The following is the NOAA Hurricane Center's December 2006 predictions for the 2007 hurricane season. I bring this up, because the NHC (National Hurricane Center) will release its first report for the ongoing 2007 season tomorrow, Tuesday 03 April 2007, and I'll be very interested to see any variances between what they thought in December versus today.
ATLANTIC BASIN SEASONAL HURRICANE FORECAST FOR 2007
Forecast Parameter and 1950-2000 Climatology (in parentheses)
8 December 2006 Forecast for 2007
Named Storms (NS) (9.6) 14
Named Storm Days (NSD) (49.1) 70
Hurricanes (H) (5.9) 7
Hurricane Days (HD) (24.5) 35
Intense Hurricanes (IH) (2.3) 3
Intense Hurricane Days (IHD) (5.0) 8
Accumulated Cyclone Energy (ACE) (96.1) 130
Net Tropical Cyclone Activity (NTC) (100%) 140
Now, my predictions for the 2006 season were higher than all of these, although I admit that I disregarded the 1950-1995 results almost entirely and based it on 1996-2004 values. Which, I'll cheerfully admit, probably skewed the hell out of my results. Of course, I was sort of angling for a worst case scenario, so I had 21 named storms, 100 named storm days, 11 hurricanes, roughly 50 hurricane days, and 7 intense hurricanes . Ah, thank you Excel for warping my methodology beyond all reason.
What really caught my eye, though, was this paragraph (emphasis mine):
Our initial 6-11 month early December seasonal hurricane forecast scheme (Gray et al. 1992) demonstrated hindcast skill for the period of 1950-1990 but did not give skillful results when utilized on a real-time basis for forecasts between 1995-2001. This was due to the discontinuation of the strong relationships we had earlier found between West African rainfall and the stratospheric quasi-biennial oscillation (QBO) with Atlantic basin major hurricane activity 6-11 months in the future. We did not expect these relationships that had worked so well for 41 years to stop working from 1995 onward.
Ummmmm, global warming anyone? Could that just maybe, possibly, thrown a teensy, weensy wobble into your predictive capabilities since 1995? That was, what, only 12 years ago, right? A-and we all know global warming's just a crock o' shite, correct?
Must be all those butterflies flapping their wings in China, I guess.
Meanwhile, the lousy (and by lousy, I mean ferocious) '97-'98 hurricane seasons showed an average raised Atlantic water basin temperature of 2.3 degrees (Celsius, I believe); inital predictions for 2007 gauge a probable average raise of 1.7 degrees.
I guess it's the 0.6 degrees of separation that'll determine the hurricane season this year.