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Old 11-30-2007, 11:55 AM
adios adios is offline
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Default Of Climate Models and Hurricane Predictions

For 2006 the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) made the following predictions regarding the hurricane season in 2006 prior to 2006:

NOAA PREDICTS VERY ACTIVE 2006 NORTH ATLANTIC HURRICANE SEASON - Residents in Hurricane Prone Areas Urged to Make Preparations

"For the 2006 north Atlantic hurricane season, NOAA is predicting 13 to 16 named storms, with eight to 10 becoming hurricanes, of which four to six could become 'major' hurricanes of Category 3 strength or higher," added retired Navy Vice Adm. Conrad C. Lautenbacher, Ph.D., undersecretary of commerce for oceans and atmosphere and NOAA administrator.

The record?

Climate of 2006 - Atlantic Hurricane Season
For the season, there were 5 hurricanes (2 major) and 4 tropical storms: a below-average season when compared with the recent 1995-2005 average, yet similar to the average of the preceeding 25 years (1970-1994) listed in the paragraph above. Only 2 storms made landfall with the mainland U.S. during 2006, Tropical Storm Alberto in Florida and Hurricane Ernesto as a tropical storm in Florida and North Carolina. For additional information on individual storms, please see the summaries below. For statistics on the Atlantic storm season, please see NCDC's 2006 Atlantic basin Tropical Cyclone page. [/b]

Does the NOAA rely on climate models to make their predictions?
Modeling Climate

I note the following from their description:

The accuracy of climate models is limited by grid resolution and our ability to describe the complicated atmospheric, oceanic, and chemical processes mathematically. Much of the research in OAR is directed at improving the representation of these processes. Despite some imperfections, models simulate remarkably well current climate and its variability. More capable supercomputers enable significant model improvements by allowing for more accurate representation of currently unresolved physics

I've maintained in these threads that the climate models are unproven to which wacki has shall we say disagreed. What he overlooks seemingly very often is that I've also stated that the development of climate models is a very worthwhile activity. Also what he seems to me anyway to conviently overlook is that I've stated that I believe that climate models in 50 years will have advanced a great deal. Probably more than we can imagine. So to summarize, climate modeling is a worthwhile activity in it's early stages of development, the models will continue to improve, and are likely to be very, very much more refined and accurate 50 years from now. Does the above statement by NOAA really contradict what I'm saying? Even the NOAA claims the accuracy of the models is limited. Don't know why wacki claims that uncertain accuracy doesn't mean the models predictive value is unproven.

I thought it might be interesting to look at the NOAA predictions for 2007:

NOAA: 2007 Atlantic Hurricane Season Outlook Update

NOAA is predicting a very high likelihood (85% chance) of an above-normal 2007 Atlantic hurricane season, a 10% chance of a near-normal season, and only a 5% chance of a below-normal season, according to a consensus of scientists at the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) Climate Prediction Center, National Hurricane Center, Hurricane Research Division, and Hydrometeorological Prediction Center.

The outlook calls for an even higher probability of an above-normal season than was predicted in May (75%), and reiterates the expectation for a sharp increase in activity from the near-normal season observed last year. The 2007 season is expected to become the tenth above-normal season since the current active hurricane era began twelve years ago (in 1995). See NOAA’s definitions of above-, near-, and below-normal seasons.

The 2007 outlook calls for a likely range of 13-16 named storms, 7-9 hurricanes, and 3-5 major hurricanes. The likely range of the ACE index is 140%-200% of the median. These ranges are slightly tighter than those predicted in May (13-17 named storms, 7-10 hurricanes, 3-5 major hurricanes, and an ACE range of 125%-210%). The tighter ranges reflect not only an increased confidence for an above normal season, but also a reduced likelihood of seeing as many as 10 hurricanes and 17 named storms.


So what was the record?

