Hurricanes – West Division

OK folks, here’s a question – no peeking. In terms of the total number of hurricane-days (i.e. days at wind-speed gt 65 knots) west of 69W, where does 2005 rank in the league table including all years since 1851?  Bonus points if you get the top five right regardless of order.

24 Comments

  1. David Smith
    Posted Jan 3, 2007 at 3:19 PM | Permalink

    I have no fear of a public display of ignorance, so here goes:

    1995
    2004
    1950-ish
    1933 (though they classified many as tropical storms, probably incorrectly)
    2005

    Now I’ll go and check!

  2. Steve McIntyre
    Posted Jan 3, 2007 at 3:23 PM | Permalink

    #1. this doesn’t depend on classifications, since I’m calculating days directly from the track data. Each qualifying measurement counts as 1/4 day.

  3. David Smith
    Posted Jan 3, 2007 at 3:27 PM | Permalink

    Ouch!

  4. jae
    Posted Jan 3, 2007 at 3:44 PM | Permalink

    In order of increasing frequency: 1995, 2001, 2005, 1935, 1940

  5. TAC
    Posted Jan 3, 2007 at 7:24 PM | Permalink

    Part 1: I’ll go with the average rank, r* = (N+1)/2 = 78.5

    Part 2: floor(runif(5,min=1851,max=2006))

    Do I get extra credit for making all of my data and algorithms freely available on the web?

  6. Steve McIntyre
    Posted Jan 3, 2007 at 9:18 PM | Permalink

    5 years with most “west” hurricane days, summed by 1/4 days:

    1916 2005 1887 1886 1933
    26.50 31.25 32.25 33.00 37.75

    Surprised me as well. I guess what they mean is that 2005 is unprecedented in the last sevennnnn-ty years.

  7. David Smith
    Posted Jan 3, 2007 at 9:34 PM | Permalink

    RE #6

    It’s interesting to look at the plots for each of the seasons Steve lists:

    1886

    1887

    1916

    1933

    2005

    I think that even the most casual observer will note the lack of Eastern Atlantic activity in the records for 1886, 1887, 1916 and 1933. In 2005 the Eastern Atlantic came alive with recorded activity.

    Occam’s choices:

    1. Unknown tropical weather phenomena in the Eastern Atlantic that prevented storm formation in 1886, 1887, 1916 and 1933 but not in the 2005 era

    2. Unknown tropical weather phenomena that enhanced Eastern Atlantic activity in the 2005 era but not in earlier eras.

    2. Much better data (esp. satellite) in 2005

  8. TAC
    Posted Jan 3, 2007 at 10:06 PM | Permalink

    #6 Interesting!

    FWIW: I got a different answer:

    > Track = read.table("http://data.climateaudit.org/data/hurricane/unisys/Track.ATL.txt",header=TRUE,sep="\t")

    > sort(tapply(rep(0.25,sum(idx)),Track$year[idx=-690>Track$long&Track$wind>75],sum),decreasing=T)
    1933 2005 1886 1955 1916 1893 1887 1896 1926 1954 2004 1961 1906
    ...

  9. Pat Frank
    Posted Jan 3, 2007 at 10:35 PM | Permalink

    #6 — “I guess what they mean is that 2005 is unprecedented in the last sevennnnn-ty years.”

    Steve, that wouldn’t be — couldn’t be — a little cynical levity, would it? :-)

    Speaking with a more properly serious demeanor here, keeping in mind the gravity of the topic, I’m wondering if the desire for portentious conclusions isn’t blinding some members of the climatology field to the necessity of doing the very basic analyses we’re seeing done here that appear to portend climate deportentiation.

    I have in mind also Margo’s very basic analysis of hurricane counts and Student t-test of the result in item 47 here, followed by her shock at the realization that people are publishing portentious conclusions without thinking to do simple tests of their assumptions.

    In the spirit of data-averaging, the picture emerging from the background noise (i.e., from the panoply of portentious papers continually catastrophizing climate) seems to be that trendiness in some climatology circles appears to involve more conclusory pathways rather than mere systematic variations in seasonal patterns.

  10. Steve McIntyre
    Posted Jan 3, 2007 at 10:40 PM | Permalink

    TAC – here’s how I did the calculation:

    Track < -read.table("http://data.climateaudit.org/data/hurricane/unisys/Track.ATL.txt&quot;,header=TRUE,sep="\t")
    temp<-(Track$long=65)
    sort(tapply(!is.na(Track$wind)[temp],Track$year[temp],sum,na.rm=TRUE)/4,decreasing=TRUE)[1:5]

    I used 65 knots, but with 75 knots and this method only 1886 and 1887 were reversed. I couldn’t get your script to work.

