Ryan Maue: Bring out the Broom

With October nearly done circling the drain, I figure it is about time to bring out the broom : Northern Hemisphere tropical cyclone activity is at historically low levels .

In fact, September 2007 suffered the lowest ACE since 1977 ! Even scarier, so far 2006 and 2007 have the lowest October ACE since 1976 and 1977. And, unnaturally, Sept-Oct 2007 is the lowest since 1977.

Yet, the tropical cyclone season was not shaping up to be such a ghastly bust. For about a week in June, NH ACE was exceeding climatology but then bit the proverbial dust until mid-August when a noticeable comeback ensued. It has been downhill since.

So, a naysayer over at the Huffington Post or the Daily Green may wonder why we use such metrics such as ACE/PDI or Tropical Cyclone days when we could use better metrics like number of category 5’s making landfall or storms that have intensified the fastest or perhaps number of pumpkins. There are even some spooky hints that the 2007 (Atlantic) Tropical Cyclone season is being “spun” to appear “dead” and inconsistent with the predominant trend. Also, a “storm pundit” would remind that us that the year is not in the grave and we may see hyper-activity (a.k.a. global warming proof) to come.

Here is what needs to happen to reach the 1970-2006 mean:

  • 140 Tropical Cyclone Days — on average, 40 TC days (sigma of 16 days) occur through the end of the year. Slightly more than 70 TC days occurred during 1984, 1992, and 1997. Thus, 140 TC days would be at least a 6 sigma event
  • 50 Hurricane Days — on average, 16 Hurricane days occur through the end of the year. Slightly more than 30 hurricane days occurred during 1984, 1990, 1992, and 1997. Thus, 50 hurricane days is more likely, only a 4 sigma event.
  • Record level ACE exceeding 1997 ENSO enhanced output — just to reach the yearly mean — about a 4 sigma event.

Yet with nature, I wouldn’t bet my last carbon credit against an extreme event. We may need some poleward-moving, late-season tropical cyclones to save us from the winter of 1977-1978. Art Bell will have to warn the “indigenous dog-people” to collect additional firewood…

ace magic


  1. Posted Oct 28, 2007 at 11:20 PM | Permalink

    Does this “lower than projected” trend go backwards very far? Where could I see this graph over past 10 years.

  2. Posted Oct 29, 2007 at 4:41 AM | Permalink

    am i reading the trendline wrong?

    or is still pointing UPWARD????

  3. MattN
    Posted Oct 29, 2007 at 6:06 AM | Permalink

    Cue TS Noel…..

  4. Murray Duffin
    Posted Oct 29, 2007 at 8:13 AM | Permalink

    snip Art Bell will have to warn the “indigenous dog-people” to collect additional firewood…snip

    Would you please explain this comment? Are you implying a cold NH winter? Murray

  5. windansea
    Posted Oct 29, 2007 at 8:56 AM | Permalink

    Ryan’s website is the headline at Drudge Report


  6. windansea
    Posted Oct 29, 2007 at 9:01 AM | Permalink

    I hope your site’s server is ready for 10 million hits 🙂

  7. Posted Oct 29, 2007 at 9:07 AM | Permalink

    Trying to get Matt Drudge to fix the headline — since obviously no one forecasts for the Northern Hemisphere. Server just crashed.

  8. SteveSadlov
    Posted Oct 29, 2007 at 9:28 AM | Permalink

    We can see why the count padders were at it early and often – they were also tracking ACE and as early as May, knew they were in trouble. Ergo, Andrea, as a starter to presage this season’s naming and claming.

  9. SteveSadlov
    Posted Oct 29, 2007 at 9:30 AM | Permalink

    In fact, the June “spike” is due to Nor’easter Andrea and cut off low Barry.

  10. Aeolus
    Posted Oct 29, 2007 at 9:45 AM | Permalink

    Well, maybe in 5 years a smoothing run through the data point from both directions will minimize the size of this years apparent “anomaly”.

  11. Posted Oct 29, 2007 at 10:32 AM | Permalink

    I understand how many are framing the lack of Hemispheric activity as somehow a major blunder by NOAA, but I fail to see any evidence of a conspiracy in that direction at all. In fact, by naming the most marginal systems, which is a consequence of our enhanced observation techniques, the NHC highlights the obvious undercounting of storms in the early 20th century.

    Re #4 2007 is the year of the dogman up in Michigan, the 20th anniversary of Steve Cook’s legendary song about a creature that walks upright and grins…

  12. bender
    Posted Oct 29, 2007 at 10:59 AM | Permalink

    Whether you call it “under-reporting” then or “over-reporting” today, the real issue is that there appears to be a systematic time-dependent bias in reporting.

  13. SteveSadlov
    Posted Oct 29, 2007 at 11:08 AM | Permalink

    RE: #11 – We need to face the fact that there is a media / public hungry for AGW hype, and at least some within the NHC are willing to feed that hunger. PR is everything in the mass media age.

  14. JP
    Posted Oct 29, 2007 at 11:28 AM | Permalink

    Ryan, a subtropical low is well… sutropical, not tropical. That is, it is cold core, and not warm core. The next thing NOAA will do is to categorize every mid-latitude cold core vortex as tropical once it hits the oceans.

    Using the North Atlantic Basin tropical activity as a proxy for AGW is silly to say the least. If anything, it mirrors the AMO. Nothing else.

  15. Posted Oct 29, 2007 at 12:07 PM | Permalink

    #14 A subtropical cyclone is not necessarily cold-core, but I understand your concern… I liked the term “neutercane” which was used back in the 1970s. The storm names were like Foxtrot, Quebec, Whiskey, X-Ray, Yankee and Zulu.

    I have been very sure not to include “extratropical” phases of hurricane lifecycles, which can amount to a big impact on ACE (~20%).

    I just googled the NOAA mid-season August TC update for the Atlantic: 140-200% of the median ACE, 85% chance of above normal. We are about 25% below the median, so this forecast will bust hard again. Noel is contributing nothing to ACE.

    Thus, Matt’s headline on drudge is slightly askew — but mixing up the facts is preferable to making them up.

  16. Posted Oct 29, 2007 at 12:10 PM | Permalink

    Art Bell, alas, has retired again.

    But I’m sure you could get Noory to do it. 😀

  17. Posted Oct 29, 2007 at 12:15 PM | Permalink

    #17, yes, unfortunate to be sure for late-night radio. But Phil Hendrie is back from his retirement to do his incredible impressions of Art Bell, to the Dancing Queen soundtrack — deep under the crust of Saskatchewan…

  18. Posted Oct 29, 2007 at 12:55 PM | Permalink

    Oh, Phil Hendrie is back? Cool!!! He’s a very talented and funny guy.

  19. John A
    Posted Oct 29, 2007 at 1:22 PM | Permalink

    Would it be possible to produce the same figure for the last five years so we can see both the highs and lows over an extended period?

    Edit: Ryan’s already done it on his website.

  20. steven mosher
    Posted Oct 29, 2007 at 1:32 PM | Permalink

    Once upon a time there was only one joy of late night driving: Coast to coast.

    For me it was a side show of the human intellect. I say that in a kind way.
    The bearded lady is a friend of mine.

    I cannot abide Noory, however. I think Art has LBFM on the brain.

  21. John Duresky
    Posted Oct 29, 2007 at 1:38 PM | Permalink

    Har de har har har. Read this link and weep http://www.cpc.noaa.gov/products/outlooks/hurricane.shtml In it you will see that NOAA 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…(NOAA)…” Now, we all know that meteorologists regularly get the next day’s weather wrong, and now for two years in a row the brains at NOAA have gotten the hurricane forecast wrong ONLY A FEW MONTHS in advance of their “consensus” prediction. But we are supposed to believe that it’s Gospel truth that Al Gore’s CONSENSUS of scientists are right about Global Warming 50~100 years in the future based upon COMPUTER MODELS, and then pay lots more taxes to fight the problem based upon this CONSENSUS? I for one vote that we first raise taxes on everyone who believes Al Gore, and see how much that solves the problem, and then if it works we repay them AFTER it is conclusively shown to have solved anything. Consensus? Yeah, like that makes things more accurate!!!

  22. bender
    Posted Oct 29, 2007 at 1:58 PM | Permalink

    I for one vote that we first raise taxes on everyone who believes Al Gore, and see how much that solves the problem, and then if it works we repay them AFTER it is conclusively shown to have solved anything.

    How about losers pay the winners?

  23. biil-tb
    Posted Oct 29, 2007 at 1:59 PM | Permalink

    Missed it by “this much”. It’s beginning to look a lot like it’s easier to predict what will happen in 100 years, when all the predictors will have died, than it is to predict what will happen next year, or next week. Before long, people are going to say climate prediction isn’t that exact a science, unless of course you are the Goracle.

    All I can guess is consensus isn’t what it used to be. I have a few old completely unused hockey sticks for sale, in case anybody needs one, going to put them up on E-Bay.

  24. Mike-WesTex
    Posted Oct 29, 2007 at 2:24 PM | Permalink

    I think if all the people predicting multi-meter sea level rises and dangerous levels of massive hurricanes and damage would sell their property near the beach and insist that everyone be evacuated to a safer altitude we could take them seriously. Until then…the questions (and resultant mocking) will continue.

