Sunday, August 27, 2006

Ambulance Chasing (Fox News Style)

The other day while watching a FNC story about (then tropical storm, now) hurricane Ernesto they showed a graphic of the "predicted storm track." However, I really dont believe it COULD have been a real hurricane forecast. Basically all they did was draw a straight line to New Orleans and call that a forecast. This is moronic on many levels. For starters, the storm was so poorly organized at that point there was little way to know where the center of circulation would develop. This matters because there could have been a difference of 80 to 100 miles in its position. As it developed it organized on a more northerly track giving it less chance of even making it into the Gulf of Mexico. Secondly, these storms move so unpredictably that while a 24-36 hour forecast might be reasonably accurate (to within 100 miles or so), anything more than that is a crap shoot. But this graphic was claiming to show us 72+ hours into the future! It was simply preposterous.

What really bothered me, however, is just how ghoulish the whole thing was. It was as if they were wishing the storm would hit New Orleans. There was no scientific, or logical or common sense reason to forecast this storm hitting New Orleans, so why do it? Because it would make a great story if it did? People down in N.O. have enough to worry about without this garbage.

Wednesday, August 23, 2006

Love Those Predictive Models!

Well, how have folks been enjoying the 2006 hurricane season so far? For those keeping track at home, according to the experts we should have been enjoying 15-17 named storms and 7-9 hurricanes. Hell, even in the downward revised forecast we were supposed to get 6.1 hurricanes in August alone. (For those who care about such things, as of the 23rd of August we have had zero. Next week should be a doozey!)

I can almost hear someone saying "Blimey! This whole forecasting the weather and climate is trickier than we thought."

At least they would be saying it if they had a shred of intellectual honesty.