More Hurricane Center Tumult

Wow! Bill Roenza’s gotta go as the director of the National Hurricane Center.

I didn’t think so when I wrote an entry on Tuesday, but the Miami Herald has advanced its earlier story with additional comments from lead forecasters. There’s no internal confidence for Proenza from those guys.

‘I don’t think that Bill can continue here,” said James Franklin, one of five senior forecasters at the center. “I don’t think he can be an effective leader.”

Two others — Richard Pasch and Rick Knabb — told The Miami Herald that they concur.

”We need a change of leadership here at the hurricane center,” Pasch said. “It’s pretty much as simple as that.”

Part of what Proenza did was plead for a replacement for the soon-to-die Quickscat satellite. Then he quantified a value NHC’s accuracy would fall if Quickscat was gone.

I thought his number was way off mark then. The hurricane forecasters at NHC seem to agree.

Obviously, every piece of observational equipment is important, but by the time a storm threatens land there are better tools than Quickscat, which only covers a given area a few times a day.

If you’re NOAA, can you promote one of the insiders to replace Proenza (if he goes)? Doesn’t that just legitimize this mutiny?

This story’s not over.

One thought on “More Hurricane Center Tumult”

  1. First, you must remember that the job of the National Hurricane Center is to protect lives and property in a tropical cyclone, not just landfalling cyclones. The forcasting error rate for landfalling hurricanes without quickscat is not the only thing to consider here. What about storms farther out to sea, where the Hurricane Hunter planes cannot reach. There is no other real way to determine windspeeds than quickscat other than shipping reports which cannot be made until those ships are in the storm. Blue water storms, or fishes as they are sometimes called, must be accurately forcasted so that the shipping and airline industries can stear clear of these storms.

    Quickscat was launched in 1999 with a 3-5 year life expectancy. The satellite is already on its back up transmitter. Although the UK has a scatterometer in orbit, it monitors a smaller area of the ocean and much longer intervals of time before a pass is made over a particular portion of the ocean. Quickscat passes over an area twice as large, and makes passes every 18 hours.

    Bill Proenza’s comments included much more than just Quickscat. His comments were directed more at a general overall lack of funding for hurricane and weather research, something that the entire weather community has been collectively voicing concerns over for years.

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