  25. Richard deSousa
    Posted Oct 29, 2007 at 2:25 PM | Permalink

    The main stream media and the consensus are so desperate that they’ve made hay over the tropical storm in
    the Caribbean… jeez, poor babies… just imagine, they’ve shot two blanks in the past two hurricane seasons. Let’s hope the computer modelers slouch back to their caves and stay there.

  26. John Duresky
    Posted Oct 29, 2007 at 2:32 PM | Permalink

    I will make my own hurricane forecast for next year. “There will be at least one hurricane in 2008, between category 1 and 5, which may or may not hit land.”. Of course, after pooh poohing the work of the guys at NOAA for their erroneous consensus prediction about how bad this year would be I guess I’ll have to eat crow if there are no hurricanes in 2008…and then Al Gore will say that my inability to predict the 2008 season accurately means I can never ever be included among the group of 100% infallible scientists who are in harmonious consensus (dontcha just love that work?) about Global Warming. On the plus side, I may get a Nobel Peach Prize for having made a prediction which resulted in zero hurricanes. How again is a Nobel Peach Prize tied to weather? Can someone explain that to me so I don’t look too confused when I go on stage to get my medal.

  27. BobMBX
    Posted Oct 29, 2007 at 2:45 PM | Permalink

    #22 – Yes, we are absolutely required to believe the Nobel winners’ pontifications, even when directly dismissed by empirical evidence.

    I believe.

    But then again, at one time or another I believed in the tooth fairy, Santa Claus, the Green Hornet, and many others. I was disappointed in every case of revelation, but I got over it grew up, and I’m a better person because of it.

  28. Stephen Richards
    Posted Oct 29, 2007 at 3:03 PM | Permalink

    Anyone remember the super-duper british climate model that forecast above average hurricane season and a flatening of the global teperature curve with temperature rise accelerating after 2009.

    Blown it !!!

  29. Neil Fisher
    Posted Oct 29, 2007 at 3:05 PM | Permalink

    Re #27:

    My prediction for 2008: there is only a 1% chance of average activity, and a massive 49.5% chance of above average activity, so get ready people!

    (Shhh don’t read this bit – there’s also a 49.5% chance of below average)

  30. steven mosher
    Posted Oct 29, 2007 at 3:18 PM | Permalink

    Calling Dr Curry. Calling Dr. Curry.

    Dr. Curry, you are needed in emergency.. STAT.

  31. John Duresky
    Posted Oct 29, 2007 at 3:20 PM | Permalink

    Neil, I think your prediction shows a total lack of courage because you obviously have made your prediction in such a way that you will be “right” no matter what happens, whereas I took a bold step of faith and unequivocally predicted beyond a shadow of a doubt that a hurricane of one kind or another would happen in 2008. It’s phony forecasters like you who give forecasting a bad name. On the plus side for you, I’m sure that there is probably a stronger consensus amongst climatologists, criminologists and podiatrists that you are correct, and that I am in the minority for daring to question you.

    p.s. Should Harry Reid and the Democrats decide to censure me for calling you a phony forecaster, please note I am keeping ALL the proceeds from the eBay auction for any document they sign. I figure that will help to offset my extra taxes if Hillary wins.

  32. Follow the Money
    Posted Oct 29, 2007 at 3:25 PM | Permalink

    There are even some spooky hints that the 2007 (Atlantic) Tropical Cyclone season is being “spun” to appear “dead” and inconsistent with the predominant trend.

    Could you elaborate? Won’t the warmers instead redeploy the “Greater variability comes with global warming” meme? That’s the usual one they have used in the past to explain away inconvenient facts.

  33. Ian Castles
    Posted Oct 29, 2007 at 3:26 PM | Permalink

    Re #29. Does anyone have a reference for this prediction please?

  34. Damek
    Posted Oct 29, 2007 at 3:29 PM | Permalink

    I see NOAA has a full set of seasonal activity definitions found here. They are pretty well defined with the exception of the ‘well above 103’ / ‘slightly above 103’ for the definitions of Above- and Near-normal seasons. Those seem a bit vague to me. So they get broken down like this:

    Above-normal Season
    ACE well above 103 (117% of the median ACE value or 110% of the mean). OR
    ACE slightly above 103 and 2 or more of 3 parameters above long term average.
    Near-normal Season
    ACE slightly above 103 and no more than 1 of 3 parameters above long term average. OR
    ACE between 66 and 103.
    Below-normal Season
    ACE below 66 (75% of the median ACE value or 71% of the mean).

    I hope by ‘well above 103’ they mean somewhere around 114. This would be 27% above normal and would match the amount that the Below-normal season is below normal (-27%). If they don’t then they slant towards naming more seasons Above-normal than Below-normal. Heck, they can already do that by stretching depressions into storms and storms into hurricanse, and then only needing an ACE 13.5% above normal. Hmmm…or am I just being too cynical.

  35. Judith Curry
    Posted Oct 29, 2007 at 3:29 PM | Permalink

    Steve, why is low TC activity in the NATL this season an emergency? seems like it is a fortunate situation for people living on the coasts (but unfortunate for SE states that rely on hurricanes to fill their reservoirs).

  36. Steve Geiger
    Posted Oct 29, 2007 at 3:30 PM | Permalink

    is ACE the same as PDI (the term that Emmanual, I think, used) proportional to the cube of the (max or avg?) wind velocity?


    Steve: ACE is proportional square of the wind velocity.

  37. David
    Posted Oct 29, 2007 at 3:37 PM | Permalink

    Now, now. You aren’t being fair. Dean was a cat 5. Felix was a cat 5. That’s the most number of cat 5 storms that were named Dean or Felix ever! If I could graph that, it would be scary!

  38. John Duresky
    Posted Oct 29, 2007 at 3:47 PM | Permalink

    I’ve always thought that being a TV weatherman (or person) had to be a great job. You go on TV at night and predict the next day’s weather with all those charts, and picket fences, and things that look like castle walls on the weather map for the entire country, as you swirl your hands around to show how things are moving in the atmosphere, and then you focus in like a laser on the local weather forecast the next day bringing all your years of training into play to carefully explain what is going to happen the next day. Then the next night you use those same years of training to carefully explain exactly why they didn’t happen as you predicted. Man, now THAT is job security. Do you know that with advances in the average life expectancy of Americans there is an outside chance we may be treated in a 100 years to watching a documentary at the Academy Awards by Al Gore entitled “An Inconvenietly Revised Truth” as he explains why he was wrong. And it will probably be just as boring! As will he be!

  39. Damek
    Posted Oct 29, 2007 at 3:52 PM | Permalink

    From NOAAs August 9th, 2007 update on prediction for the 2007 season:

    The prediction for an above-normal 2007 hurricane season reflects the combination of two main climate factors: 1) the continuation of conditions that have been conducive to above-normal Atlantic hurricane seasons since 1995, and 2) the continued La Niña-like pattern of tropical convection. In addition, temperatures in the western tropical Atlantic and Caribbean Sea remain well above average (0.56oC). This combination of conditions is known to produce high levels of Atlantic hurricane activity.

    So which of these factors do we now get to eliminate as a predictor for hurricane season activity? The conductive conditions? The La Niña-like pattern? The above average SST? Something has to give here. You can’t point out predictors and then have your prediction bust without going back and evaluating your predictors. Or you have to look for another factor that is confounding your predictions. Am I missing something? Does NOAA go back and try to figure out why they missed the forcast and let us know what they find out? Or will they just ignore it and move on?

    I suppose they could just claim that they didn’t miss this year’s prediction since they predicted a 5% Below-normal and 10% Near-normal. So even if the season ends up in one of those categories they can correctly point out that they did predict it could happen. Oops, there goes my cynical side again.

  40. bender
    Posted Oct 29, 2007 at 4:09 PM | Permalink

    So which of these factors do we now get to eliminate as a predictor for hurricane season activity?

    Or maybe there was something over-riding that they did not include.

  41. steven mosher
    Posted Oct 29, 2007 at 4:28 PM | Permalink

    RE 36.

    Sorry. I just missed your voice in the current discussion. I’m always uncomfortable
    When the conversation turns one sided. Plus it’s no damn fun.

    To be sure, the current state of the wind is not a human emergency. However, at what point,
    does one question the connection betwixt AGW and big wind. One cannot on one hand countenance
    the serendipitous connections between Katrina and AWG and on the other hand discount the last two seasons.
    Well, I suppose one CAN. So, I guess my question
    would be, at what point would the big wind record becomes an Issue for falsification of AGW?
    It cannot on one hand be used to bolster the theory, and on the other hand be ignored when it seems
    to disconfirm the theory.

    If katrina is “consistent” with AGW theory, is it fair to say that the last two seasons,
    by and large, are “inconsistent” with the theory?

    Or is the theory utterly insulated from diconfirming observations?

  42. dover_beach
    Posted Oct 29, 2007 at 4:50 PM | Permalink

    Ian, the predictions were from the Hadley Centre, but it appears they predicted below-normal Atlantic tropical storm activity:

    Although there summer forecast for Britain appear wrong (you’ve got to laugh at a summer avg of 14.1 degrees C):

    The prediction that global average temperature would rise again from 2009 onwards is here:

    And here is the paper referred to in the Met Office press release:

  43. dover_beach
    Posted Oct 29, 2007 at 4:53 PM | Permalink

    Forgive, then delete, the above. Second try without the thrills.