Season Ends, Questions Remain

As a whole, the 2007 Atlantic hurricane season produced a total of 14 namedstorms, including six hurricanes, two of which became major hurricanes. NOAA'sAugust update to the seasonal forecast predicted 13 to 16 named storms - ofwhich seven to nine would be hurricanes, including three to five majorhurricanes of Category 3 strength or higher. An average season has 11 namedstorms, with six becoming hurricanes, including two major hurricanes. "The 2007 Atlantic hurricane season produced the predicted number of namedstorms, but the combined number, duration and intensity of the hurricanes didnot meet expectations," said Gerry Bell, Ph.D., lead seasonal hurricaneforecaster at NOAA's Climate Prediction Center. "The United States wasfortunate this year to have fewer strong hurricanes develop than predicted.Normally, the climate patterns that were in place produce an active, volatilehurricane season."The climate patterns predicted for the 2007 hurricane season - an ongoingmulti-decadal signal (the set of oceanic and atmospheric conditions that havespawned increased Atlantic hurricane activity since 1995) and La Nina -produced the expected below-normal hurricane activity over the eastern andcentral Pacific regions. However, La Nina's impact over the Atlantic wasweaker than expected, which resulted in stronger upper-level winds andincreased wind shear over the Caribbean Sea during the peak months of theseason (August-October). This limited Atlantic hurricane formation during thatperiod. NOAA's scientists are investigating possible climate factors that mayhave led to this lower-than-expected activity.All in all, one hurricane, one tropical storm and three tropical depressionsstruck the United States: Tropical Depression Barry came ashore near TampaBay, Fla., on June 2; Tropical Depression Erin hit southeast Texas on August16 and Tropical Depression Ten came ashore along the western Florida panhandleon Sept. 21; Tropical Storm Gabrielle hit east-central North Carolina on Sept.9, and Hurricane Humberto hit the upper Texas coast on Sept. 13. Also this year, the U.S. was reminded of the dangers of inland flooding. "Texas and Oklahoma experienced deadly flooding when Erin dumped up to 11inches of rain. Fresh water flooding is yet another deadly aspect of tropicalcyclones," said Ed Rappaport, acting director of NOAA's National HurricaneCenter.Other noteworthy statistics of the season include:


Again I'm not trying to denigrate the efforts of the scientists here. I'm just saying that the science is relatively new and probably will advance a great deal over time. I think accounts like the above show that this is the case. I'd like to point out another article from NOAA:

CLIMATE MODELS SUGGEST WARMING-INDUCED WIND SHEAR CHANGES COULD IMPACT HURRICANE DEVELOPMENT, INTENSITY

Global climate model simulations for the 21st Century indicate a robust increase in vertical wind shear in the tropical Atlantic and East Pacific Oceans, which could act to inhibit the development or intensification of hurricanes in these regions. Historically, increased vertical wind shear has been associated with reduced hurricane activity and intensity. (Click NOAA image for larger view of global warming’s multiple influences on hurricanes. Click here for high resolution version. Please credit “NOAA.”)

This new finding is reported in a study by scientists at the NOAA Geophysical Fluid Dynamics Laboratory in Princeton, N.J., and the Rosenstiel School of Marine and Atmospheric Science at the University of Miami, scheduled to be published April 18 in Geophysical Research Letters.

While other studies have linked hurricane intensity to global warming, this is the first published study to indicate that changes to vertical wind shear seen in future climate projections would likely diminish the frequency and intensity of hurricanes. Some effects of global warming, such as coral bleaching and melting tundra, are better understood than the impact on hurricanes.



Again this is not a denigration of the scientific efforts put forth and in fact I commend the efforts. Again I think it's fair to say that the we've got a lot to learn about modeling the climate and also that we're making progress.

My gripe is with the politicians that exploit the work of climate scientists to acheive their political agenda. I submit that if Al Gore made a movie that stated we need to arrest global warming because of increased vertical windshear he wouldn't have had many people listen to him.
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  #2  
Old 11-30-2007, 12:05 PM
Zygote Zygote is offline
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Default Re: Of Climate Models and Hurricane Predictions

the biggest problem with laymen relaying this subject is the certainty they attribute to their views and the lack of respect for the complexity being dealt with.

thanks for the post.
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  #3  
Old 11-30-2007, 02:32 PM
Arp220 Arp220 is offline
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Default Re: Of Climate Models and Hurricane Predictions

The climate models used to construct predictions for anthropogenic contributions to climate change are completely different to those used for predicting the activity of hurricane seasons. Not least because the activity of a given hurricane season is governed by many factors, or which only one is 'global warming'.

It's also worth noting that the guy at NOAA who actually does the hurricane predictions is a certain William Gray, who is a vehement AGW skeptic.
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  #4  
Old 12-01-2007, 01:23 AM
adios adios is offline
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Default Re: Of Climate Models and Hurricane Predictions

[ QUOTE ]
The climate models used to construct predictions for anthropogenic contributions to climate change are completely different to those used for predicting the activity of hurricane seasons. Not least because the activity of a given hurricane season is governed by many factors, or which only one is 'global warming'.

It's also worth noting that the guy at NOAA who actually does the hurricane predictions is a certain William Gray, who is a vehement AGW skeptic.

[/ QUOTE ]

Completely wrong about Gray in that he doesn't work for NOAA and is often critical of them.

