QuikSCAT science at yesterday's hearing

By: Dr. Jeff Masters , 8:22 PM GMT on July 20, 2007

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Dr. Robert Atlas, director of the NOAA Atlantic Oceanographic and Meteorological Laboratory--the parent organiztion of NOAA's Hurricane Research Division--testified at yesterday's Congressional hearing, on the science of QuikSCAT. In his written testimony, Dr. Atlas presented a good summary of QuikSCAT science:

There are three studies that address the potential degradation to computer hurricane forecasts that might result from the loss of QuikSCAT. Each of these studies has limitations that prevent definitive conclusions, and additional studies are needed. In my opinion, the preponderance of evidence from the three studies indicates that computer model forecasts of landfalling hurricanes, especially in the 2-5-day time range, could be degraded if we do not mitigate the loss effectively. Forecasters at the NHC are able to improve upon the computer forecasts, so that the potential degradation can be diminished. This is especially true as the storms are approaching land in the shorter time ranges. In addition, NOAA has recently developed an effective mitigation plan that would make substantial use of other satellites as well as enhanced aircraft observations.

I was pleased to see Dr. Atlas mentioning many of the uncertainties I've been drawing attention to. In his verbal comments, he offered a theory as to why the study done using the Navy NOGAPS model showed little effect of QuikSCAT on hurricane track forecasts. The NOGAPS model inserts a "bogus" vortex where a tropical cyclone exists, and this bogus vortex is resistant to modification by winds from QuikSCAT. The GFS model, used in the QuikSCAT study Bill Proenza cited, does not do vortex bogusing.

Dr. Atlas was not questioned about the uncertainties of QuikSCAT's impact on hurricane track forecasts, which surprised me. The general consensus among Congress members seemed to be that QuikSCAT was a valuable enough satellite that it deserved to be replaced, regardless of whether Mr. Proenza exaggerated its importance or not. No one talked about the need to cut any hurricane funding to pay for QuikSCAT, and a number of Congressmen thought we should be spending more. Congressman Ehlers (R-Michigan) said, "I think we have given short shrift to NOAA and its satellite program, considering how much is spent on the satellite programs for the Department of Defense, Global Positioning System, and NASA."

QuikSCAT science in the independent panel's report
The independent panel sent by NOAA to investigate management problems at the National Hurricane Center talked extensively about QuikSCAT (Attachment 9 of the written testimony of the administrator of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, Conrad Lautenbacher). The report said that mistrust of Bill Proenza by the staff was, in part, caused by disagreements about the science of QuikSCAT:

"Statements by the director about the limited lifetime of the QuikSCAT satellite and the resulting impact on forecasts--made without context or caveat--raised public doubt about the center's ability to perform its mission and distracted center staff from doing their jobs."
And: One senior hurricane specialist noted that the director repeatedly quoted him out of context about the potential impact of QuikSCAT's loss even after the director was told that he was in error.

Had I been a senior forecaster at the NHC, I would have raised the same issues, and spoken out against the misrepresentation of the QuikSCAT science that occurred. The director of the NHC must be honest with the uncertainties in the science if he is to be entrusted with the most important job in weather.

Jeff Masters

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228. KoritheMan
1:03 AM GMT on July 21, 2007
Posted By: hurricane23 at 7:49 PM CDT on July 20, 2007.

For now the atmosphere just is not prime yet for a formidable tropical system to take shape.


Very true, Adrian.

I am beginning to wonder if hurricane season will even exist anymore, since SAL increases more every year it seems like. Atlantic Ocean will be a desert directly... I don't think SAL will EVER die off.
Member Since: March 7, 2007 Posts: 602 Comments: 21332
227. Tropicnerd13
1:01 AM GMT on July 21, 2007
thanks... no comment.... aparently you guys hate me, so i'll leave now so you can start talking. bye.
226. Tropicnerd13
12:53 AM GMT on July 21, 2007
who's blog are you guys talking on now? how come when i get on i kill the blog? if i could get a flicking off loop i would right now...
225. Murko
12:51 AM GMT on July 21, 2007
Just got back from my 'cuda and fries. You guys are so funny. Harry Potter? lmao. My 11yo neice is visiting atm, having just finished the 6th one. Dumbledore dies. Get over it.
Member Since: July 13, 2007 Posts: 0 Comments: 157
224. hurricane23
12:49 AM GMT on July 21, 2007
For now the atmosphere just is not prime yet for a formidable tropical system to take shape.To be honest you can have the warmest SST'S but if you don't have a surface low with light shear and a large upper high for ventilation any convection out there at some point will begin to choke at the surface if there's no inflow and air being evacuated over top.Overall i suspect conditions to will become somehwhat more favorable in the next 2-3 weeks as it typically does during a normal season.