    Ian, the predictions were from the Hadley Centre, but it appears they predicted below-normal Atlantic tropical storm activity:


    Although there summer forecast for Britain appear wrong (you’ve got to laugh at a summer avg of 14.1 degrees C):


    The prediction that global average temperature would rise again from 2009 onwards is here:


    And here is the paper referred to in the Met Office press release:


  44. Posted Oct 29, 2007 at 5:28 PM | Permalink

    I think NOAA forecast press releases are despicable: The infamous 2006 forecast included a photo of homes decimated by Katrina with a tacky WordArt overlay. See it here:


    Here is what I predict will happen next year:

    NOAA will predict an average hurricane season. There will be a couple of bad hurricanes one of which might hit the U.S. mainland. The events will be hyped up as the “worst since Katrina”, “an infinity percent increase in hurricanes making landfall in the U.S.” etc etc. It will be impossible to watch TV without hearing about global warming and how it is causing hurricanes to be much worse than they used to be. It will not be fun. Warnings will be issued that unless the election is canceled and Al Gore is appointed president of the U.S. by a council of elders, the hurricane season of 2009 will be much worse.

    Can’t wait. *Sigh*


  45. Sam Urbinto
    Posted Oct 29, 2007 at 5:29 PM | Permalink

    If somebody tells me they expect 20 named tropical hurricanes, and then there’s 4 and they start taking sub-tropical hurricanes, storms etc and turn them into named tropical hurricanes, after this sort of thing happens two or three times I’d reduce their estimates by a factor of 5 in the future on probably everything they told me, and have little faith in their pronosticating skilz….

  46. DR
    Posted Oct 29, 2007 at 6:03 PM | Permalink

    One must not overlook this as well:

    2007 – forecast to be the warmest year yet
    2007 is likely to be the warmest year on record globally, beating the current record set in 1998, say climate-change experts at the Met Office.


  47. Ian Castles
    Posted Oct 29, 2007 at 6:31 PM | Permalink

    Many thanks for #44, dover_beach

  48. BradH
    Posted Oct 29, 2007 at 6:38 PM | Permalink

    How does this gel with Bill Gray & Co’s assertion that:-

    Information obtained through 30 September 2007 shows that we have so far experienced a slightly above-average Atlantic basin hurricane season. August had somewhat above-average activity (about 130% of average) while September had about average activity (about 92% of average). 84 percent of the average full season Net Tropical Cyclone (NTC) activity has occurred so far this year. In an average year, approximately 78 percent of the seasonal average NTC of 100 occurs by the end of September.
    Our October-November forecast calls for 4 named storms, 2 hurricanes, 1 major hurricane and NTC activity of 43 which is well above the October-November average value of 22. Our well above-average prediction for October-November activity is largely due to the emergence of a now moderate La Niña event during the last two months.

    Forecast of Atlantic Hurricane Activity for October-November 2007 and Seasonal Update through September

  49. steven mosher
    Posted Oct 29, 2007 at 7:32 PM | Permalink

    I liked the last( mere facts …). I shall abscond with it and pretend I penned it.
    You’re welcome in advance.

  50. JP
    Posted Oct 29, 2007 at 7:54 PM | Permalink

    The post mortem for the 2007 Hurricane Season shall be interesting. Will the small numbers be blamed on African dust? Perhaps, some imaginative person will find a distant teleconnection, and some how tie it to AGW. I think many in the AGW camp will move on. Drought will be the next extreme weather event to be featured. With over 43% of the CONUS seeing drought or near drought conditions, and no relief in sight for either the Southeast or Far West, the Team will discover that drought is the indicator for AGW.

  51. bender
    Posted Oct 29, 2007 at 8:47 PM | Permalink

    the Team will discover that drought is the indicator for AGW

    That’s the problem with hunting witches. When you seek confirmation for a phenomenon, evidence can be found anywhere and everywhere, if only you have faith you look hard enough. That is why real scientists work with testable hypotheses and try hard to falsify them. That is the fundamental difference between science and the “r” word. Scientific knowledge grows by conjecture & refutation. But I doubt the team reads Popper or Russell.

  52. BarryW
    Posted Oct 29, 2007 at 8:54 PM | Permalink

    It seems like everytime I watched the Weather Channel’s Tropical Update they were talking about a forming Tropical Depression that was being blown apart by upper level wind shear. So my take is that the explanation for the low count will be AGW causing increasing high level winds. Of course this will presage the “end of life as we know it”.

  53. Roger Dueck
    Posted Oct 29, 2007 at 9:04 PM | Permalink

    Judith #36 you seem to miss the sarcastic bent of this thread. What does a HIGH NATL TC season mean? As little and yet so much more. Interesting you make the link to hurricanes and tropical moisture on the continental USA as the media links the wildfires to AGW and ignores the low TC incidence.

    AGW means lots of hurricanes
    AGW means lots of fires
    Lots of hurricanes means lots of rain in USA
    Lots of rain means no fires (??)
    AGW means no fires
    No TC’s means lots of fires

    It’s called a weather conundrum, and I predict that the fires were almost entirely of anthropogenic origin (ie arson or ciggy butts).

  54. Neil Fisher
    Posted Oct 29, 2007 at 9:04 PM | Permalink

    John, thanks for the joust – Steve Mo obviously found it amusing as well. As much as I’d like to continue, I must stick to my pledge to end the sarcasm – sigh. Perhaps on another thread, Steve Mc willing…

    There is much to be gained, I feel, from such posts – at the very least, we can have a laugh and realise that not everything need be serious at all times.

    Steve: I don’t mind a laugh, but I’ll still delete the posts after the participants have had their fun.

  55. steven mosher
    Posted Oct 29, 2007 at 9:25 PM | Permalink

    re 57. If you toss in a few formuli admist the sarcasm it’ll likely pass muster

  56. steven mosher
    Posted Oct 29, 2007 at 9:29 PM | Permalink

    RE 56. Much as I like Dr. Curry and enjoy her too infrequent comments here,
    She annoys me to no end by pretending not to get my jokes.

  57. steven mosher
    Posted Oct 29, 2007 at 9:36 PM | Permalink

    Hey, Can we get a recap of the Tropical storm count and the betting?

    sad sack sadlov who had 9 named storms would surely like to go double or nothing
    on the 18th hole.

  58. Neil Fisher
    Posted Oct 29, 2007 at 10:03 PM | Permalink

    Steve Mc: can you please leave the posts, just delete the content? Ie, change it all to “[snip – humorous post]” or something so that other peoples references still work. See this thread post No:56 now refers to a “previous” post of #57 – somewhat confusing! It’s your blog of course…

  59. Posted Oct 29, 2007 at 10:54 PM | Permalink

    A short update: I think it is safe to say that the mainstream media does not think the lack of hurricane activity is a good enough story to report. In fact, it is Rush Limbaugh, Phil Valentine, and DrudgeReport, as well as a host of other (safe to say) rightward leaning outlets that are sending traffic here and to my Tropical Update page. So, far about 100,000 unique visitors have loaded the page since 10 am Monday.

    Northern Hemisphere ACE climatology goes up by about 1.8 per day at this time of year. So far, Noel and Unnamed Cyclone in the Indian Ocean have added about 0.5 to the tally since my last update yesterday. Thus, unless either of these develops into a hurricane, November will be off to a very slow start as well (which should be great news).

    The end of 1977 in the Western Pacific was pretty active indeed — with 5 typhoons after October 25. Also, 2 Category 3 cyclones occurred in the Northern Indian Ocean during November 1977. With that type of activity, North America would be at the business-end of lot of downstream troughs (like fall/winter 1977-1978). I can’t wait.

  60. K
    Posted Oct 29, 2007 at 10:57 PM | Permalink

    #49 BradH: Thanks for the reference.

    Gray et al. says there will be one storm upgraded to a hurricane and we should expect several storms in Oct-Nov due to La Nina effects. This will be interesting, there isn’t much hedging. I didn’t see anything about ACE in my fast reading.

    From a sceptics viewpoint we have, so far, several questionable storms that perhaps should not have been named, one storm right on the edge which will be judged a hurricane, and a bet that Oct-Nov will be very active. One gets the impression that one way or another 2007 will be an above average season.

    But that is just an impression. Oct-Nov may surprise us. Or Gray.

  61. mccall
    Posted Oct 29, 2007 at 11:04 PM | Permalink

    “Oct-Nov will be very active?”
    OCT of what year?

  62. Posted Oct 29, 2007 at 11:20 PM | Permalink

    Current North Atlantic ACE for October = 1
    Climatology for the rest of the year = 5
    Currently 26 below the mean…

  63. aurbo
    Posted Oct 29, 2007 at 11:22 PM | Permalink

    Re #’s 14 & 15:

    A subtropical cyclone is not necessarily cold-core, but I understand your concern… I liked the term “neutercane” which was used back in the 1970s. The storm names were like Foxtrot, Quebec, Whiskey, X-Ray, Yankee and Zulu.

    The following is from NOAA’s glossary:

    Subtropical Cyclone: A low pressure system that develops over subtropical waters that initially has a non-tropical circulation, but in which some elements of tropical cyclone cloud structure are present. Subtropical cyclones can evolve into tropical cyclones. Subtropical cyclones are generally of two types:

    1) Cold Low Type: This type has a circulation extending from the surface to the upper troposphere, with the maximum sustained low-level winds typically extending to a radius of 100 miles or more from the center.

