Friday, October 4, 2013

Where did the hurricanes go?

When they realized their phony stories about global warming were not selling, the alarmists changed their tune to "climate change." Safe enough. Though amazingly stable over the long term, climate does change noticeably over the span of a human lifetime.

We were promised that "climate change" would bring more and bigger storms. It didn't happen.

As we wrap up September, there have been just two short-lived Category 1 hurricanes in the Atlantic. Yet seasonal forecasts predicted an extremely active season. What’s going on?
Before diving into the seasonal forecasts, let’s take inventory on where the season stands.
In an average season,  8 tropical storms, 4 hurricanes, and 1 major (category 3 or higher) hurricane form by this date. This year, we’ve experienced 10 tropical storms, 2 hurricanes, and no major hurricanes.
Though we’ve had close to the average number of total storms, most have been short-lived and/or weak. If you went out for a cup of coffee at any time this hurricane season, you would’ve missed many of them.
The author, Brian McNoldy of the reliably alarmist weather blog at the Washington Post, then goes on to explain away the missing weather. Then he asks, if the weather prophets can get it so wrong, why bother?


The answer he gives is that they are getting better, although the evidence he just presented says they aren't. He brings up the concept of "skill" in climate prophecy. This word in this sense was introduced into the discussion by the Hansenites to describe how, if their prophecies were somewhat better than shooting dice, that validated their methods, because the difference demonstrated "skill," (that is, accuracy).

Well, no. It never did. The argument mirrors, conceptually, the argument of the parapsychologists, who claim that if a subject does "better than chance," that means he/she is calling on psychic powers.

Is it necessary to restate  the logical error here? Yes, I believe it is. In a series of trials where nothing (foretelling the future) is happening, some guessers will guess a bit better than average and some will necessarily guess a bit worse. On average, they will follow the dice.

Picking out the lucky streaks does not demonstrate "skill."

Now, weather prophecy is not exactly like cherry-picking parapsychological card tricks. The parapsychologist charlatans can run infinite numbers of trials at guessing the turn of the cards. Going forward each day, the climate charlatans are assigned a result: Weather happens.

Now, what do the weather prophets predict? Year after year, they predict around a dozen storms, with a few strong ones and a few coming ashore. In other words, they predict that each year will be close to average. Some years will be a little under, some over.

But as McNoldy helpfully notes, some years are way out of average.

The low activity so far this year is not unprecedented, but unusual.
According to meteorologist Ryan Maue’s Web site, only four other years have had lower ACE totals as of this date (since 1950): 1962, 1977, 1983, and 1994.  The highest end-of-season ACE among those years is just 35.6.
ACE is accumulated cyclonic energy, and McNoldy presents a graph showing that it ranges over an order of magnitude, from around 25 in low years to nearly 250 in high years.

You know what would demonstrate "skill": Correctly predicting a couple of years that were going to end up near the low or the high end of the range would demonstrate skill.

It is only stating the obvious to say that if you always predict close to average years, you will never demonstrate that kind of skill.

Prior to 2013, the prophets went about as far out on a limb as they ever do, predicting a season on the high side of average. What they got was one of the lowest years ever.

Negative skill.

The parapsychologists have an advantage here. When one of their subjects shows unusual "skill" in not hitting the right card at least an average number of times, he is said to be showing a different kind of paranormality, "psy-missing," or a kind of pathological parapsychological shyness.

This is a cop-out not available to meteorologists. Fact is, when it comes to storms, they are no more reliable than the Old Farmer's Almanac.

No comments:

Post a Comment