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Challenging Bill Proenza's QuikSCAT numbers

By: Dr. Jeff Masters, 5:04 PM GMT on July 04, 2007

A political storm engulfed the National Hurricane Center this week, with a majority of the senior hurricane forecasters calling for Bill Proenza's removal as director. The most visible issue revolved around the extraordinary focus on the aging QuikSCAT satellite. The public argument put forth by Mr. Proenza was that QuikSCAT data was so vital to hurricane track forecasting that without it, track forecast errors would increase significantly, leading to larger warning areas and increased costs for evacuation and emergency planning.

Focus on QuikSCAT--out of proportion?
On March 16th Proenza went public with the QuikSCAT concerns and associated statistics for the first time, stating that "two- and three-day forecasts of a storm's path would be affected. The two-day forecast could be 10 percent worse while the three-day one could be affected up to 16 percent," with the conclusion," that would mean longer stretches of coastline would have to be placed under warnings, and more people than necessary would have to evacuate." As a result of these comments, a perception arose in the public and among lawmakers that without QuikSCAT, NHC would not be able to provide accurate hurricane forecasts. Legislation was hastily introduced into both the House and Senate to provide an immediate replacement for the $375 million satellite.

Proenza's statements raised several questions: 1) Why the focus on track forecast errors in landfalling situations, when QuikSCAT was widely known to be used in intensity forecasting and for tropical cyclones too far at sea to be accessed by the Hurricane Hunters? 2) Could such specific and significant gains in track forecast error truly be attributed to QuikSCAT? Where did these numbers come from, and why was no uncertainty being attached to them?

Since QuikSCAT data became available, starting in 1999, average track errors for 48-hour and 72-hour forecasts have been reduced by 43 miles and 62 miles respectively. Fully one quarter of this improvement was being attributed by Proenza to QuikSCAT. This was an extraordinary performance increase to attribute to one satellite, and seemed doubtful.

We find out where the QuikSCAT numbers came from
In mid-June, Margie Kieper and I asked Proenza to comment on how he got his QuikSCAT numbers. He cited an unpublished study, "A Two Season Impact Study of Four Satellite Data Types and Rawinsonde Data in the NCEP Global Data Assimilation System", by Tom H. Zapotocny, James A. Jung, John F. LeMarshall and Russ E. Treadon. I contacted one of the authors, who informed me that the study was submitted for publication on January 26, 2007, and accepted for publication in the journal Weather and Forecasting on May 23, 2007. It will probably appear in the October-November time frame, according to the publisher. This raises an immediate problem, since only a privileged few are able to read unpublished research. This limits the possibilities for an informed debate on the issue, and basing important policy decisions on unpublished research is thus normally to be avoided. However, making accurate hurricane forecasts is important enough that such considerations can be excused. Proenza didn't give me any details on the study, other than the fact that QuikSCAT data improved 72-hour and 48-hour hurricane track forecasts by 16% and 10% respectively, for a select group of storms from the 2003 hurricane season. One of the authors graciously sent me a copy of the study, though, and after reading it, I had these observations:

1). The study looked at a very limited number of cases over a six-week period during 2003--only 19 cases were available for 72 hour forecasts. The 19 cases were not 19 storms, just 19 separate forecasts from the 4 hurricanes and 2 tropical storms that occurred during the 6-week study period. This sample is too small to draw definitive conclusions about the impact of the QuikSCAT on tropical cyclone forecasts. The two longest-lived storms during the test period were Fabian and Isabel, storms that spent the majority of their lifetimes far away from land. Since the quality of the observing network increases close to land, particulary when reconnaissance data from the Hurricane Hunters is available, it is reasonable to conclude that the impact of the QuikSCAT data for storms within 72 hours of landfall would be less than for the sample as a whole. The study was not primarily designed to study tropical cyclone track accuracy, so there was no separation out of the cases we really care about--storms 72 hours or less from landfall.

2). The study was done with only one model, the GFS. NHC official forecasts make use of several models, including the GFDL, UKMET, NOGAPS and ECMWF. Consequently, a change in the accuracy of a single model will have only a partial effect on NHC official forecast accuracy. As far as I know, there have not been studies done of the impact of QuikSCAT on tropical cyclone forecasts in the GFDL, UKMET or the ECMWF models. Past studies on the impact of dropsonde data from the Hurricane Hunters, however, show that the GFDL is less sensitive to these data than the GFS is.

3). When I attended the AMS hurricane conference in May 2006 in Monterey, I came across a poster presentation by Dr. Jim Goerss that evaluated the impact of QuikSCAT on the NOGAPS model. His study was far more comprehensive, and included 12 hurricanes, 5 typhoons, and 7 tropical storms from a 6-week period in 2004. The number of cases was 212 at 72 hours, eleven times as many as the study Proenza cites. Dr. Goerss found that QuikSCAT probably improved 24-hour track forecasts by 2.5% (90% confidence of this), but at all other forecast times (48, 72, 96, and 120 hours), QuikSCAT had no statistically significant effect (i.e., zero effect).