Wrong about NOAA as well and their climate models. From one of the links I posted:

Wind shear is one of the dominant controls of hurricane activity, and the models project substantial increases in the Atlantic," said Gabriel Vecchi, lead author of the paper and a NOAA research oceanographer at GFDL. "Based on historical relationships, the impact of the projected shear change could be comparable in magnitude as that of the warming oceans—with the opposite effect."

Examining possible impacts of anthropogenic greenhouse warming on hurricane activity, the researchers used climate modeling to assess large-scale environmental factors tied to hurricane formation and intensity. They focused on projected changes in vertical wind shear over the tropical Atlantic and how those changes tie to the Pacific Walker circulation. The Walker circulation is a vast loop of winds that influences climate across much of the globe, and varies during El Niño and La Niña oscillations. (Click NOAA image for larger view of the Pacific Walker Circulation. Click here for high resolution version. Please credit “NOAA.”)



Here's another linky that discusses NOAA climate models and the effects on the climate of quadrupling CO2 emissions:

Climate Impact of Quadrupling CO2


An overview of GFDL climate model results is presented from a series of experiments examining the possible climate impact of a quadrupling of atmospheric CO2. Much of the recent anthropogenic climate change research has been focused on the issues of climate change detection and projections of climate change over the next century. On the other hand, analyses of future emission scenarios in the IPCC and elsewhere indicate that on a multi-century time scale, CO2 levels are likely to rise well beyond a doubling unless very substantial emission reductions occur. Therefore, longer term aspects of climate change, based on higher-than-doubling CO2 levels, are becoming an increasing part of the debate. In this report, the possible climate impacts of a CO2 quadrupling are examined.



Thanks for playing though.
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  #5  
Old 12-01-2007, 02:59 PM
Arp220 Arp220 is offline
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Default Re: Of Climate Models and Hurricane Predictions


Hmm, could have sworn Gray worked at NOAA at one point. Oh well.

As for your second point - the models used to study AGW are generally one of a class of models called coupled ocean-atmosphere general circulation models. These models are not used to predict the severity of hurricane seasons. Neither of the links you give relate to these class of model.

Just out of interest - is it your contention that AGW is negligible and/or will not happen? Thats AGW and not GW, by the way. If so, I have a little proposition for you.
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  #6  
Old 12-01-2007, 05:41 PM
adios adios is offline
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Default Re: Of Climate Models and Hurricane Predictions

[ QUOTE ]

Hmm, could have sworn Gray worked at NOAA at one point. Oh well.

As for your second point - the models used to study AGW are generally one of a class of models called coupled ocean-atmosphere general circulation models. These models are not used to predict the severity of hurricane seasons. Neither of the links you give relate to these class of model.

Just out of interest - is it your contention that AGW is negligible and/or will not happen? Thats AGW and not GW, by the way. If so, I have a little proposition for you.

[/ QUOTE ]

What is negligible vs. significant? My arguments are:

In their current state, the predictive value of climate models is unproven.


The second argument I'm making is that climate models will improve significantly over time and will evolve. In expect that we can't imagine the improvement that will take place over the next 50 years.

Third argument is that people are putting way too much stock in what climate models in their current state are predicting.

Fourth argment is that politicians are exploiting the situation to promote their own agendas.

Fifth argument is that the conditions for 3 and 4 are a disaster for funding research.


wacki doesn't seem to want to address them, what do you think?

Also does this qualify me as a skeptic, a non skeptic, or something in between?
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  #7  
Old 12-01-2007, 07:57 PM
Phil153 Phil153 is offline
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Default Re: Of Climate Models and Hurricane Predictions

Since wacki is busy (and probably bored with this) I'll have a stab.

In their current state, the predictive value of climate models is unproven.

As an assertion this is a failure as it fails to quantify anything. It also seems dubious. Weren't the climate models used on past data? I believe that's one of the many criteria for any of the many models to be taken seriously. Haven't the predictions of the climate models from last century held up in the last 8 or so years?

If climate models are so inaccurate or useless, why do they all show the same trend and similar ranges, even though the underlying algorithms are quite different? Why has no one come up with a climate model that works accurately on past data and predicts no temperature increase?

Your criticism of the models lacks depth.

The second argument I'm making is that climate models will improve significantly over time and will evolve. In expect that we can't imagine the improvement that will take place over the next 50 years.

Sure...but that doesn't mean the current models will be proven wrong. The most likely scenario, imo, is that the error ranges of the current models will narrow as precision increases. #2 is neither here nor there as relates to this debate.

Third argument is that people are putting way too much stock in what climate models in their current state are predicting.