    2) Mesoscale (Sub-Synoptic Scale) Cyclone Type: This type develops in or near a dying frontal zone with horizontal wind shear. This low is compact and develops a tight pressure gradient with the maximum sustained low-level winds, which can reach hurricane intensity, typically located less than 30 miles from the center. The whole storm circulation may initially be no more than 100 miles in diameter. These lows are typically short- lived and spend their lives usually over water. They may be cold core or warm core. This strange hybrid was once referred to as a “neutercane” after being discovered by satellite imagery.

    When this name was proposed in the 1970’s, I mentioned to NOAA that the term “neutercane” was inappropriate as there was nothing about it that evoked the prefix “neuter.” However, if indeed this was a new type of cyclonic system in the Tropics, the prefix should have been “nova”. Therefore, why not refer to such a storm as “novacaine”?

    They didn’t appreciate my insensitive (as in anethetized) sense of humor. Fortunately, the term “neutercane” had a very short lifetime.

  64. aurbo
    Posted Oct 30, 2007 at 12:01 AM | Permalink

    The sometimes capricious way Tropical cyclones are being named in recent years makes it more important than ever to use a more objective or comprehensive measure such as the annual ACE in comparing one season to another.

    It’s hard to ignore the intensity of the two Cat-5 systems, Dean and Felix, which moved through the Western Caribbean and into Central America this season. I’m not a fan of the utility of winds for climate purposes reported by Quikscat or the airborne Stepped Frequency Microwave Radiometer (SFMR) as it is hard to distinguish between true maximum wind speeds and maximum gusts. Dropsondes are more reliable because the horizontal wind speed can be measured quite accurately from the GPS signal transmitted by the instrument as it is carried by the wind prior to impacting the surface. The GPS provides the distance traveled and the 120 cps data signal frequency provides ample resolution for one to accurately resolve the distance over time to provide the NOAA standard 1-minute wind speed or the ASOS standard 2-minute wind speed. Most other nations use the maximum 5-minute wind to measure wind speed.

    For a couple of centuries the principal method in judging windspeeds by the crews of vessels caught in the storms was by using the observed central barometric pressure (when available) which was originally correlated with windspeeds associated with criteria developed by Admiral Beaufort.

    The real surface intensity of these systems at landfall is called into question, especially in the case of Dean, because of the remarkable lack of deaths reported where it impacted the Eastern Yucatan Coast just east of Chetumal.

  65. John A
    Posted Oct 30, 2007 at 1:46 AM | Permalink

    Judith Curry:

    Steve, why is low TC activity in the NATL this season an emergency? seems like it is a fortunate situation for people living on the coasts (but unfortunate for SE states that rely on hurricanes to fill their reservoirs).

    Ah yes, there’s a dark threatening supercell to every silver lining. Isn’t there Judith?

    Name any reservoir that is dependent on hurricane strikes for water supply. Any one.

  66. K
    Posted Oct 30, 2007 at 2:09 AM | Permalink


    Perhaps I wasn’t clear in #61. It is Gray that made this forecast on Oct 2.

    “Our October-November forecast calls for 4 named storms, 2 hurricanes, 1 major hurricane and NTC activity of 43 which is well above the October-November average value of 22. Our well above-average prediction for October-November activity is largely due to the emergence of a now moderate La Niña event during the last two months.”

    At the same time he contended the season before Oct 2 had been above average. Which is why I said 2007 is to be above average, or else.

    So far October has passed w/o helping Gray much.

  67. Posted Oct 30, 2007 at 4:45 AM | Permalink

    The global oddity I’ve noticed this year has been the weakness of the ITCZ. This has been the case in both the Atlantic and especially the Pacific.

    There also seems to have been anomalously stable air covering much of the Atlantic basin, on average. Shear has been normal except that, in a La Nina year, the expectation is for below-normal (favorable) shear.

    The interesting question is, why? Also, is this simply an anomalous year or is 2007 the start of a change in some atmospheric pattern? Dunno.

  68. Posted Oct 30, 2007 at 4:51 AM | Permalink

    Re #58 Yes, I’ll do that this evening.

  69. aurbo
    Posted Oct 30, 2007 at 7:12 AM | Permalink

    The latest (09z) TPC discussion on TS Noel somehow manages to bring this dud up to 65kts in 36 hours, before having it go extra-Tropical. 65kts just happens to be the minimum wind speed to qualify Noel as a hurricane. Does someone still want to entertain the idea that NOAA doesn’t want to pad the seasonal hurricane numbers any way it can? The TPC Discussion can be found here.

  70. Michael Jankowski
    Posted Oct 30, 2007 at 8:59 AM | Permalink

    Name any reservoir that is dependent on hurricane strikes for water supply

    Dependent, no…helped, yes. Maybe just discussing tropical storms would make more sense. But something drastic would be required to end the current drought. And such storms are part of the normal water cycle.

    The article here back in June 2000 http://www.usatoday.com/weather/news/2000/w713drought.htm was saying the same thing many are in 2007: “Forecasters say that only a tropical storm or hurricane can bring enough rain to lift the Southeast out of the drought.”

    Interestingly enough, those comments followed two years of below-average activity as shown on Ryan’s chart (as shown in #20).

  71. M. Jeff
    Posted Oct 30, 2007 at 9:00 AM | Permalink

    Re: Neil Fisher, October 29th, 2007 at 10:03 pm “Steve Mc: can you please leave the posts, just delete the content? Ie, change it all to “[snip – humorous post]” or something so that other peoples references still work. See this thread post No:56 now refers to a “previous” post of #57 – somewhat confusing! It’s your blog of course…”

    Would copying and pasting name and time of post as done in the paragraph above be an acceptable solution to the changing post # issue?

  72. aurbo
    Posted Oct 30, 2007 at 9:31 AM | Permalink

    Re my #70:

    The TPC seems to have come to its senses as it no longer intensifies Noel to HU status during its expected term of being Tropical according to their latest (15z) Discussion. This Discussion can be found here.

    In reality, what’s left of TS Noel is over land in Eastern Cuba about 35 miles SE of Camaguey. The system seems to be splitting with the low-level circulation possibly turning more southward under the influence of increasing low-level northerly flow moving it into the Northern Caribbean south of Cuba while a southerly higher level flow carries the major area of convection northward into the Eastern Bahamas. The TPC’s 40kt wind estimate may itself be a little generous except for some areas of squally weather in the northern convective activity.

  73. PHE
    Posted Oct 30, 2007 at 9:42 AM | Permalink

    An analogy to the main theme of this post is Europe’s very mild 2006/07 winter. I work and travel across Europe and heard from many (anecdotally) that the exceptionally mild weather covered most of the continent. But, I have not seen a SINGLE report on how many fewer people died of cold weather compared to a normal winter. In contrast, a lot was made of the thousands that died during the summer heatwave of 2003. Even Gore referred to it as an example of ‘global warming’ deaths in his film. I do not use this as an argument to say ‘AGW is good for you’. I believe neither event can be blamed on global warming (except that it may have contributed a few tenths of a degree). My point is that AGW advocates use all examples they can to show AGW is bad for us, but ignore any counter evidence.

  74. frost
    Posted Oct 30, 2007 at 9:50 AM | Permalink

    Re: 49

    The paragraph you quoted refers to North Atlantic storms but Ryan’s posting considers all northern hemisphere storms. I.e., it includes North Pacific storms as well.

  75. Jonathan Schafer
    Posted Oct 30, 2007 at 11:43 AM | Permalink


    Ryan, that’s at least the second reference I believe you’ve made to 77/78 winter. Is there a working hypothesis regarding butt-freezing cold winters in the NH and lack of TC activity in the NH? On one hand, it makes simple sense, that not transporting heat from the tropics to the upper latitudes would indeed have the upper latitudes starting colder than when there is more TC activity. OTOH, as we know, correlation is not causation. I’m just wondering if there have been any studies that do show low TC years with below avg temps across the NH?

    BTW, in 76/77, we had 21 below (Feb 77) in Dayton, OH. I’ll never forget that, because I had to deliver newspapers in it. In 77/78 winter, we had the huge blizzard that buried us for nearly 10 days. I’m in TX now, so it wouldn’t be quite as bad down here, but I don’t want a repeat of those events.

    Steve S has commented in the past about why he’s more worried about cooling than warming. Read this Time Magazine article from Jan 77 about the cold and its effects on the United States.

    The Big Freeze

  76. Bonnie
    Posted Oct 30, 2007 at 11:55 AM | Permalink

    Your site has won a Blog of the Day Award (BOTDA)

    Award Code

    Thank you,

    famous quotes

  77. Posted Oct 30, 2007 at 12:01 PM | Permalink

    I don’t know whether you heard yet but your site has won a Blog of the Day Award (BOTDA)

    Climate Audit BOTDA

    Award Code

    Thank you,

  78. BobM
    Posted Oct 30, 2007 at 12:37 PM | Permalink

    Earlier this year Vecchi and Soden published a paper that reviewed several climate models and found that the predicted increase in wind shear due to warming should lead to fewer hurricanes in the Atlantic: pdf

    ScienceDaily’s report

    Chris Landsea’s comments

    There are also some interesting comments following Landsea’s post including a quote of RC’s response that reasserts that the indications of increased hurricane activity are “robust”.

  79. bender
    Posted Oct 30, 2007 at 1:12 PM | Permalink

    Re #79:
    Insurance, anyone?

  80. Posted Oct 30, 2007 at 1:15 PM | Permalink

    2007 is the year of the shear.