It is hard to compare the results from these two studies, since they used two different data assimilation systems. We do not know if they used all the data, or how they treated the vertical impact of the data. The uncertainties are high, and Proenza's simple statement that QuikSCAT data improves hurricane tracks forecasts by 10% and 16% is unreasonable, without at least making mention that these numbers are highly uncertain.

I believe that NHC official forecasts for landfalling storms in the Atlantic would not be significantly affected by the loss of the QuikSCAT satellite. I can't think of a hurricane scientist out there who would defend using a study with only 19 cases that didn't focus on landfalling storms, to make the case Proenza is making--particularly in light of the data from the unpublished Goerss study showing no effect of QuikSCAT data on NOGAPS model tropical cyclone track errors. Proenza should have at least attached some measure of uncertainty to his numbers, which he did not.

One could argue that the study cited by Proenza has undergone peer review, and is thus the only scientific study one can use to make arguments on QuikSCAT's effectiveness. The Goerss study has not been published in a journal, and has not undergone peer review. However, Proenza was making his QuikSCAT accuracy arguments in March, two months before the Zapotocny study he cited had been accepted for publication.

QuikSCAT misconceptions
The numbers pushed by Proenza have led to some potentially serious misconceptions about QuikSCAT. The Congressional Record has this to say about QuikSCAT:

"A single plane gathering data is like a tiny fishing line collecting data only along the single strand of the line. The satellite, on the other hand, provides rich, detailed data horizontally from one side of the storm to the other side, and vertically, from the ocean surface to the top of the storms swirling winds. The QuikSCAT is like a detailed MRI."

Well, QuikSCAT is not like an MRI, it just measures the ocean surface winds. In a letter written by Representatives Melancon and Klein in support of H.R. 2531, there are comments that data from the reconnaissance aircraft are inferior to the data from the QuikSCAT:

"Short-term options for replacing QuikSCAT include hurricane hunter aircraft, buoys, and foreign satellites--all of which will collectively produce inferior data."

There is not a hurricane forecaster anywhere that would trade hurricane hunter data for QuikSCAT. Lawmakers may start cutting aircraft reconnaissance with misconceptions like this. That would be a disaster.

I would hate to lose the QuikSCAT satellite, and have been calling for a replacement since before Mr. Proenza came on the job. QuickSCAT data is invaluable in identifying weak systems and in defining storm structure, particularly of outer wind radii of 34 knots and 50 knots. This is particularly true outside of the Atlantic, where there are no Hurricane Hunter flights, and in the Atlantic beyond where the Hurricane Hunters can reach. Track forecasts for tropical cyclones in the Pacific and Indian Oceans may benefit from QuikSCAT data, since Hurricane Hunter information is not available. QuikSCAT also helps identify when a tropical depression or tropical storm is intensifying.

Besides hurricanes, the QuickSCAT data is invaluable to the Ocean Prediction Center, which now issues hurricane force wind warnings for extratropical storms in the Atlantic and Pacific. Search and rescue missions, and the U.S. Navy also greatly benefit from QuikSCAT. QuikSCAT should be replaced, but not due to a rush knee-jerk reaction that will get us a replacement with old technology. NHC needs a "next-generation" scatterometer, one that has greatly improved capabilities to help tackle the structure and intensity problem. We should take our time, and deal with a gap in coverage, if it gets us an instrument that has higher resolution, higher saturation speed, and is not adversely affected by rain. Such a gap would not put the public at risk.

It greatly troubles me that the most visible and admired member of my profession has failed to use good science in his arguments for funding a replacement of the QuikSCAT satellite. The Director of the National Hurricane Center needs to be an able politician and good communicator, but being truthful with the science is a fundamental requirement of the job as well. Mr. Proenza has misrepresented the science on the QuikSCAT issue, and no longer has my support as director of the National Hurricane Center.

Other critical concerns--lost in the hubbub?
We strongly support many of the valid concerns Proenza has raised. Of particular concern are the slashing of critical research funding for the Joint Hurricane Testbed (JHT) from $1.7 million to $1 million, and the lack of adequate yearly increases to the National Hurricane Center budget. Both of these important concerns still remain to be addressed; they were quickly overshadowed by a frantic campaign by lawmakers to fund a new QuikSCAT satellite. The JHT provides the means for promising research to be tested in the NHC operational environment, usually resulting in a successful transition to an operational product at NHC. This program has been extremely successful, and its budget should have been increased, not slashed. As hurricane activity has increased dramatically over the last twelve years, NHC's budget should have increased accordingly, but it did not.

Proenza also raised legitimate concerns about NOAA's effort to promote their "Corporate Identity" by renaming the National Hurricane Center and National Weather Service. The new organizations would be called the "NOAA Hurricane Center" and the "NOAA Weather Service". He also justly complained about NOAA's plan to spend between $1.5 million and $4 million on a "bogus" 200-year NOAA anniversary celebration.

