Comparisons of hurricane forecasts

By: hcubed , 7:18 PM GMT on April 05, 2012

First, from one of the experts:

"...Expect one of the quietest Atlantic hurricane seasons since 1995 this year, say the hurricane forecasting team of Dr. Phil Klotzbach and Dr. Bill Gray of Colorado State University (CSU) in their latest seasonal forecast issued April 4. They call for an Atlantic hurricane season with below-average activity: 10 named storms, 4 hurricanes, and 2 intense hurricanes. An average season has 10 - 11 named storms, 6 hurricanes, and 2 intense hurricanes. The 2012 forecast calls for a below-average chance of a major hurricane hitting the U.S., both along the East Coast (24% chance, 31% chance is average) and the Gulf Coast (24% chance, 30% chance is average). The Caribbean is forecast to have a 34% chance of seeing at least one major hurricane (42% is average.) Four years with similar pre-season March atmospheric and oceanic conditions were selected as "analogue" years that the 2012 hurricane season may resemble: 2009, 2001, 1965, and 1957. These years all had neutral to El Ni├▒o conditions during hurricane season. The average activity for these years was 9.5 named storms, 4.8 hurricanes, and 2.3 major hurricanes..."

Along with this, there's the analysis from Dr Ryan Maue, with his study of the ACE (Accumulated Cyclone Energy) that shows a low level of hurricane frequency and strength for the past two calendar years ("...a total of 146 global tropical cyclones, the lowest 2-year total in records since at least 1970. In the past 24-months, including ongoing Southern Hemisphere tropical cyclone activity, there have been a total of 141 global tropical storms. This is also a record low...")

On the other side, there are those who have said that CAGW would cause hurricanes to become stronger and more frequent, using nothing more that a "model" output.

From RealClimate "...In the particular simulation shown above, the frequency of the strongest (category 5) hurricanes roughly triples in the anthropogenic climate change scenario relative to the control. This suggests that hurricanes may indeed become more destructive as tropical SSTs warm due to anthropogenic impacts..." ( 5/09/hurricanes-and-global-warming/)

That one was written in 2005. In 2007, they changed up - "...what we said then still holds. Individual hurricanes cannot be attributed to global warming, but the statistics of hurricanes, in particular the maximum intensities attained by storms, may indeed be..."

If INCREASED hurricane frequency and strength is forecast as a result of CAGW, then how is a DECREASED frequency and strength handled in the model?

In 2006, the International Workshop on Tropical Cyclones-VI was held, and stated (among other things):

"...Though there is evidence both for and against the existence of a detectable anthropogenic signal in the tropical cyclone climate record to date, no firm conclusion can be made on this point.

Although recent climate model simulations project a decrease or no change in global tropical cyclone numbers in a warmer climate, there is low confidence in this projection. In addition, it is unknown how tropical cyclone tracks or areas of impact will change in the future..." (

It seemed that some models were predicting exactly what we're seeing now - that there would be a decrease in storms. They gave that a "low confidence" of actually happening. Why aren't they proclaiming the accuracy of THAT model?

Still, several sources seem to state the same thing - there is no measurable increased trend in hurricane intensity and strength, as far as CAGW is concerned.

But that won't stop the counters. Expect each and every hurricane this year to be listed as the most distructive/costliest/deadliest ever, adding to the list of "weird weather" for the year.

And, if we're lucky again and have no mainland landfalls, they'll use the lack of activity as a sign from above that we've altered our weather forever. Remember, CAGW predicts BOTH more frequent and stronger storms, as well as less frequent and weaker storms.

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

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About hcubed

Living in Biloxi MS, have been here since '85 (first Hurricane was Elena).

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