  81. SteveSadlov
    Posted Oct 30, 2007 at 2:21 PM | Permalink

    So now I will reveal the bet behind my bet. On its face, my bet was that we’d have 9 named storms. The number 9 was chosen very methodically. Any value over 9 would have meant that either we had a more active than expected year, or, that the NHC had sunken to the lowest ever low in terms of count padding. Call this the hidden derivative bet. By exceeding 9, when the ACE value suggests that the true count of real named tropical cyclones was 9 or fewer, the NHC showed their hand. They outed themselves. Counter padders, name claimers, one and all. A rubicon, whereby Nor’easters, cut off lows, and other distinctly non tropical systems, having nothing to do with tropical weather processes, are now to be named, has been clearly crossed. Up is down, war is peace. Enjoy this new age.

  82. SteveSadlov
    Posted Oct 30, 2007 at 2:24 PM | Permalink

    RE: #70 – There are still many doubters and defenders of the NHC here, but you are correct. Quack boobery has taken the stage.

  83. JP
    Posted Oct 30, 2007 at 2:35 PM | Permalink


    Joe Bastardi of Accuweather just published his 2007/08 Winter forecast: http://tinyurl.com/yp82v6

    Basically, he predicts overall it will be a warm winter for the CONUS, with ENSO still in the drivers seat. He used a combination of several weather analogs, and the current state of both ENSO and the AMO. The middle portions of the US will see increased precipitation, while the stubborn droughts in the West and Southeast persist. As longs the PDO and AMO remain positive it will be difficult for CP air masses to make much headway. However, he did warn that a few major snow events will hit the middle US in both November and December.

  84. SteveSadlov
    Posted Oct 30, 2007 at 2:43 PM | Permalink

    RE: #84 – He blew his TC forecast for this year … he’d called for hurricane strikes against the Mid-Atlantic through Cape Cod. Where he’s off is assuming the this is your father’s ENSO, that ENSO behaves the same no matter what’s happening with PDO. But this is not your father’s ENSO … PDO has flipped, everything you thought you knew about ENSO is now wrong.

  85. JP
    Posted Oct 30, 2007 at 3:34 PM | Permalink

    You are correct about his TC forecast, but he did nail last winter and summer forecasts for most of the CONUS. And you are correct, if the PDO did flip like it did in 1976-77, then we are in a totally different ballgame. Bastardi doesn’t walk on water, but his long range forecast IMHO are much better than NOAAs.

  86. Shaprshooter
    Posted Oct 30, 2007 at 3:55 PM | Permalink

    Here’s a tally since New Years on Weather Channels two-days-in-advance forecast high for my town (Today is day #303):

    (Say, for example, on Tuesday they forecast a high of 85 on Thursday)

    Very Low (> 6F too low): 11
    Low (from 3F to 5F lower than actual): 26
    Correct (within two degrees): 78
    High (forecast was 3-5F higher than actual): 157
    Very High (forecast > 6F too high): 31

    Interesting distribution for folks that think they can forecast temps 50 years out to a high level of accuracy, no? Notice, too, how much more often they were high, or WAY HIGH, rather than low. Even on “correct” I gave them a total of four degrees spread.

  87. steven mosher
    Posted Oct 30, 2007 at 4:34 PM | Permalink

    RE 78.

    I take full and absolute credit.

  88. steven mosher
    Posted Oct 30, 2007 at 4:36 PM | Permalink

    RE 82. double or nothing on the final count?

  89. steven mosher
    Posted Oct 30, 2007 at 4:40 PM | Permalink

    RE 83.

    I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again. This padded count crap will bedevil the future.
    a Real increase will now look normal, unless they commit to this padding process going forward.

    And if they do that then landfall proportion will plumment as will damage per storm. They guys
    are one steppers. They think one move deep.

  90. Jonathan Schafer
    Posted Oct 30, 2007 at 6:15 PM | Permalink


    Thanks for the link. I think Bastardi has done some good things in the past, but if we truly have entered a negative pdo, then I think Steve S is right, all bets are off.

  91. Posted Oct 30, 2007 at 8:20 PM | Permalink

    Here are the contestants and the forecasts for 2007:

    John A.: 7
    John G. Bell: 8
    Paul Linsay: 9
    Steve Sadlov: 9
    uc: 10
    John Norris: 10
    John Baltutis: 11
    UK Met: 11
    Bob Koss: 12
    jae: 12
    IWIC: 13
    Accuweather: 14
    Jonathan Schafer: 14
    IW (private forecast firm): 14
    Staffan Lindstroem: 14
    DeWitt Payne: 15
    US National Hurricane Center: 15
    Michael Mann: 15
    TSR: 16
    Gray/Klotzbach: 17
    David Smith: 17
    Bill F: 18
    Ken Fritsch: ((GK+MF)/2) (if UKM = MF then Ken’s forecast is 14)
    Meteo France: ??
    If one assumes that contestants expected a per-storm ACE of 10, which is the historical average, then the 2007 ACE (64) is equivalent to about 6.4 normal storms. That 6.4 is quite close to John A’s forecast of 7.

    If we go by actual tropical cyclone count, which is the basis for the contest, then a host of folks are close.

  92. Posted Oct 31, 2007 at 7:19 AM | Permalink

    Ryan RE #1

    It is interesting that you bring up the low hurricane season around the years 1976 and 1977. This period was the end of the last 12 year solar cycle #20. This is similar to what we are experiencing now , the end of another potentially 12 year solar cycle #23

    Here are some other generalizations assuming that the CURRENT solar minimum will be late 2007. If we plot all the number of past hurricanes per year between 1947 and 2007 in the Atlantic Basin and draw a graph joining all the points and then mark the solar maximum and solar minimum years, an interesting pattern emerges

    1] The number of hurricanes is up 1-2 year before a solar minimum
    2005, 1995, 1985, 1975, 1964
    2] The number of hurricanes is down during solar minimum years
    2007, 1996, 1986, 1964,
    3] The number of hurricanes is also down during the year following a solar minimum
    1964, 1977, 1986, 1996, [2008?]
    5] The usual maximum number of low hurricanes per year during solar minimum and the years after is 1- 3 but more often 2
    64/65, 76/77/78, 86/87, 96/97, 2006/2007,
    6] The number of hurricanes goes up following a solar maximum and then begins to drop 68/69,79/90,89/90 and 2000/2001

    If we assume that 2007 is the solar minimum year , then the above patterns predict that 2008 will be another low hurricane year [ the number of hurricanes is down the year after a solar minimum]

    However if we note that the low level of hurricanes around a solar minimum is usually only 1-2 years[ 3 low years only occurred once namely 76/ 77/78, and since we already have had 2 low number of hurricane years, namely 2006/2007 , one would expect the number of hurricanes to take jump in 2008 , like they did from 1997 to 1998 when they went from 3-10 hurricanes.

    However it is not possible to predict any of this until we enter 2008 and see what type of solar activity is likely

  93. Posted Oct 31, 2007 at 8:56 AM | Permalink

    If anyone has yearly hurricane counts for the Atlantic going back to say 1856, I would be interested in checking if low hurricane levels existed for several years at the end of other longer[ 11.5 years and more] solar cycles like

    #9 ended 1856 [12.5 years]
    #11 ended 1878 [ 11.7 years ]
    #13 ended 1901 [12.1 years]
    #14 ended 1913 [ 11.9 years]

    I incorrectly rounded out cycle # 20 as 12 years . It was actually 11.6 years
    #23 will not reach 12 years until April 2008. At the moment it is about 11.5 years

  94. SteveSadlov
    Posted Oct 31, 2007 at 11:30 AM | Permalink

    RE: #87 – I would expect that the same flaws that make the GCMs indicate a much higher temp rise than actual also cause meteo forecasts to hype warm events and warmer than normal trends within their time horizon.

  95. Bob Koss
    Posted Oct 31, 2007 at 12:26 PM | Permalink

    matt vooro,

    Here is what NOAA shows since 1851. Link

    I’d take the pre-1880 figures with a grain of salt. There are more than 20 storms that had only one observation. So it’s likely storms were missed entirely.

  96. SteveSadlov
    Posted Oct 31, 2007 at 12:36 PM | Permalink

    Here’s a classic example of what’s wrong with the NHC:


    Those of you who have traveled around / lived in or near Hispanola and Cuba, would remember how there are CuNim buildups forming over those islands frequently. So, one of these situations happens, and it gets slightly organized into a good squall line, one that can persist through the nights and become a sort of self sustaining occluded front. Name it and claim it ….

    Incidentally, we get things somewhat similar here out West when a Tonapah Low retrogrades, ends up out between the Channel Islands and Hawaii, then moves back onshore. We never name and claim such storms out here, but let me be the first …. watch for an announcement in November regarding the NHC, West Coast Division (NHC in this case stands for National Hysteria Center).

  97. steven mosher
    Posted Oct 31, 2007 at 2:12 PM | Permalink


    I suspect if we did a death per landfalling windspeed chart it would be
    quite confused by Dean versus Noel

  98. Shaprshooter
    Posted Oct 31, 2007 at 3:43 PM | Permalink

    Maybe the MSM isn’t interested in reporting it, but Investors Business Daily is:


    But Ryan Maue of Florida State University’s Center for Ocean-Atmospheric Prediction Studies says it looks like 2007 will go down as a lamb. “Unless a dramatic and historical flurry of activity occurs in the next nine weeks,” Maue writes, “2007 will rank as a historically inactive tropical cyclone year for the Northern Hemisphere as a whole.”