While wanting to take a neutral stand as to whether to call for Proenza's dismissal, Senior NHC Hurricane Specialist Lixion Avila clearly shares the concerns that have been put forth by the other senior forecasters Richard Pasch, James Franklin, and Richard Knabb, and former director Max Mayfield. Avila noted, "If I [was] the director of the hurricane center, I would not spend my time fighting for QuikSCAT--I would be fighting to make sure that the reconnaissance planes are always there." That leaves a vacationing Jack Beven as the only senior hurricane forecaster to not comment publicly on the issue. Max Mayfield has refrained from making public comments on the deteriorating situation these past months, but all of his comments in the Miami Herald article lend support for the hurricane forecast staff. Given his previous experience in the position of NHC Director and his successful tenure, his feedback counts tremendously.

With the busiest part of hurricane season just a few weeks away, expect a decision on Bill Proenza's tenure to be made soon.

Jeff Masters and Margie Kieper

Having lost the support of most of his senior forecasters, and having misrepresented the science on the importance of the QuikSCAT satellite on hurricane forecasts, it would be best for Mr. Proenza to step down as director of the National Hurricane Center.

--Jeff Masters


The views of the author are his/her own and do not necessarily represent the position of The Weather Company or its parent, IBM.

Reader Comments

2001. CFLSW
NHC has floater on it. Floater say Invest.
What ever that worth.
2002. CFLSW

Love It.
is the florida blob an invest?

NHC nor NRL have declared it an invest. It's still situated over Florida and has no potential of becoming tropical and is of no issue besides the heavy rains it could produce over Florida.
2004. C2News
Bocareader, I believe your statements were a little too harsh. If that is the way you feel, please try to say it in a nicer, more professional tone, and it will sound better. What you did was a personal attack. Thank you.

its not over florida no m,ore. looking at ir and visible sat imagery you can see an xposed llc ne of jacksonville.

yes it will likley not form anything but it is not still over florida by a long shot
hope this link works

2006. C2News
One can definitely see that lefty, thanks for that post! Very good
C2News, " a little too harsh "???
This guy comes to your house, you give him A drink, he says he does not think its mixed right, and demands that YOU leave ?????????
Well I noticed that you did not attack anyone.
Go somewhere else man
"please refrain from posting material not relevant to the discussion of tropical weather, or the topic of the blog entry itself. Please do not engage in personal attacks"

Pretty much say whatever we are blogging about.
Its like a radio If you don't like it turn it off.
2011. CFLSW
"please refrain from posting material not relevant to the discussion of tropical weather, or the topic of the blog entry itself. Hello!!!!!
Ok and I am not going to read the whole thing again but I do not remember the Doc. Saying in his post he feels Bill P. Should resign.
It may be ther I might have over looked it.
Did he say that in his blog. What is the topic of the blog? The Doc. Makes and can break any rule he wishes in his blog.
You say get back to hurricane info. This blog only runs from June to Nov.?
I agree with BocaReader...there is a lot more to running a technical organization like the NHC than technology...enough! Lets get back to the forecast.
How is 96L doing? Did It fall apart or is it still trying??
2014. CFLSW
Please read both BocaReader's Post this page and page 40.
Do you still agree with how Boca said it?
96L is an awesome fighter, in the Epsilon-mold.

96L Invest
Enough of that horse manure.

Whats the thinking on the remains of 96 L ? How much rain do I expect here at 11n 61 w ?? Sat and Sun ??

Lets have a forecast on this, as I am planning a fishing trip this w/e.

Sweet!! Chug on Little fella!!
2018. K8eCane
NHC nor NRL have declared it an invest. It's still situated over Florida and has no potential of becoming tropical and is of no issue besides the heavy rains it could produce over Florida.

the low is not over fla US
2019. CFLSW
Could someone tell me why the system off Florida could not develop into a tropical system? I have no clue. It looks impresive.
and Convection keeps firing even with sun up.
Dont bash me I really do not know.
2020. K8eCane
no potential of becoming tropical

explain please US
Shear? I dont know either just guessing
2022. CFLSW
It keeps getting bigger and bigger LoL
2023. CFLSW
Shear only 15knt.
2024. K8eCane
been watching it a while since early am ( was up with sciatica and a pain pill) and it had looked so impressive and didnt die off yet so i started wondering
No, of course not. I agree that the NHC politics are interesting but much more complicated than just QuickScat and funding at the government level (which is always very strange) I have nothing but respect for Dr. Masters. But..there is a lot more to running a technical organization like the NHC than technology...enough!
I see that
Both 96L and the soon-to=be 97L looking quite impressive this morning.
Actually I have been around here for 3 years reading the blog. I don't post much unless there is a real storm. I have to agree with Boca on this one. While it is Dr. Masters blog, and he can do whatever he likes, I would like to make a suggestion. Dr. M used to only talk about the current situation in the tropics. Over the course of the past 2 years more and more posts have become slightly off center. Digest that as you wish. I personally think that having two bloggers a few years ago helped because you didn't feel the obligation to post everyday. Now that everyone is looking at you sometimes it becomes a reach for information. Most of us are just trying to learn about weather and make sure that their house is going to be standing in a week.