For now no worries this weekend across the tropics.Adrian
Member Since: May 14, 2006 Posts: 8 Comments: 13841
223. Tropicnerd13
12:49 AM GMT on July 21, 2007
hello? i think the computer is simulating echos. "HELLO, HELLO, Hello, hello"
222. shred3590
12:48 AM GMT on July 21, 2007
JP - you have mail
Member Since: April 25, 2007 Posts: 0 Comments: 34
221. Tropicnerd13
12:47 AM GMT on July 21, 2007
yeah, i know koritheman. i can only grow plants well. everything else gets spoiled or turns rotten or becomes crazy. all are descriptions of my loved ones.
219. KoritheMan
12:43 AM GMT on July 21, 2007
did anyone see that preview for a weather show on the discovery channel about controlling hurricanes? sounds like a load of bs to me.

I don't watch discovery channel. That's bull. Project Stormfury didn't work, nothing else will. Better not to tamper with nature. We tend to ruin what we touch...
Member Since: March 7, 2007 Posts: 602 Comments: 21332
217. Tropicnerd13
12:41 AM GMT on July 21, 2007
did anyone see that preview for a weather show on the discovery channel about controlling hurricanes? sounds like a load of bs to me.
215. Tropicnerd13
12:40 AM GMT on July 21, 2007
hey guys. i was on vacation for a week. what is with that tail end of a front that is forecast to go into the gulf? will it take that low off of texas? that low on texas looks like a td, though. look at the visible on the tropical home page.
213. scwindsaloft
12:30 AM GMT on July 21, 2007
Everyone chill.....have a beer! :)
Member Since: May 6, 2007 Posts: 1 Comments: 401
212. bobcane
12:29 AM GMT on July 21, 2007
ummm.wx plz
210. WPBHurricane05
12:26 AM GMT on July 21, 2007
jp- LOL I wasn't saying you were screaming at me. I was referring to some of the other people on here.
Member Since: July 31, 2006 Posts: 56 Comments: 8112
208. WPBHurricane05
12:23 AM GMT on July 21, 2007
blob? I said blog.
You can't post a comment on here without being screamed at.
Member Since: July 31, 2006 Posts: 56 Comments: 8112
204. WPBHurricane05
12:19 AM GMT on July 21, 2007
Looks like this blog has gone chaotic. Completely crazy.
Member Since: July 31, 2006 Posts: 56 Comments: 8112
202. charley04survivor
12:11 AM GMT on July 21, 2007
pretty dumb to bring it up then huh.
200. cchsweatherman
12:06 AM GMT on July 21, 2007
If you take a look at the IR loop on the NHC website, they have rotating surface winds near the ULL. It is at about 19 N, 70W. Click on the HWD-Low.
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
199. charley04survivor
12:04 AM GMT on July 21, 2007
what the heck? you can't say something like that and not tell us!!!
195. moonlightcowboy
11:58 PM GMT on July 20, 2007
What's happening out at 48w,15n?
Member Since: July 9, 2006 Posts: 184 Comments: 29610
194. charley04survivor
11:57 PM GMT on July 20, 2007
I hope not, cause I hate potter.
193. Alec
7:55 PM EDT on July 20, 2007
So how did we transition from Proenza to Harry Potter?LOL

Member Since: Posts: Comments:
191. WPBHurricane05
7:49 PM EDT on July 20, 2007
Harry Potter is just a bunch of hype. A spider probably dies.........
Member Since: July 31, 2006 Posts: 56 Comments: 8112
190. charley04survivor
11:48 PM GMT on July 20, 2007
yeah...can't believe it either.
189. moonlightcowboy
11:48 PM GMT on July 20, 2007
Jp, got any "head-on" you can loan me? lol
Member Since: July 9, 2006 Posts: 184 Comments: 29610
188. moonlightcowboy
11:47 PM GMT on July 20, 2007
Harry Potter is stupid alright...stupid all the way to the bank. lol
Member Since: July 9, 2006 Posts: 184 Comments: 29610
187. charley04survivor
11:40 PM GMT on July 20, 2007
Harry Potter is stupid.
186. hosweather
11:07 PM GMT on July 20, 2007
None of the models are developing anything very interesting in the Atlantic/Caribbean/Gulf over the next week--not even the usually aggressive CMC. Perhaps it's time to settle down with a good book. Harry Potter anyone?
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
185. CaicosRetiredSailor
7:32 PM EDT on July 20, 2007
Taz,
I went to read your blog:
97L likey
Posted by: Tazmanian, 2:28 PM EDT on July 10, 2007

and it said I was banned? Having never been there before, do you know why this would be?
CRS
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
184. charley04survivor
11:37 PM GMT on July 20, 2007
I am doing a study on the hurricane that destroyed my home, and my town. Does anyone know where I can get a detailed map that shows exactly where the eye crossed over? A map complete with roads, etc.
180. WPBHurricane05
7:35 PM EDT on July 20, 2007
How about we call our selves:

TUWUWATSFODMBA

Otherwise know as The United Weather Underground Wishcasters Association That Sometimes Fight On Dr. Masters Blog
Member Since: July 31, 2006 Posts: 56 Comments: 8112
178. charley04survivor
11:34 PM GMT on July 20, 2007
Since when has TWC known much of anything?

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Jeff co-founded the Weather Underground in 1995 while working on his Ph.D. He flew with the NOAA Hurricane Hunters from 1986-1990.

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