Remember the severe forecast? Never mind

Remember the severe forecast? Never mind

After last year’s historic Atlantic hurricane season, all the media outlets rushed to find global warming pundits to intone darkly that this was the obvious consequence of SUVs and gasoline consumption. Yeah. As “proof” of their claim that a warming climate was making all weather worse, they pointed to the forecast for the 2006 season: 13 to 16 tropical storms, eight to 10 of them becoming hurricanes, and four to six becoming major hurricanes—Category 3 or higher. (Hurricane season starts Junue 1 and ends in November.) Dire predictions of multiple direct hits on US soil of major storms were breathlessly reported by the meda.

Then two months into the season, things weren’t going as predicted and the estimates were revised down slightly:  12 to 15 tropical storms, seven to nine hurricanes, and three to four being major. Not much of a revision; a decrease of only one.

So how has the actual season progressed? Four tropical storms, five hurricanes, two of them Category 3. Only two storms touched US soil, Tropical Storm Alberto and the even milder Tropical Storm Beryl. That’s it.

This isn’t to say that just because it’s been a quiet hurricane season that we aren’t in a multi-year cycle of increasing ferocity of storms. This may have been a momentary blip. My main point is that the mainstream media has a habit of reporting sensationalistic and hyped up stories, causing distress among readers and viewers, but then failing to come back and followup later. Remember avian flu? How about SARS? What about the rash of shark attacks a few years ago? All hyped up disaster stories that fizzled out.

If a stock broker consistently made bad forecasts and hyped up companies that fizzled out and was generally wrong all the time, he’d be fired. If a doctor consistently made dire diagnoses that turned out to be nothing, he’d probably lose his license. What other industry can be so consistently wrong all the time and suffer no consequences like the mass media?

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Written by
Domenico Bettinelli

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