Water Vapor veiw
2030. CFLSW
I am sorry folks I know this thing off Florida will head east but no way is someone now going to tell me there is no way this will form to anything. I am the one that said early this am.
Is anyone watching the east coast of Florida.
And our local weather guy in tampa said earler this week we were going to have this happen today. but he did say it should not become much.
But it is looking alot better that 96L.
Just my uneducated worthless 2cents.
Posted By: Altestic87 at 11:13 AM GMT on July 06, 2007.

Very uneducated. And VERY worthless

Well Come on !! Tell us Why...GeeSh
2033. CFLSW
Thanks Altestic87
Awsome personal attack.
2034. CFLSW
I have only asked why it would not but you and all your education has yet to tell me.
*Jeapordy Theme*
From the 5:30 AM TWO:

2037. CFLSW
Posted By: Altestic87 at 11:04 AM GMT on July 06, 2007.

Both 96L and the soon-to=be 97L looking quite impressive this morning.

Whats the soon to be 97L you are talking about?
Thanks WBP But why are the conditions not favorable. What is hampering it?

Its the return of Theorem # 1 !!!!!!!!!
good morning
Morning TC
2042. CFLSW
Posted By: SCwxwatch at 11:20 AM GMT on July 06, 2007.

Thanks WBP But why are the conditions not favorable. What is hampering it?

Thats what I am trying to find out.
Shear from 6am map says 15 to 20knt unless I am reading it wrong. I could be. I know trough is coming off the coast to the north. But wich was it jean or francis that stayed out there as 2 troughs came off east coast and just had the B**** do loop de loos and sent it straigh into us.
I see that 96L still does not want to give up
2044. CFLSW
Out till later
I know thats what seems so hard about this blog If you don't KNOW or arent in a click you don't get much. It's pretty sad seeing as 2 of us are honestly trying to find out what the deal is and being put off...
There are 20 knots of shear that's unfavorable

Look at 96L! You gotta LOVE IT!!
2048. CFLSW
LoL My questions are hardly ever answered.
I'm not worthy I'm not worthy.
Posted By: CFLSW at 11:31 AM GMT on July 06, 2007.

LoL My questions are hardly ever answered.
I'm not worthy I'm not worthy.

I have the same issue. I thought maybe I was being filtered but i played with the filter and that isnt the problem.

There are a couple on here that are very nice folks and will answer back , Those know who they are , I hold them in high regaurd.
2050. CFLSW
Uh ok I am dumb but not stupid. 20knt is not to high. Storms can and do form in 20nt shear.
If that was the case 96L would have been torn apart under the 25 and 30knt shear it has endured. Jean and Francis both had over 20knts
As they formed.
Did you notice NOAA satellite page? Assigned Invest,
Floater 2 to FL blob.

Yep and its labeled Invest Floater 2
Which is better, 96L or the FLA invest?
Id say for intrest sake FLA Blob seeing as its alot closer!
equal in my opinion
This year is not like 2006, after all. There is a good chance that both will develop. 96L has survived this far, and, the dry air is weakening, meaning that it will be in more moist conditions. All it needs is to get past that wind shear and get into the Caribbean where conditions are always more favorable, and we have a TS on our hands.

FLA invest has a potential to develop as shear is weakening, but the trough may take it to the NNE instead of landfall.
2057. CFLSW
Better? Wich has more of a chance to develop?
I have no clue.
I have been calling the 96L the "Little Engine That Could" for a couple of days. But I dont know.
The way the NHC has been with 96L I thought it would have been dead by now. It has mad it a hell of a long way through all the negitive stuff That I always have heard would kill something like it. Thats why I say with the florida Invest I can not count it out.
How come the florida Invest has not recieved its number yet?
2059. CFLSW
Looking at the WV loops the FL Invest actualy looks as if it is heading south. am I wrong.
2060. IKE
If the Florida invest(97L?), doesn't get drawn out to sea...it may eventually head back west with high pressure building in the first of next week.
Its another Hybrid LOL
Every NHC text product yesterday and last night referred to the low OVER the Florida peninsula. I never could see a rotation on radar or satellite. But as early as yesterday evening, someone on this blog posted a link to Melbourne radar and commented on the noticable swirl over water. I think the NHC was hung up on remnants of an old LLC over land and didn't pay enough attention to the developing low offshore.
2063. CFLSW
Posted By: SCwxwatch at 11:48 AM GMT on July 06, 2007.

Its another Hybrid LOL

Does it get good gas milage?
15 knots and below is favorable for develop. Most likely the reason why no one answers you is because maybe no one knows the answer.
<15 = favorable
15-25 = less favorable
26-39 = hostile
40< = insurmountable

I swear this year will be remembered as the year the storms broke all the rules.

Everything that has developed so far has had some sort of rule breaking characteristic.

Its awesome to me!!
2067. CFLSW
Now see Denis Philips the Weather guy on ABC action News said just the other day 20knts and under is favorable for development. That 5 knots is a big differance.
Vince and Epsilon broke a few rules in 2005...Ivan broke a crucial rule in 2004..
WPB thats a very good point !

