Friday, December 07, 2007

Tropical Poker Game

Living on the thin thread of sand known as Pensacola Beach is a gamble. Or, as locals often say, "It's like rolling the dice."

Predicting future hurricanes for a tropical season more than six months away is no less a gamble, as Dr. William Gray and his un-doctorate successor-in-waiting, Phil Klotzbach, openly admit in their traditional December release of predictions for the next hurricane season.

"Why issue 6-11 month extended-range forecasts for next year’s hurricane activity?" they ask rhetorically. The short version of the answer is -- because you want it; besides, it's fun to see our names in print.
Everyone should realize that it is impossible to precisely predict next season’s hurricane activity at such an extended range. We issue these forecasts to satisfy the curiosity of the general public and to bring attention to the hurricane problem. There is a curiosity in knowing what the odds are for an active or inactive season next year. * * * The probability of landfall for any one location along the coast is very low and reflects the fact that, in any one season, most U.S. coastal areas will not feel the effects of a hurricane no matter how active the individual season is.
* * *
[W]e have yet to demonstrate real-time forecast skill for our early December forecasts that have been issued for the last 16 years (1992-2007).
In other words, you want to pretend you aren't gambling? OK, here comes your opening hand. Statistically, we might be wrong, we might be right. But don't fret. We'll be making the rounds later with discards, new card draws, and wholly new deals on a regular schedule.

If you need more faux science, check your horoscope or take a biology lesson from Mike Huckabee, Sam Brownback, or Tom Tancredo.

No comments: