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It’s Over

The 2007 Hurricane season is over and it wasn’t as bad as people assumed for the US, but the people on the Yucatan Peninsula will remember getting smacked by two category 5 monsters, Dean and Felix and the Caribbean will mourn the losses caused by the rains of Noel. It is probable that all three names will be retired from the list.

Dr. Jeff Masters has his 2007 Hurricane Season wrap-up out and looks at some of the reasons that the season was not what everyone thought it would be. We are in an active cycle for storms, the La Niña keeps down wind shear, the surface water temperatures were up – everything was set for a really bad season for the US, but the action was all to the South and things went very quiet at the end. One of the big factors was African dust which cooled the surface temperatures, and isn’t predictable.

This is the reason global climate change is a more accurate description of the effects of increased greenhouse gases than global warming. While there is an overall warming, it is regional in effect, and it causes other, unpredictable phenomena, like the dust clouds. There is explosive growth in the power of storms, as several records were set this year, making the effects of warming surface temperatures obvious, but other factors are becoming involved. At the same time our ability to predict hurricane behavior in the short term is more accurate than ever, long range predictions are becoming more murky.

Take a break for the solstice holiday of your choice as you have six-months to prepare for the next season.


1 Anya { 12.01.07 at 1:27 pm }

In a related topic, isn’t Dr. Masters (or some other Big Name Hurricane Forecaster) being sued by a Florida hotel because his predictions weren’t accurate? The theory here is that the tourists stayed away because of the dire predictions which subsequently fizzled in Florida.

Of course, the high price of jet fuel — and just about everything else — had nothing to do with the drop in tourism, did it?

2 Bryan { 12.01.07 at 3:50 pm }

It would have to be Dr. Bill Gray in Colorado, because Jeff wasn’t sure and noted fairly early that things were squirrely this year. BTW, if you were in Yucatan things were pretty atrocious this year and all it took was a front to have moved a little faster for either Dean or Felix to have entered the Bay of Cozumel, re-charged, and headed into the Gulf on a tear. There were a lot of real close calls this year that most people missed.

Given their druthers, all storms want to head northeast once they get above 20° North latitude into the prevailing westerlies.

Tourism sucked because people needed money to pay for gas/utilities and their mortgage, as well as $5/gallon milk and $2.50/loaf bread. The higher prices, sucky service, and security hassles made flying a PITA. Weather has next to nothing to do with it.

3 andante { 12.01.07 at 5:55 pm }

Global climate change is a good way to phrase it. It’s easy to forget that events on the other side of the globe can effect the entire planet.

Nor should we forget that some areas have had record cold & blizzards. Around here, it’s hard to believe a few states away from us are waterlogged from drenching rains.

4 Kevin Hayden { 12.01.07 at 5:55 pm }

There’ll always be lawyers available for dumb people to use to pursue weather forecasters as if they were chemists capable of predicting things in a completely controlled lab. And there’ll always be people looking to blame someone for things beyond anyones’ control.

In short, PT Barnum was right.

5 Bryan { 12.01.07 at 9:31 pm }

Well, Andante, I could unload some rain for Georgia, but it just won’t make it to North Carolina. It’s that northeast drift. Your rain has to come from around the Texas Louisiana border segment of the Gulf combined with a regular cold front moving in from the West Coast. They just got rain in SoCal, so there’s some hope this coming week.

Too many lawsuits are to avoid taking responsibility for our own stupidity, Kevin.