2070. CFLSW
Posted By: Altestic87 at 11:52 AM GMT on July 06, 2007.

<15 = favorable
15-25 = less favorable
26-39 = hostile
40< = insurmountable

Thank God! I will keep this for future referance
2071. CJ5
I see 96L has lived to see another sunrise. lol

I wonder if Proenza will? I still see nothing concrete to make me believe he should be fired. I still have not heard or read anything that tells me the QuickSat should not be replaced. I do hear alot of Proenza detractors saying it wouldn't be a big deal if it went down. ORLY? It sure a big deal when it went up. Every study and every comment I have seen says it increases forecast reliablity. Hmmm..
Almost all the storms in 2005 didn't go by the rules.
2074. CFLSW
There were a few in 2004 that did not play fair either. I was in X marks the spot.
2075. IKE
From the tropical weather discussion at 8:05 am....

"Atlantic Ocean...
mid/upper level trough from 31n78w to 27n79w. Upper level
diffluence between the trough and a downstream ridge is
enhancing convection off the N coast of Florida."
Not really. I don't see any rules that any of the DKRW (Dennis, Katrina, Rita, Wilma) broke. Emily broke a rule by being a Cape Verde hurricane. That's about it, except for Vince and Epsilion.

A still, white sky in east Central Florida at 8 a.m.
look at 96L go!
2079. CFLSW
OK here is one for ya.
What is an "Upper level
Morning SW
2081. IKE
"Area forecast discussion
National Weather Service Melbourne Florida
359 am EDT Friday Jul 6 2007


Current...surface metars indicate surface low has reformed to the NE and
is currently offshore kjax-ksgj
...with weak surface trough extending SW
over North Florida. Infrared/88d imagery shows large convective blowup to the
east of the ctr.
What is an "Upper level

Is that pertaining to the proenza mess?? LOL
2083. CFLSW
Wasent it Vince that formed in 76degre water?
That is one hell of a rule to break. Is it not.
One of the Main rules every Weather Guy says
it the water temps must be *0 or no way for formation because there is not the energy needed.
...So, has 96L split? Is part of it dissipating into the dry air and is it reforming to the south and moving west again? (Hey, just looking at the satellite image...) Anybody know?
The Florida blob doesn't look bad. Probably better than 96L. At least it is in a moist environment.
Don't know for sure chicklit but i thought the same thing.
What do you think about 96L WPB?
Yup CFLSW. Hurricane Vince was also the first tropical cyclone to strike the Iberian Peninsula.
2089. IKE
Posted By: WPBHurricane05 at 7:06 AM CDT on July 06, 2007.
The Florida blob doesn't look bad. Probably better than 96L. At least it is in a moist environment.

Agree....does it get an invest number to light this blog back up? I think it is likely.
What do you think about 96L WPB?


Also notice that floater 2 says invest. I'm assuming that it will become 97L later on today.
2091. IKE
Odds are what's east of Florida heads out to sea. You've got the Texas UL moving east thru the weekend. It(97L?), probably gets pulled away from the coast before high pressure builds in from the south and east the first of next week.

Then again...I'm not a met...but, I just saved a bunch of money on my car insurance by switching to GEICO.

2092. IKE
"Area forecast discussion
National Weather Service Jacksonville Florida
400 am EDT Friday Jul 6 2007

Synopsis...weak surface low just offshore the northeast Florida coast
moving slowly NE with circulation seen on WSR 88D and infrared imagery.
Scattered thunderstorms will beyond 60 nm offshore and moving NE.
Skies were partly cloudy early this morning with patches of fog.
May see a few areas of shallow dense fog in areas where it rained
Thursday but not expecting anything widespread.

Short term (today-sun)...

Today/tonight...models move low to the NE today.
The GFS washes it out completely by 18z as it gets absorbed by
a large trough to the north whereas the NAM hangs onto it much
longer and brings in drier air on the back side of it
resulting in much lower probability of precipitation along the NE Florida/southeast Georgia coast."
Or did you stay in a Holiday Inn Express lastnight....LOL
2094. IKE
The GFS seems to wash everything out. The washing model.
Funny, Ike.
Uh, that Texas UL, where do you think it will end up? Will it strengthen in the Gulf and then come across Florida? If so, where?
2096. IKE
Posted By: SCwxwatch at 7:17 AM CDT on July 06, 2007.
Or did you stay in a holiday in Express lastnight....LOL

With the boatload of money I just saved with GEICO!
2097. emagirl
good morning everyone... busy day for me today...got my Hurricane Expo tomorrow...tired already...
2098. IKE
The Texas ULL is suppose to go east to NE.....

From Mobile, Al.....

