Are Forecasters Liable?

Drudge has linked to an article from a Central Florida TV station that’s interesting and worrisome.

Hotel Mogul Threatens Lawsuit Over Hurricane Expert’s Gloomy Forecasts

Rosen: Fla. Lost Billions Of Dollars Because Of Incorrect Storm Outlook

I’m a non-believer in seasonal forecasts because I think, by and large, they’re awful – aka, inaccurate. By the way, the same goes for all the Global Warming hype.

Here’s what I wrote to a viewer earlier tdoay:

Viewer: I’m just wondering what the outlook is for the 2007-08 winter season. A lot of snow, not much but colder. I heard we arent’ going to get much snow. Please advise. Thanks.

Geoff: I don’t believe in them. We don’t currently have the skill. Most long range forecasts end in embarrassment for the forecaster.

Should there be a monetary downside to a bad prediction? Neither Gray nor anyone other forecaster claims divine insight and 100% accuracy. He used the best techniques known to science.

More importantly, I don’t think anyone expects 100% accuracy.

I tend to think Harris Rosen’s rhetoric is bluster and no more… but who knows? Maybe he does have a case. I’m sure there’s a lawyer willing to help him.

But why go after Dr. Gray? There are other seasonal hurricane forecasts from forecasters with deeper pockets. AccuWeather comes to mind, though there are probably others.

I’ve got a dollar that says the attorney won’t forecast the outcome nor guarantee it.

Continue reading “Are Forecasters Liable?”

Another Global Warming Voice

Let me preface this by saying, on a day like today, global warming would be very welcome! OK – maybe that’s an overstatement, but we will see overnight temperatures in the single digits. That’s too cold for me.

On to the real reason for this.

I was surprised to see an interview with Dr. William Gray in the September issue of Discover Magazine&#185. Dr. Gray is the leading authority on the seasonal prediction of hurricanes (different than the operational forecasting of individual storms).

I’ve read his statements – how he doesn’t feel there’s a connection between this year’s Atlantic Hurricane Season and global warming. He makes total sense, especially when you realize the increase we see here on the East Coast hasn’t been seen in the world’s other hurricane zones.

I was surprised, though pleased, to see he’s also skeptical about global warming in general.

His quote in a second. When I say “global warming” here in the blog, I am normally talking about the theory which connects our increasingly industrial society to a rise in the Earth’s ambient temperature. If you’ve read me for any length of time, you know I am also skeptical.

I know how tough it is to forecast a few days in the future, much less decades. This is especially true when you don’t or can’t have access to every possible parameter in a seriously complex series of equations.

A mistake early on will corrupt whatever results you see.

On to Gray in Discover: