The 2007 hurricane season officially ended on November 30th and in the Atlantic, a total of 14 named storms were produced, including six hurricanes, two of which became major hurricanes. The good news is that only one hurricane, one tropical storm and three tropical depressions struck the United States so we escaped relatively unscathed. This does however make one wonder about the accuracy of hurricane forecasts. This is the second year in a row that predictions indicated above normal activity when the opposite turned out to be true.
It is notable that as recently as NOAA’s August hurricane update they said:
NOAA is predicting a very high likelihood (85% chance) of an above-normal 2007 Atlantic hurricane season, a 10% chance of a near-normal season, and only a 5% chance of a below-normal season, according to a consensus of scientists at the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) Climate Prediction Center, National Hurricane Center, Hurricane Research Division, and Hydrometeorological Prediction Center.
There’s that word again – CONSENSUS! Let’s take a look at the facts:
- – The 2007 Atlantic hurricane season was below normal and tied for 2002 as the most inactive since the El Nino depressed 1997 season in terms of storm energy.
- – The North Atlantic was not the only ocean that experienced quiet tropical cyclone activity. The Northern Hemisphere as a whole is historically inactive. How inactive? One has to go back to 1977 to find lower levels of cyclone energy as measured by the ACE hurricane energy metric. Even more astounding, 2007 will be the 4th slowest year in the past half-century (since 1958) .
- – Fewest Northern Hemisphere hurricane days since 1977 – the 3rd Lowest since 1958 (behind 1977 and 1973).
- – When combined, the 2006 and 2007 Atlantic hurricane seasons were the least active since 1993 and 1994.
ThorntonWeather.com has to wonder – If we can’t accurately predict short term climatological events such as hurricanes, how can those that make up a “consensus” accurately predict and gauge man-made climate change on a global scale?