"Long term (saturday through next friday)...the upper low/midlevel
shear axis over Texas today will shift gradually northeast across
northern Mississippi and central Alabama on Saturday...pretty much
inline with the 06/00z GFS and Gem solutions. Precipitable water
(pw) values remain in the 2-2.25 inch range over the area through
the weekend with the presence of the midlevel vorticity axis just
north of our area. We can expect coverages of thunderstorms to
remain in the numerous category (particularly in the afternoon
hours) over the inland zones closer to the midlevel shear axis and
an 850 mb trough that will settle across central Mississippi and
Alabama. We could see some locally heavy rains over the interior
counties Saturday afternoon just south of that 850 mb trough axis
where training storms could be a concern. The morning quantitative precipitation forecast forecast
for Saturday across the northern zones was tailored close to the 00z
HPC forecast...however we may have to adjust those values up a bit
on later forecasts as trends become more apparent. By Sunday and
Monday...the midlevel shear axis translates a bit farther east and
dampens...and we kept the highest chance probability of precipitation east with slightly
lower values west (we think the effects of the next upstream
shortwave over the Southern Plains will stay northwest of our area
at that time). Tuesday through Thursday the GFS and Gem packages
drop the deep layered moisture quite a bit over our area as they
warm and dry the midlevels... building the western Atlantic ridge
west across the northern Gulf. Precipitable water values Tuesday into Wednesday
drop off to around 1.5 inches.
2099. CFLSW
LoL I think Hurricane season is turning into
a shopping season just like christmas
Gadgets and toys for everyone shop shop shop.
Gota Love it.
What do you do, Emagirl?
2101. emagirl
i have several job titles...but my main job is assistant director of Emergency Management for my county
2103. CFLSW
Thank You. StormW
I think I now know what I am looking at and have a much better understanding why it would not develop.
2104. IKE
Click on fronts and radar on tropical floater 2 and you can see what's going on with the trough from east of the space center to south of Tampa.
...So every time a blob dissipates or moves off shore you get a good night's sleep...
2107. CJ5
Shear seems to be the likely killer of 96L now. It appears to be taking its toll now.

cue your shear chart, Drak. lol
2108. K8eCane
when something starts being called an invest, what does that mean?
Wind shear Link
2110. K8eCane
and also, who decides to label invests?
2111. CFLSW
Yup StormW
Thank You
2112. IKE
Shear around soon-to-be 97L is 10-15 knots.

Invests...their paying closer attention to an area ..disturbed weather. Some of these models then do runs on it then. I think it's every 6 hours.
05 you said that 96l is dead . that might be so. what i have noticed these weak systems always have the tendency to try to reorganise a few hundred miles east of the islands. as ican see wind shear is about 15 knots,and the dry air is continuing to recede. the latest sat image still shows a vigorous low which no doubt will bring rainy and windy conditions to the islands saturday
2114. IKE
Posted By: K8eCane at 7:39 AM CDT on July 06, 2007.
and also, who decides to label invests?

The Navy...I'm not sure if they work with the NHC or is totally seperate.
2115. emagirl
i guess i am a bit behind this morning>>>which system is the soon to be 97L??
2116. K8eCane
thanks ike

is it the nhc that lables an area an invest?
2117. emagirl
trying to work and read this morning..forgive me??
2118. alaema
emagirl where's the expo..............I went to the AL/MS Hurricane Confrence in Biloxi last week
2119. IKE
East of the Kennedy Space Center.

Here's a floater on it>>>Link
2120. CFLSW
Ok StormW
So If I got this right.
Lets say the blobs coming off S.America
The reason they just do not blow up into hurricanes is because the Winds are diffluent.
Moving in Parallel or horazonal motion and not vertical?
Am I correct?
Morning Storm!
2122. CFLSW
And would the Vertical motion be caused by upwelling?
2123. CFLSW
Or should I say the upwelling causing the vertical motion or the winds to go vetircal?
Looks like the center is east of the FL/GA border.
2125. emagirl
in George County at our Senior Citizens Building on Hwy 198E...in case you wonder it is not a Nursing home or anything...it is just a big building the county owns...that the seniors can have activities in...it is going to be from 8-4
2127. CJ5
Thanks, WPB. That chart puts the shear around 96L in the 20-35 range and much higher than the other maps I was looking at. That being the case, it certainly will die or should die lol
2129. nash28
Morning everyone.
is 96l making acome back

2131. CFLSW
and how can one tell if the winds are vertical
or parellel?
EMAGIRL IS THAT GEORGE COUNTY oops ms. lucedale area im asking for i live in vancleave
2133. alaema
sounds cool..........the confrence was really interesting
2134. emagirl
yes Lucedale...i have several vendors attending some of the bigger ones include..home depot, MDOT, MEMA, Mobile national weather service is going to be there at 10..lots of stuff to give away and i have enough door prizes that we will draw every 30 minutes
2135. Drakoen
Morning Nash!
i like uesing this wind sheae map not the one the dr m or the nhc ues all the time

2139. CJ5
Drak and WPB, why so much varience in the two shear charts? Which one is more accurate and/or which do you prefer, why? Thx
2140. Drakoen
no chance for that low near Florida lol.
and we have 97L wish is not yet up on the navy site need to watch it wind shear is vary low

2142. Drakoen
CJ5 they look about the same to me...
Proenza defies calls to leave hurricane center


Embattled hurricane center director Bill Proenza on Friday angrily defied calls from a mutinous staff for his dismissal. At the same time, he said he would discuss ''the way forward'' with his superiors in Washington.