    In the past 30 years, Maue adds, only 1977 had less hurricane activity when comparing periods beginning Jan. 1 and lasting through Oct. 30. What’s more, this past September had the lowest activity since 1977 while the Octobers of 2006 and 2007 had the lowest activity since 1976 and 1977.


  99. Posted Oct 31, 2007 at 5:48 PM | Permalink

    Here are the standings (ClimateAudit Readers vs Professional Seers):

    UK Met 11
    ClimateAudit Readers 12 (average)

    Actual (thru Nov 1) 13

    IWIC 13
    Accuweather 14
    IW (for-fee seer) 14
    NHC 15
    Michael Mann 15
    TSR 16
    Gray/Klotzbach 17

    I think Noel is probably the final storm for 2007. If that’s the case then the CA readership ensemble did respectably well this year.

  100. tetris
    Posted Oct 31, 2007 at 5:57 PM | Permalink


    Back from bagging moose up North.
    What to do about the three [or even four?] “bogocanes” [assorted Nor’easters and the like] that got named and included in the tally?

    Mosher’s comments in 90 and 98 are spot on.

  101. Posted Oct 31, 2007 at 6:26 PM | Permalink

    Bob Koss
    Thanks for the data.Yes I agree that the early years data may be understated.

    I did look into the four other solar cycles that had long durations namely # 9, 11, 13 and 14. Three of the four also had low number of hurricane per years around the solar minimum. One was totally different. If we include cycles # 20 and 23 this makes a total 5 out 6 long solar cycles which had this characteristic

    Thus not necessarily always true but perhaps worth noting for the future is that longer solar cycles may have a number of years of very low level [3-5 hurricanes per year]] of hurricanes just before during and immediately after the solar minimum.

    When the sun failed to exit from a solar minimum early in 2006 and 2007. like it did do in 1998 it perhaps was warning of low hurricane seasons ahead.

    Solar cycle #23 has had only 2 low level hurricane years near the solar minimum. The other had 4-6, so I think cycle 23 is a bit of hybrid again and I don’t’ expect another low number of hurricanes next year, unless the sun remains as is this year.[ at a minimum]

  102. steven mosher
    Posted Oct 31, 2007 at 6:53 PM | Permalink

    RE 101 Tetris as usual is a very perceptive chap.

    We have some new terms. which will stick?


  103. Posted Oct 31, 2007 at 6:54 PM | Permalink

    Re #101 Well, my thinking is that we have two awards:

    Award #1. 2007 NHC storm count (currently 13 tropical storms)

    Award #2. “Equivalent” storm count, calculated by dividing 2007 ACE by the normal (1970-2006) ACE per storm of 8.3 (which gives 7.8 “equivalent” tropical storms so far)

    Award #1 is straightforward but is strongly affected by those wimpy-canes

    Award #2 is slightly complicated by greatly reduces the impact of the junk storms

  104. Posted Oct 31, 2007 at 7:05 PM | Permalink

    Re #102 Matt, try your correlation skills on this SST time series .

    I sure would like to understand what drives the apparent cyclic behavior.

  105. steven mosher
    Posted Oct 31, 2007 at 7:36 PM | Permalink

    RE 104. And just how much did sadlov pay you? ARRGGGGGG

  106. Posted Oct 31, 2007 at 7:41 PM | Permalink


  107. Jonathan Schafer
    Posted Oct 31, 2007 at 9:25 PM | Permalink


    Actually, we are at 14 named storms right now. And I hope this is the last, because my count was 14. However, since I never win anything, my assumption is there will either be one more named storm, or upon review, they will change one of the previous storms to subtropical, so that the count does not end at 14. I’m just cursed that way.

  108. Jonathan Schafer
    Posted Oct 31, 2007 at 9:27 PM | Permalink

    #108, Well, I guess not. I forget Andrea was a sub-tropical storm. Hehe, maybe it will stay at 13 and then they will reclassify Andrea as tropical instead of sub-tropical.

  109. JP
    Posted Nov 1, 2007 at 6:07 AM | Permalink

    You really need to go back several months and follow the debate in full. I think most of the readers and posters at CA have been sceptical in using Atlantic or Pacific TC counts as a AGW proxy.

  110. Posted Nov 1, 2007 at 7:43 AM | Permalink

    DAVE SMITH RE #105

    A cursary look at the SST curve shows that the peaks and valleys correspnd very closely with solar minimum and maximums except prior to about 1955 and after about 1990 when it starts to somewhat wander. This applies to the West Atlantic [blue] curve

  111. Posted Nov 1, 2007 at 8:00 AM | Permalink


    Here are some historical solar maximums and minimums


    2007 Prel. Estimate only


    2010 -2012 Prel Estimate only

  112. Damek
    Posted Nov 1, 2007 at 8:43 AM | Permalink

    If you are basing next year’s hurricane season on the solar minimum, there is a chance we won’t see the minimum until after next year’s hurricane season. From Archibald2007:

    The first sunspots of a new solar cycle appear usually at more than 20° latitude on the Sun’s surface. According to the last couple of solar cycles, the first sunspots appear twelve to twenty months prior to the start of the new cycle. Apart from a few spotless magnetic dipoles, there have not been any reversed polarity sunspots with a latitude of more than 20° to the date of this paper. This means that Solar Cycle 24 is at least one year away, or the observational rule is wrong.

    At this point we STILL have not seen any high latitude sunspots. So if this observational rule holds, the solar minimum could still be 12 months away.

  113. Damek
    Posted Nov 1, 2007 at 9:26 AM | Permalink

    I didn’t join in on the hurricane season prediction, so I don’t have a vested interest in the outcome. But I would say if more storms are being named that are just barely crossing the minimum wind speed threshold for a few hours, these need to be removed if the idea was to predict on a ‘normal’ naming convention. So my suggestion is to remove from the storm count all storms with an ACE of less than 1.0. This would bring the storm count total to 8 and the average ACE for the season to 7.8.

  114. Steve McIntyre
    Posted Nov 1, 2007 at 10:08 AM | Permalink

    #115. That’s a good suggestion. BTW which thread contained the original predictions.

  115. Posted Nov 1, 2007 at 10:56 AM | Permalink

    #115 & #116… There are more considerations that go into naming a tropical storm rather than just the wind speed. Many of these qualifications are encapsulated in the Dvorak technique — a closed circulation, deep convection somewhere “near” the center, and a warm-core structure. The NHC has named the systems because they ARE (sub)tropical cyclones! Our observational capabilities have improved to the point that the chance of missing a system is going to be rather small. However, this was obviously not the case prior to the advent of microwave remote sensing, so the so-called overcounting today highlights the obvious undercounting in the past. Yet, as you point out with ACE, these missed systems are very weak — and won’t affect the overall ACE trends. But, they definitely affect order 0 metrics like storm counts. Forecasting number of named systems really doesn’t seem like a good idea this year, no?

    #110 — I have no clue what you are getting at — perhaps you had too much candy corn. Weakest hurricane activity in 30 years is GOOD news, even though the drive-by mainstream media does not seem to care. Since we have no definitive handle on the reason for the inactivity, one has to really wonder about our reasoning for hyperactivity…

  116. David Smith
    Posted Nov 1, 2007 at 11:11 AM | Permalink

    Re #116 Steve M the original thread was “Atlantic Hurricane Track Versions”, summarized at post #73 and again at #204 (with a correction or two).

    BTW, I noticed that steven mosher put in a prognostication of 13 in mid-July, which was after the contest deadline but well before the heart of the season. Steven’s forecast has proven to be pretty darn good.

  117. Steve McIntyre
    Posted Nov 1, 2007 at 11:58 AM | Permalink

    #118. My own comment on the 2007 season (made on July 24) was:

    By this time in 2005, there had been 2 hurricanes with peak wind 135 knots and 140 knots respectively (and 42 hurricane quarter-days). All the hurricanes in 2005 reminded of the vorticies that you see behind an outboard motor boat moving along a lake – I’m not saying that there’s any validity to this comparison – just that it reminded me of it and the reason that my guess last year for a low season was based on the lack of early vortices roiling up the Atlantic. Given that July 2007 has also been quiet, my guess is that 2007 will be more similar to 2006 than to 2005.

    That looks like a fairly good prediction in retrospect although 2007 has been even quieter. I had a small reason for the prediction – and had used the same reasoning in my July 2006 prediction of a quiet 2006 season. However, I’m not sure that my reasoning was all that great even if the prediction was OK, given that Dean and Felix didn’t lead to much afterwards.

  118. Jeff A.
    Posted Nov 1, 2007 at 12:01 PM | Permalink

    “Accuweather”. Now there’s an oxymoron that makes Military Intelligence seem like a gathering of Mensa.

  119. SteveSadlov
    Posted Nov 1, 2007 at 12:17 PM | Permalink

    RE: #104 – “Award #2. “Equivalent” storm count, calculated by dividing 2007 ACE by the normal (1970-2006) ACE per storm of 8.3 (which gives 7.8 “equivalent” tropical storms so far)”

    This is the hidden “soak ’em rising or falling” derivative behind my “storm count” bet of 9.

  120. SteveSadlov
    Posted Nov 1, 2007 at 12:18 PM | Permalink

    RE: #106 – He’s getting a cut of the derivative cash flow …. nyuk, nyuk, nyuk!

