard.”

So it’s not exactly firm, is it? Eight to 13 hurricanes and a five in six chance of an above-normal season along the Atlantic seaboard. World doesn’t end. Nor does scolding:

“Global warming increases hurricanes’ propensity for damaging effects. A warmer atmosphere makes the storms more likely to rapidly pick up wind speed as they near the shore. And when storms make landfall, climate change is increasing the probability they will stall and drop rainfall at extreme rates.”

How odd then that they are not doing so statistically, despite the author’s “Bachelor of Journalism, Magazine Journalism” degree and previous experience including “Marijuana Reporter”. (No, really.) But if they don’t do so again, don’t look for a retraction. Including from Canadian outlets that pounced on it. Or British ones.

Of course there’s safety in numbers. And as NBC also says:

“NOAA is far from alone in making such a prediction for this hurricane season. Nearly every public, private and government hurricane forecast service is expecting a high season for hurricanes and named storms, according to a website operated by Colorado State University and the Barcelona Supercomputing Center, which tracks predictions each year. The site has aggregated early hurricane forecasts from 23 centers.”

Meanwhile according to the Axios newsletter, whose mission statement is “Axios gets you smarter, faster on what matters”, we’re in trouble, with “1 big thing: Extreme hurricane season”. Yup:

“The 2024 Atlantic hurricane season will feature an unprecedented cocktail of dangerous air and ocean conditions – and is likely to be extremely active, Axios extreme weather expert Andrew Freedman reports.”

And you guessed it:

“The big picture: Climate change’s influence on hurricanes is becoming increasingly clear, according to numerous studies. Recent hurricane seasons have featured more storms that underwent periods of astonishingly rapid intensification, which studies have tied to human-caused global climate change. Hurricanes also bring greater rainfall than they used to as the climate has warmed.”

Oh yeah. It’s our fault, as NBC insists a second time for bad measure:

“Record sea surface temperatures could fuel rapid intensification, a phenomenon in which hurricane winds ramp up suddenly as the storm nears shore. Climate change makes that process more likely.”

Journalist says. So it’s very clear unless it’s not:

“The high forecast doesn’t necessarily mean that a strong hurricane will make landfall in the U.S., however. ‘We have no idea where the storms are going to go, but in general when you throw a heckuva lot of darts at the board — one of them starts to stick,’ [“a meteorologist at Colorado State University who specializes in Atlantic basin seasonal hurricane forecasts”, Philip] Klotzbach said.”

Starts to stick? Who writes this stuff? When you throw darts, they have to continue to stick or you don’t get any points. As these predictors aren’t going to.

Incidentally Ryan Maue points out that:

“While the Atlantic hurricane season is expected to be hyperactive as La Niña intensifies into the summer and fall, the Pacific’s typhoon and hurricane activity will be well-below normal, perhaps record quiet. It averages out on our Blue Marble”.

And maybe it does. But not in our red media.

The latest Heatmap piece says:

“While the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration has yet to release its official hurricane forecast for the year, The Weather Company has predicted that the 2024 season ‘could be one of the most active on record.’”

And you could be lucky in love this summer. But you might not. Time may tell.

5 comments on “Bad prediction rising”

  1. Ever since The Weather Channel started putting their reporters on the beach during the landfall of a tropical storm this hurricane thing has been a ratings bonanza! Sadly the tropical storms are not cooperating, even the ones that do form often stay out in the middle of the Atlantic Ocean...very saaad! BTW, most of the US oil refining capacity on the Gulf of Mexico was moved inland around Houston so tropical storms could not damage them after a tropical storm trashed a bunch of refineries located around New Orleans! I believe this refinery trashing happened in 1949!

  2. "Storms get names when their wind speeds reach 39 mph or higher."
    This seems rather arbitrary to me, so expect the number to change as the journalistic need for more alarmist headlines increases. Expect headlines such as "Meteorologists predict storm Joe Biden to bring deadly wind gusts of up to 15 mph"

  3. Axios, "...an unprecedented cocktail of dangerous air". I like that, has some real zip to it.
    These guys should write ad copy... or wait, that's what they are actually doing.

  4. Here in Australia, we were going to have a rain bomb yesterday. Proven by blue weather maps over cities with water falling.
    Now in Adelaide, on Wednesday, we had about 20mm. Well within our storm water capability.
    Point is, this rain event (?) was not a bomb. Why describe it such???

  5. Does anybody keep score on these annual hurricane predictions from NOAA? I wonder what their batting average looks like? If it’s less than .500 , then they’re idiots who should find other work. Like playing in a band for instance, in a bar for the tip jar, and with no day job to keep anymore.

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