''I'm not going to resign,'' he told The Miami Herald. ``The staff here doesn't dictate who the leader is. What a dangerous precedent when we allow subordinates to dictate their leadership by signing a petition.''

His comments came a day after nearly half of the staff of the National Hurricane Center in West Miami-Dade County joined the revolt against him, issuing a statement calling for his immediate dismissal.

''The effective functioning of the National Hurricane Center is at stake,'' said the statement, signed by seven hurricane forecasters and 16 other employees, including many staff scientists and Proenza's secretary.

''The undersigned staff of the National Hurricane Center has concluded that the center needs a new director,'' the manifesto said, ``and with the heart of the hurricane season fast approaching, urges the Department of Commerce to make this happen as quickly as possible.''

On Friday, the rebellious staff members expressed disappointment in Proenza's refusal to resign.

''He has poisoned the atmosphere here,'' hurricane forecaster James Franklin said during a press conference conducted outside the building. ``We would have liked to have Bill see that he didn't have control of his staff and step down. That's not going to happen.''

Earlier this week, he and two other senior forecasters told The Miami Herald that Proenza should leave and another senior forecaster criticized Proenza.

They said his public statements about an aging satellite have undermined confidence in their forecasts. Others believe that his frequent clashes with superiors in Washington have become a serious distraction as the hurricane season deepens.

Proenza, 62, who was out of town when the petition was signed and released, returned late Thursday to discover the full-blown mutiny. He insisted Friday that he was not going to be bullied into leaving a $150,000-a-year job he has held only six months.

He added, however, that he served at the pleasure of his bosses in Washington and would discuss the situation with them.

Those superiors also have been applying pressure, last month reprimanding him by letter and this week conducting a snap inspection of his operation -- a process that will resume next week.

''In all sincerity, I need to discuss the way forward with Washington, D.C.,'' Proenza said. ``I work for the American people and I'm always prepared to provide for their greater good.''

He blamed nearly all of the turmoil on the actions of his bosses, particularly the ''extraordinary disruption'' caused by the inspection launched by five federal officials, including an attorney versed in personnel matters.

''That triggered a frenzy of concern [within his staff] about mission deliver and-or one's career,'' he said.

'I have employees tell me, `Bill, I am so much for you and for what you've brought in. But I'm so afraid that if I'm viewed to be with you and you leave, then I'm viewed as being in the wrong camp,' '' Proenza said.

On Thursday, virtually his entire senior staff endorsed the manifesto, including:

Senior hurricane forecasters Franklin, Lixion Avila, Rick Knabb and Richard Pasch; hurricane forecasters Eric Blake, Dan Brown and Michelle Mainelli; meteorologists Wally Barnes, Robert Berg, John Cangialosi, Hugh Cobb, Martin Nelson, Gladys Rubio, Chris Sisko and Patricia Wallace; oceanographer Stephen Baig; executive officer Ahsha Tribble; administrative officer Vivian Jorge; and Proenza's administrative assistant, Evangelina Maruly.

''This group believes that we need new leadership here and it believes we need it quickly,'' Franklin told The Miami Herald.

He said that the 23 signatures represent about half of the total staff -- and 70 percent of those who had an opportunity to see the statement.

Another member of the staff said the group met at 3 p.m. in the hurricane center, situated on Florida International University's campus, to discuss the issuance of a statement.

About an hour later, to avoid any conflict with government duties and regulations, those who agreed with the statement's contents walked across the street to an FIU building and signed it.

In another development Thursday, a prominent private forecaster joined the call for Proenza's resignation or ouster.

Jeff Masters, chief meteorologist for the Weather Underground, which provides forecasts for The Associated Press, Google and hundreds of other clients, questioned the scientific basis of Proenza's campaign to replace the aging QuikScat satellite.

''There's never been anything like this,'' Masters said. ``He should resign this month.''

Masters, whose online site serves Web pages that receive 10 million visits a day, including The Miami Herald's forecast-related Web pages, criticized the basis for Proenza's assertion that the loss of QuikScat would diminish the accuracy of two-day forecasts by 10 percent and three-day forecasts by 16 percent.

The satellite, launched in 1999, is operating beyond its designed life span. A replacement has not yet been designed, though preliminary plans are under way.

Many forecasters and researchers say a replacement should feature upgraded capabilities, even at the risk of delaying deployment, and that Proenza's public campaign could work against that.

At any rate, Masters said, Proenza's estimates of forecast deterioration are based on a study that examines a small number of forecasts, is contradicted by other studies and has not yet been published in a peer-reviewed journal, an unusual circumstance.

''To be in the most visible and responsible scientific position in our profession of meteorology, everything you do has to come from the science,'' Masters said. ``You have to fairly present it. If you don't have the integrity to do that, you shouldn't be in the job.''

But a leading QuikScat expert rose to Proenza's defense.