Exactly how much stock should we be putting into it? If the eight or so more accurate models on past data, using different underlying physics and algorithms, all come to the same conclusion, are you suggesting we should be ignoring them? Exactly how much stock do you think we should be putting in these models?

Fourth argment is that politicians are exploiting the situation to promote their own agendas.

How does this relate to the truth or otherwise of the science? As far the IPCC goes, the main role of politics is to water down the scientific conclusions to make them more palatable to governments who have to sign off on the report.

Fifth argument is that the conditions for 3 and 4 are a disaster for funding research.

You'll need to elaborate on why this matters.
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  #8  
Old 12-01-2007, 08:19 PM
Arp220 Arp220 is offline
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Default Re: Of Climate Models and Hurricane Predictions

[ QUOTE ]

What is negligible vs. significant? My arguments are:


[/ QUOTE ]

Lets say... 'less than 5%'

[ QUOTE ]

In their current state, the predictive value of climate models is unproven.


[/ QUOTE ]

I suggest looking at the IPCC report a little more closely. In particular the section where GCMs are used to construct historical temperature records. They don't do too badly.

I suppose by definition a model is 'unproven' until the events it is predicting either do or do not happen, but that is not the sole arbiter of a models predictive power. Otherwise, no-one would ever use them [img]/images/graemlins/smile.gif[/img]

[ QUOTE ]

The second argument I'm making is that climate models will improve significantly over time and will evolve. In expect that we can't imagine the improvement that will take place over the next 50 years.


[/ QUOTE ]

This is true, however it's no reason to ignore the models that exist now. You'd never do anything if you just said 'oh wait 50 years, things will be better'

[ QUOTE ]

Third argument is that people are putting way too much stock in what climate models in their current state are predicting.

[/ QUOTE ]

The scientists certainly are not. What the media do is their business.

[ QUOTE ]

Fourth argment is that politicians are exploiting the situation to promote their own agendas.

[/ QUOTE ]

They do this with EVERY situation. What's different about this one?

[ QUOTE ]

Fifth argument is that the conditions for 3 and 4 are a disaster for funding research.


[/ QUOTE ]

If you're referring to the Bush administrations reprehensible desecration of funding research, and indeed science generally, then I agree with you.

[ QUOTE ]

Also does this qualify me as a skeptic, a non skeptic, or something in between?

[/ QUOTE ]

Difficult to say at the moment.
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  #9  
Old 12-01-2007, 02:15 AM
wacki wacki is offline
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Default Re: Of Climate Models and Hurricane Predictions

adios, I think you've been duped. Would you mind telling me where you first read this argument? American Thinker again or somewhere else? The bold text below should explain why I think you've been duped.

[ QUOTE ]
On 1 May 2005, the Meteo-France model predicted 22 named tropical storms and hurricanes for the 2005 hurricane season in the North Atlantic. On 1 June the ECMWF and the UK Met Office integrations were showing similar results. What was extraordinary about these forecasts was that their predictions, some months in advance of the hurricanes, were two standard deviations above the already elevated 1995–2004 mean. These models also forecast a reduced number of storms for the northwestern Pacific during the same period. In hindcast mode these three models have outperformed statistical forecasts over the previous 10-year period of elevated storm activity. Yet despite these successes and the clear promise of the techniques, no operational model within NOAA is making extended range forecasts with climate models.

[/ QUOTE ] - Published June 2006
http://www.agu.org/report/hurricanes/hurricanes.html

Please note that this AGU article was published 1 month AFTER the forecast you linked to. If Jack is wrong that doesn't mean Chris screwed up too. Again, I'm willing to bet some think tank played 3 card monte with your head.

BTW, Lautenbacher is was politically appointed by Bush and has been in violation of several laws for nearly half a decade. Despite his position, he's not the best source of information.

You are also grossly misunderstanding my position on climate models and hurricanes. My position is:
*Even though they weren't designed for hurricane forecasts and aren't even being fed data in high enough resolution to do *local* (e.g. hurricane) forecasts correctly they are still the best tools available, much better than climate change skeptics (e.g. loons like Bill Gray)
*What the climate change skeptics said was impossible (like hurricanes forming in certain regions of the globe) they correctly predicted as being possible years in advance
*etc...

