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‘Very Active’ Hurricane Season Predicted for 2008

May 31, 2008 12:48 PM
by findingDulcinea Staff
A new computer modeling system predicts an active hurricane season with at least one major U.S. landfall, but critics say such forecasts are unreliable.

30-Second Summary

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Scientists now say this year’s June-November hurricane season will be “very active,” with a probable 15 tropical storms and eight hurricanes, and a 69 percent chance that one of the storms will hit the U.S. coastline.

“To put it in perspective…we're calling for about 160 percent of an average hurricane season this year," scientist Phil Klotzbach told USA Today.

Based on warmer-than-average ocean temperatures observed in March and April, Klotzbach revised earlier forecasts upward.

Along with fellow researcher William Gray of the Tropical Meteorology Project at Colorado State University, Klotzbach used new weather-modeling software that he developed for greater accuracy, after mistaken predictions he made during the past two seasons caused him to “lose sleep.”

But critics question whether such forecasts, made five months before prime hurricane season, are any use at all.

Eric Berger of SciGuy says that current tools make early forecasting inaccurate, adding that Gray and Klotzbach’s August forecasts are more reliable. Experts quoted in the Los Angeles Times also say early forecasts may confuse the public or lead to inadequate hurricane preparations.

Recent weather catastrophes such as Hurricane Katrina raised concerns that global warming may be increasing the intensity of major storms. But New Scientist calls the belief that Katrina was caused by global warming “a myth.”

“The chaotic nature of weather makes it impossible to prove that any single event such as Hurricane Katrina is due to global warming,” writes Emma Young.

Headline Links: ‘Experts Predict “Very Active” Atlantic Hurricane Season’

Opinion & Analysis: ‘Should We Pay Attention to Seasonal Hurricane Forecasts?’

Related Topics: Weather catastrophes and global warming

Reference: The National Weather Service National Hurricane Center

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