Bob Atlas, who runs NOAA's Atlantic Oceanographic and Meteorological Laboratory on Virginia Key, was a key member of the team that developed and initially worked with QuikScat.

He said the report challenged by Masters, even if not yet published, appears to be a ''rigorous study'' that provides the ``most comprehensive study of QuikScat data related to hurricane predictions.''

Atlas said nothing he has heard Proenza say about QuikScat has made him wince, though Atlas added that NOAA is developing ways to mitigate the loss of QuikScat data.

In addition, he said, Proenza's estimates of 16 percent and 10 percent have been misunderstood: They apply to the accuracy of one of many computerized forecast models rather than actual, end-result predictions by hurricane forecasters.

''Bill's worked very hard and very well to position the hurricane center to interact well with researchers,'' Atlas said.

But also on Virginia Key, Otis Brown, the dean of the University of Miami's Rosenstiel School of Marine and Atmospheric Science, which works closely with hurricane forecasters, said he was disturbed by the current climate at the center.

''When you have this much apparent turmoil and you don't have everyone, at least superficially, pulling in the same direction, that cannot be in the best interests of an organization,'' Brown said.

Herald Staff Writer Adam H. Beasley contributed to this report.

2144. Drakoen
shear is 15 kts on the system. The convection has been blown away form the low pressure center.
That low near FL though will sit because the Bermuda High is going to build West and shear is decreasing around it.
he is so right wind sher 15kt
could this be moveing in to the gulf of mx???
2148. emagirl
so are ya thinking the FL system is going to develop or not.. as usual i am confused..
2150. C2News
Wind shear is a marginal 15 knots, not out of the woods for development. SSTs are in the favorable 80 F + range.
So Bill isn't going to take the dignified route and just reign,he's going to need to get forced out.What a mess.
The Florida system is going out to sea,and is not forecast to develop by any of the models.It's not even warm-cored.
Its Adrian Reloaded..LOL
2154. Drakoen
2155. Drakoen
Posted By: weatherboykris at 1:20 PM GMT on July 06, 2007.

The Florida system is going out to sea,and is not forecast to develop by any of the models.It's not even warm-cored

look like bill Proenza is going to take the hard way
2157. emagirl
got to go for a little bit...taking stuff to building for tomorrow...be back after while
Morning everyone,

Posted By: CFLSW at 11:31 AM GMT on July 06, 2007.

LoL My questions are hardly ever answered.
I'm not worthy I'm not worthy.

I have the same issue. I thought maybe I was being filtered but i played with the filter and that isnt the problem.

There are a couple on here that are very nice folks and will answer back , Those know who they are , I hold them in high regaurd.

You guys are assuming people in here actually know the answers . . . .LOL

But SERIOUSLY, sometimes the questions just get "lost in the shuffle" when the board is busy. If we are increasing by 50 posts every half hour (or less, when it gets REALLY busy) sometimes your question just "falls off the edge of the blog" for people reading 50 posts only.

Sometimes you can find information by googling your question. That works for me :o).


Proenza has been taking the hard way from the get-go.
Having read most of what's been posted since last night, I have to agree with those who say that the public furor over firing Proenza is more likely to hurt the NHC's public image than Proenza's original statement that QuickSCAT was failing. I also feel that the entire situation is being manufactured by person or persons who want to get rid of Proenza (regardless of their reason); it is not arising naturally out of concerns for the NHC public image as has been put forward by the media.

I also looked at the info on QuickSCAT that people were talking about last night, and I noted that much of the usefulness of the satellite seemed to be supported by OPC rather than NHC. I also found this statement:

Perhaps Proenza's focus on and concern about the satellite is a wider concern he is bringing with him from his previous post.

Is there anybody who thinks he still has a chance at keeping this job?

have the staff members thought about who is gonna take over for Bill if he leaves?
Happy 7/7/07.
Mr. Proenza may have misrepresented the science on the QuikSCAT issue, but sometimes it takes someone with guts and more importantly a good gut feeling to get others to sit up and listen.

Mind you, 'gut feelings' have no scientific basis but has served man longer and probably account for a lot of scientific discoveries. In fact, I would wager that scientists who have used their 'gut feeling' (or simple intuition, which people like to attribute only to women) have been more successful than the ones who bury their heads in data.

Unfortunately, it usually takes gutsy persons to start the march for change and they usually end up being fodder instead of getting praise for what they did. History has proven this yet most scientist invariably discount it.

I hope, for everyone's sake and safety, that Mr. Proenza does not end up with a case of "I told you so".

Its a travesty that there has been no replacement for QuikSCAT, and as to the gaps in data, they invariably happen just when we have a system at our doorstep here in the Eastern Caribbean.

I agree that there can be no replacement for Hurricane Hunters, but again, invariably by the time they decide to leave Barbados or one of their other posts, to investigate a system it might be too late to get the information out to the public - remember Hugo, even the Hurricane Hunters got a nasty surprise when they went in.

Remember that we may not like whistle-blowers, but their actions usually help us in the end and they get no thanks for it.