I stated my position a while back here:

http://forumserver.twoplustwo.com/showth...page=0&vc=1

and asked for your response. I will copy and paste again with the hope that you reply:

[ QUOTE ]
Well I missed the words in italics. The models certainly aren't gospel. But this isn't personal this is about facts. The following statements are either true or false:

*Climate models aren't made to model hurricanes yet their predictive ability is better than traditional statistical forcasts.
*The climate change skeptics (e.g. Bill Gray) are the bottom of the barrel when it comes to predicting hurricanes.
*Climate model coupled forecasting is the best tool we have for predicting hurricanes.
*Climate model coupled forecasting methods correctly predicted hurricanes in areas where Bill Gray thought was "impossible".
*The predictions that beat the old-school methods were made at course resolution (>200km) and current models have nearly double the resolution at ~125 km.
*Many top modeling experts believe a resolution of 45km is needed to successfully simulate intensity and tracks. Despite this, 200km resoltion was enough to beat old-school predictive methods.

It's not personal. Either these statements are true or they aren't true. If we can't agree on these statements then we have a real problem.

Now if we can agree on these statements then I'm a bit confused why you would so harshly criticize the models. Sure there is uncertainty, and sure some people (like Al Gore) try to claim there is no uncertainty, but to use such harsh language is a bit much.

[/ QUOTE ]

I highly encourage you to keep reading and applaud your drive to stay informed.
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  #10  
Old 12-01-2007, 03:34 AM
adios adios is offline
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Default Re: Of Climate Models and Hurricane Predictions

[ QUOTE ]
adios, I think you've been duped. Would you mind telling me where you first read this argument? American Thinker again or somewhere else? The bold text below should explain why I think you've been duped.


[/ QUOTE ]

Uh no.

Global Warming and Hurricanes

The GFDL hurricane prediction model used for the study is currently the operational hurricane prediction model at NOAA's National Centers for Environmental Prediction and has been used successfully to predict tropical storm tracks for the last several hurricane seasons. The GFDL climate model is one of the leading models used by climate researchers to project possible effects of greenhouse gases on future climate.



and

NOAA: 2007 Atlantic Hurricane Season Outlook Update

NOAA is predicting a very high likelihood (85% chance) of an above-normal 2007 Atlantic hurricane season, a 10% chance of a near-normal season, and only a 5% chance of a below-normal season, according to a consensus of scientists at the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) Climate Prediction Center, National Hurricane Center, Hurricane Research Division, and Hydrometeorological Prediction Center.



[ QUOTE ]
- Published June 2006
http://www.agu.org/report/hurricanes/hurricanes.html

Please note that this AGU article was published 1 month AFTER the forecast you linked to. If Jack is wrong that doesn't mean Chris screwed up too. Again, I'm willing to bet some think tank played 3 card monte with your head.


[/ QUOTE ]

From your link:

Predictions of hurricane paths have improved markedly due to dedicated research efforts and advances in numerical forecast models, but predictions of hurricane intensity and detailed structure have made very little progress. Despite the urgency of the problems faced, there has been an alarming decay in the resources provided for hurricane research and development in the past decade. Urgent action is needed to reverse this trend and increase support for multidisciplinary approaches to ameliorating the impact of these dangerous systems.

IMO one of the dangers of overstating the predictive value of the climate models in their current state is that they're quite likely to not meet peoples expectations. For long term funding this is a disaster. When have I ever said that research should be abandoned? In fact I've said quite the opposite. I can't remember you once acknowlegdeing that I've endorsed research into climate science and climate modeling.

[ QUOTE ]
You are also grossly misunderstanding my position on climate models and hurricanes. My position is:
*Even though they weren't designed for hurricane forecasts and aren't even being fed data in high enough resolution to do *local* (e.g. hurricane) forecasts correctly they are still the best tools available, much better than climate change skeptics (e.g. loons like Bill Gray)
*What the climate change skeptics said was impossible (like hurricanes forming in certain regions of the globe) they correctly predicted as being possible years in advance
*etc...


[/ QUOTE ]

No when I've stated that the predictive value of climate models is unproven, you've taken the position that I'm being too harsh. I think the description of climate models as being useful is an apt description. Sorry claiming that climate models are better than the tools "skeptics" use doesn't prove their predictive value. I think you're the person that's been doing the misrepresentation. I've stated I don't know how many times that I believe the models will improve greatly over time. From my point of view all you've done is disparage my points because I don't agree with you about the significance of what the results of the finding of the models are.

[ QUOTE ]
I highly encourage you to keep reading and applaud your drive to stay informed.

[/ QUOTE ]

A display of your typical arrogance displayed when someone doesn't share your all of your views. Also the typical disingenous tactics of trying to disparage people that you disagree with. It's exactly the tactic you use when you accuse someone of being an oil company tool. Instead of actually addressing the arguments and points someone makes, you disparage the person instead. It shows a distinct lack of intellectual honesty.

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