  121. SteveSadlov
    Posted Nov 1, 2007 at 12:22 PM | Permalink

    RE: #117 – Ryan, should we / will we start naming Tonapah Lows, that retrograde out to ~ 130W / 20N, then “get tropical?”

  122. Michael Jankowski
    Posted Nov 1, 2007 at 1:20 PM | Permalink


    Very Low (> 6F too low): 11
    Low (from 3F to 5F lower than actual): 26
    Correct (within two degrees): 78
    High (forecast was 3-5F higher than actual): 157
    Very High (forecast > 6F too high): 31

    That’s pretty interesting. One of the regular posters on RC (with little-to-no scientific background) had posted once about how she was certain the weather folks were always UNDERESTIMATING temperature in their forecasts because they were relying on models/historical information that hasn’t kept up with global warming (i.e., their forecasting models were tuned to spit-out “average” weather as opposed to the “unprecendented” warmth of today).

  123. Posted Nov 1, 2007 at 1:38 PM | Permalink

    I am not sure everyone has a working definition of what a tropical cyclone actually is.

  124. Shaprshooter
    Posted Nov 1, 2007 at 1:51 PM | Permalink


    One of the regular posters on RC (with little-to-no scientific background) had posted once about how she was certain the weather folks were always UNDERESTIMATING temperature in their forecasts because they were relying on models/historical information that hasn’t kept up with global warming (i.e., their forecasting models were tuned to spit-out “average” weather as opposed to the “unprecedented” warmth of today).

    My casual “study” (I’m a CE, if that counts as “scientifically trained”), but I find it amusing that many people with advanced degrees think they can predict the temps for the entire earth within 3-4F, 50-100 years out, when evidently they can’t make a forecast two days out, over a tiny area, within 2 degrees. That “tiny” area is in the US southwest, where temps are not subject to significant change without pretty good advanced warning.

    In my readings, I notice a profound difference in the “humility” of science in history over the pomposity of “scientists” today, particularly those feeding at the government grant trough. Todays sound more like the ancient high priests.

  125. SteveSadlov
    Posted Nov 1, 2007 at 2:18 PM | Permalink

    (Sub)Tropical (Occludi)clone Noel:

  126. aurbo
    Posted Nov 1, 2007 at 3:05 PM | Permalink

    re #127:

    TS Noel is in the process of becoming extra-Tropical with many of its Tropical characteristics already compromised. AF Reconaissance aircraft have found some strong winds under the area of convection to the east of the storm, but their maximum reported winds of 59kts in the SE quad and earlier 66kts in the NE quad are some 80-105nm away from the storm center. The Recon also reported a wind shift in the diffuse center which is more characteristic of a typical cold core (or occluded) extra-Tropical storm. There is no “eye” or concentrated band of strong winds near the center. The 21z TPC Discussion can be found here, and here is where one can find current sat pix.

  127. Michael Jankowski
    Posted Nov 1, 2007 at 3:51 PM | Permalink

    Without canes, we got to see AGW blamed for wildfires. How long until the tornado hype hits the airwaves?


  128. steven mosher
    Posted Nov 1, 2007 at 4:00 PM | Permalink

    RE 115. So now sadlov is paying off more people or presenting some fairly transparent sock puppetry.
    When will it end? dear lord I can here sdalov now ” using the noaa count would be a foolish
    and unwise thing to do”

  129. Larry
    Posted Nov 1, 2007 at 4:00 PM | Permalink

    117, comment 110 was from some sort of bot. They show up here from time to time. I don’t understand exactly who’s behind it, or what the objective is.

  130. Jonathan Schafer
    Posted Nov 1, 2007 at 4:59 PM | Permalink


    I think that’s a trackback from another blog that linked to this one.

  131. Posted Nov 1, 2007 at 6:01 PM | Permalink

    Damek RE114

    You make a very intersting point. If what you say is true and the solar minimum could be 12 months away then assuming that 2008 continues like 2006/2007 [ typical for long solar cycles in the past], then there is a possibilty of another low year in 2009 as well. This is because the year after a solar minimum is usually lower in terms of hurricanes than the solar minimum year[ true for 12 out of the last 14 solar minimums. I am not saying that this will happen but it is consistent with long solar cycles. One really can’t make any predictions for next year until we see what the sun does early in 2008.

  132. cbone
    Posted Nov 1, 2007 at 7:13 PM | Permalink



    How convenient. They bump it up to juuuuust barely a hurricane, and I thought that it was sustained winds of ~74 MPH not almost 75.. Come on. This nonsense is starting to get old.

  133. Posted Nov 1, 2007 at 8:10 PM | Permalink

    And for what scientific reason #134 do you think that Noel is not a hurricane? Is it the 983 mb central pressure, or the hurricane force winds sampled by the hurricane hunters? Or perhaps it is the incredibly deep convection over the Bahamas that is obscuring your viewpoint from the grassy knoll?

  134. aurbo
    Posted Nov 1, 2007 at 8:33 PM | Permalink

    Re #134:

    Noel has indeed been upgraded to HU Noel, just in time to make it before it becomes extra-Tropical which might have failed to have it qualify as one of this year’s hurricanes. The latest AF Recon reported a surface wind of 70kts, a flight-level wind of 74kts both reports about 22-24nm NW of the center. This was at 0107z. Earlier, at 2341z the recon reported a max FL wind of 81kts in the NE quadrant. Assuming TPC treats these winds as gospel and using the usual .75x reduction from FL to MSL, this would give that NE Quad report a sfc speed of about 61kts. However, the 70kt ob at 0107z is supposed to be a surface report in or near the storm’s center. Since it was dark at this time, I assume those winds were determined by SFMR equipment which has a tendency to report peak gusts rather than true max winds. It may be that dropsondes were used, in which case the surface winds would be more reliable. The SLP was reported as 983mbs at 0107z although TPC mentioned a reading of 981mbs sometime earlier which was never widely diseminated.

    There is reason to accept the idea that rapid intensification could have taken place. The area of convectionwas in a region of only light wind shear, and the surface circulation had finally migrated in various steps to a position under the area of strong convection. In this case, it is not unreasonable to see a storm wind up very rapidly. However, there were no observations of a tight band of precipitation or a discernible eye in the center. But one has to account for the winds and I guess this year anything that makes it to 65kts, however briefly, qualifies.

    So is/was this a hurricane? I suspect one could argue with some conviction that it is, but if so, it’s another minimal system that goes into the season’s record books.

    On a broader scale though, if these storms can be so characterized, how many times in the pre-satellite era do you suppose these minimal systems with brief lifetimes may have occurred? Accepting these types of systems as hurricanes opens the door to speculation that numerous similar storms were almost certainly missed and absent from the climtatic data series.

  135. tetris
    Posted Nov 1, 2007 at 8:42 PM | Permalink

    Re: 103, 125, 135
    No grassy knoll. The numbers for Noel are probably all there; that’s not the point.
    Pls ref your own observation in #125 and you’ll no doubt recognize the question on the table.
    As per my previous queries on this thread, we have at least 3 and possibly 4 “bogocanes” or “hurrycanes” on record, which unless recognized as such or discarded will add to the salting of the data as per Mosher’s comments in ##90/98.

  136. steven mosher
    Posted Nov 1, 2007 at 9:08 PM | Permalink

    If you can golf in it, it aint a hurricane.

    Carl, the greenskeeper. Caddy shack.

  137. steven mosher
    Posted Nov 1, 2007 at 9:15 PM | Permalink

    re 137. I hope to heck they overcount this season. 50 novocanes and hurrycanes and caspercanes.
    rack them up!!!

  138. Mark T
    Posted Nov 2, 2007 at 12:18 AM | Permalink

    From what I gathered, there was also a storm approaching Florida from the NW, which probably added to the wind speed off-center. It was quite windy in Melbourne/Orlando the past few days in spite of the fact that we were several hundred miles from the “eye” (as blood-shot and disorganized as it was). In 7 years in Florida including two evacuations I never saw winds like that resulting from a TS located so far from where I was…


  139. Posted Nov 2, 2007 at 1:30 AM | Permalink

    RE 103. What about concurrent Hurricanes or Cocanes?

  140. Michael Jankowski
    Posted Nov 2, 2007 at 5:51 AM | Permalink

    Re#140, I don’t know if it affected the winds of Noel, but FL has been sitting between a low just to the south and a high just to the north, making for very windy days and choppy waters for over a week (which had been completely unrelated to Noel, although the surf pounding the Atlantic side is getting is currently strongly influenced).

  141. Posted Nov 2, 2007 at 7:56 AM | Permalink

    Ryan, Judith or anyone who knows the answer, I have a tropical meteorology question which I’ll post here.

    A 30-day moving average plot of the SOI (see plot midway down the page here ) has what looks to me like a crude 60-day periodicity. Maybe it’s real or maybe it’s an illusion, I don’t know.

    My question is, is it a recognized phenomena and if so, what drives it?


  142. Posted Nov 2, 2007 at 8:15 AM | Permalink

    David, what you are seeing is the MJO signal superimposed on the SOI.

    As you probably know, the SOI is determined from the atmospheric pressure difference between Darwin and Tahiti. As the MJO approaches the longitude of Darwin (phase 4 & 5) pressure drops at Darwin increasing the SOI, and about a month later as the MJO approaches Tahiti (phase 8 & 1) pressure drops at Tahiti decreasing the SOI.