    Every time I use R, I marvel at the ability to get results in so few lines (while others – ahem – are still trying to get research grants so that they get grad students to do the calculation.)

  11. Steve McIntyre
    Posted Jan 3, 2007 at 10:44 PM | Permalink

    #9. Pat, I saw a website once which promised that you could make smileys out of images. Maybe one of the computer types can create a special Dr Evil smiley for portentous claims.

  12. Steve McIntyre
    Posted Jan 3, 2007 at 11:11 PM | Permalink

    #7. David, that’s interesting to look through the 5 years in succession.  I don’t think that Occam’s razor needs much more sharpening.

  13. Bob K
    Posted Jan 4, 2007 at 4:11 AM | Permalink

    Steve,

    You may want to edit your post to say “greater than or equal to 65 knots” since that is what your script is based on. Otherwise it’s not clear.

  14. TAC
    Posted Jan 4, 2007 at 5:26 AM | Permalink

    #10 SteveM, thanks for showing your code. It make it so much easier to identify what we did differently.

    Incidentally, the discrepancy in our results was caused by your conditioning on .GE. while I used .GT. (see below).

    Also, in #8 I cut and pasted the wrong result (corresponding to (wind .GT. 75), which I tried when (wind .GT. 65) did not reproduce your results — oops!.

    FWIW, I do get your results when conditioning on (wind .GE. 65):

    > Track = read.table("http://data.climateaudit.org/data/hurricane/unisys/Track.ATL.txt",header=TRUE,sep="\t")
    > sort(tapply(rep(0.25,sum(idx)),Track$year[idx=Track$long=65],sum),decreasing=T)
    1933 1886 1887 2005 1916 1955 1893 1998 1878 1906 1950 1944 2004
    37.75 33.00 32.25 31.25 26.50 24.75 23.75 22.50 22.25 22.00 22.00 21.25 21.25

  15. TAC
    Posted Jan 4, 2007 at 5:41 AM | Permalink

    JohnA or SteveM: Is there a primer (FAQ?) on how to publish R code, equations, etc., on CA? I just noticed that my #14 did not display as expected (it seems that “greater-than” and “less-than” symbols are handled in peculiar ways by WordPress).

  16. TAC
    Posted Jan 4, 2007 at 6:22 AM | Permalink

    #9 Pat,

    In the spirit of data-averaging, the picture emerging from the background noise (i.e., from the panoply of portentious papers continually catastrophizing climate) seems to be that trendiness in some climatology circles appears to involve more conclusory pathways rather than mere systematic variations in seasonal patterns.

    I appreciate alliteration, and jargon is grand, but can you tell me what it means? ;-)

  17. Posted Jan 4, 2007 at 6:23 AM | Permalink

    If you put your R code within tags, and make sure that less than or greater than sign have a space immediately after them, then they should render correctly.

  18. TAC
    Posted Jan 4, 2007 at 6:33 AM | Permalink

    #17 Thanks.

    Just testing…[delete if you want]

    > Track sort(tapply(rep(0.25,sum(idx)),Track$year[idx = 65],sum),decreasing=T)
    1933 1886 1887 2005 1916 1955 1893 1998 1878 1906 1950 1944 2004
    37.75 33.00 32.25 31.25 26.50 24.75 23.75 22.50 22.25 22.00 22.00 21.25 21.25

  19. TAC
    Posted Jan 4, 2007 at 6:35 AM | Permalink

    #17 John, I think I followed the rules in #18, and it still did not render what I expected.

  20. Posted Jan 4, 2007 at 7:13 AM | Permalink

    Can you send them to me via climateaudit AT gmail.com and I’ll see how to do it.

  21. Posted Jan 4, 2007 at 9:29 AM | Permalink

    > Track sort(tapply(rep(0.25,sum(idx)),Track$year[idx< -Track$long=65],sum),decreasing=T)
    1933 1886 1887 2005 1916 1955 1893 1998 1878 1906 1950 1944 2004
    37.75 33.00 32.25 31.25 26.50 24.75 23.75 22.50 22.25 22.00 22.00 21.25 21.25

  22. Posted Jan 4, 2007 at 9:31 AM | Permalink

    Ok. The above was done by putting tags around the code.

  23. paminator
    Posted Jan 5, 2007 at 7:56 AM | Permalink

    Klotzbach, Gray and Thorson just released their Hurricane forecast report for 2007, linked here

    In section 7 of that report, they discuss some of the hurricane counting issues touched on here.

  24. paminator
    Posted Jan 5, 2007 at 7:58 AM | Permalink

    The link is http://hurricane.atmos.colostate.edu/Forecasts/2006/dec2006/

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