2007 Hurricane Forecast Reduced, Will Media Care?

In May, when the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration predicted an above average hurricane season, the media reported the announcement with a vigor.

Two months later, with no serious hurricanes yet hitting the mainland, a private forecaster has reduced its tropical storm expectations.

Less hurricanes should be good news, especially for folks along the Atlantic and Gulf coasts, right? Shouldn't this get aggressively disseminated by media outlets that certainly have a public service responsibility?

Before we get there, the following was reported by Reuters Tuesday evening (emphasis added):

The 2007 hurricane season may be less severe than forecast due to cooler-than-expected water temperatures in the tropical Atlantic, private forecaster WSI Corp said on Tuesday.

The season will bring 14 named storms, of which six will become hurricanes and three will become major hurricanes, WSI said in its revised outlook. WSI had previously expected 15 named storms of which eight would become hurricanes and four would become major hurricanes.

"Because the ocean temperatures have not yet rebounded from the significant drop in late spring, we have decided to reduce our forecast numbers slightly," said Todd Crawford, a WSI seasonal forecaster.

[…]

WSI's Crawford added that wind conditions due to the lack of an El Nino event were less conducive to formation of tropical storms.

Now, compare that to NOAA's May 22 announcement (emphasis added):

"For the 2007 Atlantic hurricane season, NOAA scientists predict 13 to 17 named storms, with seven to 10 becoming hurricanes, of which three to five could become major hurricanes of Category 3 strength or higher," said retired Navy Vice Adm. Conrad C. Lautenbacher, Ph.D., undersecretary of commerce for oceans and atmosphere and NOAA administrator. An average Atlantic hurricane season brings 11 named storms, with six becoming hurricanes, including two major hurricanes.

Climate patterns responsible for the expected above normal 2007 hurricane activity continue to be the ongoing multi-decadal signal (the set of ocean and atmospheric conditions that spawn increased Atlantic hurricane activity), warmer-than-normal sea surface temperatures in the Atlantic Ocean and the El Niño/La Niña cycle.

Last year, seasonal hurricane predictions proved to be too high when an unexpected El Niño rapidly developed and created a hostile environment for Atlantic storms to form and strengthen. When storms did develop, steering currents kept most of them over the open water and away from land.

"There is some uncertainty this year as to whether or not La Niña will form, and if it does how strong it will be," said Gerry Bell, Ph.D., lead seasonal hurricane forecaster at NOAA's Climate Prediction Center. "The Climate Prediction Center is indicating that La Niña could form in the next one to three months. If La Niña develops, storm activity will likely be in the upper end of the predicted range, or perhaps even higher depending on how strong La Niña becomes. Even if La Niña does not develop, the conditions associated with the ongoing active hurricane era still favor an above-normal season."

As can be plainly seem, so far, NOAA has been dead wrong, as its prediction that water temperatures would rise has not panned out. You would think this should be newsworthy, as this May 22 announcement was covered by media for days.

Leading the hurricane charge was CBS News, which not only discussed the pending announcement during the "Early Show" that morning, but highlighted the forecast during its "Evening News" tease that night, and followed not only with a full report on NOAA's predictions, but also a piece on how New Orleans isn't ready for the upcoming season.

The following morning, NOAA's forecast was reported during the "CBS Morning News," as was New Orleans' lack of preparedness. Shortly after, the announcement was covered again on the "Early Show."

NBC was just as focused on this report, as the May 22 "Today" show actually began with a detailed report concerning the pending announcement. I kid you not.

Later that day, Brian Williams actually began his "Nightly News" tease and the program with this announcement, both coming prior to coverage of the agreement reached in Congress that day to continue funding the war in Iraq!

The following morning, the "Today" show repeated the information.

For its part, ABC also previewed the imminent release of this forecast on the May 22 "Good Morning America." Charles Gibson reported the actual announcement that evening on "World News," as did "Good Morning America" the following day.

With that in mind, as the news concerning this hurricane season appears to be improving given this recent forecast out of WSI, will the media feel it important to share with the public?

Or, might such a revelation once again point to just how difficult it is to predict weather events months away, thereby making it even more preposterous for anthropogenic global warming alarmists to suggest that computer models can actually forecast climate into the mid and latter parts of this century?

Stay tuned.

Noel Sheppard
Noel Sheppard
Noel Sheppard, Associate Editor of NewsBusters, passed away in March of 2014.