    Those who would like to know more about the MJO can visit:


  143. Posted Nov 2, 2007 at 8:34 AM | Permalink

    Addendum to my post above:

    The actual period of the MJO varies throughout the season and from year to year, and it’s usual period range can be anywhere from about 3 or 4 weeks up to about 8 or 9 weeks, with it’s most common period being around 6 weeks or approx 45 days. It can sometimes race though some phases, and can also slow down or even stall for a few weeks in one phase.

  144. Posted Nov 2, 2007 at 9:11 AM | Permalink

    DAVE SMITH RE #105,113

    Attached are sources for YEARLY and MONTHLY MEAN SUNSPOT NUMBERS
    You will find that solar max or min covers a period that often is 3-4 years. There is a single year and month when it is the highest or lowest but the years around them are often very close as well. Where your curve did not exactly fit the single minimum or maximum year, you will find that when you reflect the 3-4 years arond them your curve may show a better fit.




  145. Posted Nov 2, 2007 at 9:34 AM | Permalink

    RE #144, #145 Excellent, thanks Carl. I’ve associated the MJO with tropical precipitation patterns and impacts on tropical cyclone activity but did not realize that is has such a distinct fingerprint in Pacific atmospheric pressure. A subject to explore!

  146. Posted Nov 2, 2007 at 1:25 PM | Permalink

    Re #146 Interesting work, Matt. You’re on a noble quest, that of finding a connection between solar activity and climate, sort of like those seeking the Holy Grail. Best of luck.

    You may be interested in thumbing through some of the older issues of Monthly Weather Review > . People were actively searching for the connection many decades ago.

    Personally I’m agnostic on the topic, but I am always interested in anything that can be demonstrated.

  147. Posted Nov 3, 2007 at 8:47 AM | Permalink

    Steve Smith

    Just as this web page has been doing a CLIMATE AUDIT of the various numbers associated with climate change, some which have been proven to be wrong, I have been attempting to do an audit of the science behind our weather and hurricanes which has also been wanting based on the hurricane forecasts of the last 10 years and especially the last three years. So you see my aim is no different than yours as I am only coming from a different point of view. I am glad you have an open mind when it comes to eveidence. Just as this web page is skeptical about some of the numbers coming out some government cotrolled agencies I am also sketical about some of the science . Just take a look at comet HOLMES recently and how it has behaved in completely unexpected ways. Yet they keep referring to comets as ” dirty snowballs”.

  148. Posted Nov 3, 2007 at 8:53 AM | Permalink

    David Smith

    Sorry ,I meant to address the last e-mail to you and not Steve Smith

  149. Posted Nov 4, 2007 at 8:40 AM | Permalink

    The most recent example of how higher solar wind velocities and hurricanes may be related is hurricane NOEL. There was solar wind burst starting on October 25, reaching peak velocities of 700km/s, density peak of about 40 protons/cm3 and staying at 700- 500km/s until October 28. Refer to the solar wind speed and density plot as provided by the University of Maryland , SOHO/celias/mtof/PM.-CarRot2062 In the middle of this period and on October 27 a low in the Caribbean region was declared A tropical storm named NOEL. On November 1, NOEL was declared a Level 1 hurricane. It is also worth noting that comets LONEOS whipped around the sun at this time and comet Holmes made a sudden and explosive appearance. In addition a planetary alignment between Mars, Venus, Mercury and almost earth but not quite took place. All of these latter factors can increase the earth’s vertical electrical fields .

    The reference below provides an excellent source for the solar wind plots


  150. Posted Nov 15, 2007 at 6:55 PM | Permalink

    http://umtof.umd.edu/pm/pm_2week.imagemap?278,102%5B GRAPH OF SOLAR WIND

    Idon’t know if anyone noticed that the solar wind speed spiked again this week to 650-660 km/s and three tropical cyclones sprang up in the Indian Ocean and South Pacific Ocean. This is similar to the conditions around hurricane NOEL.

  151. Ulric Lyons.
    Posted Mar 9, 2008 at 2:37 PM | Permalink

    matt vooro, very good, the next thing is to see what causes the solar wind spikes. From my own solution to strong/weak years for cyclones, 2008 will be busier than 2006/7, but less than 2009/10. Watch for the biggest 2008 Atlantic events forming around 20/21st Sept, and 15/17th Oct.

  152. Posted Apr 6, 2008 at 10:05 AM | Permalink

    Ryan Maue brought out his broom to sweep away the 2007 NH season, due to low activity. It’s far too early to offer conjecture about 2008 but there is one indicator worth a glance.

    The indicator is the duration of the Western Pacific “quiet period”. The quiet period is the time between the last tropical storm of a season and the first tropical storm of the next season. This occurs usually in a stretch between December and March. The median stretch is 95 days since 1978-79.

    Currently (6 April) the stretch for 2007-08 is 130 days, using UNISYS data. How does this compare with prior seasons? Here’s a dot plot of the seasons since 1978-79:

    As is shown, the current 2007-08 quiet stretch is longer than normal and is entering the tail of the distribution. If we go through May without a storm then the season will be in the top-10% of longest stretches. It’s too early to say, or guess, but it’s worth watching.

    I’ll update this plot on occasion.

    If I can find the seasonal ACE values for the region then I’ll see if there’s a correlation between the duration of the quiet stretch and the following season’s ACE.

  153. Posted Apr 6, 2008 at 10:22 AM | Permalink

    ECMWF forecasts the first storm of the season for the end of this week and a well developed typhoon for the next week close to the Philippines

  154. Posted Apr 6, 2008 at 12:16 PM | Permalink

    I see that Wikipedia notes a brief tropical storm (01W with 35kt wind for 18 hrs) near Vietnam in January 2008. However, Unisys does not carry that. I’ll see if I can clarify.

  155. Posted Apr 6, 2008 at 1:09 PM | Permalink

    The Southern Hemisphere season is coming to a close, with some possibility of April activity in the SW Pacific to add to an “average” year climatologically. ENSO indicators continue to show a mature La Nina with some signs of decay.

    See the Australian Govt Met Bureau’s “ENSO Wrap-Up” at LINK and note that most of the models suggest a continuation of La Nina conditions until probably the beginning of NH summer.

    It is likely therefore that the Western Pacific basin will be at most an average year in terms of ACE with the Eastern Pacific continuing its dormancy. Bill Gray’s seasonal forecast will be coming out next week, and I am willing to bet all of my carbon credits that the Atlantic should be active.

  156. Michael Jankowski
    Posted Apr 6, 2008 at 7:28 PM | Permalink

    RE#157, http://www.nbc-2.com/Articles/readweatherarticle.asp?articleid=18551&z=29

    “…Read knows this year could be very different, and noted Colorado State forecaster William Gray is considering raising his predictions when he releases his new forecast April 9th.

    In his last outlook, Gray called for 13 named storms but says cool waters in the Pacific, called La Nina, can enhance hurricane conditions and points out warm waters off of Africa are similar to what they were before the historic 2005 season…”

  157. Posted Oct 14, 2008 at 10:30 AM | Permalink

    Seems the predictions for this year fell a bit short. I understand they know the conditions likely to produce a storm, but aside from that there seems to be a bit of guesswork going with storm predicition.

  158. Posted Oct 14, 2008 at 2:17 PM | Permalink

    The past 24-months of Northern Hemisphere tropical cyclone ACE is the lowest since 1977-1978.

  159. Posted Oct 23, 2008 at 12:23 PM | Permalink

    I submitted a paper to GRL on this Northern Hemisphere TC inactivity at the beginning of September. Both reviews were positive and very helpful to making the manuscript better. I will post the paper when I send the final revisions to the editor in the next week. Here’s the abstract: Maue, R. N. (2008) Northern Hemisphere Tropical Cyclone Activity, GRL (in revision).

    Recent historical Northern Hemisphere tropical cyclone inactivity is compared with the strikingly large observed variability during the past three decades. Yearly totals of Northern Hemisphere ACE are highly correlated with boreal spring sea-surface temperatures in the North Pacific Ocean and are representative of an evolving dual-gyre, trans-hemispheric correlation pattern throughout the calendar year. The offsetting nature of EPAC and NATL basin integrated energy and the strong dependence of combined Pacific TC activity upon ENSO suggest a hypothesis that overall Northern Hemisphere TC behavior is largely modulated by global-scale, non-local climate variability.

    • Posted Oct 24, 2008 at 12:09 PM | Permalink

      Re: Ryan Maue (#161), Ryan, I look forward to reading your paper. Several questions pop to mind already but I’ll wait until after a read. Among other things I’m interested in whether the global-scale, non-local climate variability (ENSO/PDO/NAO?) you identify is something which the GCMs see as changing in the future.

4 Trackbacks

  1. […] will tell Al Gore the Bad News? 2007 Yearly Tropical Cyclone Activity to Date Ryan N. Maue Cross Post at Climate Audit (h/t) Steve McIntyre Unless a dramatic and perhaps historical flurry of activity occurs in the next 9 weeks, 2007 will […]

  2. […] about the trend – the trend is meaningless with so little data.  I am a little disappointed at Climate Audit in that their write up almost seems like they are disappointed that the number of hurr… was so low.  I am sure that it was just they way it was written but it didn’t feel […]

  3. […] suggested we “Bring out the Broom on the 2007 Season“: With October nearly done circling the drain, I figure it is about time to bring out the […]

  4. […] […]

%d bloggers like this: